Oct 052012

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Welcome back, one and all, to this latest installment of THAT’S METAL!, in which we collect recent sightings of photos, videos, and news items that we thought were metal, even though they aren’t music.


The first item is really multiple items, just a few photos that caught my eye. The one above is a picture of Rex, one of the world’s largest crocodiles, as he prepares to chow down on some beef ribs at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo on October 3, 2012, in Sydney, Australia. Rex weighs more than 1500 pounds and he’s more than 16 feet long, and this was his first meal after three months in hibernation.

I didn’t know that crocodiles hibernated. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to come within 10 miles of a 1500-pound reptile that hasn’t eaten in three months. Fuck.

Of course, Rex has his own Facebook page. I like the status he posted there on Christmas Eve last year: “Dear Children of the world. I ate Santa last night. Sorry about that.” This sounds like my kind of zoo.

The next photo is Neptune. Not the god, but the planet. I haven’t seen photos of the god that are good enough to share. I don’t know what was done to produce the colors in the photo of the planet, but the pic is really fuckin’ cool.

Distant, cold, toxic planets are metal, kind of like black metal.

Volcanos are also metal, though more like death/grind or maybe blackened thrash. This next pic was taken during the eruption of the Puyehue volcano in the Andes mountains of southern Chile in June 2011.

(Photo credit: Claudio Santana)

This was the volcano’s first eruption in half a century. It produced a column of gas 10 kilometers (six miles) high, which is almost as high as the gas that came out of the U.S. Presidential debate two nights ago. Of course, the eruption also produced a shitload of great photo opportunities for nature photographers. A whole lot more Puyehue photos of similar power and beauty can be found at this location.

Next, we have this:

These are South Korean special army soldiers demonstrating their martial arts skills during the 64th anniversary of Armed Forces Day at the Gyeryong military headquarters in Gyeryong, south of Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. This is an AP Photo taken by Lee Jin-man. I like it because it looks like the Earth dropped out from beneath them, or suddenly started rotating faster, or slower.

The next pic was provided by metal writer and occasional NCS contributor Dane Prokofiev. As he pointed out, this is a real metalhead. His name is Joe Aylward, and he was reportedly the first recipient of a “transdermal implant”, performed by Steve Haworth.

I’ve read that transdermal implants can be very difficult to heal. Many tend to stay in a continual state of “not fully healed” and often have scarred and irritated skin surrounding them. Healing can take up to two years to complete. Rejection can occur even after the transdermal is fully healed if it is accidentally bumped. Joe had his implants removed — after a decade.

Shit!  How’d that get in here?!?  This is a wholesome, family-oriented site!  Not.

That’s Sharon Ehman, or to be more precise, part of Sharon Ehman.

This is also Sharon Ehman:

Sharon is a designer and the owner and operator of a Toronto-based clothing label called Toxic Vision. She makes all the clothing from scratch, and all the designs are one of a kind. Aside from producing regular weekly collections, Toxic Vision has also created pieces for Dee Snider, Dave Navarro, Juliette Lewis, Steve Harris, Kat Von D, Poison, Dimmu Borgir, Morbid Angel, and many more. Definitely metal.

One more pic of Sharon in one of her spikier creations before we move on. Looks like she’s wearing two of Joe Aylward’s heads.



I’m still very excited about the August 6 landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, and about the images it’s sending back to us Earthlings. Here’s a recent one, which shows rounded pebbles and gravel in ancient stream beds, providing what scientists say is the first proof that surface water once ran on Mars — potentially for thousands or millions of years.

Knowing of my interest in this kind of shit, one of my day-job co-workers sent me a link to the following video. Using a combination of actual film and animation, it shows what was necessary to get an earlier Martian rover to the Red Planet. Its name was Spirit, and it landed on the surface on January 4, 2004. In May 2009, Spirit became stuck in soft soil, and NASA controllers on Earth were unable to get it free. Spirit stopped communicating in March 2010. Let’s hope Curiosity has a better journey.

The video is an edited version of the IMAX movie Roving Mars from 2006. It’s very cool — definitely take it to full-screen.


I’m just as concerned about the coming zombie apocalypse as the next person. In fact, after seeing this next story I’m even more concerned, because zombie bees have appeared in the state of Washington, where I live.

While most bees are tucked up in their hives during the night, zombie bees are out flying and they stagger around erratically before eventually dying. Here’s some video of a zombie bee:


So what causes this kind of aberrant behavior? According to this article in the Seattle Times, a tiny female parasitic fly lands on the back of the bee and injects its eggs into the bee’s abdomen. The eggs hatch into maggots, which then begin to eat the insides out of the bee. They eventually emerge from the bee’s body covered in a hard shell, and eventually an adult fly comes out of the shell.

All of which is yet another reminder that nature is fuckin’ disgusting (as well as beautiful). Human beings have to imagine creatures like aliens and zombies. In nature, it’s a reality.

Although zombies and aliens are metal, this parasitic fly infestation is really a bad thing. Bee populations have already plummeted in recent years, threatening crops that rely on them for pollination. The increasing spread of the parasitic fly is beginning to make a bad situation even worse.


Before we leave Nature, this is a chameleon washing its creepy little hands. I don’t really know what else to say about this.



Have any of you ever driven on the Autobahn? I haven’t. Probably the closest I’ll get to it is watching the following video. As you watch this, remember that this isn’t a race track. It’s a public highway in Germany, and the driver is behind the wheel of a production BMW. I’ll let you see for yourself how fast they get going.



For today’s last item, we turn to the Hang. The Hang is a musical instrument created by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer of PANArt Hangbau AG in Bern, Switzerland. Its made from two steel sheets formed into the shape of a UFO with nothing inside but air. Technically, it’s a Helmholtz resonator, and it’s played with the fingers and hands (“Hang” is the Bernese German word for “hand”).

I don’t pretend to understand how the Hang works, but I do think it’s metal. And I don’t mean simply because it’s made out of steel.

Here’s a video of a Hang solo played by David Kuckhermann, who has recorded a CD of solo music for the Hang and another similar type of instrument called the handpan, and I’m including the Bandcamp player for that after the video. For more info on the Hang, go to The Font of All Human Knowledge — and thanks to NCS reader and occasional contributor Mike Yost for turning me on to this.



  34 Responses to ““THAT’S METAL!” – BUT IT’S NOT MUSIC (NO. 64)”

  1. I have driven on the Autobahn. Really good driving roads.

    Also, can you tell Ms Ehman that, after that first picture, I am possibly a little bit in love with at least part of her.

    • She has nice hair, doesn’t she?

    • I love the Autobahn! Reached 118 mph there in my previous car, a little Fiat Punto Evo. Scary as fuck with the wheel starting to shake and all.
      My brother recently maxed out his bike there; 265 km/h (~165 mph), which I imagine is even scarier.

      Madness runs in the family.

      • Madness — no shit! The fastest I’ve ever gone in a car was 100 mph on a Montana highway and I nearly pissed myself doing that. I can’t imagine going 165 on a bike. What happens if a stray dog wanders into the roadway? I mean, other than vaporization in a cloud of blood spray?

        • There are no stray dogs in Germany, for obvious reasons.

          Seriously though, I don’t think the effect will be any different from when you’re going, say, 100 mph, on a bike that is. Even at 60 mph the mess would be album art worthy. Chances of something going fubar are a bit bigger though. I guess it’s not a thrill if it’s not either dangerous or forbidden, or both.

        • Yeah, my experience has been pretty similar: one time I decided to see how fast my car would go. I was keeping my eyes on the road as carefully as I could, but kept glancing down quickly just to see… I know it passed the 100 mark and got to somewhere between 100-105, and honestly I gave up at that point, had no desire to push it any further. This was late at night with no other cars around, on a stretch of I-79 somewhere between Washington, PA and Morgantown, WV — where there is literally NOTHING at all for miles and miles.

          Of course, that was in my younger, more daring, days — probably about ten years ago…

          • Fear of imminent death does get the adrenaline going, at any speed. There was a young dude who used to comment at NCS who was a skateboarder in Canada and used to hit 40 mph doing downhill — sent us a video of it one time. That seemed like the equivalent of going about 200 mph in a car with air bags. He hasn’t been around here for a while. I hope he didn’t end up as blood smear on the pavement.

      • I drove on it in a little Mercedes hatchback I had rented. The fasted I could get that car to go was about 115 mph. I loved it! But even moving at speeds between 100-115 mph, there were some other cars that were BLOWING RIGHT PAST ME! It was thrilling.

  2. Those spikes in that dude’s head freak me out. But not for the reason he wants them to. I imagine it would be really easy for them to get ripped out of his skin in a lot of situations, like not ducking low enough in a low-clearance area.

  3. Steve Haworth and Lukas Zpira were the two of people I respected most when I was 18~22. I got my back scarification done by Lukas Zpira. The man is amazing with a scalpel, and one of the most awesome people I’ve ever met. I haven’t gotten a change to meet Steve Haworth, but I really hope I do some day. I think those two have done the most to push the limits of body mod forward. (Well, they were when I was paying close attention anyway.)

  4. Love the volcano pic. That is now my new desktop wallpaper.

  5. That Sharon Ehman leotard is pussy shit compared to this glorious… thing.

  6. Excellent column today, sir. Every item has been invigorating, fearsome and beautiful.
    But rather than stare at Sharon Ehman all night, one shall listen to The Path of the Metal Turtle on loop, while staring at an image of a turtle’s eye. [Fridge Metal has nothing on this.]

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