Vests are in, Axe FXs are out!
Djent has come and gone in the metal canon. As with any passing fad genre there are a few quality bands that remain, but the legions of unoriginal, watered down copycats have pretty much rendered all new djent completely boring.
But fear not! Vest Metal is officially here, and boy is it ever here in full force! Every record label worth its weight in Krank amps leftover from the mid-’00s metalcore explosion is getting in on the party in a hurry — but don’t blink, ’cause it’ll be over soon enough! Let’s take a detailed look at the giant Vest Metal cashgrab currently underway in the metal world.
Just yesterday Prosthetic Records announced they’ve signed a band called Castles. Check out their video:
I actually can’t spot any vests in the above video (closet Vest Metal), but the “trippy” and “psychedelic” visuals and references to the occult are a dead giveaway that this band is tried and true Vest Metal. Bonus points for having a female singer which will instantly ensure Prosthetic Records sells twice as many “limited edition” vinyls to fans of Southern Lord bands the moment they go on pre-order.
Earache Records were actually pioneers in the recent Vest Metal renaissance! They were way ahead of their time when they signed White Wizzard in 2008, which might explain why that band never really took off the way they’d hoped; the world simply wasn’t ready! So it’s no surprise that Earache is trying to get it right the second time with Hour of 13:
Dude on the right’s got a sick vest on, which other Facebook photos reveal has a backpatch of — who else?? — Electric Wizard. Backpatches = extra scene points in Vest Metal.
Rickenbacker basses are a MUST HAVE if you want your Vest Metal band to be taken seriously! Dude on the left with BC Rich = major Vest Metal guitar fail. Get a fucking Epiphone Les Paul, dude (Gibsons = too expensive for most Vest Metal budgets).
Relapse Records infamously ignited the Vest Metal debate several months ago when Christian Mistress lit up the indie metal scene. What is going on this video? Who the fuck knows? And if you’re a Vest Metal fan, who the fuck even really cares? It’s got fire and skulls and a cave and occult worship, all of which give it instant Vest Metal cred:
Vest Metal is old hat to Metal Blade, a label that’s always kept a diverse roster of bands, so it’s no surprise that they already had a whole crop of Vest Metal bands waiting in the wings in case the sub-genre got hot. Apparently Darkest Era couldn’t afford any real vests so they just opted to rip the sleeves off their plain black t-shirts instead, a totally acceptable move by Vest Metal standards (the ability to just “go with the flow” is key to being in a Vest Metal band). And since a large part of this video takes place in the FOREST, you know it’s for realz Vest Metal:
The Devil’s Blood often play with their shirts off, although they sometimes where tight, beaten-up, old leather jackets, a close cousin of the Vest. But even when they’re not wearing vests on the outside, you can just feel that The Devil’s Blood are wearing vests where it counts the most: on the inside.
Blood Ceremony have the unstoppable triple-whammy of Vest Metal, doom (more on that later) and a female vocalist; this band is going to be huge! They also have a flute player, a nod to Proto-Vest Metallers Jethro Tull:
Even Nuclear Blast — who have plenty of excellent bands but built their fortress upon cheesy Euro power metal (a lot of which I actually non-ironically love) — are getting in on the Vest Metal party with Sweden’s Witchcraft (having “Witch” in your band name = x10 Vest Metal Scene Points). Witchcraft clearly splurged for very fancy vests for their photo shoot which is somewhat indicative of their music: where most Vest Metal bands opt to go lo-fi, Witchcraft’s new song “It’s Not Because Of You” is quite spiffy production-wise. Witchcraft are kinda like the Subaru of Vest Metal; a very nice car presented in a down-to-earth “for the people” shell, extremely popular in places like Portland, OR and the semi-rural backroads of New England.
Vest Metal comes in all shapes and sizes, too. Doom Vest Metal seems to be gaining traction of late, especially when female-fronted. Some of these bands include Witch Mountain (Profound Lore is all over this shiz, duh!), Blood Ceremony (Metal Blade, see above) and Royal Thunder (Relapse). Every label wants in on the Doom Vest Metal party!
Lastly, no discussion of Vest Metal would be complete without everyone’s favorite $750,000 band, Ghost. Appearing “mysterious” is a very important part of the Vest Metal algorithm and no Vest Metal band is more mysterious than Ghost, the band that may have single-handedly ushered in the current Vest Metal explosion. Like most bands in this genre, their music is average to pretty good. But people go absolutely gaga for them because THEY ARE MYSTERIOUS! Who are they??? No one knows!!! So cool!!!!!!!!!
Note to aspiring Vest Metal musicians: appear as mysterious and aloof as possible. Masks/costumes serve this purpose well but it’s already been done, so tread lightly. If you’re smart, you’ll pretend you don’t know how to use Facebook and Twitter / are too busy and aloof to update them very much. This will make you appear super-cool and will undoubtedly spark your career. If you’re gonna make a move, now’s the time: labels are gobbling up Vest Metal bands left and right! Before you know it Vest Metal bands will be all over tours like the Mayhem Festival and it’ll be too late.