From Venom's Welcome to Hell to Slayer's Show No Mercy to Slipknot's Iowa — the goat has appeared in some of heavy music's most iconic imagery, thanks to its long history as a vessel of the devil, representation as occult deity Baphomet and general badass reputation as a strong-willed beast that will eat almost anything and can cling to near-vertical mountainsides with its cloven hoofs. No other animal better represents the tenacious, IDGAF attitude of heavy metal, and perhaps no other photographer has spent more time capturing their image than R. J. Kern. Since 2012, the Minnesota-based photographer has been traveling to Ireland, Germany, Norway and Iceland to investigate his family's pastoral roots and document the "hoofed animals … both banal and mythical" that have supported his ancestors for generations. Here, we present some of his most striking photographs.
Goat Worship: Stunning Photos of Heavy Metal's Most Iconic Beast
Photographer R. J. Kern has traveled the world to document the "hoofed animals … both banal and mythical"