QUESTION OF THE WEEK: SO-SO LOGO NO-GO BRO, PRO LOGO FO SHO MOFO
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Happy Friday MetalSucks darlings! What’s up for your wknd? Watching playoff baseball ‘n junk? It’s boring, sure, but MLB helps productivity srs. Just assign yourself an extra household task to occupy that free time during the eight dozen or so pitching changes, injuries, replay checks, arguments, breaks to retrieve an errant beach ball, chance shots of racist anti-Obama shirts, and Jeter grimaces. It’s great!
Or fuck it just get bakaked and sit doodling metal band logos on the back of a spiral notebook. That’s an effective time-killer!And I’m a black-belt at that shit. And so I bet is at least one MetalSucks reader cuz dude emailed us to talk metal band logos! And blam! dreams come true, that email is now your MetalSucks Question Of The Week, a hot survey of our hot staff metalicians on today’s hot issues in metal. Email us your QOTW suggestions News (at) MetalSucks.net do it fucker!
Fearless. Controversial. Half-baked. We give it to you straight every Friday afternoon. Straight to the enemies lists of a few hard-working graphic artists sorry lol. Here’s this week’s question:
Inspired by an awesome email from MetalSucks reader Sam Marx, we asked
our staff the following:
How much does a band’s logo matter to its popularity? And how much
does it enhance or wreck your experience of their stuff?
Wat u think? The MS staff’s expert answers after the jump!
Considering that brutal death metal logos look like elk vomit, I’d say not much. Wait, no, the opposite of that: A band’s logo matters greatly. Most normal folk like to discern what the logo attempts to communicate. Or at least they’d like to be able to draw it on a binder. Now as far as my enjoyment, well, here’s the thing: I don’t fucking care. Just leave out swastikas and keep it at 17 or fewer inverted crosses and I’m okay. And no ironic re-appropriating old logos for your own: Your shitty mallcore band’s “homage” to Judas Priest’s logo just makes me want to pelt your fans with High Life bottles filled with urine. In fact, Judas Priest shouldn’t be ironically re-appropriated for anything. Shame on you, mallcore. Now go wait in the car. I’m going to go in and see this next band’s set. Their logo says they’re called FLNGRRRRNARNMMMNJJWy. So you know they’re good.
If a band has a great logo, that’s fucktacular! It’s a kewl method of self-expression and makes all the teenagerz’ shirts as br00tal as a band could want. It’s never the primary factor of popularity, though; you don’t hear people promoting a band based on its awesome logo, and no band gets put down for a
crummy one. It works the same way in terms of readable vs. unreadable: Some fans are drawn to unreadable logos, some are driven away from unreadable logos, but in the end, the numbers don’t change — because the music matters most. Any fan who lets the aesthetics of a computer-generated logo strongly influence an overall experience of a band should take a minute to reexamine his or her outlook on music as a whole. This still doesn’t mean that block letters aren’t a turn-off.
A band’s logo is pretty damn important now because it’s the first clue as to what genre their music belongs. And it definitely plays a part in their image. Yeah, some artists (and whole genres of metal) claim that image is nothing, but let’s get real: Every little choice, however inconsequential it may seem, contributes to a band’s brand. From choosing to shave their heads to picking John Baizley to do their artwork, it all matters. So if I see an indecipherable logo chock-full of spikes and secret skulls and burning crosses, well, it’s pretty obvious what I’m going to be listening to — and it ain’t hair metal. In this sense, it’s not the logo that might damage a band’s reputation, but the parameters we all judge music by. If such a logo did belong to a hair metal band, they would mislead potential fans and probably be pissing off a mess of tr00 types, too. (Unless it was a stunt or an ironic statement/parody/ploy for controversy. I guess it’s up to you to decide if troll publicity is good publicity.) So yes, the logo is important but only to a point. No band makes it on their logo alone. Their music has to do that. So there’s still hope for your Comic Sans thrash band!
If time, thought, and effort goes into a logo, it’s gettin’ the job done. But if it looks hastily thrown together, we might assume the same for the music and be more skeptical of a band’s potential awesomeness. Also, the style of a logo is important in letting a prospective listener know what they’re in for. For example, if I were unfamiliar with Krallice and Havok but into other bands in their respective sub-genres, I’d know from their logos that the latter is thrash and the former is black metal. Sometimes distinctions within a sub-genre can be discerned by looking at a logo: Pioneers like Darkthrone and Mayhem have ominous, dastardly designs that hint at a pure evil seething in their tracks and rightly so; atmospheric bands like Wolves In The Throne Room tend to have more whimsical and intricate designs that allude to a sound that’s more ambient and at times punitive. If any of these bands had a logo like, say, Impetigo or Lord Gore (right), it just wouldn’t add up. Still, while a good logo helps establish a band, it’s not the be all end all — nor should it be. Just like we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, we should give bands a listen then judge away!
A band’s logo tips listeners to genre, but sometimes I think it telegraphs the band’s level of involvement and backing. From a weak logo trails the distinct odor of an uninspired, derivative, and/or uncertain band: It’s vaguely metal, vaguely violent, and not at all memorable? It looks cheap and poorly considered? It does nothing to distinguish the band from its ten million peers? It neither looks cool nor comments on the superficiality of cool graphics and art? Listeners can sense that stuff. And that hurts a band’s chances. It’s not mandatory to have one at all, so why not achieve the same result via different means? Like hmm, how about an image that serves as logo for an entire album-cycle? It’s one wordless picture — grand or lightweight, deep or whimsical, no visible titles — that adorns your CD cover, your concert backdrop, your merch, etc. Y’know, just copy Tool lol.
How lo can u go, logos of heavy metal? Like, what’s worse than Metallica and Anthrax scrapping then refashioning their iconic logos? Orange u glad that Steve Harris’ image mania protected Iron Maiden from a similar blunder? And do we admit that Slayer’s Diabolus In Musica would be better loved if it had bore the Seasons-era logo? What about Testament’s slight neutering of their classic but ruler-intensive logo cir. Souls Of Black? Can u believe none of us mentioned Anal Cunt in this discussion? We are posers!