Jun 022013

Okay, let’s talk fashion.

WAIT!  DON’T LEAVE!  Fercrissakes, when I say “fashion” I just mean “band shirts”. Sheesh!

In the straight world there was a time (eons ago) when fashion designers decided it would be an edgy new thing to produce fashions in monochrome black, giving rise to “black is the new white” proclamations. That’s ancient history, but not as ancient as black clothing in metal.

Wearing black has been the fashion choice of metalheads since, well, forever. Black band shirts, black jeans or shorts, black boots and shoes, more recently black hoodies — you wear black or you get the fuck out. When people try to make the point that supposedly anarchic metal culture is really more conformist and rule-based than you might think, the black uniform is usually marked as Exhibit A.

But lately I’ve been noticing more white band shirts for sale. I’m not talking about hardcore and straight-edge bands — white shirts in those scenes go way back. I’m talking about that new Autopsy shirt up there (being sold here). Or this new one at The Vault of Dried Bones for Mitochondrion, featuring Jeremy Hannigan’s killer art:

I think both of these shirts kick ass (as do both bands), but I must say I’m surprised to see bands at their levels of extremity with white shirts. And speaking of white-shirted extremity, here’s another one I saw recently at the Hells Headbangers shop:

Yeah, a fuckin’ white Nunslaughter shirt.

Or how about this one with an iconic image that I recently saw at the Iron Bonehead store, though it may not be quite as recent a creation as the ones above:


I’m not really claiming that this is the beginning of a new metal fashion trend. I’m sure that white shirts for extreme bands have been released before, and maybe it’s a coincidence that I’ve just now noticed a bunch of them in a short span of time. But I’m still trying to wrap my head around the concept.

On the one hand, the art on the shirts I picked as examples is excellent, and the white shirts would certainly stand out in a typical metal crowd. But I’m not sure I could bring myself to wear these (even though I did order that Mitochondrion shirt for myself ). It just goes pretty hard against the grain, if you know what I mean. Maybe I’m too much a participant in herd mentality myself.

What do you think?  Would you wear a white band shirt for an extreme band?  Do you have any white band shirts? Do you know of any good ones that are worth sharing?  DISCUSS, please.

  36 Responses to “IS WHITE THE NEW BLACK?”

  1. I’m a big fan of white band tshirts actually… my Skeletonwitch one is awesome… and I need to get this at some point… http://www.shopbenchmark.com/lightningswordsofdeath/catalog/product/view/id/15190/s/lsod-baphometic-chaosium-shirt/

  2. I fully embrace the rise of the white band shirt. I’m tired of only wearing black, so white and even grey band shirts provide a welcome relief. I have two white metal band shirts, namely Mortal Torment and Planet of Zeus, as well as a Ghost grey t-shirt. I think they’re great and more bands should put them out, especially when they’re adorned with such killer artwork.

  3. While I would never say theyre common, white band shirts arent exactly rare either…Theres usually a few of them mixed into the merch sections of a lot of distros. Theyre also usually the last ones to go as the black versions tend to sell out long before the white ones do.

    Honestly, I dont really like them, something about the way they look just looks off to my eye. Black, grey…hell even red seems to work, but white t-shirts are an instant skip for me.

    …also can be put an end to those giant Ed Hardy looking images like on the Dying Fetus shirt. They just look stupid at this point

    • I have to disagree with you about the Autopsy shirt. If I could get that shirt in the US without paying shipping from Europe, I’d do it. Though I’d still wrestle with myself internally about whether to wear it, It would kind of feel like walking around with a big spotlight on myself. Which is really not the kind of visual image most people would welcome.

  4. Interesting article guys. i personally love the white t- shirt that is coming more and more apparent. being involved in the creative side of said articles fence, I will always try and push an image towards a client on White.purely becuase its relatively unusual. Ive recently done tees for DripBack, Witchunter records and A Hill To Die Upon both on white tees and the results have been received extremely well by client and their fanbase 🙂
    Interesting to read some ppl arent into it preferring the standard Black with single col print. that Mitochondrian shirt looks immense too. 🙂

    Gary B R D

    • There’s no question that cool art on a white shirt is eye-catching. I mean, that’s why I made this post. And I’d be very curious to know how these shirts do in the marketplace — whether people are buying them or not. That’s the real test.

  5. I personally like having a few white shirts to mix it up. I personally have a white Primordial shirt with the Redemption at the Puritans’ Hand album artwork, a Chrome Waves shirt I got for free with a broken test press of their album I won from CVLT Nation, a shirt from a local San Diego technical death metal band named Imbalanced (who kick ass, by the way – here’s a link to a free download of their free EP: http://metallocal.com/imbalanced-san-diego-ca/ ), and a cream-colored Baroness shirt with artwork from the Blue Record. I wear all of them rather regularly, and they help me blend in a little more in some social situations wear my Dying Fetus or Cattle Decapitation shirts may not be the best options.

    • You have more white/cream shirts than anyone I know, and I have to applaud your choice in bands — except for Imbalanced, because this is the first time I’ve come across their name. Going to listen now…

  6. The main reason I’ve started to buy some white shirts is the hot summer sun and black shirts aren’t the best combo. The white keeps me from sweating my balls off, but at the same time they collect any speck of dirt and dust, which happens if you do anything slightly productive, like drink a cup of coffee, or sit in a lawn chair drinking booze. So far I’ve got these 3… http://selfmadegod.com/en/shop/item/5081
    I also bought a Torture Division blue shirt, that says ‘Swedish Death Metal’ in yellow, a colour pattern that is fitting for the country and band. I was the lone blue shirt in the crowd at Goatwhore a month ago, lots of people came up to me and said they liked my shirt, not one of them knew who Torture Division is though. You should only be descriminated against if you wear white framed sunglasses and a white metal shirt.

    • Fuck, if you wear sunglasses inside, that’s just asking for a beating, even if they’re not white. Fucking dig the Paganizer and FDA shirts, which is reminder to me of how good the new Paganizer album is. And I’ve so eager for the new Torture Division release, which I think will be upon us tomorrow.

  7. i’ve seen some pretty badass white band tshirts that i’ve been very tempted to purchase, but black really is my absolute favorite color and it’s just damn hard for me to imagine myself actually wearing anything else. my son is way more open minded; if he likes the artwork it doesn’t matter what color the shirt is.

  8. I generally like band shirts that are a different color than the standard black. I have several white band shirts, some grey, red…and even cream. My only real issue with the white shirt is that my house has some fairly hard water and even with a decent filtration system and water softener, after a wash or two, that thing looks dingy as fuck. And since I’m OCD, it drives me bananas if I can’t keep my band shirts looking pristine. So I end up buying the white shirt, wearing two times, and retiring it to the closet.

    • The susceptibility of a white band shirt to showing stains or to get dingy looking is a practical problem I didn’t mention in the post, but it’s also a factor I’ve thought about too. Though I suppose some might say that a dingy, grimy, stain-ridden shirt (especially blood-stained) is metal.

      • As a sweaty, sweaty pig I just can’t buy white shirts that I plan on cherishing because I ruin them pretty quickly, so I probably wouldn’t buy a white band shirt. I do however appreciate when a band puts out shirts in colors other than black. When I saw Opeth this year I was hoping to get a brown band shirt that I’ve seen Mikael wear occasionally, but I ended up settling for the blue with white stripes baseball shirt.

  9. I hate being hot. I like being out in the sun. I love white metal t-shirts. Aesthetics doesn’t really enter into the equation for me, although I do enjoy being contrarian. Super psyched about the white Cobalt shirt I picked up when I saw them on Saturday.

  10. My pink Immortal shirt is the cat’s balls.

  11. i have a few white band shirts(manowar, primordial) but they are both so stained i rarely use them. If the red ones i have get way much more use. (Sabbat(uk), Rush)

    The white manowar shirt is one of those Road Warrior shirts they give out for free if you traveled from another country to see them. You mention in the article that a white would stand out at a gig, and i think that is part of the point with these ones. That, and white is probably cheaper:P

    Thrash metal uses white quite a bit. Off the top of my head i know Havok, Gama Bomb, Exodus, Voivod, Kreator and Municipal Waste have several white designs. Kinda makes them look more old school. Same goes for that old white Immortal longsleeve. Just looks so metal, and so old school!

    I feel like the artwork has to be really good for it to work on a white shirt. These days i have so many band shirts that im quite picky with what i buy. For me to buy a white one, the artwork on it has to be really awesome.

    And sure its nice to wear something else than black every now and then, but when i get back from work, it feels really really good to get out of my Dress shirt and put on a washed out , black-grey Gorgoroth cutoff.

  12. Burzum had the semi-white Filosofem shirt in the mid-90s and I remember quite a few other Black bands having white or pewter-coloured shirts.

    Then again, leave it to Varg to want stuff white. Teehee.

  13. I hope to see more white shirts! still kicking myself for passing on the Cobalt. I’m deathly allergic to yellow jackets but still love to run around the mountains. The annoying little beasts are attracted to bright colors and black clothing (they think it’s a flower or a hole or something); they don’t recognize white. So if I plan to go trekking in the woods, white band shirts are my only options (that and military green or light brown). White’s also seen as the color of death for some. Thanks for posting this. If you know of any more white death metal, crust, or black metal shirts, keep ’em coming.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.