Surely, after enduring a year of a pandemic, your social media feeds are in a terribly sorry state. The same people posting the same thing (which is nothing — it’s a pandemic, nobody has a life), the latest memes you’re already so done with by the next day and the same six photos of some cute animals. Here to liven up your life, once more, we’ve rounded up some lovable doggos and feisty cats who call some famous rock and metal musicians their prideful owners.
It’s time for some new follows and we’re starting with legendary drummer and his pup Mickey. This Maltese-Yorkie mix of Mike Portnoy’s has amassed over 8,000 followers and is always smiling, sitting comfortably on a lap or nestled up under a blanket on the couch. He’s a brave little cancer survivor, too, deserving of a round of a-paws!
Keeping with drummers, Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee boasts Nina Da Weena Dog and Teenie the Weenie. Teenie is a very recent addition to the home, after Lee and wife Brittany Furlan said goodbye to their dear Wicky earlier in 2021. Our condolences. Dog Heaven gained another angel that day.
As you’ll see below, we’ve got plenty more pets to follow from band members. There’s Winston Finnegan Luhrs (August Burns Red’s Jake Luhrs) and his beefy little leg hanging over the couch, the classic dog and cat rivalry within the home of Cattle Decapitation’s Travis Ryan, Ice-T’s chonks and more.
11 Pets of Rock + Metal Stars to Follow on Social Media
The history of music videos is fascinating. The surest way to promote a hit new single, viewers watching closely will notice that music videos have specific tropes within various genres.
Pop music videos tend to be the most avant garde, featuring scenes that literally make no sense or have nothing to do with the song itself (think Britney Spears’s space-Titanic themed “Oops!…I Did It Again” or Lady Gaga’s poolside Dalmatians in “Poker Face”). Hip-hop is littered with voluptuous ladies in sexy, barely-there outfits and over-the-top markers of wealth.
And of course, rock and metal have their own music video clichés seen in plenty of popular music videos. Now, just because a music video depicts some type of cliché doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, there are some straight-up classics in the list below.
From vixens on cars to sad rain, here are the rock and metal music video tropes we’re used to (and very often tired of) seeing.
Performance Videos in Stereotypical Locales
Performance videos are essential to rock, metal, punk and hardcore bands — everyone knows it’s all about the live show. Yet, for all the creativity that abounds in these genres, bands automatically default to the same locations: abandoned houses or warehouses, open fields, churches (ironically, of course) and empty swimming pools.
The common denominator here is that rock and metal bands show up to locations where they’re not wanted. The type of location varies depending on the message: a church for the wicked, an empty pool for the Venice Beach-born skater punks and empty homes that signify a broken family or shattered self.
Examples: Bring Me The Horizon – “Go To Hell, For Heaven’s Sake”; August Burns Red – “Composure”; Attack! Attack! – “Stick Stickly”
Bands Walking Down the Street Like It’s West Side Story
They’re comin’ for a rumble! Sporting leather jackets and a don’t-mess-with-me attitude, bands enjoy walking side-by-side down streets, heading directly toward the camera like they’re on a mission.
They own this town, and everyone should know it. Sometimes they even come face-to-face with a rival street gang, and then it’s a battle of intense facial expressions — winner takes all. Also common is the band leading an army of fans.
Examples: Motionless In White – “Devil’s Night”; Vanna – “Toxic Pretender”; Michael Jackson “Beat It” complete with knife fight during Eddie Van Halen solo
The breakdowns may sound brutal, but in the end the band is most likely singing a love song. Even big, burly metal dudes get their hearts broken (and, of course, the skinny emo ones). Whether it’s in a motel room or over the phone, yelling at your lover and storming out in a huff or breaking bottles is a rock music video trademark.
One of the oldest rock and metal music video clichés in the book is as old as rock music itself: crazy, sexy parties. Whether they’re in Hollywood or some random person’s apartment, they give meaning to the phrase “party like a rockstar.” Totally ill-advised and 1000 percent fun, these music videos usually involve Strip Poker, aggressive makeout sessions and drunken hijinks. It’s an extension of tour life and the devil-may-care philosophy that comes with it.
Examples: Bring Me The Horizon – “Chelsea Smile”; Every Time I Die – “Decayin’ With The Boys”; Beastie Boys – “Fight for Your Right”; Jimmy Eat World – “The Middle”
Trapped In A Box
Metalcore and post-hardcore bands tend to get trapped in literal glass cases of emotion. The metaphor here is obvious; the quick cuts between camera angles amplify the feelings of claustrophobia and panic.
In some instances, the imaginary box merely serves to emphasize that the sheer power of the music cannot be contained!
Regardless of the scenario that inexplicably stuck these musicians in a cube, the lighting is actually what ends up being the most important aesthetic factor in these cramped spaces.
Pop punk, emo, and rock bands often fall into the trope of exaggerated normalcy in their music videos. These geeky caricatures of the average Joe working a typical 9 to 5 provide clear foils to rock musicians’ rebellious lifestyle. It’s the most obvious declaration of individuality, juxtaposing the headbanger’s life with that of a pencil pusher.
Examples: Pierce the Veil – “King For A Day”; Halestorm, “Amen”; The All-American Rejects – “Gives You Hell”
Girls on Cars
This metal music video cliché is so tired and misogynistic, it should’ve completely died out after the 1980s. Alas, the tradition has carried on up to the present day, largely because of musicians desperate to portray the classic rock ’n’ roll image of success. They have money and they’re in the fast lane, but apparently that leaves no room for originality.
Examples: Falling In Reverse – “Good Girls Bad Guys”; Bowling For Soup – “1985”; Whitesnake – “Here I Go Again”
Satanic or Occult Ritual (Usually Involves Fire)
Metal bands of all types embrace the weird, the supernatural and the demonic. Satanic and occult rituals are ubiquitous in these music videos, usually featuring hooded figures, altars, and enough wax candles to warrant calling the local fire department. Metal music is all about what is forbidden and the imagery that comes with it, which is why metal bands have some of the most cinematic music videos.
Examples: Behemoth – “O Father O Satan O Sun!”; Mayhem – “Falsified And Hated”; “Atreyu – Long Live”
Odds are most of the rock and metal bands you listen to got started in high school. They’re also likely the bands that you listened to in high school, which sets the stage for an incredibly nostalgic experience. These are usually songs about feeling like an outsider or being bullied. This music video trope lends itself to being either really dramatic or really funny, as we remember that high school, for better or worse, was a time of extremes.
Examples: My Chemical Romance – “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”; Motley Crue “Smokin’ in the Boys Room”; Pearl Jam “Jeremy”; Blink-182 “Josie”; Simple Plan “I’m Just a Kid”; Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”; Van Halen – “Hot for Teacher”
First and foremost, mirroring is originally a horror trope, both in literature and in film. Mirroring or doubling works to throw the viewer’s sense of reality off balance. It’s also a way of getting into the protagonist’s frame of mind. The mirror — or a split screen that acts like a mirror — provides a look into an alternate, imaginary landscape, as well as the musician’s innermost feelings.
Examples: Motionless In White – “Voices”; Megadeth “Sweating Bullets”; The Used – “The Bird And The Worm”
Lost in the Woods
Another horror trope that extends to the rock and metal world is that of the woods. In literature, from medieval times up to the present, the woods represent a certain lawlessness and mystery. Likewise, bands wishing to evoke that kind of mood tend to find themselves performing in the woods, which is made all the more strange by the fact that they should have nothing to plug their electric instruments into.
Examples: Harm’s Way “Mind Control”; Paramore – “Decode”; Weezer – “Lost in the Woods”
Rain, Because Emotions
Water is one of the most ancient themes in storytelling of any kind, often connoting a sense of sadness and heaviness. Water can also represent purification, which is also common in music, often washing away sadness and pain.
Examples: Asking Alexandria – “A Prophecy”; As I Lay Dying – “Confined”; Architects – “Downfall”; Guns N’ Roses – “November Rain”; Bullet For My Valentine – “Tears Don’t Fall”
In the Van, On the Road
Often a band’s first music video is the found-footage of van trips past, travelling between last night’s show in North Carolina and the day’s show in Tennessee. These are youthful, innocent, and adventurous scenes about experiencing freedom for the first time. Conversely, van and tour footage can also be used in montage videos.
Examples: Journey – “Faithfully”; Motley Crue – “Home Sweet Home”; FFDP – “Battle Born”; Wage War – “Surrounded”; All-American Rejects – “Top Of The World”
Metalcore Postures 101
Every music genre is accompanied by a certain type of posturing: hip-hop slouches, pop seduces and metalcore flexes. In the case of the last, it is such a popular trope that YouTubers have made names for themselves imitating them. One metalcore posture is for the vocalist to have their arms stretched out and open wide. This is basically an invitation for a challenge: “I know I can take whatever you’ve got, so come at me.” Another metalcore vocalist habit is taking an open palm to the chest, indicating that they’re in this with all of their being.
Examples: Basically every metalcore music video ever.
Intimidating the Camera
Some bands take metal posturing to the next level and get down right ferocious, snarling and spitting into the camera. There are also music videos that attempt to do this but fail, and end up being unintentionally hilarious. Either way, the close-up is standard in genres that love to get in peoples’ faces.
Examples: Parkway Drive – “Shadow Boxing”; Guns N’ Roses – “Garden of Eden”; The Acacia Strain – “Cauterizer”
Justin Bartlett, a metal artist who’s worked with bands like Cadaver and Hooded Menace, has been diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer. Though he is carrying an optimistic demeanor, a GoFundMe page has been launched by his sister to assist with his medical bills.
“I haven’t had to share with the world that I have cancer before, so please excuse the mess. It doesn’t feel ‘real’ sometimes that I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer a few weeks ago, but considering just 4 or 5 days before they thought it was pancreatic, I’ll take the lesser of the two evils,” Bartlett wrote in an Instagram post, which you can see below.
The artist goes by the moniker Vberkvlt, and primarily works with metal artists. His style combines his passion for metal with occult imagery, and has been featured on album covers and in gallery exhibitions.
“I think most people would find the depiction of some strange ritual inside a dripping, rotting cave to be a little strange…. But in terms of being truly disturbing, or ‘dark’ — that’s really in the eye of the beholder,” he once described of his aesthetic to Kerrang!. “It all comes down to your frame of reference. I’m sure the average Kenny Chesney fan would be a bit more ‘disturbed’ by my artwork than the average metalhead.”
According to the GoFundMe, Bartlett has undergone three surgeries since his diagnosis, and will be starting chemotherapy soon. Though he’s in a lot of pain and has been in and out of the hospital several times, his girlfriend wrote that his doctors are optimistic due to the range of treatments to try. The fundraiser has a goal of $60,000, and over half of it has been raised since it was started on Feb. 7.
12 Stories Behind the People on Iconic Rock + Metal Album Covers
51 years ago today, Black Sabbath released their debut album and kicked off the entire genre of heavy metal. Take an in-depth look at its creation, reception and legacy.
It was a clarion call that echoed from the void, a raucous cry of unity for rockers that couldn’t relate to the peace and love vibes of the Woodstock era. The sound had less to do with the escapist tone of most popular music and more to do with the desperation and frustration of living in the detritus of post-World War II Europe.
The eponymous album by Black Sabbath, which was released in Europe on February 13, 1970, and in North America on June 1 of the same year, was like nothing hard rock fans had ever heard. There were elements of Led Zeppelin and Cream in there, sure, but the music was grimmer and far less euphoric.
Instead of flaunting exuberant energy, Sabbath focused on the bleak and barren, confronting listeners with buzzing, overdriven guitars, meandering bass, lumbering beats and nasal, almost sepulchral vocals that sliced through the organized cacophony like a scalpel through a corpse. It was loud, it was weird and, for many, it was almost an overwhelming sensory overload.
Black Sabbath, “Black Sabbath” — Live in 1970
Black Sabbath started with atmospheric sound effects and then guitarist Tony Iommi launched into one of metal’s most influential licks, the devil’s tritone – a dissonant, unsettling configuration allegedly once banned by the church and shunned by composers. Rarely was the tritone heard in popular music; it was most often heard along with the haunting noises in horror film soundtracks. Yet Black Sabbath relished the uneasy feeling the repeated three-note passage engendered.
Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian first heard it when he was a kid listening to his uncle’s stereo and the experience left an indelible imprint on his brain. “I just sat there scared,” he says. “From the start, I was listening to the rain and the wind and the bell and then that riff started and just blew my mind.”
Disturbed frontman David Draiman had a similar experience years later when, during a game of “Dungeons & Dragons,” his friend put Black Sabbath on the turntable. “They just brought a vibe and a feel that no other band on the planet ever tried to do,” he says. “Before them, no one played those notes and no one played these doomy riffs with that sludgy, heavy sound.”
Other heavy artists — including Blue Cheer, The Stooges and Jimi Hendrix — had dipped their toes into the gut-twisting morass of chords and notes that was to become heavy metal, but Black Sabbath were the first to capture the sound, vibe and attitude that defined the genre.
Who Really Invented Heavy Metal?
Over the next five years they recorded five of the most influential and essential metal albums ever, but Black Sabbath was truly groundbreaking — a structurally complete blueprint for doom. Even the cover art foreshowed the originality within. The strange, unsettling image of a plain-looking woman (a witch, perhaps?) standing in the woods in front of a farmhouse contained no occult symbols or violent imagery, yet it was as disturbing as the original cover of The Beatles’ Yesterday and Today. The shot was taken at the Mapledurham Watermill in Oxfordshire, England and it remains one of metal’s iconic images.
The Beatles, Yesterday and Today
For such a seminal album, Black Sabbath was practically an afterthought for Fontana Records, which booked the band a single day in the studio, October 16, 1969, to record with beginner producer Rodger Bain and engineer Tom Allom at Regent Sound Studios in London.
After the album was tracked the label washed their hands of it, shuffling Sabbath’s debut to Vertigo Records. Just being in the studio was an exciting opportunity for Black Sabbath, which started as a 12-bar blues band called Earth before changing their name, and the musicians were eager to prove themselves.
As Earth, they had tested crowds with the songs “Black Sabbath” and “Wicked World” and the reactions were promising. “That was the first time that people started looking up and going, ‘Wow, what’s this?’ says Iommi. “They’d come up afterwards and say, ‘What were those songs? We really liked those.’”
Earth, 1969 Demo (Pre-Black Sabbath)
As soon as Earth decided to stray from their blues roots, they expanded upon their new sound with a batch of dense, equally textural tracks, including “N.I.B.” and “Behind the Wall of Sleep” and rehearsed them until they could play them from start to finish, time and again. They were tight, they were heavy and they were ready to transform rock ‘n’ roll in a day.
“We went in the studio and we were off from the word go,” Iommi recalls. “It’s hard to even remember the session. One second we were playing these songs and then the next thing we knew we were out of there. Some people think the album was recorded in a haze of drugs, but we hadn’t discovered that yet and we didn’t have time to get stoned. We had one day to prove ourselves, and that’s what we did.”
“We literally went in and played as if it was a live gig,” adds Butler. “We didn’t know anything about studios or production or engineering. We just went in, set up and played and they recorded us. It sounds easy, but it’s actually a really hard thing to do – to record a band live in the studio and get the whole feeling across. A lot of producers tried that but dismally failed. But Roger and Tom just had the knack of doing it.”
Aside from the cult Chicago band Coven, which wrote Satanic lyrics and included a recording of a black mass on their 1969 album Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls, Black Sabbath were the first group to write songs that mentioned Lucifer and Satan and featured occult themes. To a large extent, Sabbath knew they were playing with fire and enjoyed being provocative. And they wrote from a knowledgeable perspective since they had dabbled in occult rituals and readings.
Coven, Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls
“We were into it,” Iommi says. “Certainly [bassist] Geezer [Butler] and myself were. It was certainly an interest. There was this thing called ‘the occult’ and we wanted to soak in as much as we could about it and find out what it was about. I suppose we got wrapped up a bit too much sometimes.”
Black Sabbath didn’t exclusively write about darkness and evil and they stopped short of endorsing the occult. “Black Sabbath,” which is often referenced for its blatantly Satanic lyrics, was actually written by Ozzy Osbourne and was based on a paranormal experience Butler had one night.
“In the middle of the night I felt this presence,” Butler told Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal. “I woke up and there was this black shape looming over the bottom of the bed. It frightened the pissing life out of me. I told Ozzy and that inspired him to write the lyrics to the song as a warning to people that were getting heavily involved in black magic.”
Considering the band’s name, it’s not hard to grasp how Satanists misunderstood the meaning of some of Black Sabbath’s lyrics and assumed the musicians shared their blasphemous views. Despite their interest in black magic, Sabbath were hardly devil worshippers.
In response to vocal and vehement adoration from witches and Satanists, Black Sabbath mocked them in interviews and started wearing large crosses around their necks at the suggestion of the head white witch in England. Sabbath’s response pissed off disciples of Satan. At the same time, the band’ s dark imagery incensed parents and religious figures, neither of whom stopped to consider that Black Sabbath’s lyrics didn’t endorse Satanism.
“There was one incident where we were due to play in a town and we got banned by the church,” Iommi says. “The show was announced in all the papers for two weeks before we got there. The church managed to ban us. And then the bloody church burned down and we got the blame. They were trying to say that we had caused it, which was just weird.”
It’s no surprise that most of the mainstream press didn’t cater to Black Sabbath’s charms, labeling them primitive and untalented. “They thought our music was for yobs and doubters,” Iommi says. “They didn’t see it as music at all.”
That didn’t stop hard rock fans from reacting to the band’s trailblazing music. Not long after its Friday the 13th release, Black Sabbath was No. 8 in the U.K. album charts. And when the record came out in North America three-and-a-half months later, it climbed to No. 23 on Billboard and remained on the chart for a year, chalking up more than a million album sales.
“We built up our reputation through word of mouth,” Iommi says. “Every time we’d play in clubs [in Europe], we’d see more and more people coming to the show. Little pockets would build up and then eventually they became big pockets. Then, when the album got in the charts in the U.S., we could say, ‘Look what we’ve done,’ and more people started to check us out and if they liked it they brought in their friends. It became this ever-evolving thing.”
The U.K. release of Black Sabbath featured two cover tunes, Crow’s “Evil Woman” (which was previously released as a single that also contained “Wicked World”) and Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation’s “Warning.” The U.S. release removed “Evil Woman” and blended “Behind the Wall of Sleep” into a single track that also included “N.I.B.” and the U.S.-only cuts “Wasp” and “Basically.” The original U.S. version also merged “Warning” into a medley that also featured “A Bit of Finger” (U.S.-only) and “Sleeping Village.”
Black Sabbath, “Evil Woman”
Through the decades, Black Sabbath has been repackaged and re-released numerous times with previously unreleased songs, outtakes and alternate and instrumental versions. Most recently, the album was remastered and issued in 2016 as a two-CD deluxe edition. The recurring reissues are hardly surprising and, maybe, less of a cash grab than an effort to keep the album vital. There wasn’t a band around in 1970 that was as heavy as Black Sabbath and after the influence of their debut is incalculable.
50 years after its release, Black Sabbath remains a must-have for any metal collection.
“They wrote the playbook for heavy metal,” Scott Ian says. “That’s where every riff ever written comes from. Tony Iommi is the guy responsible for all of this.”
These days, Butler is far too much of a polite English gentleman to brag about Black Sabbath being the most important metal record of all time, but he concedes that he considers it the band’s greatest achievement.
“The odds were completely against us when we did the album,” he says. “Nobody wanted to give us a chance. Nobody wanted to manage us. Our families didn’t believe in us. But we persisted. And we made this album that we liked and, apparently, loads of other people liked. For us, it was the beginning of an incredible ride.”
In case you forgot, we’re here once again to remind you just how old you are. The year 1991 was three decades ago, which means Metallica’s Black Album and Nirvana’s Nevermind turn 30 this year.
We’re celebrating a different kind of birthday this time around though — bands.
This isn’t a “bands turning 30” kind of celebration, because unfortunately as history has shown us, bands don’t always last that long. Instead, we’re gonna take a look back simply to see which well-known rock and metal band formed in 1991, AKA 30 years ago.
Perhaps one of the most iconic groups 1991 saw the foundation of was Rage Against the Machine, who would’ve reunited onstage for the first time in around nine years in 2020. Thanks to the coronavirus, that reunion was postponed until 2021, which makes it all the more special as it will also commemorate their 30 year anniversary.
The early ’90s also saw the rise of Norwegian black metal, so several artists from that subgenre were born in ’91 too, including Varg Vikernes’ Burzum project.
Check out 18 prominent rock and metal groups that, at some point in 2021, will have formed 30 years ago, below. See our list of albums turning 30 this year here.
20 Rock + Metal Bands That Formed 30 Years Ago
46 Rock + Metal Albums You Didn’t Realize Were Turning 30 in 2021
Jump in the heavy metal time machine and buckle up — we’re looking back at the Top 25 Metal Albums of 2011!
First, let’s look back at some significant moments of the year — Barack Obama was President of the United States; Donald Trump was still hosting the reality competition show The Apprentice; Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had died; Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman contracted necrotizing fasciitis due to a spider bite; an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan; triggering the Fukushima nuclear disaster and Rebecca Black’s god awful “Friday” song was released.
As usual, new music was there to help us all through the ups and downs of daily life. We finally got a new album from Anthrax, which the band had been talking about for what felt like an eternity. That album solidified the Big 4’s presence early on in the new decade.
Dream Theater had a big shakeup after drummer Mike Portnoy left and the prog legends made their recording debut with new kinsman, Mike Mangini, after an intense and publicized search for Portnoy’s successor. Elsewhere in prog, Opeth revamped their sound completely and Devin Townsend continued to somehow get even weirder, all to our benefit, of course.
Metalcore’s sound was evolving, classic heavy metal was starting to be embraced by a new crop of bands while some of the 21st century’s biggest names continued to reinforce their reign.
Scroll through our picks for the Top 25 Metal Albums of 2011 below.
Wow, 2001 was a long time ago. It was also a heck of a year for rock and metal. Tons of killer albums came out in 2001; we’ve compiled 87 of ’em that rock and metal lovers of all stripes likely enjoyed — and still do! Indeed, it’s almost hard to believe these releases all turn 20 this year.
Back then, most had to purchase an album physically to enjoy it at home. Legally, at least. Sure, peer-to-peer file-sharing networks were on the rise. But the iTunes Store was still two years away!
All the same, plenty of efforts by big-name rockers emerged in 2001 — many of them on the same day. Think about the landmark release date of May 15, 2001: That’s when Megadeth’s The World Needs a Hero, Tool’s Lateralus and Weezer’s “Green Album” dropped simultaneously.
It was also smack dab in the middle of nu-metal’s mainstream popularity. Drowning Pool’s Sinner, Ill Niño’s Revolution Revolución, Mudvayne’s The Beginning of All Things to End, Mushroomhead’s XX, P.O.D.’s Satellite, Saliva’s Every Six Seconds, Sevendust’s Animosity and Staind’s Break the Cycle all came out in 2001. Talk about a banner year for the infamous alt-metal subgenre.
So relive some rock and metal history with 87 albums celebrating two decades of existence this year. There’s something for everyone. Which of these records did you have on your shelves in 2001?
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