In order to highlight the various ‘cultures’ of Metal if you will, I’ve done some investigating into the representation of metal through things like Album artwork. However, one of the best sources I feel that highlights the distinct imagery is a video game known as “Brutal Legend” “ Brutal Legend” is, in itself, designed as a kind of homage or tribute to the classic view of Rock and Metal music, particularly as far as design goes. In the game, you are thrust into a world based upon the artwork ad themes of metal, such as a hellish underworld, gigantic stone swords jutting out of the ground, massive amps forming cliffs, dungeons filled with spiders spinning string of metal, and other such imagery from different sub-cultures of metal. A great deal of this can be anchored to specific album covers, like so: The idea of ‘ hardcore’ metal really stems from these mythical ideas, These ‘brutal legends’. Modern Swedish metal band ‘Sabaton’s’ latest album features songs that pertain to many significant battles and occurrences within the past 100 years, such as the Greco-Italian war, the Warsaw uprising, and the Holocaust as well as the Second world war in general. This puts a modern twist on the fairly old-style rooted nature of Metal. A lot of these types of images can be pulled from ideas like mythology, particularly Norse Mythology . The extreme types of satanic and gory images draw from the common factors in legends of blood and steel, or blood and metal . These can often be very gritty dark and brutal myths, such as Odin, the Norse god of death, war and battle, often seen astride his eight legged horse Sleipnir.
Battles and war often seem to be a prevalent part of metal songs and their representation. The idea of a battle against adversity to reach a goal, like a road or some such, is a very American idea. Nickelback’s Album “The Long Road” is one such example of this type of iconography. Conversely, going solely from the aspect of legend, the styles can expand into fantasy, such as with the covers of work by ‘DragonForce’ . Their first album feature a Goddess like figure surrounded by glaciers, and the tradition horses, possibly in reference to Sleipnir. However, 8 years later, the art has gone along a more fantasy line stylistically, featuring something of a steampunk inspired girl, wielding what appears to be an overly mechanical gun or chainsaw-like weapon. This can be considered on almost completely opposite to its origins, but it’s merely following one line of style and though down until the end of its road.
The Horns was a phenomenon of heavy metal subculture. Initially it was used by Ronnie James Dio so he could have a hand gesture in the same sense as one of his most respected Metal artists, Ozzy Osborne (Who often raised the ‘Peace’ Sign during concerts). Dio’s Grandmother used to make it to ward off the “evil eye”, a fairly old but traditional superstition, and he took it as his own, turning into one of the representative signatures of Metal. Metal Fashion is typical that of leather, or fairly large, silver or iron jewellery, such as the distinctive belt buckle shown. Glam Metal subcultures go much further, having the dramatically large hair, flashier, brighter clothes and more flamboyant nature, typically.
Heavy Metal thought review Black Leather Unknown Evil Fear Death Opposed to White (binary) 50’s Rock ‘n Roll Animal Instinctual Sid Vicious – bad boys Rebelliousness Magic Cloaks Metal Heavy Solid/hard Aggressive Battle/War Weapons ‘ Axes’ (guitars) Destruction Music style Power Chords Thick, massive sound Extended solos Fantasy Norse Mythology The Reaper Don’t More Cowbell Thrash Metal Anti-establishment
The Appearance of the Band Lita Ford Rob Halford Lemmy Kilmister Use of symbols on clothing. Not extremely effeminate, but not limited to gender role. Massive leathers, metal studs everywhere, bald head, beard, large heavy boots – Consistently ‘heavy’ and ‘metal’ Fairly casual. Half opened shirt, sporting distinctive necklace and beard, long hair. Distinctive but not hardcore. Lemmy wears what Lemmy wears. Completely opposite dress styles The female style of dress in the traditional type of metal is fairly lax. Obvious symbolism is prevalent of course, but said that is really dwarfed by the iconography of the clothes and colours themselves ; Black and Red. Silver or steel metal.
The Appearance of the Band A rguably, the clothing itself can be considered iconic, and incredibly simple to pull off. The leather jacket is something that must be included in this shoot, if not only to have one of the genuine icons of Metal there (despite being somewhat cliché), and Kyle has one, which is a plus. I have a guitar and Drumsticks somewhere, and a handheld Microphone for the final band member. I want a Drummer, a Guitarist and a Vocalist for the shoot, holding or ‘wielding’ their respective tools. The Guitar (or ‘axe’) could be shouldered, the drumsticks being spun in the hands, the microphone held aloft, a la He-man’s transformation sequence. A few variations on this would be nice but that’s the idea I have in mind.
Location This is really quite difficult, because there aren’t really any specific locations that can be anchored specifically with Metal as a musical culture. There are things like Castles, or battlements, traditional building with roots to war, but it’s not specific to just that, and the lighting in those situations doesn’t allow for easy editing… One location that springs to mind is Cowdray House nearby. I know that there’s a tower up there that is open to the elements, and with photoshop I can easily transform what IS there into a fairly hellish backdrop. The problem is that I don’t know whether or not my models and I would be allowed up there, as when we went up before, it was as part of a tour around the site, and I don’t know if the public is allowed up there. If the worst comes to worst, I know I can take the shots in a studio with a black backdrop, which is fairly standard fare for these Rock/Metal band shots, or I can use the green screen we have here to Chroma-Key in the background artificially and simulate the lighting.