On Metal Bands and Their Undying Affection For Indecipherable Band Logos...

Once upon a time, when I was living in Minnesota, I saw a concert flier that appeared to be advertising a show by Impaler, one of my favorite Minneapolitan metal bands. So I went to a local record store to score some my tickets.

But, when I announced that I intended to purchase two Impaler tickets, the cashier raised an eyebrow.

"Impaled is playing that night," he haughtily informed me. "Not Impaler."

Unfortunately, at that very moment, the members of Impaled were making an appearance at the record store where I decided to purchase the tickets. They laughed as I walked out the door.

But this was an easy mistake to make, considering that Impaled, like many death metal bands, had an indecipherable logo. A few letters are readable, but, I mean, look at their logo. What do you think it says?

I understand the need to be threatening and spooky. "Threatening and spooky," however, is not synonymous with "unreadable."

Memo to metal bands: Your logo can be pointy, it can drip with blood and ooze, but please, allow me to be able to read your band name.

I mean, what am I supposed to do with, say, Norwegian metal band Darkthrone's logo (see right)?

Metal bands, I beg of you: Take a cue from bands like Deicide and Immortal, whose logos are quite pointy and very scary, but entirely readable. 

Oh, and on this note: Many death metal band logos look like intertwined tree branches. Tree branches are not scary.

Band on point: Old-school bands like Kreator have managed to frighten parental units everywhere with very readable, and thus very iconic, logos.

I can hear you moaning and groaning that true fans will recognize the logo. OK. Great. But the industry is changing rapidly; musicians must do everything they can to help their music reach new fans because record labels are providing next to no help whatsoever.

If I read an article about a good metal show, and subsequently run across a flier for that band's next show, I'm not gonna know that it was the favorably reviewed band in the article if I can't read the logo.

The upside? Unreadable band logos have lessened since the '90s as bands like Children of Bodom have opted for readable fonts.

But I still see it, and it still pisses me off.

So, sure, go ahead and put skulls and goat's heads all over your logo, if you want. Just remember: A readable band name does not make your music any less frightening.

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Laura Mann