10 Unconventional Band Shirts That’ll Get You High-Fived by Strangers
With so many great metal festivals going on right now, there’s no doubt that many metal fans will be out and about showcasing their favorite band t-shirts. I always look forward to breaking out the classics as the weather gets warmer and I can casually stroll around and advertise my exquisite taste in music without the burden of a jacket. And while there’s nothing wrong with sporting a Metallica or Iron Maiden classic on your shoulders, sometimes it’s fun to wear shirts of bands that are slightly more obscure in the hope you’ll find a fellow kinsman.
Here are ten band shirts that will most definitely get noticed and get you high-fived by like-minded strangers while you’re walking the streets.
King’s X has been together since the early 80’s and has always been comprised of the same three members. If you know the band, you know. There is nothing like King’s X in the sense that they are able to expertly incorporate metal, funk, soul and prog with ease. An amazing trio to see live, this band has held on to cult status for decades. never making it big but never stopping either. There’s a special bond between fans and wearing a King’s X shirt is bound to get someone to come up to you and talk about how much they love the band. Extra points if you’re sporting a classic Faith, Hope and Love tee.
When Lee Dorian left Napalm Death, he did so because he wanted to do something that wasn’t death metal. As such, he goes on to form Cathedral with a Carcass roadie named Mark Griffiths who shared Lee’s interest in bands like Candlemass and Witchfinder General. They join together with thrash guitarist Gaz Jennings and go on to create a band that helped define the doom era with a later eye towards 70’s progressive rock and stoner. If you were a metal fan in the 90’s you probably remember this band and will smile contently when see a fellow Cathedral connoisseur at the show. Their very experimental, very epic 2010 double LP, The Guessing Game is probably the wildest 84 minutes of music I’ve heard in decades.
Woods of Ypres
Wearing this shirt might actually get more hugs than high-fives given the unfortunate premature death of main vocalist and composer, David Gold. With a voice that sounded so much like Peter Steele, Gold, like Steele, left us much too soon. Woods of Ypres went through some changes in their sound over their four records but are generally seen as an important melodic doom band who wasn’t afraid to embrace blackened sounds. Most popular near and around their native Windsor, Canada, this was an important band for so many in that part of North America.
One of the key pioneers of the grindcore sound, Scott Carlson (who also briefly played in Cathedral) and company from Flint, Michigan never released that many records but their importance to the extreme metal scene is one of legend. Largely known only in the underground for many years, they never really had a big break but so many metal bands cite Repulsion as a key influence.
Often overshadowed by the Norwegian and Swedish black metal bands, Finland’s Sargeist is longstanding project that features a diverse array of records over their twenty plus years as a band. Their 2010 release, Let the Devil In is one of the most important black metal records that wasn’t put out in the 90s. Demonstrate your depth of black metal kvlt knowledge with a Sargeist shirt.
A bizarrely addictive mix of doom, jazz, prog and tech with drums that you have to hear to believe. North Carolina’s Confessor isn’t for everyone, but for those who’ve come to appreciate that incredible amount of originality the band brought to the 90’s extreme metal scene, finding a rare kindred spirit likely results in a couple of beers together.
Sure, you can wear a Bathory t-shirt to show your love for the black metal classics but why not demonstrate that your metal knowledge also delves deeper into the global south? Sarcofago is a Brazilian extreme metal band that undoubtedly helped shape both the first and second wave black metal sounds. Unabashedly Satanic, this band was directly the archetype for many of the Finnish and Norwegian bands in the 90’s who corresponded with Sarcofago mainman Wagner “Antichrist” Lamounier.
A very avant-garde metal band based in Norway, Arcturus isn’t for everyone. With flamboyant costuming and an unabashed love for progressive metal, this band has never been for the mainstream. With that, however, the band features (and has featured) a who’s who of the Norwegian black metal scene including ICS Vortex, Hellhammer, Samoth and Skoll in its ranks. An acquired taste, this band has devoted fans who show up at their occasional festival performances. You likely will find folks wearing their shirts at a medieval fest or two as well.
Life of Agony
Without any doubt, in my 30+ years of attending metal shows, I’ve never gotten more high fives than when I wear my classic LOA shirt from the early days. While the band’s sound evolved over the years and lineup changes have been, at times, a bit of a soap opera on social media, Life of Agony has some of the greatest t-shirts known in the metal world – most of which are crafted by noted comic artist and bassist Alan Robert. If you’re really looking for both high fives and street cred, go to a show wearing one of the early LOA hockey jerseys. People will offer you wads of cash for the shirt off your back!
Master’s Hammer hails from the Czech Republic and that is, perhaps, one of the reasons they never made it big. But global fame has never been something this band has been too interested in as they have always featured lyrics in their native Czech tongue. One of those bands you have to really seek out, other fans who’ve done the work will appreciate finding fellow fans. Wearing a Master’s Hammer shirt will get you high fives from an array of metal musicians as well who often appreciate the musicality and symphonic elements this band brought to black metal in the early days.