Sep 132015

crown shyness
photo by Patrice78500

Well, I managed to compile another one of these THAT’S METAL! posts without waiting a month or more since the last one. If I had tentacles for arms, I’d pat myself on the back. (That reference to tentacles is what highly paid literary journalists such as myself call “foreshadowing”.) Today I have ten items for you that I think are metal even though they’re not music.


As usual, I’ll start with the image you see at the top of this post. It’s a photo of a canopy of Dryobalanops aromatica trees (more commonly known as camphor trees) at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia near Kuala Lampur. I was first attracted to the image because I thought it would make a cool metal album cover, perhaps for a nature-centric atmospheric black metal band — but also because it’s intriguing.

You’ll notice that the tops of the trees don’t touch each other. There are gaps that look like the channels of a river, or perhaps the branching of capillaries or neurons. There’s a name for this phenomenon, the exact cause of which is uncertain, and the name is the second reason I thought it was cool.

Aug 302015

Corpse Flower Denver


These THAT’S METAL! posts have become so irregular that I’ve taken to counting the weeks that separate them in order to quantify the extent of my shame: The last one was five weeks ago. It isn’t that I’m disinterested, it’s that they really do take me a long time to put together, and I’m usually caught up in the throes of metal music during free time on the weekends and often have trouble pulling myself away from listening and writing about that. But here we are again at last, with a large collection of images and videos that I think are metal even though they’re not music.


I’ve written about the corpse flower before in this series, but it’s worth a return visit today. The scientific name of these enormous plants, which have grown to heights of more than 10 feet, is Amorphophallus titanum. I can’t imagine why that name was chosen, can you?

The corpse flower can take eight to 20 years to initially bloom, and they may not bloom again for another seven to 10 years, so it’s kind of a big deal when it happens — and this month it has happened (and is happening) twice in U.S. botanical gardens.

Jul 262015

Tomoya Matsuura-1


Hail and hell to all you lovely readers out there, and profuse apologies for letting a full three months go by without preparing one of these THAT’S METAL! posts. I have felt your pain and frustration through the ether, and the guilt and self-loathing that have accumulated in my head are almost too much to bear. Fortunately, there has been whiskey to comfort me in my time of need, which may also have something to do with why three months have passed without a THAT’S METAL! post. I think that’s what they call a “vicious circle”.

Anyway, in case you’ve forgotten in the mists of time what these posts are about, I collect images, videos, and news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not metal music. I have 10 items for you today.


I have my friend MaxR (Metal Bandcamp) to thank for this first item, which consists of a series of photographs taken by Tomoya Matsuura that he has entitled “Withered Plant“. Using a Scanning Electron Microscope, he photographed tiny plants in death, capturing their decay in exquisitely fine detail. One of them is above, and a few others are after the jump.

As I recall Max pointing out, many of these would make fine cover art for black metal or doom albums.  You know, in case Satan is too busy to pose for more portraits.

Apr 262015


Two months since the last post in this series. Pathetic, I’m pathetic, I admit it.

Now that my mea culpa is out of the way, let’s get on with it. I have for you on this fine Sunday ten items that I thought were metal, even though they’re not metal music.


The most metal event of the last week was the eruption of the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile. I already made a post about this yesterday (here) with a bunch of photos and videos, accompanied by a random assortment of songs by excellent Chilean metal bands, but I had to include something about it in this post, too. So what I’ve included is a video of the exact moment when the eruption began.

Feb 232015

photo by Jorge Silva (Reuters)


Welcome to a new edition of THAT’S METAL!, the second one of 2015. I’ve let more than six weeks go by since the year’s first installment, but I’m looking on the bright side — at least I got another one finished before the Ides of March.

As always, the focus of this series is on images, videos, and news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not metal music. I have 10 items for you today.


“Tattoo, skin implant and body piercing fans from around the world have gathered in Caracas for a four-day event celebrating extreme body modification at the Venezuela Tattoo Expo. Visitors to the show displayed extreme piercings, tattoos, skin and teeth implants and even dye injected into eye-balls.” That was the lead in a photo display at The Telegraph (UK) about the expo in Caracas last month.

First up in the photo gallery, not surprisingly, was Maria Jose Cristerna from Mexico, aka “Vampire Woman“. She holds the Guinness World Record for being the woman with the most body mods.

Those of you with keen memories may remember that I wrote about her once before in a THAT’S METAL! post (here), almost exactly two years ago. At that time (and maybe today as well) her day job was practicing law, which is kind of inspirational. Here are two more photos from the Venezuela Tattoo Expo:

Jan 042015


Welcome to a new edition of THAT’S METAL!, the first one of 2015. I’m kind of proud of myself since I only let three weeks go by since the last edition, instead of seven or eight weeks. I have to applaud myself when I can, because it will probably be March before I get the next one done.

As always, the focus of this series is on images, videos, and news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not metal music. I have nine items for you today.


Mount Javornik is part of a mountain range in eastern Slovenia and the location of a popular ski center. High up on the mountain, high winds and freezing fog encase trees and lookout towers in thick layers of ice, creating alien spiked sculptures.

Photographer Marko Korosec hiked up the mountain on December 9, 2014, and took a series of photos of these jagged shapes — which definitely seem metal to me. One photo is at the top of this post, and a few more follow. To see more of his weather photography and additional images from this shoot, go to his 500px page.

Dec 142014


It’s been six weeks since I compiled one of these posts. I was going to let another week go by because laziness is my master but then I got some messages from Phro demanding entertainment which somehow he did not find in my Hetroertzen review from earlier today so I relented and sacrificed some time at the gym and wrote this thing making sure to begin it with a long run-on sentence because running is supposed to be exercise and since I’m not going to the gym I need some kind of substitute.

And since Phro caused me to lose my desperately needed gym time, I’m going to embarrass him and stream this version of “Jingle Bells” that he recorded using a koto that he allegedly played with his own hands, accompanied by some computer-generated orchestration.



Okay, now that I’ve embarrassed Phro (and believe me, that’s a Herculean task), let’s get to the business at hand — a new collection of videos, images, and news items that I think are metal even though they’re not metal music. I have eight items for you today.

Nov 022014


Welcome to another edition of THAT’S METAL!, in which I collect images, videos, and occasional news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not metal music. Today I have eight items for you.


November 11 is Armistice Day in the UK, commemorating the end of hostilities on the Western Front during World War I — a war that sacrificed an entire generation of young men throughout Europe, with more than 9 million soldiers killed (as well as 7 million civilians). This year, Armistice Day is being remembered in London in a way that’s both visually spectacular and entirely appropriate to the slaughter that the armistice officially ended.

Beginning in July and steadily continuing into this month, red ceramic poppies have been placed on and around the Tower of London, with each poppy representing a British or Commonwealth soldier killed in World War I. When the last poppy is installed on November 11, there will be 888,246 of them.

Sep 142014


Here we have the landmark 90th edition of THAT’S METAL!  I wish I could say that two months have passed since the 89th edition because I was assiduously preparing for this special occasion, but instead I’ve just been dragging ass. I wish I could say I will be less drag-ass in posting future installments of this series, but I doubt that would fool anyone. Anyway, after two months I’ve collected an enormous number of candidates for this installment and from that list I’ve sifted the following 10 items (some with subparts).

For any newcomers out there, this series is devoted to images, videos, and occasional news items that I think are metal even though they don’t consist of metal music.


I’m going to start with some volcanic activity. Item One is a video with the somewhat misleading title of “Diving Into An Active Volcano”. Despite the fact that no one literally dives into magma in this thing, George Kourounis does get awfully damned close. I’m guessing that even with the protective suit he was wearing, it got pretty toasty. And even the beautifully filmed footage of the lead-up to his walk along the brink of hell had my stomach doing flip-flops.

The location for the video is the Marum volcano on Ambrym Island in the South Pacific republic of Vanuatu. The camera work was done by Kourounis and Sam Cossman, and the dramatic score for the film is a piece called “I Still Have A Soul” by Gabriel Shadid and Tobias Marberger. Kourounis and Cossman were guided to the magma lake by Geoff Mackley, who originally pioneered this stunt and is responsible for other earlier videos filmed at the same location (see this).

I don’t think I have to explain why this is metal. I’m including a second video that shows different scenes from the same excursion.

Jul 062014

I hang my head in shame: Almost two whole months have passed since my last THAT’S METAL! post. Even by my own lazy standards, that’s pretty terrible. I have excuses, but they’re not very good ones. I’ll just keep them to myself and get on with it.

Because so much time has passed and I’ve collected so many items, this will be a super-sized edition. And if you’re stumbling into this series for the first time, it’s devoted to images, videos, and news items that I think are metal even though they’re not metal music.


As usual, we begin with a photo. Actually, the first six items in this collection involve photos. The first one is above. It was taken by Russian photographer Denis Budko inside a cave near the Mutnovsky volcano in Kamchatka, Russia. The unusual visual patterns were created as snow inside the rock tunnel melted. Here are a couple more (and still more images can be viewed at Neatorama, which is where I found them). Fire + ice = metal.


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