Some are creepy. Some are epic. And some are just flat out ridiculous. But they’re all awesome. Since the 1970s they’ve been popping up on your favorite hard rock and heavy metal band’s releases and merchandise, and the trend continues to this very day. Here are the greatest metal mascots to ever grace an album cover, stage, t-shirt or nightmare.
Thirty years ago this summer thrash metal came ripping out of America’s West Coast with the release of Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All. The band and their “Big Four” brethren; Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax, were influenced in equal parts by the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and hardcore punk, grafting the musicianship of the former to the aggression and social consciousness of the latter and laying down a musical gauntlet that made metal’s old guard take notice and the bedazzled glam bands quake in their patent leather cowboy boots. The ecstatic reception of the recent “Big Four” concerts, which featured the above bands on a single bill for the first time, and new bands that carry the flame such as Lamb Of God and Gojira testify to the genre’s enduring popularity and importance. Take a gander at some of these guitarists from thrash metal’s biggest and best bands and see if you can identify the shredders from their axes alone.
Each week fans tune in to That Metal Show to see Eddie, Jim and Don weigh-in and argue about such important subjects as The Top 5 Jason Newstead Metallica Albums or The Top 5 Best Screams In A Song on the TMS Top 5. This season we’re moving the debate online and letting you, the fans, make your voices heard in our weekly TMS Top 5 polls.
Saturday on That Metal Show, the boys debated who were the most underrated guitarists in hard rock and heavy metal history. Special musical guest Richie Kotzen, who’s played with everyone from Poison to Mr. Big, came out on top but the full list of players is a who’s who of unrecognized or under-appreciated shredders from around the hard rock globe.
Peep the final list along with Eddie, Jim and Don’s selections and then cast your votes below and let us know where you think these guitarists rate. You can vote as many times for as many different guitarists as you like and don’t forget to check back every week for more TMS Top 5 countdowns and watch That Metal Show on VH1 Classic every Saturday night at 11/10C!
TMS Top 5 Underrated Guitarists
1. Richie Kotzen
2. Brad Whitford
3. Dave Meniketti
4. Chris Broderick
5. Wolf Hoffmann
1. Richie Kotzen
2. Dave Meniketti
3. Wolf Hoffmann
4. John 5
5. Snake Sabo/Scotti Hill
1. Tom Morello
2. Chris Broderick
3. Mike McCready
4. Phil Demmel
5. Mike Mushok
1. Brad Whitford
2. Scott Gorham
3. Phil Campbell
4. Paul Quinn
5. Kurdt Vanderhoof
Calling all fans of That Metal Show! In honor of the show’s upcoming 12th season, we want to see pictures of you rocking your TMS stripes!
Well folks, you did it. Just under two weeks ago, VH1 Classic began releasing a series of viewer polls that would ultimately determine what songs would separate themselves from the pack in America’s Hard 100. Over one million (!!!) votes were cast by you, THE FANS, to determine which songs deserved to be at the top of our list of the best hard rock and heavy metal songs of all-time. We’ve sorted through the votes, analyzed the numbers, and now we need your help again in determining the FINAL RANKINGS of America’s Hard 100.
We have come up with a list of 15 songs here, 10 of which won their respective polls — a healthy round of applause for Dream Theater‘s “Pull Me Under,” Type O Negative‘s “Black No. 1,” Bon Jovi‘s “Living On A Prayer,” Cinderella‘s “Gypsy Road,” Dio‘s “Holy Diver,” Rush‘s “Limelight,” Poison‘s “Nothin’ But A Good Time,” Guns N’ Roses‘ “November Rain,” Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads’ “Crazy Train,” and Black Sabbath‘s “Paranoid”! — and 5 of which we’re deeming wildcards. Each of these wildcard songs — AC/DC‘s “Back In Black,” Accept‘s “Balls To The Wall,” Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City,” Megadeth‘s “Sweating Bullets,” and Poison’s “Talk Dirty To Me” — reaped more votes than all the other non-poll winning songs, and might have won their respective polls had they been placed among a different group of songs.
So, with that said, here are your final 15 songs. The same rules apply this time around; vote early and often for as many of these 15 as you think are deserving, and you can always click Return To Poll to vote again. The polls will close on Tuesday, October 2 at 4 p.m. ET, and you’ll be able to tune in to watch America’s Hard 100 on VH1 Classic in November to see the final results.
Without further ado, let the voting commence!
The VH1 Classic America’s Hard 100 Countdown Poll is nearing its end but we’ve still got more classic hard rock and heavy metal tunes that need sorting and we need your help! We’ve put together a list of 100 essential rockers but we need you to vote on them to let us know where they should fall in the America’s Hard 100 Countdown when it airs this November.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You can vote AS MANY TIMES and for AS MANY SONGS as you want, simply click on “Return To Poll” after your initial ballot. If your favorite hard rock jam is missing from today’s list please click on one of the previous days polls which are still open and keep checking back daily as we add new songs to new lists.
Today “The Boys Are Back In Town” by seminal Irish hard rockers Thin Lizzy goes up against Soundgarden’s grunge metal opus “Black Hole Sun,” Ozzy Osbourne’s metal standard “Crazy Train” featuring the late guitarist Randy Rhoads and technical thrash act Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets” plus more.
It’s Day 4 of VH1 Classic‘s America’s Hard 100 countdown poll where we ask YOU, the FANS, help us determine the 100 best hard rock and metal songs of all-time! Every day we’ll be posting a new list of classic hard rock and heavy metal tunes for you to vote on to help us with the rankings. If you don’t see your favorite bands or songs on today’s list, check back daily as we are adding new songs every day! (Watch our new promo for AH100 above.)
Today, two of hard rock’s hardest hitting ladies, Joan Jett and Lita Ford, duke it out with decadent Sunset Strip denizens Motley Crue, unflappable and unfettered classic rockers Aerosmith and heavy metal icons Judas Priest, among others.
We kicked off the season premiere of That Metal Show this weekend with Russell Allen and Mike Orlando of Adrenaline Mob, along with David Draiman of Disturbed fame, and rocked out with TMS veteran Mike Portnoy on drums.
In the Season 11 premiere episode, we debated the Top 5 Bass Riffs (not players) with signature lines in songs. You know, when you heard the first few seconds of a song and immediately start banging your head because you know exactly how to play it on air
guitar bass and you immediately get excited cause it’s your favorite song or cause it just rocks that hard? Yeah, that.
“Metal dudes are people, too!” you shout, and we hear ya, we honestly do. But here’s the thing — we like to live under the fantasy, however inaccurate, that metal dudes just do totally awesome metal stuff all the time. We want to believe that metal dudes go around biting the heads off bats, smashing guitars, sticking it to the man and headbanging ALL THE TIME. The same way we like to believe that pop stars all eat, sleep and go to the gym in their elaborate costumes, rappers freestyle battle each other in the street and country singers all know how to lasso like cowboys.
Obviously, the illusions we live under (yes, we’re twisted, we know, but being twisted is like, SO metal), are unrealistic, and we have to admit we get a perverted sense of pleasure when the wall does come down. So if you want to see what metal dudes are doing when they’re not being metal, and just being sort of, well, regular, click through to our gallery below! Beware: there are images of James Hetfield WEARING A KNITTED SCARF! Slipknot‘s Corey Taylor READING BOOKS! Megadeth‘s Dave Mustaine HANGING OUT WITH A GEORGE W. BUSH IMPERSONATOR! If this is all just too much for you and all you want is to see metal guys being, like, totally metal, then check out National Metal Day on VH1 Classic, airing all day today!
[Photos: Getty Images]