Enlarge Photo Credit: Alex Morgan

Archspire Guitarist Tobi Morelli Shares His Metal T-Shirt Collection

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A metalhead’s t-shirt collection contains some of their most prized possessions. Sweaty, stained and torn, our shirts are chronicles of our lives, physical markers of a past time and place that we pridefully put on our bodies every day. They have a clear pecking order: there are those shirts you wear only when all the best ones are in the laundry, there are the absolute favorites you wear once every couple of weeks, and there are all the shirts in between, each with their own clear rank. To a metalhead, T-shirts are EVERYTHING.

Archspire guitarist Tobi Morelli is the latest to share his favorites for our new series My Metal T-Shirt Collection. Archspire are on the MetalSucks-sponsored Bloodletting North America Tour later this fall with Origin, Defeated Sanity, Dyscarnate, Visceral Disgorge and The Kennedy Veil; get dates here or at the bottom of this post. 

 1. Dissection

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Dissection are one of my favorite bands of all time and this is one of my favorite shirts that I own. This shirt is “retired” now and lives in my closet. I can’t let it go, not just because of how rare it is but what it means to me. Dissection were one of the first black metal bands that I was introduced to during my early teens and they totally changed the way I looked at music. Even as a young guitar player their music had a huge impact on my playing and composition. The way they integrated classical music into their brand of black metal and could make music sound so melodic, evil and beautiful all at the same time drew me right in. Having blast beats over a huge portion of the music was also a bonus.

2. Beneath the Massacre

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To say I’ve worn this shirt a lot is an understatement: I’ve worn the shit out of it. The day Beneath the Massacre tour again I’ll be wearing this shirt for sure. I’ll be like that old guy you see at metal shows wearing his 1986 worn-to-shit, faded Metallica Master of Puppets tour shirt. I purchased this one in 2011 at a show we played in Poland when we were on our first European tour opening for Decapitated, Aborted, and Fleshgod Apocalypse. Beneath the Massacre are a top band of mine and this shirt of their Maree Noire EP is crushing, so needless to say this was a must have and a great souvenir. That was our first “real” professional tour and it was such an amazing experience; we learned so much about the industry, how to tour properly and how to put on a killer live show from all of those bands. A lot of great friendships were made on that tour, it was one of the best times of my life, and this shirt represents that so it stays in my collection.

3. Visceral Bleeding

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Next to Spawn of Possession, Visceral Bleeding are one of my all-time favorite tech-death bands. If you’re not familiar with them and you love tech-death you need to check them out. They haven’t been active in a very long time but they have a solid catalogue. I bought this shirt when I went to Hellfest Open Air in France in 2014. It was my first time going to a massive European festival and finding this shirt there was a nice bonus to the whole experience. I was really impressed how they had stages specifically designed for different metal sub-genres. Drinking beer and getting to watch some of my favorite bands, surrounded by 150,000 metalheads, hearing cheesy Euro techno from 2:00am-7:00am, everyone having a good time and nobody being a dick: I had reached the “Holy Land” of metal! I even ran into Trevor from The Back Dahlia Murder; he was super stoked on my shirt purchase and, as we all know about that guy, he really knows his extreme metal.

4. Fleshgod Apocalypse

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Back when MySpace was still a thing it was a great way to discover new bands, and when I came across Fleshgod Apocalypse I was immediately hooked. Italians mixing classical music and technical death metal? It’s pretty hard not to be stoked on that. This shirt is from their Oracles and Mafia era. I even remember receiving the package, which I could tell was sent directly from the band because the sender had a home address. Everyone in Archspire loves this band, and we always had Oracles, Mafia or Agony blasting as our soundtrack for a long time, whether it was a social gathering or in our van while on tour. Having the opportunity to tour alongside these awesome Italians was surreal. They are a really great band and such amazing people.

5. Carpenter Brut

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This isn’t a metal band but the man behind it, Franck, records metal bands in France and is clearly a metal fan. In addition to extreme metal, I’m also a fan of electronic music and I’m really into synthwave; I love the meld of nostalgic ’80s horror movie scores with metal compositions. My super rad girlfriend introduced me to Carpenter Brut in 2013 and they became by far my favorite artist of that sub-genre. What makes Carpenter Brut stand apart from the rest is that Franck has a full group perform his music live (members from the death metal band Hacride) so it enhances the experience and feels like you’re at a metal show. This guy is a perfectionist and you can tell, not just by his music but even the live setting. Sure, it’s not a metal band, but everything that surrounds it shows that it is metal at heart. I mean, look at this badass shirt!

6. Benighted

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Benighted are a super rad brutal death/grind band from France full of energy, blast beats and tons of “reeeeeereeeeee”s. I really loved the Carnivore Sublime album and I love this shirt. The fluorescent green logo looks so killer so it was an instant must-have. I just love the brutality that this band offers; their music makes me laugh in a good way on how extreme it is. If you get a chance to catch them live don’t miss it. They are super punishing and you’ll be floored. Every metalhead should have a little Benighted in their life.

7. Re-Animator

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If you are a metalhead then you are probably a fan of horror movies like I am. I know that this is supposed to be a column about “metal” shirts but I find that the horror movie genre and metal completely complement each other, so I figured I would sneak this one in. This is one of my favorite cult classics and one of my favorite shirts from my collection. I bought this through a very awesome company called Cavity Colors which specializes in horror movie shirts. The art for this one was done by Devon Whitehead who has done countless other incredible designs. If you want to stray away from another metal band shirt but still want something badass you should check out their stuff.

8. Emperor

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During my obsession with black metal during my teenage years Emperor were one of the bands I couldn’t get enough of. It’s difficult to pick a favorite album of theirs because everything they put out has been a masterpiece, but as far as album covers go In the Nightside Eclipse is my choice. It even has the “Death on a Pale Horse” from the album Emperor/Wrath of the Tyrant incorporated into the art on the top left corner. I imagine the reason for that is because the tracks “I Am the Black Wizards” and “Cosmic Keys to My Creation and Times” are on both albums (a little black metal nerd trivia for anyone that cares). I never thought I would get the chance to see Emperor live but I was lucky enough to catch them at Hellfest 2014 playing the entire Wrath of the Tyrant album. What an amazing experience!

9. Exhumed

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The first time I heard Exhumed I was 15 years old and was immediately intrigued. A best friend of mine gave me a mix tape that had songs from Gore Metal. What the hell was I listening to? Super heavy, down-tuned guitars with crazy shredding, a mix of the back and forth midrange/high vocals to super low gutturals, and relentless drumming. It was so extreme and comical I just loved it. I thought the low quality of the recording was because I was listening to them on tape, but when I purchased their the CD I was very quick to realize that it wasn’t the tape that added that low quality rawness to their sound, it was just straight up the way they recorded and produced their music. Overall, I found it gave their music a rad sense of charm much like old school black metal does.

10. The Thing

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I decided to sneak in one more horror movie shirt from another favorite of mine, John Carpenter’s The Thing. I got this one from another awesome horror movie shirt company called Fright Rags who you should totally check out. The art was done by Abrar Ajmal and looks like it could easily be from a metal band, too. We are all fans of the sci-fi-horror genre and this movie is a perfect example of that. It has influenced many metal bands for music and lyrical content including our own. I think I was seven or eight years old the first time I watched this movie. I was at a friend’s house and my friend’s older brother let us watch it. I wasn’t so much scared as mesmerized by all the crazy effects. This was also the same time I was starting to get into metal so the two seemed to work very well together in shaping my interests. Everything about this movie is awesome; the practical effects, the cast and the story, right down to the score by Ennio Morricone. I usually watch this movie a few times a year, not just because it’s an amazing film but for nostalgic reasons.

The Bloodletting North America Tour, featuring Origin, Archspire, Defeated Sanity, Dyscarnate, Visceral Disgorge and The Kennedy Veil (tickets for all dates are available here):

10/20 – Kansas City, MO The Riot Room
10/21 – Milwaukee, WI Club Geribaldi
10/22 – Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge
10/23 – Westland, MI The Token Lounge
10/24 – Toronto, ON Mod Club (**MOVED from Rochester, NY Montage Music Hall**)
10/25 – Manchester, NH Bungalow
10/26 – New York, NY Saint Vitus Bar
10/27 – Stanhope, NJ Stanhope House
10/29 – Durham, NC Motorco Music Hall
10/31 – Spartanburg, SC Groundzero
11/01 – Nashville, TN Exit/In
11/02 – Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
11/03 – Houston, TX Walters
11/04 – Tulsa, OK The Shrine
11/05 – Dallas, TX The Curtain Club
11/06 – Austin, TX Come And Take It Live
11/07 – Lubbock, TX Jake’s Sports Cafe
11/08 – El Paso, TX Rockhouse Bar
11/09 – Mesa, AZ Club Red
11/10 – Upland, CA Gideon’s Hall
11/11 – San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
11/12 – Sant Cruz, CA The Catalyst
11/13 – Portland, OR Rock Hard PDX
11/14 – Seattle, WA Studio Seven
11/15 – Vancouver, BC Rickshaw Theatre
11/17 – Salt Lake City, UT Metro Music Hall
11/18 – Denver, CO The Roxy Theater

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