Nov 062016



Until our old friend Phro reminded me recently, I hadn’t realized that almost a full year (343 days, to be exact) has passed since the last time I did a THAT’S METAL! post. The last one was the glorious 100th edition of a series that began here in January 2010. I used to compile them almost every Sunday, and then the series became irregular, and then it sputtered to a complete halt, having been overwhelmed by my obsession with music.

I fell into the habit of posting Shades of Black compilations on Sundays, as a way of getting one more day each week to throw new metal at you while also indulging my own rapidly growing devotion to black metal. But with Phro‘s reminder I’ve realized that I do miss this series — not enough to restore its regular Sunday slot, but enough that I’ve resolved to make a THAT’S METAL! post on the first Sunday of each month, beginning now. The rest of the time I’ll continue to post in the Shades of Black series on Sundays (and I still plan to do a short one of those later today or tomorrow as well).

So much time has passed since the last of these installments that I ought to explain what I’m doing: I collect images, videos, and news items that I think are metal, even if they’re not metal music. And what makes something metal even though it’s not music? There’s no one exclusive reason. It could be something that’s morbid, frightening, awe-inspiring, nauseating, destructive, ludicrous, or just really fucking loud. I can’t give a comprehensive definition; but to quote what U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said about porn in Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964), “I know it when I see it”.

I have nine items for you today, and the theme I’ve chosen for the first four of them is “The Thrill Of Descent“. You’ll see why. Continue reading »

Nov 292015

Ruins of Detroiit-Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre
Photo by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Last weekend we celebrated the glorious sixth anniversary of our site, and today we present the glorious 100th edition of THAT’S METAL! We’re really covered in glory this month. I didn’t realize the stuff was so sticky. I feel like I need a shower even though a whole week hasn’t passed since the last one.

In celebration of this sticky event I thought about searching back through the previous 99 editions of the series, beginning with the first one back in January 2010, to compile a “best of” collection of items featured over the last six years. I then realized how much work that would be, so that ain’t happening. Instead I’ve got ten new items for you — all of them things I think are metal even though they’re not (metal) music. [I had to insert “(metal)” before “music” because a couple of today’s items do include music.]

However, I must give credit where credit is due: The first edition of this series was inspired by New Zealand blogger Steff Metal — and the image at the top of this post from a series of photos of abandoned buildings in Detroit was lifted from her blog in that first edition. When I wrote it, I didn’t call it “No. 1”, because I had no plan to make it a continuing series. Steff, of course, is innocent of all crimes committed in the next 99 installments. I’ll also repeat the preamble I wrote for that first installment: Continue reading »

Nov 012015

Dead Comet Flyby


Welcome to another edition of “THAT’S METAL!”… one installment away from the glorious 100th edition of this series. Which doesn’t mean that this edition isn’t glorious, too, because it is.

I have to begin with the obligatory and all-too-frequent apology for allowing so much time to pass in between episodes of this series. At this rate, No. 100 will arrive around New Year’s Day.  Of 2017.

Anyway, I have nine items for you today, all of them things I think are metal even though they’re not music. Since Samhain was last night, I couldn’t resist including a few items appropriate to that most metal of festivities.


Our first item, which was recommended to me by several people, is pictured above. It’s an image of asteroid 2015 TB145, generated using radar data collected by the National Science Foundation’s 1,000-foot (305-meter) Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

NASA posted it on their web site the day before Halloween because, duh, it looks like a skull AND because it flew by our planet “at just under 1.3 lunar distances, or about 302,000 miles (486,000 kilometers), on Halloween (Oct. 31) at 1 p.m. EDT (10 a.m. PDT, 17:00 UTC).” NASA refers to the object as a “dead comet”. Continue reading »

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. Continue reading »

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. Continue reading »

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. Continue reading »

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. Continue reading »

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: Continue reading »

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. Continue reading »

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. Continue reading »