20 of the Worst Modern Metal Music Videos

  • Axl Rosenberg

A couple of caveats to this list.

Yes, first of all, most of them are from the past 10-15 years. This is in part because there are simply too many terrible metal videos from throughout the genre’s history to include every one ever made. It is also in part because — at the risk of sounding like an old man screaming at the clouds — it’s because I really do think metal videos have, on the whole, gotten worse since the turn of the century. Despite what one might expect, technological progression has meant music video regression. The music industry is making less money as a collective, so budgets have severely dropped. At the same time, it has never been easier or cheaper to make something oneself. The combined effect of these two occurrences is that bands have turned to amateurs to make their videos, often resulting in unintentionally hilarious promotional clips.

Which brings me to the second caveat: I’m judging these videos as videos. Which is to say, the list is not ranked by whose music is best or worst. I mean, it’s all pretty terrible. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence, though. I’m viewing these videos through a lens of, “Hey, I really hope you didn’t pay whoever’s cousin made this for you.”

And with that out of the way…

20. You Only Live Once, “Do or Die”

This video looks okay (e.g., it’s in focus, it doesn’t use iMovie wipes, etc.). But also it’s called “Do or Die” and it’s about sneaking out of the house when your mom says you can’t go out. Like, that’s it. That’s their definition of “do or die.” It’s like if the video for Aerosmith’s “Livin’ on the Edge” just showed Steven Tyler eating a slice of cake and then going “Aw, fuck it!” and treating himself to a second piece of cake.

19. Sykosis, “Bleeding Out the Sun”

If you look up “Balls” in the dictionary, it says “Putting a production company logo in front of this video.”

18. Poison, “Power to the People”

I’m only ranking this so low because it was made in 2000, when people were still figuring out the best uses of consumer-grade digital technology. Obviously if this video came out last week, it’d be like “What the shit?”. Still, this band used to be on MTV — like, a lot — so for them to release this is like, really, embarrassing.

17. Doro, “Raise Your Fist in the Air”

Guys. Doro. Doro plays at, like, Wacken and stuff. She’s on a significant label. And yet, the world was gifted “Hold Your Belt on Your Waist.” It includes an electrifying moment when Doro is reading and signing contracts. I mean.

16. Convicted Skies, “Jane Eyre”

Director Pitching the Video: “What if that irritating Attack Attack! video took place in the snow?”

The Band: “Yes! NAILED IT!!!”

15. Lie or Liar, “PARANOIAC!”

A recurring theme of terrible metal videos is the band’s complete inability to look relaxed and natural on camera. Which is understandable! It’s surprisingly hard to look relaxed and natural on camera. But the director of this video sure didn’t do the band any favors by having them constantly break the fourth wall and stare of wistfully into the distance. So everyone involved here may have been a bit overambitious.

14. Etienne Sin, “Remember”

If only I could forget.

13. Hair Jordan, “Bad Guy”

Sometimes I’m walking around and I see two dudes, one holding a phone and playing music while filming the other, who is lip syncing to that music while staring right into the lens, and I always think, “Hm, that music video will probably be bad.”

Dunno what made me think of that.

12. Zeroking, “Dead Rockstar”

What happens when you combine the acting talent of a freshmen’s student film with a cinematographer who doesn’t take light readings and then in post production decides to let an artificial zoom effect do the heavy lifting? This:

11. V, “Paradise”

This is like a performance video as made by someone who has never ever seen a performance video before.

10. Crossing the Rubicon, “Unhinged”

Jeanne Sagan quit All That Remains to do this, guys. And the crew showed up with someone’s dad’s camcorder and two VCRs and was like “Let’s rock.”

9. Method Blank, “Eddie’s Home”

Chroma Key is a privilege, not a right.

8. Iudicia, “Apocalypse in D”

Director Pitching the Video: “What if that irritating Attack Attack! video took place in a sporting goods store?”

The Band: “Yes! NAILED IT!!! Only thing is, we have a budget of… [counts pocket change]… thirty-eight cents.”

Director Pitching the Video: “No problem! I can totally work with that.”

The Band: “Great! And you can guarantee the music and images will be in sync?”

Director Pitching the Video: “Well, that’s an outrageous request. What do I look like to you, Orson fucking Welles?”

7. Verax, “Time Wasters”

This video has a lot of readily-apparent issues, but I think it’s worth paying attention to how frequently the framing cuts off the top of the singer’s head. I kinda think he may have filmed those shots himself and also borrowed the camera which he then was unable to get back for re-shoots. I can’t think of any other reason why the framing would be messed up so frequently.

6. Гнилой Район, “Downhole”

It’s the smoke machine that really lends it production value.

5. Virgin Steele, “Perfect Mansions”

I am not kidding when I tell you that sometimes if I’m feeling depressed I watch this video and laugh my ass off. It never fails to amuse. I’ve already dissected it at great length; go here for the deep dive.

4. Heene Boyz, “Balloon Boy No Hoax”

You know what kind of person would think this was a good video? The kind of person who would pretend their child got trapped in a hot air balloon, that’s who. Love that they thought to blow a fan in the kid’s face, though. It’s that kind of attention to detail that made them almost pull off this hoax except not really at all.

3. Solitary Son, “In Memory of Us”

Guys, I can’t believe I have to say this, but please don’t take your instruments into the ocean. Sheesh.

2. S.H.O.U.T., “Sell Your Soul to the Devil”

Remember the video from The Ring? Yeah well this is like that, only instead of dying seven days after you watch it, you get explosive diarrhea. True story.

1. Chris Holmes, “They All Lie and Cheat”

When I was seven my mom took me to the mall where they had this booth with a blue screen where you could go “make your own music video,” which really just meant you danced around in front of the blue screen while they played whatever song and put cheap shitty graphics behind you.

I swear on Dio’s grave, the video I made in that booth looked 1,000,000 times better than this.

Having said that, this bassist should be in every band.

Did I miss any great ones? Feel free to post ’em in the comments section below.

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