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January 4, 2010

Fashion for Metalheads: Black Metal Fashion

Kvlt Fashion, Plunder, Tr00 Metal Life

In the second of my heavy metal fashion reports, I talk about the grymmest of the grymm, the kreigest cats of all: Black Metal Fashion.

Born in the early 90s of a disgust at the death metal scene in Europe, and a general disgust at middle-class, conservative Christian Norway, black metal emerged as a rasp of defiance. The first wave bands like Bathory and Celtic Frost cemented the music style, while the second wave – the infamous Black Circle bands like Mayhem, Burzum and Dark Funeral – created the black metal mythos. Crimes were committed, churches were burnt, band members were murdered and their brains turned into milkshakes. Misanthropic music was written, and it all sort of died down a bit after Varg Vikernes was ushered off to jail.

Black Metal exists today as the most underground and difficult-to-get-into sub-genre of metal. The screeching vocals, demoniac blast beats and lo-budget, static-infused production make it probably the most difficult music in the world to appreciate – it’s almost anti-music, a black fuzz of angst and anger, hatred and loathing. Most black metal albums are senseless noise, but sometimes, it’s magic. Dark magic, evil magic, but beautiful nonetheless.

And black metal, like every sub-genre of metal, has it’s own fashion. At any festival, you can pick the black metallers out by their surly expressions and t-shirts featuring unreadable names of bands you’ve never heard of. They’re the dudes with runic tattoos poring through the $2 vinyl boxes, looking for those obscure records of misanthropic gold. They’re the last of the Great Hunt, the demons of the night, the metalheads of your nightmares.

Clothing

The kriegest black metallers know that, like the music they so love, tr00 black metal attire must come from Scandenavia. So when you shop for black metal attire, you should look first to the underground boutiques of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. However, when buying from these sources, be wary, the kvlt krieg tr00 scandenavian look does not come cheap!

The first fashion item for any discerning black metaller is a pair of tight jeans in the darkest, grymmest hue of black. Acne, Cheap Monday and Anti-Sweden jeans make black jeans specifically tailored for the black metaller’s waifish, undernourished physique. And they’re all from Norway or Sweden, for additional scene points.

Next, you’ll probably want a t-shirt. Like most metalheads, the best black metal t-shirts are band t-shirts, the more unpronouncable the name and more unreadable the logo, the better.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

If you can’t find a band tee suitably indecipherable, your next best buy is a standard satan shirt. You can find these at Infidel Concepts (warning, Australian company, NOT Norwegian), Satan Shop or Turbowolf. I wrote a post last year about shopping for satanic shirts, which also has some great shops to try.

Also, tees with runic designs and pagan symbols work well, too. However, steer away from cheery, pot-bellied Vikings.

Remember, black metal is not a fashion that accepts color. There is black clothing with white designs, and white clothing with black designs. That is final.

To prevent wrinkling, wash your clothing in virgin’s blood.

Accessories

To dress up your brootal outfit for a night on the town, you should start with a belt or twenty. Spiked and bullet belts make great accessories, the spikier the better. Wear them around your waist or cross them over your chest.

Spiked or rune-adorned gauntlets encircle your wrists, and a chain. Upside-down crosses, pentegrams, runes and other pagan symbols adorn the neck. A black metaller is never without his or her trusty Thor’s Hammer or pentagram necklace. My favorites come from Wulflund in the Czech Republic. These are replicas of archaeological finds. You can also find Thors Hammers and other pagan / satanic pendants at Little Devil Designs, WodansWolf and Vermorlian Magick Shoppe.

To carry around your church-burning kit, Broake and Thumb designs offer Thor’s Hammer messanger bags.

Fur and feathers give a naturalistic, Dark Ages feel to any black metal outfit. Ravens were the messengers of Odin, and the carrian harbringers of doom, so black raven feathers obviously the kriegest of them all. Pluck them from a live raven for maximum krieg factor, and string on a low necklace or sew around the edge of a black skirt.

For even krieger outfits, carry a weapon, like a sword or axe or mace. Add spikes to it. The more spikes, the more black metal scene points you earn.

Makeup

No article about black metal fashion would be complete without a discussion about Corpsepaint. To perfect a corpsepaint look, paint your whole face white and add black (or VERY OCCASIONALLY red) details, around your eyes and mouths. The style mimics the face paintings of the Norse Oskorei.

Most black metal musicians have a specific corpsepaint “look”, which seldom changes. With a little experimenting you can perfect your own black metal “look”.

See this tutorial on how to apply corpsepaint.

It will take a bit of experimenting to find the perfect white paint. Black Metal legends Behemoth recoomend Kryolan Supracolour Cream Makeup, which is professional theatre makeup. Others suggest using ordinary acrylic paints instead of makeup. Just make sure it’s non-toxic first!

For some great examples of corpse paint, see rate my corpsepaint, which is my new favorite makes me giggle website.

Style Icons

Astarte

Astarte

Gallhammer

Vivian Slaughter

Gaahl

Immortal

Satyricon

Resources:

Black Metal Fashion Show

Black Metal on the runway

Ann-Sophie Back – Swedish avant-garde designer and lover of black metal.

Anti-Sweden Jeans: Made in Oslo, Norway. The tr00est, kvltest black metal jeans you ever could find. Exchange an old pair of jeans made in Sweden and get your Anti-Sweden jeans for NOK$666. Brootal.

Cheap Monkey: Swedish purveyors of fine black metal jeans.

Rakk and Ruin: jewellery and accessories for the black metal babe.

Wulflund – swords, jewelry, clothing, helmets and misc. from my fave Czech Republic historical shop. For all your Thor’s hammer and guantlet needs.

This was actually one of the most fun articles to write so far. Please let me know what you think, and if you know of any great black metal designers, shops and accessories.

Stay Grymm \m/
Steff

22 Comments on “Fashion for Metalheads: Black Metal Fashion

Steven K
July 12, 2016 at 8:40 pm

Wow, just found this in 2016 haha. Very great article indeed. I laughed at the belt part, I actually made my own bullet belt because I couldn’t find one made of real bullets (go figure) worry not, they’re just the shells and jackets, I left out the powder and primers.

steff
July 14, 2016 at 3:44 pm

@Steven K – awesome! haha, good job. I wouldn’t like to see powder-filled bullets in the mosh pit \m/

Infantricide
November 14, 2014 at 6:50 am

Puta que pariu! Black metal is supposed to be anti-fashion, anti-life, anti-good time weakness, HATRED! Not tacky image obsessed shit! Cala a boca filha da puta, merda!

monika
August 29, 2013 at 10:36 am

this is awesome stuff to know abt metalhead ..i have a project..in which i need to go in metalhead attire and i have to collect the history and designers associated to it..this website helped a lot…thnks! :)

steff
October 4, 2013 at 3:20 am

@monika – I’m glad to hear!

Dominique Shanta Squire
April 20, 2013 at 5:03 pm

This is cool! Any good resources for black metal clothes that are a little less hardcore? Just curious.

Dominique Shanta Squire
April 20, 2013 at 5:03 pm

This is cool! Any good resources for black metal clothes that re a little less hardcore? Just curious.

Oenone
February 13, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Anyone know any good websites for metal jeans? I’m an average height 12-year-old and a bit on the chubby side, and I just got some new camo shit and it looks good over my Maiden shirt, but I don’t have any jeans that go with it except my skinny black ones.
Thanks for the help :)

kim
January 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm

FUCK this shit, looks so stupid, the only black metal thing i see is the corpse paint… everything else looks gay…… as a fan of black metal and a woman that has an eye for fashion (i am a hairstylist), this dosnt look cool. looks fucking retarded

steff
January 31, 2013 at 11:52 pm

@Kim – Thanks for commenting. I admit some of the pictures in this post aren’t perhaps the best choices (this is a very old article, and my image-searching abilities weren’t so good back then). If you could suggest some decent sources for BM fashion inspiration, I’d be keen to hear ’em so I can rewrite this piece and update it. Cheers \m/

~xtian
December 30, 2015 at 11:44 pm

I think we may have met at a Yule gathering in Taupo. Are/were you with the Red Ravens? I seem to recall you telling our host that you hated anyone who didn’t love Gorgoroth.

But that may have been another extremely pissed off hairdresser Kim.

Woodcarver
December 18, 2012 at 6:59 am

Nice information! If you want something archetypical, original and handmade for ritual or decoration purposes take a look here http://www.occult-woodcarving.com. Logo Bands and customised personal symbols will be considered individually with personal care

foaming
November 25, 2012 at 10:41 am

APPALLING.

Roze of Death
November 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Fuck this. Black metal is a passion not a fashion. Thanks for trying to cheapen you fucking ass.

Septemtrionarius
August 24, 2011 at 4:39 am

You should see my bands logo, very typical for black metal, and what you said about black metal being senseless noise, yeah that is us all over. I am showing this to all my black metal mates because although black metal is all about the music, I would rather they looked as you described than in yellow beach shorts, blue pop t-shirt and sandals.
Thanks for the great articles!

steff
August 26, 2011 at 1:26 am

@Septemtrionarius – I couldn’t agree more! Although this article is a bit of a piss-take, I think black metallers look wicked bad. Also, is this you? http://www.wix.com/sinabusemetal/members/abaraxus-serpentine#!__septemtrionarius Because if so, I am digging your music. \m/

Septemtrionarius
April 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm

As a black metalhead myself I actually thought this was quite accurate accept that there were a few things missing but nothing of importance. (Long, fake, unreadable names Latin works well and anti christian items do well ). I really enjoyed reading this to find out just how others view what we are like. Thanks!

steff
April 24, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Septemtrionarius – thank you – I’m glad you enjoyed it and didn’t take offense. I think black metallers have by FAR the best, most artistic t-shirt designs. The skill that goes into creating the logos astounds me.

Tyrant
February 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Fashion? Black Metal is a musical art form and an emotional outlet, not some scene queen fashion show. Øystein Aarseth is probably rolling over in his grave. This is disgusting, a slap in the face of true black metal artists/fans.

steff
February 10, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I would LIKE to think that if ole Euronymous is in fact, capable of moving about inside his grave, he’d put his new-found corperealibiility to some decent use, like, say, writing some decent Mayhem material for the first time in ten years, rather than trolling some chick from NZ’s silly website. I’m not even sure how he’d get the internet down under the dirt. Maybe you, clearly so incensed by my complete lack of understanding of what a tr00 black metaller is, fed it down to him. In which case, can you throw down his guitar and tell him to get cracking?

Music is clearly important to you, otherwise you wouldn’t have bothered commenting with such a venomous tone. I get that – music is pretty important to me, too, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this site. These “Metalhead fashion” articles – and you’ll see I’ve done a few different genres – are meant to be tongue-in-cheek. They’re not some serious “lesson in how to be cool” or some shit.

I’m not going to pretend I’m some kind of BM expert, but I do enjoy a few bands, mostly the older, first wave stuff. Remember that other people might engage with music in a different way to you – some people like to express their musical tastes – and often their wider ideaology – through what they wear. There’s nothing wrong with that.

E.Bleak
January 5, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I love Acne jeans (and Acne everything else), but I also found that Bullhead skinny jeans from Pacific Sunwear (the teen store at the mall – BELIEVE IT!!) are cut similarly and come in a wider range of sizes and in pitchest blakk of nyght – for like $20/pair when they go on sale here in the US.

Black metal uniform is the one I utilize most commonly, the sheer utilitarianism and comfort of it all is the perfect combination for metal girl on the go. I swear, that’s why the high fashionistas have latched onto it – it’s a simple canvas to elaborate upon. Too bad the corpse paint continues to make me break out like I’m 12…

Islander
January 4, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Awesomely entertaining! Just what I needed at the end of a particularly crappy day at my day job.

Comments are closed.