Mar 302014

Greetings and salutations, and welcome to another edition of THAT’S METAL!, in which I assemble for your (potential) enjoyment images, videos, and occasionally news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not metal music. For this installment I have eight items.


Clark Little is 44 years old. He lives on the North Shore of Hawaii. He is a surf photographer. Armed with a Nikon D300 camera and a fish eye lens encased in a waterproof box, he goes where the surf is breaking and takes amazing photos, usually from inside the tube of the waves. His camera takes pictures at the rate of 9 to 10 frames per second, but he still doesn’t have long to make his shots before the waves bury him. The results are spectacular.

In the one above, Little captured a large wave while lying on dry sand as it broke to create a “shorebreak barrel”. Seconds after the shot, he was washed up onto the beach — his whole body covered in sand. In this next photo of a backlit wave on the West Shore of Oahu, the wind was blowing strongly offshore, creating a mist flying off the top of the wave.

Feb 232014

It’s been about six weeks since the last time I assembled one of these THAT’S METAL! posts, so the list of potential items I keep as I see things around the interhole has grown to gargantuan proportions. Because I’ve waited so long to prepare a new installment, this will be a jumbo edition, with 10 items. If you’re new to this series, I collect images, videos, and occasional news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not musical.


The first item begins with the image at the top of this post. It’s a photograph of flesh yielding to the pressure of grasping hands. But it’s not real flesh and those aren’t human hands. It’s a detail of a sculpture carved in marble.

The artist was only 23 years old when he completed the sculpture. His name was Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and he created the sculpture between 1621 and 1622 in Rome, where it is still located today. Its name is “The Rape of Proserpina” and it depicts the abduction of Proserpina by Pluto, the god of the underworld.  The statue also includes Pluto’s three-headed dog Cerberus. Phenomenal. You can see more photos below.

Feb 032014

photo by Erika Schultz (Seattle Times)

Those of you who aren’t NFL fans or didn’t care about the Super Bowl or, worse yet, were pulling for the Denver Broncos, you may want to skip this post. But that 43-8 win was a long time coming for Seahawks fans, and for the city of Seattle, and I have to do a little celebrating.

There sure as hell was a little celebrating going on in the streets of Seattle last night. It was a good place to be as people flooded outside in a display of mass delirium, the likes of which I’ve never seen here before.

Here are 8 9 reasons why the Seahawks 43-8 win in the Superb Owl was metal, even though it wasn’t music:

*  It was the Seahawks’ first Super Bowl championship in the team’s 38-year history and the city’s first championship in one of the four major professional sports leagues since the Seattle SuperSonics won the NBA title in 1979.  (It was the eighth professional sports championship overall: The Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup in 1917; the Sonics won the NBA title in 1979; the Seattle Storm won WNBA championships in 2004 and 2010; and the Seattle Sounders FC won the U.S. Open Cup in 2009-2011).

*  The Seahawks were an underdog going into the game but won by the biggest margin of victory by any underdog in the game’s 48-year history. The 35-point margin of victory matched the third-biggest in Super Bowl history — but all those other winners were favored to win.

Jan 122014

I’m embarrassed to say that almost two months have passed since the last THAT’S METAL! post. Between our seemingly endless (and still not ended) year-end LISTMANIA series, holiday diversions, and other excuses that I know must exist but can’t be remembered, I’ve brutally neglected this long-running series. The continuing list of items I keep for potential use has grown ridiculously long, and I hope I can get my ass in gear to plow through them on a more regular basis now that the new year has begun.

For newcomers, what I assemble in these posts are images, videos, and occasionally news items that I think are metal even though they’re not music. Today’s larger-than-usual collection is mainly winter-themed, with a few exceptions, beginning with this one:


The first item is at the top of this post. It’s a gold forehead ornament made during the fourth or fifth century A.D. in the Mochica civilization of what is now Peru. A feline head is in the center, and spiraling out from it are octopus tentacles ending in catfish heads. Its dimensions are 11 1/4 x 16 5/16 x 1 3/4 inches. It normally resides in the Museo de la Nación in Lima, but was recently on display as part of a unique exhibit of Peruvian art and archaeological artifacts named “Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon” at the Seattle Art Museum, which is where I saw it about a week ago. The museum’s web page describes the object’s history as follows:

Nov 172013

Greetings and salutations to one and all. It’s time for another edition of THAT’S METAL!, in which I collect photos, videos, and occasionally news items that I think are metal even though they don’t involve music (or at least not metal music). Actually, it’s way past time for another edition since the last complete one was three weeks ago. Having dragged my feet for so long, I’ve collected a large number of items for this installment. Here we go…


We begin with John Kenn Mortensen, a Danish writer and director of television shows for kids and himself a father of twins. In his spare time he makes drawings on post-it notes — those small sticky pieces of paper that people use to remind themselves of things that need remembering. Mortensen is not only a talented illustrator, he also has a dark, demented sense of humor and an occasionally Lovecraftian bent in his imaginings. His style is reminiscent of both Edward Gorey and Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are). The fact that he does what he does on post-it notes just makes everything more metal.

One example of his work is at the top of this post. Pay close attention to the jar on the right side of the lowest shelf (you can click the image to make it bigger). And here are other examples of Mortensen’s creations:

Nov 052013

Nothing is more fearful, or more fearsome, than death. Nothing of such importance is more unknowable or more frightening. No wonder the subject is of such central importance in music of all kinds, but especially in the realm of extreme music — which is an artform that can plumb, and exorcise, the intensity of loss, despair, horror, rage, and fear, like few others. Death becomes metal.

To find any kind of grace in the extinction of life’s spark requires the suspension of disbelief, or the eye of an artist. Bodies move after life, in the constriction of the sinews or in the transportation of the hollow remains to some kind of resting place. There is no beauty in such motion, not really. Certainly not when the face is beloved or even only familiar. It can be perceived as beautiful, but still terrible, only when the ultimate silence is a kind of reprieve, or when the shape of death is distant, when it is the flesh of a stranger that becomes mere sculpted alabaster matter.

Filmmaker Pedro Pires has found the shape of this awful beauty in his short film Danse Macabre, which I found last night through a link from an acquaintance. It’s not easy to watch if you have lost someone close to you, especially in the case of a suicide. In fact, it’s wrenching. It’s also NSFW, because the imagery of dead flesh is naked, as it always is eventually. But it’s powerful and powerfully realized, and it’s metal even though it’s not music (though the accompanying music deepens its effect).

Oct 302013

Our frequent guest contributor Leperkahn sent me a link to a recent video last night, urging me to use it in the next installment of our THAT’S METAL! series, in which we feature videos, photos, and news items that are metal even if they’re not music. I refused — because, having seen the video, I can’t wait that long. I need to share it right now, all by itself. The title is “Mute”.

It’s clever as hell standing all by itself, but as I watched it I thought it was also a metaphor for metal (though conceivably I’m so metal-obsessed I’m predisposed to see the meanings I want to see). It’s not just that the video is weird and twisted, it’s the idea that the sharpness of a knife edge, the slash of violence, and the blood of wounds sums up an awful lot of what makes metal . . . metal . . . and what makes it such a powerful way of expressing what we feel.

As Leperkahn pointed out, the video manages to be really metal while at the same time being “light-spirited, uplifting, and happy”. But even though the process may be painful, that’s how you feel when you find your voice, isn’t it?

I smiled all the way through this, but got one genuinely laugh-out-loud moment from it. You’ll probably guess when that happened after you see it.

Oct 272013

Yeah, it’s that time again — time to present our latest collection of images and videos that are metal even though they’re not music. Today we have seven collections of items for you.


We’re just days away from Halloween, so it seemed only fitting to begin with that ugly fucker up there. It’s a photo of Artibeus planirostris made by scientists from Conservation International during a recent survey of an Amazon rainforest in the northern South American country of Suriname. During the survey, 60 new species were discovered, including six new species of frogs, one snake, 11 fishes, and many insects. Artibeus plairostris is not a new species, merely the most abundant species of bat seen during the expedition.

Those large teeth are used for seizing and eating large . . . fruits. Yeah, sorry to disappoint you. The common name for this creature is the “Larger Fruit-eating Bat”, not the “Larger Blood Sucker”. But hey, let me make it up to you with this photo of a juvenile planthopper that was also taken during the expedition:

Oct 032013

(photo by Nick Brandt)

This isn’t a typical installment of our THAT’S METAL! series, in which we collect images, videos, and news items that we think are metal even though they’re not music. It features only one item. I had originally intended to save it for the next full installment, but it has been spread around the inter hole so much over the last 24 hours that I felt if I waited, it would be old news to everyone.

The story originally appeared in the October 2013 print edition of New Scientist magazine, and then a couple of days ago it made it to the magazine’s web site. It’s about a lake in northern Tanzania (Africa) that turns animals into statues.

The temperature of Lake Natron can reach 60°C (140°F), but the real threat seems to come from the water’s high alkalinity (between pH 9 and pH 10.5). According to the article:

“The lake takes its name from natron, a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. Here, this has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley. Animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified.”

Sep 292013

Welcome to another edition of THAT’S METAL!, in which we collect images, videos, and occasional news items that aren’t music but are nonetheless metal. We have nine items in this installment.


Let’s start with a couple of astronomical items. The first one (which is sort of an update to a December 2012 item) is staring at you from the top of this post. Nicknamed “The Rose”, it’s a photo of the eye of a gigantic spinning hurricane at the north pole of Saturn, taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Nov 27, 2012. The eye of this storm has been measured at a staggering 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) across. Two planets the size of Earth could fit within the hurricane as a whole.

When the Cassini spacecraft arrived in the Saturnian system in 2004, this pole of the planet was tilted away from the sun and in darkness. The last time Saturn’s north pole was photographed in sunlight was in 1981 via NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, but at that time the observation geometry didn’t permit a detailed view of the poles, so this more recent imagery is a first.

Sadly, the colors in this photo are “false”, though they’re quite beautiful. Spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light were used, with red indicating low clouds and green indicating high ones. More information is available in the following April 2013 video, as well as at this NASA web page.

© 2013 NO CLEAN SINGING Banner and background design by groverXIII. Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha