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.
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.
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), 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.
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 .
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.
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.
– 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/