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Informal Reader Poll: Whose Aesthetic Defines Them?

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Some years ago, I caught Belphegor in concert. I fucking love Belphegor’s music — it’s so deeply evil and malevolent — but something I also love about them is that they don’t hold back on being metal. They’ve got the spikes, the chains, the blood, the whole nine yards. But that night, they played in simple black tank tops and armbands. No fire was spewed, no horn full of blood was raised, no spiked codpiece was thrusted. And while their set was fine overall, I was a little disappointed. I’d wanted the whole thing.

A lot of metal is theater, and that’s not a bad thing. I want a show to be a spectacle on all fronts; if I wanted music with no sturm und drang, I’d go watch a singer-songwriter at the piano. But while some bands can slay no matter where they’re playing or what they’re wearing, others will forever be tied to their presentation. This is pretty obvious with bands like, say, King Diamond or Gwar, who have outfits and stage personas associated with them. But there’s also behavior — if I went to a Dillinger Escape Plan show and they were all sitting calmly on stools, I’d be pissed. Part of DEP’s aesthetic is them going totally fucking apeshit.

So you tell us: who’s a band that’s defined by their whole aesthetic? Who is a band that you’d be disappointed to see play a stripped-down normalized set? And what is that aesthetic — the way they dress, the way they act, the way their stage is set up? From who do you expect more than just music?

Let us know in the comments section.

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