Hands can be used for good and ill alike. They can dispense massages, but they can also give out punches or stabbings. They can make a fine deep-dish pizza, or slip somebody a mickey. They can write a good blog post, like you might find somewhere else, or churn out some crap like this. You see? A, B. X, Y. Black, white. “Lost,” “Heroes.”
Well, they can also communicate to a band’s listening public exactly how metal that band is… or isn’t. So here are some handy guidelines for metal bands looking to appear metal. Stick to the first five, and avoid the second five – it’s just that simple.
TOP FIVE METAL THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR HANDS
1. Make devil horns.
Devil horns are the universally-acknowledged symbol of metal. You’d think their sheer ubiquity (even your grandma has probably thrown horns some time this year) would ruin their cache in the metal underground, but somehow, the ol’ horns soldier on. Proper headbanging practically requires injudicious use of the horns, and I have it on good authority that finger-tapping as a guitar technique was invented to free up the pick hand for horn-hurling. As a metal asset, there is none greater.
2. Do the “Metal Hands.”
I don’t know what this is actually called, so I’m just calling it Metal Hands. Five million metal bands (statistic courtesy of my ass) have done this exact thing with their hands in band pics. (I’m referring here to the left and middle guys in this picture, not the emo girl on the right who is apparently very distraught about her boyfriend dumping her.) It communicates an assortment of very metal sentiments: “I want to claw at things,” “I may have rigor mortis even as we speak,” “This happened because I masturbate too much,” etc. It’s important to note, however, that even the considerable power of Metal Hands can be overwhelmed by great lameness in other areas, as shown here:
3. Adorn them with, and use them to display, knuckle tattoos.
This is quite simple: 1. Black Sabbath created metal. 2. Ozzy was a key ingredient of Black Sabbath. 3. Ozzy has the world’s most famous knuckle tattoo. 4. Therefore, knuckle tattoos are completely fucking metal.
If you need further convincing, a gentlemen calling himself “HeadOvMetal” on Flickr has the final word in this discussion:
Now that might be the metalliest thing I’ve ever seen.
4. Play a flying V with them.
Dave Mustaine is so metal that he’s made it acceptable to convert to Christianity, refuse to play shows with bands that have Satanic lyrics, and even sell out and release a bunch of shitty albums that are much, much worse than “Peace Sells.” So – listen to Mustaine, and bask in the glory of that picture of him destroying the world with the most metal guitar there is.
5. Clutch an inverted cross.
The Norwegians in Old Funeral show off their inverted cross-clutching AND Metal Hands skills. Clearly, this is a band not to be trifled with.
TOP FIVE NON-METAL THINGS NOT TO DO WITH YOUR HANDS
1. Point at the camera.
Anyone can point, man. Frankly I’m a little scared that the members of Emperor today all look like they should be in a jazz-fusion group. Or “The Matrix.” Anyway, take a lesson from Ozzy: if you must point at something, point at your knuckle tattoo.
2. Hold a candelabra.
We at the field office are always willing to court controversy, and here is this week’s flirtation with infamy. I don’t care if Dead from Mayhem did it, or Fenriz from Darkthrone, or the incredibly weird creeps from the awesome Mortuary Drape as in the picture above: holding a candelabra can’t be all that metal when they are most associated with church, weddings, and Hannukah. At best, this activity is metal-neutral. Now if you inverted the candelabra – and especially if you somehow kept it alight while doing so – I’d be open to discussion on it. I will concede, though, that Dead looks pretty great in this famous album cover:
But my argument is that the darkness, corpsepaint, and band logo are working for him way more than the symbol of yuletide cheer is.
3. Make devil horns (wife and kids variant).
It’s totally great that James Hetfield is happy and all that, but… Jesus H. Satan, what the fuck IS this picture? You’re lucky that “Death Magnetic” doesn’t totally blow, Het, or I’d hunt you down and give you a severe tongue-lashing. Probably also confiscate your flying Vs and whatnot.
4. Restrain your band from fighting.
I can only imagine this shot preceded a Michael-Jackson-in-the-“Beat It”-video-style confrontation. Perhaps with the members of Cradle of Filth.
5. Use them to take money out of your wallet and buy a bunch of lousy crap from the Halloween store; then subsequently bedeck yourself with said crap, and on top of it, wield a giant plastic axe for your official publicity photo.
He calls himself Damien Storm, and you really should hear the music he makes. If I could review it in a word, that word would be “blaaarrrrrrgggh.” This is the same word I use during flu season when I’m in the bathroom, kneeling in front of the toilet and making Metal Hands.