Enlarge Photo by Cecil Shang Whaley.

Devil Master’s 10 Best Cape-Wearing Bands of All Time

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The metal scene is one of society’s few remaining cultures where you’re allowed to wear a cape. Sure, even other fans might crack wise about your Draculean finery, but for the most part metalheads will accept a cape-wearer with little more than a shrug. That said, only a handful of bands have believably pulled off a cape, and even some of those are questionable. It takes the right combination of shadow, grandeur, and complete lack of self-consciousness to spin that thing onto your shoulders, and real talk, not all metal bands are ready for that.

In 2022, Philadelphia’s Devil Master are keeping the cape alive. With their inimitable mixture of ultra-goth black-thrash and snotty sleaze-core, the band have found a sonic and stylistic niche which pretty much begs for every member to don a cape at some point. So in honor of World Dracula Day, a day which pays tribute to the ultimate bloodthirsty cape-wearer, we asked Devil Master to give us a list of their favorite cape-clad metal bands. Here’s who they put on their formal capes for…

Mighty Sphincter

The most crazed, underrated, genuinely vampyric metal-jazz-acid-punk to ever exist and never be touched…The video for “Ghost Walking” is the peak goth aesthetic and will never be topped for obvious reasons to anyone who watches. But alas, this was one of few tracks like it, and does not give a fair representation of the total psychotic brilliant that was the bands whole career. I (Darkest Prince of All Rebellion) had the honour of staying at Count Doug Clark’s House once and being a friend in his last decade. A genuine lord who believed himself a vampire according to the rumors…Rest in Power!

Metal Skull

Japan’s best kept secret, and for good reason. We won’t explain anymore, watch for yourself…Rest In Power Nanuek the Lengflo! KILL YOURSELF WHEN YOU BECOME AWAKENED!!

Sigh

Japan’s best known secret, and rightfully so, having crossed and bended every genre across the board into beautiful nightmare dreamscapes…Sigh‘s early aesthetic is also unmatched, which makes sense considering they were one of the first to be scouted by Euronymous himself! Whilst I appreciate the psychedelia/not give a fuck dressing of Mirai and the band later on, these early pictures, ESPECIALLY this goblin cape, strike a certain feeling.

Mütilation

The pinnacle of vampyric black metal, unlike the embarrassing trendy hordes we see today of competent musicians with a sudden boner for the darkness…Whilst I could credit any and every project of Willy’s former circle the Black Legions, Mutiilation became so prolific and poetic, spinning his life into the lyrics so tangibly as to paint a real picture of a corpse possessed to go on only by Maldoror levels of hatred and misanthropy, that I have to give the credit here. This has also been my favorite photo ever since a young lad.

Necromantia

The best of Hellenic black metal in my opinion, Necromantia early on carved an unsettling and unique sound, owed to their choosing to use a six-stringed bass over a guitar to really lend to that sub-frequency terror. Their whole discography is great, but the demos and first few albums are unmatched in strange, brutal-yet-beautiful nightmarish atmosphere.

Mortuary Drape

There is not much to say here…Flawless discography from these genuinely occult caped maestros. Mortuary Drape are a legendary, untouchable band we had the honor of opening for once. All The Witches Dance is the closest metal record to a seance one can ever hear, and actually I’m going to put it on right now to finish this article.

Death SS

The other Italian legends this article would not be complete without. Death SS are self-explanatory for all familiar with their legacy as early purveyors of blackened heavy metal in Monster Mash gear, all whilst practicing genuine diabolism, as recently revealed in depth in Steve Sylvester’s memoir. While I post this picture, I can’t help but wonder if Billy from the film Hocus Pocus was taken from the zombie figure here…

Gorgoroth

My personal favorite, Gorgoroth are somehow one of the longest running bands to never lose their mystique, and who thankfully returned to form. Riding a beautiful line between obscure paganism and theistic satanism, with music spanning from punk to snotty heavy metal a la Bathory to their constant classical influences. I’m not sure there’s a better desert island band for myself.

Freedom

Honorary mention to Taiki of Japan’s Freedom, who recently passed. Freedom was amongst the early ’80s punk bands with strange metal influences on top of bouncy street punk, whilst wearing capes…Taiki ran Territory Occult Store in Osaka, which was like stepping in to another world, and will be sorely missed.

Mercyful Fate/King Diamond

I saved the legendary bands for last, since there really is nothing more to say.

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