Which brings me on to how my favourite genre of music is sub-categorized. There's your heavy metal. Then there's power metal. Thrash metal. Glam metal. Goth. Industrial. Black. Hardcore. Spermicidal. Avant-garde. Extreme. Nu. Symphonic. Groove. Shit. Death. Viking. And so on. No other genre of music, except what I broadly refer to as dance music, seems to have so many sub categories. But by far the funniest of these is Death Metal.
What amuses me about Death Metal bands is not the band names, or the music itself, or even the hilarious lyrics and vocals. What amuses me about Death Metal is the band logos. Oh, and before I start demonstrating the culprits with responses from fans going "Oh, but Spunkchristaren't Death Metal, they're, like, Drone Metal" you know what I bloody mean. I mean fast, dark, rigidly formulaic down-tuned 500bpm metal with vocals delivered by a man with laryngitis gargling caustic soda.
The logos may have well have fallen out of a cat's arse.
Example 1: Watain
Example 2: Leviathan
Those of you who might have a love or even a mild fondness for the genre may not have needed the name of the band mentioning before seeing the logo, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are dyslexic people out there who see the words "Water" and "Didgeridoo". Or alternatively two Rorschach test images of a sheep holding up a bank with a dried apricot, and a robot jesus feeding the 5000 with two London buses and a CD called The Best Of James Morrison, which has nothing on it. I know they do to me.
So, how are these logos designed, you ask? No, you do ask. That's where I'm going with this...
First of all, you need a band name. This is very important. You can't design a logo if you don't have a word. And it's important to have the right name. You can't call your Death Metal band FLUFFY KITTENS. Well... not unless you're being ironic, but I don't think it's unfair to suggest your average Death Metal fan lacks an appreciation of irony, otherwise there'd be a band at least called Jesus Huggers or something. No, your band has to be a powerful word, or something in foreign, or something likely to cause offense.
So we'll be working with the band name Wolfbagger.
The first step once you have your band name is to get some photo editing or graphic design software. Personally I use Jasc Paint Shop Pro 8, but this is only because I got a 30-day free trial of it about 3 years ago and it proudly tells me I'm on something like "Day 472 of your full 30 day trial".
Step One: Choosing a font
You need something that isn't easy to read. Times New Roman won't cut it. You want something either ridiculously cursive, or something spikily Teutonic or olde worlde. For our example we've chosen the Vivaldi Italic font, because it annoys me wherever I see it.
<<< As you can see from this example, using this font already renders the band name quite unintelligible.
Step Two: Making it look a bit stranger.
You can do allsorts to improve your logo at this stage, but what's really important in Death metal is the "spike factor". As you can see from the examples I gave, spikiness is very important. So get your pen/brush tool out on your editor and just start randomly adding spikes all over the name, like so:
I haven't added too many spikes in this example, mainly because I simply couldn't be bothered. But many death metal band artists often have more time on their hands than they imagine they have, sometimes even without a bag of weed and a bong shaped like an inverted crucifix.
Go nuts. Add as many as you like.
Note: at this point, if we were designing a Black Metal band logo we would at least one downward spike into an inverted cross and turn the letter O into an inverted pentagram, perhaps with a badly drawn goat head in it.
Step Three: Bulking it up a bit.
If you make your logo look too wiry it simply won't look macho enough. And macho, like black eyeliner and leather trousers, is very important in death metal circles. In the following example I've stretched the image vertically, converted it to a slightly smudged and blurred charcoal effect, and then added a "circle" filter to it so it's all bloated and unnecessary in the middle. Like a guitar solo.
It's still possible to identify the word though. Your best bet is use some sort of warping tool. Such things are usually called something like warp or drip or ripple. In this example we're using something called ripple.
Death Metal is about image. It's simply essential you have white writing on a black background. By all means add nice red blood or a something, but make sure your now hopefully unintelligible logo is on a black background. I achieved this simply by making the picture a negative.
And there you have it! A perfectly ordinary looking band name that means absolutely nothing at all now looks like a two year old tried to write it on a cross-country bus trip after a litre of Sunny Delight.
And that, folks, is how all Death Metal bands come up with their logos!