AXL ROSENBERG’S OWN PERSONAL TEN FAVORITE METAL BAND LOGOS OF ALL TIME
A reader named Charles recently sent us a link to Paste Magazine’s list of The Fifty Best Band Logos of All Time (which actually contains a small amount of metal band logos) and commented that he’d love to see MetalSucks’ list of The Fifty Best Metal Band Logos of All Time. But that would take a lot of work to organize, and I kinda wanna nerd-out about this now. So, instead, I’m just going to post my own ten favorite metal band logos of all time, and everyone else can suck these nuts.
10) DEF LEPPARD
I’m sure I’m gonna catch a lot of shit for this right off the bat ’cause Def Leppard are basically a hair metal band, but come ON — that logo is so classic and so recognizable and just so fuckin’ great.
Note that I mean the classic Metallica logo ONLY, not the shitty ones they used for Load and St. Anger before returning to the classic one for Death Magnetic as part of a campaign to convince their weaker-minded fans that they were “back.”
8) NAPALM DEATH
To me it’s like, “You wanna see what a death/grind logo should look like? THIS is what a death/grind logo should look like.” It’s not exactly easy to read, but you can actually tell what it says, and it expresses the sound of the band. Napalm Death are one of those bands where I knew their logo before I knew what they sounded like — it was that recognizable and intimidating to me when I was a young ‘un. This logo probably has a lot to do with why I decided to check the band out in the first place.
So here’s another way in which Dave Mustaine actually beat Metallica.
The way it combines two of the most classic tropes of metal band logos — sharp-yet-off-kilter letters with pseudo-scary imagery — is ingenious.
There are have been a few variations on this one over the year, so I’m just including the one I like best. The important thing is that, by and large, the shape of the letters has remained the same over the years, even if the color/style/finish/whatever of the logo has not. So it’s always recognizable. And, like all things Slayer, it’s always metal as fuck.
4) NINE INCH NAILS
I know they’re not the most metal of bands, but holy shit, talk about a great logo: simple, elegant, yet wholly memorable and recognizable and appropriate to the music of the group in question. I hate to sound like a suit, but this is terrific branding!
Look at the logo at the top of this page and tell me you didn’t see this coming.
2) VAN HALEN
See the Nine Inch Nails entry, than multiply by a gajillion. Forget metal — this surely must be one of the five or ten most recognizable band logos of all time, period. It’s not higher on my list just because… well, you’ll see.
1) IRON MAIDEN
Okay this is probably a total cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason. It really set the tone for how metal band logos were going to look for years and years and years — bands didn’t ape the looser, more-rounded style of, say, the Black Sabbath logo or the Venom logo. Basically all the major thrash bands — the most important metal bands of their generation — chose logos that had sharp edges and unique shapes. I’m sure Judas Priest’s logo had something to do with that, too, but at the end of the day, Priest’s logo isn’t as distinctive as Maiden’s. The Maiden font has infiltrated the mainstream, to the point where people who have never heard a note of Iron Maiden’s music before know the name “Iron Maiden” and recognize the logo and, to some extent, Eddie as well. Everything about this logo is classic.
Complain that Anthrax was the only Big Four band I didn’t include on my list in the comments section below. Also, feel free to supply your own lists.