Powerful music is one thing, but an extra visual component goes a long way to cementing greatness. In the world of heavy metal, mascots become the embodiment of the band. Without having to hear a single song, these characters let the world know what a group is all about.
Here are the 10 best metal mascots:
- Chaly (Overkill)
A constant presence in the band’s imagery since 1988’s Under the Influence, Overkill’s winged skull hero Chaly has been wreaking havoc all over their record covers for decades. From humble beginnings where he’s shooting lasers out of his eyes, Chalky has been the gate to a cave, a graffiti stencil, electrocuted and tied up in chains a hundred times over.
- Jack O. Lantern (Helloween)
Facing facts, it helps if you approach power metal with a bit of a sense of humor. Look no further for confirmation of this statement than genre masters Helloween, whose pumpkin-headed mascot Jack O. Lantern has been a constant in the band’s art. Jack’s head usually represents the ‘O’ in Helloween’s name, but he’s given a full body for special tasks like time travel and knocking down the Statue of Liberty.
- Man With the Iron Mask (Quiet Riot)
Metal Health changed the landscape of popular culture when it became the first metal record to reach the top of the Billboard chart. It’s a record that was bolstered by two distinct kinds of covers; and while their cover of Slade’s “Cum On Feel The Noize” might have been getting all of the radio play, The Man With The Iron Mask adorning the literal cover of the album perhaps did even more for introducing the heavy metal aesthetic to the mainstream.
- Korgull (Voivod)
Although their logo has changed countless times over the decades, Voivod’s mascot Korgull has remained a faithful constant. With a name that dates back to Rrröööaaarrr album track “Korgull the Exterminator,” Voivod didn’t go into detail about his story until Dimension Hatross two records later. While Korgull’s face has changed over the years, his omnipresent hatred toward humanity remains the same.
- Not Man (Anthrax)
Despite his somewhat ubiquitous presence in the culture surrounding them, Anthrax mascot Not Man has never actually made an appearance on an album, although he does occasionally pop up on merch. The image was taken from a weird rubber finger puppet, and Island Records were instrumental about the band using it during the Spreading The Disease record cycle. He might rarely appear, but this giant cartoon head has become synonymous with everything Anthrax.
- Knarrenheinz (Sodom)
While most metal mascots might look scary, their antics are usually loaded with slapstick humor. That isn’t the case at all with Sodom’s vicious totem, Knarrenheinz. When the Teutonic thrashers switched lyrical focus from Satanism to warfare on their breakthrough Persecution Mania album, the ominous gasmask-clad presence helped usher in the new era. Knarrenheinz has stuck around ever since, forever consumed by violence. Although he has gone through several different iterations, they are always battle themed.
- Vic Rattlehead (Megadeth)
Easily one of the most beloved mascots in heavy metal, Megadeth’s jester Vic Rattlehead is the perfect embodiment of the rage, frustration, and humor the band have always strived for. Being a skeleton deprived of his ability to see, hear, or speak by way of the torture divices fastened to his skull, a lesser mascot might be bummed about his lot in life. However, Vic’s mischievous grin has never once left his face. After all, killing is his business… and business is good!
- Snaggletooth (Motorhead)
The fanged beast dominating the t-shirt drawer of millions of headbangers worldwide, Snaggletooth made his debut way back in 1977 on Motorhead’s eponymous first album. Filled to the brim with piss and vinegar, ol’ Toothy let you know what Motorhead were all about before you heard a single note. More than even Lemmy’s kissable mug, Snaggletooth is the visual embodiment of everything Motorhead.
- Murray (Dio)
Ronnie James Dio might have been a creature of pure goodness and wonder, but his mascot’s intentions seem a bit more ambiguous. That wasn’t always the case, though. Legend has it that Murralsee comes from an ancient and dignified race. When his father attempted to have him killed, Murralsee’s mother gave him a potion so that he’d sleep until everything blew over. Sleep he did, and when Ronnie James Dio discovered him nearly a trillion years later the extended slumber had turned the boy into a hulking demon. Murralsee’s appearance wasn’t enough to scare off Ronnie, who nicknamed him “Murray” and took the brute under his wing. Aren’t you glad Dio didn’t smoke weed? I know I am.
- Eddie (Iron Maiden)
Let’s get real: this was never a contest. Without a doubt, Eddie the Head is the most recognizable icon in the history of heavy metal. Iron Maiden have experienced countless adventures over their four-decade tenure, and Eddie has been there for almost all of it. He’s been an Egyptian ruler, faced exposure to nuclear weapons, traveled through space and time, had a lobotomy, and even played the Devil himself like a puppet! Eddie the Head is heavy metal and heavy metal is Eddie the Head, plain and simple.