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The look of metal today

March 30, 2009

Seldon Hunt's treatment of Isis for Revolver magazine

Seldon Hunt's treatment of Isis for Revolver magazine

This audio piece is part of an ongoing research project about contemporary heavy metal graphics. It was my final project for the D-Crit podcast workshop taught by Studio 360 host Kurt Andersen and producer Leital Molad. That I could learn the requisite recording and ProTools chops—and perhaps moreover to overcome the anxiety that went with it—to produce this piece was miraculous enough. It’s still rough; I’d redo a few things, but the basis is well enough there.

SUNN logoFor this piece I had the privilege to interview two great contemporary designers, Stephen O’Malley (avant-metal master of SUNN O))) and other influential doom and experimental projects) and Seldon Hunt, whose photography, illustration, and design graces packaging and tee-shirts for Isis, Neurosis, Nadja, and many other bands. I also talked to Mike Essl, head of graphic design at Cooper Union (and who I got to work with on this survey of lowbrow art), and Ian Christe, author of the excellent Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal and publisher of Bazillion Points.

Bazillion Points logo

The argument here is not just that heavy metal isn’t all Blackletter and horrorshow graphics; it’s that some of the most compelling design today is coming out of this world. It’s weird to me that this much innovative visual output goes virtually unnoticed in the design world. More on this subject, anon.

The look of metal today (about eight minutes long).

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2 comments

  1. Fantastic. Really interesting. I scratched a skull into my desk while I was listening…


  2. […] Here’s a good conversation on the metal aesthetic that contextualises some overlooked artists. […]



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