While most bands make an effort to come up with a well-designed and polished-looking band logo, some bands believe that the more illegible their logo is, the more it suits their music and identity. Such is the trend in the genre of metal rock. A lot of people in the scene and even outside of it generally believe that the more incomprehensible the band logo, the more hardcore the sound. The aesthetics of metal band logos belong in an entirely different plane, and generally, those who belong in any of its subgenres have unreadable band logos.
Metal band logos are usually designed with excessively stylized typography, with surrounding lines and figures meant to obscure what the text says, and are commonly set in a white font over a black background. Some bands make it more extreme by barely outlining their band name inside an unintelligible illustration. Those familiar with this genre might not have a hard time recognizing these unreadable band logos, but those who are clueless about metal might not be able to differentiate one from the other.
A lot of factors affect the designs of these metal band logos. Some bands translate their beliefs into these logos, while some draw inspiration from the themes of their songs. Metal rock is typically dark, with varying degrees of mysticism and angst present in the music. Performances of metal bands are usually rowdy, with some bands going through lengths by bringing props like impaled animals in their shows. In this case, their undecipherable logos seem to fit the bill of being a metal band just right.
Here, we share six of some unreadable band logos of metal acts. Don’t expect to recall any of them, especially if you don’t really follow the scene. Try to see if you can guess what it says at first glance, although that is highly unlikely.
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Considered one of the fathers of the black metal subgenre, this Norwegian band has made numerous headlines throughout their career for different controversial events that their members got involved in. As unreadable band logos go, theirs is pretty tame, but anyone not familiar with it will still be taken aback. The M’s on both ends of the band’s name seem to resemble a baby dragon with pronounced wings, with the bottom part of one side of the letter M extending into a cross. The rest of the logo look like blood squirts crisscrossing making the word Mayhem barely legible.
Another Norwegian black metal legend act makes it to the list, this time with a wilder and darker look. The Darkthrone logo was first used in their debut album, “Soulside Journey,” in 1991. It was designed by Tassilo Forg, Gylve “Fenriz” Nagel, and Tomas Lindberg of Swedish death metal bands Grotesque and At the Gates. The menacing look of the unreadable band logo also resembles thin streaks of blood dripping and branching out to form the letters of the band’s name, giving it an eerie feel.
Swedish black metal band Watain is one of the darkest acts in the scene. Self-proclaimed Satanists, this group of guys share a common belief which makes them able to create such heavy and solid material. You can barely make out the band’s name in their illegible logo, save for the T in the middle looking like a cross, which uses a thick and spiky font.
This solo act driven by Jef Whitehead, who took on the name Wrest, is an active collaborator who works with various American black metal bands. His songs for this project usually deal with themes of suicide, and his is one of the most unreadable band logos on the scene. With a stylized font looking like branches set against moonlight, topped with a crescent moon in the middle, you can hardly decipher the name it spells out.
5.Wolves in the Throne Room
This Washington-based band does not subscribe to the typical black metal band culture and chooses to play music the way they want to, but their incomprehensible band logo obviously draws on metal aesthetics. It’s really hard to determine what the lines that form the logo are trying to spell out, so that could contribute to what they mean what they say they do things on their own terms.
One of the most unreadable band logos is from this Quebec-based goregrind band, but it definitely suits their band name perfectly. A green mess that hardly says anything accurately displays what the band’s name is trying to say. These guys from Quebec are known for their distinctly grinding sound, and their logo pretty much encapsulates the sound and identity that they are known for.