Feb 262013


(Our ardent supporter and occasional guest contributor Utmu wants to introduce you to two other blogs. Surprisingly, our feelings are not hurt.)

I suppose you might be aware of the existence of websites often called metal blogs. There are a few reasons I think you would be. For example, you’re on a metal blog right now. But I have a couple of blogs I want to talk about because they’re doing something really cool; they are called Metal Band Art and Poetry of Subculture. One focuses on artwork related to heavy metal (as if you couldn’t tell), and the other reflects on metal subculture and music.


I’m sure if you’re interested in metal music and/or metal subculture to the extent of taking time out of your day (or work day) to visit a metal blog, the chances are high that you also enjoy the artwork that adorns your album covers and band merchandise. If you do like to look at pretty things, or not-so-pretty things, in this case, Metal Band Art is for you–especially if you’re an artist yourself! I’ll tell you why in a moment, but first things first.

Metal Band Art is owned by Vertebrae33, also known as Rodney Githens. As you may know, he is an artist himself and has made artwork for bands ranging from Skeletonwitch and Heaven Shall Burn to Kylesa and Slayer, and has also done work for other bands outside of metal such as Nirvana (post-breakup). He has also created artwork for B.C. Rich as well as full-time bloggers, Metal Sucks. He also has a partner in crime at Metal Band Art, Matt S., who seems to have had a hand in playing music for several metal and hardcore bands in the past.

The site itself is practically a buffet of artwork as well as information about the artists themselves–the latter of which is largely presented in interview format with the artists themselves being the interviewees. The interviews are, in my opinion, somewhat lengthy, but whether it’s a question about the artist’s style, the artist’s studio, or even whether he or she listens to his or her clients’ music when creating the artwork, it’s always interesting if you are an artist yourself or even if you just want to know more about the person behind, say, the album cover of Relentless Retribution by Death Angel. Also included is advice from the artist to aspiring artists who wish to work with bands, and much more.

Additionally there is a Hall of Immortals, reserved for big names in metal artwork. To give you some perspective, one person already inducted into the H.o.I. is Joe Petagno, the man who created Snaggletooth. Plus there are links to the websites of many a canvas splasher and digital demon, so if you’re looking for some inspiration or trying to kill time, you can look at some grand displays of artistsic talent.

You can visit Metal Band Art here, and visit Vertebrae33’s site here. Also, please consider dropping by the MBA Facebook page and clicking ‘Like’.


The second blog that I’m writing about is owned by a metalhead named Helm. I remember Helm used to post comments on Invisible Oranges, and I vaguely remember them being out of my league, at least when comprehension of what he meant was at a low. So, wanting to find this thoughtful metalhead, I decided to look for this blog (which I think another Invisible Oranges reader said he had at one point), and I found Poetry of Subculture.

Poetry of Subculture examines the subculture and music, and often references philosophy, psychology, and art/aesthetics. And I’m sure you can guess, based on past posts of mine, that I like a metal blog that talks about sociology. However, PoS isn’t necessarily scientific in its executions, that is to say, it doesn’t use facts and figures; it’s more like a collection of musings from an experienced metal connoisseur.

The blog is overwhelmingly opinionated–it is a blog, after all–but at the same time, it is thoughtful. It seems Helm puts time into thinking about metal music and the related subculture, and the result is spectacular. I think he has unique opinions that most metalheads do not share, or even surmise, and I think he has many points that should be noted, regardless of whether we agree or disagree.

Helm comes from a point of view where heavy metal is made great by its romantic and modernist attributes; in a discussion I had with him, he said that those terms are what best describes heavy metal, and that people find difficulty describing the point of metal. I do happen to agree with this, assuming I understand what he means, haha!

Here’s an excerpt from his blog, it’s a portion of a post called “Totalitarianism in Heavy Metal” from late 2010:

“Heavy Metal indeed speaks often of willpower and personal triumph. Misconstruing slightly Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophical output, most of (especially ’80s) Heavy Metal seems to promote a ‘Noble Savage‘ ideal, where a man may achieve grace unhindered by the moral dictum of society, somehow inside it (sometimes) but above it (always). Heavy Metal loathes the idea that society must be obeyed, that the Other should be the master. One should burn themselves pure and strong as steel and withstand the outside forces of the world. Anyone introverted enough, and anyone with romance beating in their hearts finds that conception pleasing on some level regardless of its practical impossibility.”

I really enjoy Poetry of Subculture, and while there are large gaps of time between each post (he’s only posted two write-ups this year thus far) it’s well worth the read, you just have to check up on it every once in a while.

Poetry of Subculture can be found here. Also, for the readers who appreciate artwork, Helm has a second blog that focuses on his career as an artist, which is here. His comics are in Greek, as he is Greek and lives in Greece, but check it out anyway!


  1. Looking forward to checking both these out thanks!

  2. I was intrigued by the subculture of metal site but ultimately found his philosophical bent to be ignorant and intolerant. I am not religious but unlike many metalheads I understand that it is people that misappropriate the good in religious teachings, religious philosophy, and tenets to live by. This is also because I believe if one is not religious one should further themselves, but not worship themselves. The irony is many metalheads preach tolerance as the key to our future while denying the good that can come from religion and deriding all those who have their personal faith as fools simply because it’s not who they are as persons. To each his own I say. And also you have to be a goddamn fool to be one of those people that thinks man without religion= peace. Because man without religion/faith is still a being full of anger, jealousy, bitterness, foolishness, pridefullness, etc.

    • I don’t think he’s intolerant or ignorant, as everyone perceives religion in a different way, what could be good to one could be bad to another, and this is evidenced by the many different faiths that exist. What is fact for one type of Christian is different for another. And this varies even more widely when we consider the individual Christians themselves.

      I feel like I’m missing something from your comment, if you could expand on it, I’d probably be able to reply in a better way. I’m speaking of your criticism of him here, the rest of what you say I understand and agree with.

      • To clarify- not his blog as a whole, the Morbid Angel post. And to further clarify ignorant, I meant it as ignorant to the good that comes from religion, (AND the ignorant tone which implies all faith is bad instead of the reality which is that bad people give faith a bad name, not that faith or living by tenets is a bad thing) while casting all belief systems down in a manner that shows contempt. Yes perception is the key but so is respect. Just because I’m not religious doesn’t mean I knock all religious people or mock the way they live their lives. I’m proud to know a number of good religious people as I was brought up Orthodox Christian and am well versed in theology. In addition my parents are of the religious nutbag variety but I chose not to use their failings and distortions as human beings as a reason to justify putting down how others live and what they hold dear. Also it’s ignorant (in my eyes) because to reason that because their is unjust suffering in the world that is “proof” god isn’t real. A lack of proof is not proof in itself. Besides that post I did enjoy some of what he had to say.

        • You’re right when people say bad people give religion a bad name. If the Crusades, Inquisition and all those little things that happen everywhere all the time never happened, then it’d be hard for many average people to say religion is bad–for philosophers, maybe not, but normal people, yes.

          I can understand his casting down of faith, after all, it is an idea, and ideas can be *perceived* as incorrect in a way (I don’t mean morally incorrect, I mean factually incorrect–I’m not saying it’s factually incorrect, by the way… I read what I wrote and it seemed like I was implying something).

          I do agree with your position regarding the suffering = no God/deity/deities topic. I will say, however, that I think that could correlate with an evil deity, very strongly, by the way; although I don’t think that it could be said that it’s definite as there are many factors which we have to consider, and often those factors differ with every person’s belief system.

          I’m not sure if I understand everything he’s saying as I only sort-of skimmed the article again and it’s been some time since I read it… I’m not sure if I even understood everything Helm was saying when I first read it. Maybe I’m operating on a lower intellectual plane, eh? Haha. But yes, I think people who follow religions are perceived as bad because of past actions taken by those representing that religion, and for every crazy Christian that pickets funerals there are many that are intelligent, considerate human beings who lead good lives.

          I understand what you’re saying now, and I feel I fall in between where Helm and you are, I don’t agree entirely with both of you, but I don’t entirely disagree, either.

    • Very much agree there. Not a theist myself and yet i do believe that religions do a lot of good. They might have historically barred the human intellect from flourishing, and they do so today as well. But if you look closer, there are lot of establishments especially the ones related to education run by religious groups, aiming to empower society. Most charity organizations are run by them as well (and all are not aimed at getting new converts) I have directly involved myself in small time Social work here in India, along with religious organizations, and i did head a team once. Yet they knew that i was not the least bit religious. Yes most religious establishments do run it like a business, but then again other non religious ones arent any better. Were we all to live in a world that was devoid of any religion at all, we would still have wars, manslaughter, violence on exactly the same scale as it is today. For man will still find personal justification and self righteousness to be their main goals in life. (seems i have digressed quite a bit here :D)

  3. I was kind of surprised to see no mention (at least that I can find) of Stevie Floyd on Metal Band Art. I made sure I dropped her name in the comments for last month’s piece on musician/artists double hitters.

    • Really proud the feature article for metalbandart is Angry Blue aka Justin Kamerer. He’s a local from my hometown of Louisville, KY! Fuck yeah!

  4. I need to kidnap Helm for my blog! Any spare lorises for rent, Islander?

  5. Metal band art is really a great site while poetry in subculture weighs a bit too heavy on me

  6. There is a lot of good metal music on this station http://en.radiofrog.net/station/chronix-aggression

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