Metallica pioneered in a lot of stuff. Musically, stylistically and visually. This post is about one of their visual trademarks: the extra added descenders on the first and last letter of their band’s name. The logo (as well as all the other, newer band logos) was designed by James Hetfield himself. It’s a quite simple trick to add some heaviness to an otherwise ordinary logo and typeface. Without the lightning-like descenders all what’s left is a kind of ok looking grotesque typeface. But with the descenders your logo becomes immortal and scratched on millions of school desks around the world.

Following Picasso’s “Good artists copy, great artists steal” a lot of bands of all kinds of metal subgenres adopted this simple yet great idea to their logos. Above this text you can see the stems of the first letter of these band’s typefaces without the rest of the logos. This way one can focus on the similarities as well as the differences. And of course the fun is to guess the band’s name just by looking at the first stem of the logo. Some are quite obvious but others are really difficult.

What’s great are the differences of them. We can see simple and geometrical ones, like Manowar or Monster Magnet. Coming to Death Metal there are organic ones like Cryptopsy or ornamental ones like Koldborn or Beheaded. A very nice development of the metal descender is Mayhem‘s initial. Their logo has a lot of hints, that this band might be really, really evil. In the descender we’ve got not only an inverted cross, but also batwings. With added thorns and the little addition of “The true” it should be clear enough that Mayhem is pure evil. Although I always have to think of the little “Drink” above the Coca-Cola logo, when I think about the “The true” above the Mayhem logo. Actually, it would be funny to exchange them: “The true Coca-Cola” and “Drink Mayhem”. I would absolutely buy a drink called Mayhem.The question is, what does it taste like?

Metal Descenders Logos