Whether you believe that there's no danger in metal anymore, or if you agree with Dee Snider, that metal will always maintain its edge, there's no question that heavy music has brought us some of the most dangerous artists to ever take a stage. Yes, we go shows to have a good time, to find release and a sense of community, but for many of us, we also go to a show hoping to tap into something primal and unpredictable that has been lost in modern society. We want our rock stars to be wild, reckless and maybe a little out of their minds, to embody a way of living that defies civilized norms. So what is the single most dangerous band or artist or all time? We asked you to make your picks across social media — below are the ranked results.
Rammstein's danger is quite literal: Any surface-level dive into their photos and live videos online makes it clear the German industrialists are obsessed with incorporating high risk/high reward pyrotechnic elements into their stage show, even going so far as to have frontman Till Lindeman — a certified pyrotechnician, luckily — perform the entirety of their eponymous song clad in a flaming coat. Scarier yet (for the puritanical sect, anyway) is their ardent commitment to perverse and unorthodox sexuality. From the foam-spewing penis cannons of their live show to their signature bondage-inspired wardrobe choices, Rammstein know how to make folks clutch their prudish pearls.
Pantera upped the ante in metal's evolution into something disgustingly heavy and truly unhinged in the early Nineties, and their live shows were pure madness, like full-scale prison riots set in concert arenas. Offstage, each band member was more unpredictable than the last, pushing the limits of hard partying and even harder pranking — crashing at Dimebag Darrell's house could wind you up in a different area code when you woke up the next day. No wonder the Texan firebrands' legendary home videos inspired Jackass.
What does it take to be "the most dangerous band of all time"? How about having a fire-breather as part of the touring party? Throwing multiple guitar cabinets at the crowd at any single show? Climbing venue rafters and falling on top of attendees? Stage-diving from more than one story up in the air? Breaking bones on the regular while spazzing out onstage? Or blasting eyeballs with an insanely seizure-inducing light show while playing equally-seizure-inducing chaotic hardcore the whole time? Because the Dillinger Escape Plan have done all of that, until they smartly bailed out (in late 2017) before it killed them or anyone else.
Punk-rock psychopath GG Allin wanted to die onstage, instead he went out like a rock & roll cliché, passing away from an overdose shortly after a gig. Still, nothing can take away from his antisocial legacy of fear, fervency and feces: His live gigs will go down in infamy as some of the most primitive, barbaric and outright nasty displays in the history of music.
The fabled past of black metal's most infamous era revolves almost entirely around Mayhem and the havoc perpetrated by their members. Before his 1991 suicide, vocalist Per Yngve Ohlin, a.k.a. "Dead," would cut himself onstage with broken glass and knives to scare the crowds, who were probably already a bit traumatized by the impaled animal heads the group often placed in front of them as they played. When he shot himself in the head at age 22, his bandmates jumped on the opportunity to take pictures with his artfully arranged corpse before calling the proper authorities. Not to be outdone, then-member Varg Vikernes murdered founding guitarist Euronymous after the group recorded its masterpiece De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Vikernes' stint in prison would be temporary, but his bloody mark on history is permanently etched, as is that of your overwhelming pick for the most dangerous band in metal: Mayhem.