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 »

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 »