Metal logos reflect the essence of a band’s (or in the case of Guttural Death: a webzine’s) music and attitude. They can be dark, brutal, aggressive and horrifying, but at the same time beautifully crafted with an amazing eye for details. It’s the beauty in the chaos that makes Metal logos stand out. This video shows
Black Metal logos often follow the same established design guidelines. Among them are a volitional bad legibility, black letter references, satanic or antichristian elements like inverted crosses or pentagrams and dark ornamental elements like thorns or spikes. But one simple form can be found in a lot of these logos: the circle. Of course not always as a complete shape, but rather as a grid the logos are based on.
Today is head-day on symmetal.com. We just talked about the Metal head and hairstyle, now we are talking about the Black Metal face uniform: the corpse paint.
Corpse paint is a black-and-white make-up that’s most of the time strictly symmetric. Nowadays mainly used by Black Metal bands around the world to intensify the bands’ imagery of evil, inhumanity, and corpse-like decay. It is most commonly used just on the face, but also on arms and torso. Because im might look rather non-evil, if your face is a corpse and your arms are well tanned like a beach bodybuilder in a neon thong. Sometimes it involves other colors than black and white. But even then corpse paints aren’t really colorful or life-affirming, because the only added color is red – more blood for the corpse.
If you take a close look at the work of Kristian – Necrolord – Wahlin you might discover two things.
First: You’ve got quite tired of this type of album art. It was funny for a while, but now, about 10.000 Wahlin artworks later, it feels rather conventional and too much of the same. A second thing you’ll probably (and hopefully) notice: Woohooo, there’s fucking loads of symmetry to be found here! Just take a glimpse at this small selection. No matter whether the artwork displays a scenery or a creature – it’s all based on symmetry.
Of course, Wahlin didn’t come up with uniform compositions exclusively (just remember classics like EMPEROR’s „In The Nightside Eclipse“ or AT THE GATES’ „Slaugther Of The Soul“), but there’s by far enough symmertry to be found in his work to justify this feature here.
Anyway… symmetric or not – Wahlin, who also delivered some excellent music with bands like GROTESQUE, LIERS IN WAIT, DIABOLIQUE or THE GREAT DECEIVER (where he joined forces again with another Grotesque member: Tompa Lindberg), bestowed the Metal scene with some really amazing album designs. One of the greatest: DISSECTION’s „The Somberlain“ – a symmetric cover-coverversion of KING DIAMOND’s „Abigail“ artwork.
Ok, time for the legends. Emperor, one of the most influential and well-known Black Metal acts to this day. Founded in Norway in 1991 by drummer Tomas „Samoth“ Thormodsæter Haugen, guitarist/vocalist Vegard „Ihsahn“ Sverre Tveitan und bassist Haavard „Mortiis“ Elefsen.
The logo was designed by Christophe Szpajdel, who claimed that he got the most recognition in his career for this logo, as well as being one of his own personal favorites (source). Not easy to say, when you know that Szpajdel made literally thousands of logos, among them a who is who of Metal giants, like Asphyx, Nargaroth or Enthroned.
A part of this logo even became a logo-like element for the band itself: the “E” in the centre of the name. This “E” is probably the Nike Swoosh of Black Metal. Well done, Christophe!