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13 metal band t-shirts for metalheads

March 30, 2020
slipknot metal band

Considering what an important thing rock music heavy metal band t-shirts have played in heavy metal history, we thought we will round up and rank the most classic, timeless — and all-around cool metal band t-shirt which have ever hugged a headbanger’s torso. We – Tracy Band Tee will do our best toshow you the best dark metal band t-shirts, from designed metal band tees to crafted metal band t-shirts.

Metalheads – even more than any other kinds of music fans – think it especially important to let friends and strangers know what they’re into. Music metal band t-shirts can serve as a password of sorts at concerts. E.g. “Is that guy alright? …Yep, he’s wearing a Toxic Holocaust death metal t-shirt” and some items are amazing enough to inspire passersby to check out the band without any other suggestion. It’s no wonder that band merch has been a huge part of the music industry since rock and roll began.

>>> Read more: Best rock band t-shirts

In ascending order of coolness, here are some of the greatest heavy metal band t-shirts ever.

Slayer’s Silver Eagle metal band t-shirt

As the greatest Satanically-tinged thrash metal band of all-time, Slayer has never stayed away from controversy. While claims have been made that the eagle in that band’s logo is similar to the one often found in conjunction with the organization Nazi swastika, Slayer has attested time and time again that they have zero interest in promoting any Nazi agenda – but they’ve always been fascinated by dark shit.

This famous Slayer crafted metal band t-shirt made its debut alongside the release in1990’s Seasons In The Abyss, but the font in which the name of that band is written was developed much earlier in 1981 when designer Blake Edwards first sketched it out for his close friend, guitarist Kerry King. That has since been converted into a downloadable computer font known as “Slaytanic,” also etched into human arms. In conjunction with a pentagram, swords, and eagle, that is the ultimate heavy metal logo.

>>> Read more: Style rock band t-shirts

Slayer's Silver Eagle t-shirt

Slayer’s Silver Eagle metal band t-shirt.

Motörhead’s England metal band t-shirt

If you don’t recognize Snaggletooth right off the bat, opportunities are you’ve never left the house. The illustrated character was birthed by artist Joe Petagno when Lemmy approached him with the task of designing the logo for Motörhead. Petagno took the idea and ran with it, perusing it by old biker patches and eventually staring down the long end of some true animal skull research.

The image he ended up with was a hybrid monster: part dog, part gorilla, part boar. Lemmy’s dream was for ol’ Snaggle to turn a symbol that unites those who wear it: a uniquely feral, kick-ass biker patch found on jackets and vests (cool musician metal band t-shirts, too!), grabbing the attention of terrified passersby. And to this day, it’s still just that. A good job is done, Joe.

Motörhead's England shirt

Motörhead’s England dark metal band shirt.

Anthrax’s Among The Living t-shirt

No metal fan’s wardrobe is finished without repping Among The Living. Released on March 22, 1987, some would think this album the peak of the first wave of thrash metal. Dedicated to Cliff Burton of Metallica, who had passed away in a tragic bus accident during the tour with the band in Sweden. The album’s art was made by Master Of Puppets illustrator, Don Brautigam.

And as with Puppets, the content for the image was developed by a band member: Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante needed a design that inferred that evil is all around us. Moreover, the many identical static figures surrounding one glowing individual. Oh, and here’s some little-known fun fact to enlighten others when you’re rocking your metal band t-shirts: Caught In A Mosh was inspired by Scott Ian witnessing one of the band’s techs being pulled into the pit!

Anthrax's Among The Living black metal band shirt

Anthrax’s Among The Living black metal band shirt.

Brujeria’s Mantando Güeros cool metal band t-shirts

These designed metal band tees featuring the album artwork from Mexican-American metal band Brujeria’s 1993 debut work art Mantando Güeros is one to avoid wearing if you’re planning to stop by a grandma’s place later in the day. It features an image gotten from Mexican tabloid ¡Alarma!

A photo of a burnt and severed head – one victim of the narco wars – held up by someone out of shot. One perfect accompaniment to the album’s themes of drug trafficking, satanic rituals, migration, sexuality, illegal border crossing, and Anti-Americanism. This head is now referred to by that band as “Coco Loco” and is used by them as a logo and mascot.

Brujeria's Mantando Güeros heavy metal band shirt

Brujeria’s Mantando Güeros heavy metal band shirt.

Obituary’s Cause Of Death heavy metal band t-shirts

Cause Of Death is Obituary’s second album, and that only one to feature guitarist James Murphy (Death, Testament, etc.). Released in the 1990s, the album featured artwork by Michael Whelan, who’s designed for metal and hard rock bands ranging from Evile to Meat Loaf, to Sepultura. Actually, the Cause Of Death design was supposed to be used for Sepultura’s Beneath The Remains – but the band’s label, Roadrunner Records, thought it would be cooler for the Florida death metal act.

Obituary Cause Of Death dark metal band shirts

Obituary Cause Of Death dark metal band shirts

Michael Whelan’s Eye Of Cthulhu used to be inspired by the cosmic entity featured in H.P. Lovecraft’s short novel The Call of Cthulhu, and closer inspection reveals a mummified human figure in a close watch of the creepy, oversized eye. The artwork is a fittingly evil representation of one of the most brutal death metal bands ever.

Slipknot’s self-titled album black metal band shirts

You don’t have to hear Slipknot to know what they sound like. When the masked nonet first appeared together in the unsettling cover of their 1999 self-titled debut, fans instantly knew heavy metal would never be the same. The legendary Dean Karr – adept at shooting rock bands like Slayer, Iron Maiden, and Slipknot as they are at shooting sharks – was the mastermind behind the image.

And though not much is known about the 1998 shoot, YouTube does have some grandma, low-quality footage of the band and the photographer at a carnival. Things that matter most are that this album and Slipknot metal band t-shirt on which the cover is printed have become indispensable staples for any metalhead living in this 21st century.

Slipknot's self-titled album designed metal band tee

Slipknot’s self-titled album designed metal band tee.

Darkthrone’s True Norwegian Black Metal band t-shirts

True Norwegian Black Metal! Whatever you care about all the stuff that happened around that scene, that’s a line-in-the-sand, burned earth, year zero, fuck you of a slogan, and it belongs on the tee in gothic lettering of some kind, absolutely no question.

The phrase first coming up on the sleeve of Darkthrone’s fourth album, 1994’s Transilvanian Hunger, and has already been co-opted as a rallying cry by many Norwegian bands since then. There were many different versions of this culture dark metal band t-shirt, but our feeling is the larger and bolder the print of the slogan, the better.

Slipknot's self-titled album designed metal band tee

Slipknot’s self-titled album designed metal band tee.

Cannibal Corpse’s Eaten Back To Life designed metal tee

We’ve got an eye-grabber, here! Or… is it eye-eater? Next to classic album cover printed onto apparel, Eaten Back To Life is among the gnarliest on this list – certainly with the gnarliest artwork, drawn by love by comic book artist Vince Locke (Deadworld, A History Of Violence). That image on this nauseating Back to life metal band t-shirt depicts a zombie gingerly snapping off his ribs to get to his intestines. Why? He’s hungry, of course!

One related note, the album was “dedicated to the memory of Alferd Packer, that first American cannibal (R.I.P.)”. (For those who don’t remember: Packer had to get back from a group trip to the Colorado mountains entirely by himself, confessing for having used some of his colleagues’ remains as food to survive the travel back. Unlike the depiction on the designed metal band tee, however, he did not eat his body.

Cannibal Corpse's Eaten Back To Life shirt

Cannibal Corpse’s Eaten Back To Life rock band shirt.

Pantera’s Vulgar Performance Of Power metal band t-shirts

Vulgar Display Of Power is the gnarliest album Pantera ever published – accompanied by the gnarliest album artwork of all-time. Pantera hired a photographer Brad Guice to capture the image of a dude getting punched in his face – surely, in part, to reflect the band’s goal of playing better than anyone else out there.

While late, great drummer Vinnie Paul had mistakenly claimed that the band paid the poor cover model for 31 punches (at one mere $10 per punch) to get the shot just right, the truth is the Guice actually hired a model who was never punched ever.

In fact, the photo was staged and manipulated to look like a terrible attack. Still, the image is one of the most intense and iconic in heavy metal and makes for a killer Pantera metal band t-shirt that delivers a clear message: keep back.

Pantera's Vulgar Display Of Power dark metal band t-shirts

Pantera’s Vulgar Display Of Power dark metal band t-shirts

Death’s Logo metal band shirts

Death has one of the most recognizable logos in all of metal. Though founder and sole regular member Chuck Schuldiner would politely argue otherwise, the band is undeniably responsible to establish death metal as we know it today.

And though Schuldiner would get flak for eventually incorporating traditional and progressive elements into his music, such improvement would inspire various sub-genres and bands now thriving in 2018.

As with the Death-related things, Schuldiner came up with the band’s logo design, too – that originally included an upside-down “T” to portray an inverted cross, but used to be adjusted in ’91 for the release of Human, to distance itself from religion. A nice thing, too, for fashion’s sake – as it makes this tee design all the more universal, though still super badass.

Death's Logo metal band t-shirts

Death’s Logo metal band t-shirts.

Cradle Of Filth’s Jesus Is A C*nt rock band shirt

Cradle Of Filth’s most iconic merchandising effort design the image of a masturbating nun on the front with the phrase “Vestal Masturbation,” and the words “Jesus Is A Cunt” in giant, unapologetic lettering in the back.

First released in 1993, this dark metal band t-shirt spent the ’90s as one lightning rod for arguments about freedom of speech in the newspapers, was the reason for many arrests for public indecency, and no doubt many, many “you won’t leave the house wearing that”-themed arguments with parents.

A judge once bought one of these shirts to be destroyed, and it’s the only tee on the list that Rolling Stone has profiled, so this is an inarguably awesome garment. Maybe just don’t wear it to mass.

Cradle Of Filth's Jesus Is A C*nt dark metal band t-shirt.

Cradle Of Filth’s Jesus Is A C*nt dark metal band t-shirt.

Iron Maiden’s Trooper heavy metal band shirts

Originally a giant backdrop mask one band would hang during shows, Iron Maiden’s mascot Eddie eventually made his method to paper thanks to artist Derek Riggs.

Eddie has always taken on other forms from album to album – but this particular version of Eddie published in 1983 with the release of Piece Of Mind, to accompany the artwork Trooper (based on the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, for all you history nerds).

Bruce Dickinson can be seen waving that Union flag around on stage during most performances and has nowadays amped this up a bit by wearing a red coat uniform for that song. In lieu of a flag and coat, the classic rock band t-shirt shown here is the next best thing for any Maiden fan to don.

Iron Maiden's Trooper shirt

Iron Maiden’s Trooper tee.

Metallica’s Master Of Puppets metal band t-shirts

Master Of Puppets is Metallica’s third album – that cover of which is among their most iconic. Though the last image was drawn by illustrator Don Brautigam, the original sketch was created by James Hetfield. Brautigam (who is best known for his work on Stephen King covers of novels) then worked over the sketch and made it his own; In case you look closely at the bottom right corner in the grass, you could even see the initials D.B.

As many Metallica fans know, Master Of Puppets was a reference to drug use (i.e. “puppet” users being controlled by a single “master”). Papa Het, of course, has been very open about his bad habit; re-entering rehab last year after 17 years of sobriety.

Metallica's Master Of Puppets metal band shirts

Metallica’s Master Of Puppets metal band shirts.

What do you think about our recommendation? Do you have any of those cool metal band t-shirts? Don’t be shy to tell us.

 

 

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