11 Bands Who Change Their Image On Every Record
The world of rock and metal is synonymous with over-the-top visuals. Be it the lavish hair and makeup associated with glam, the satanic imagery of black metal or the fringes and eyeliner of emo, heavy bands often come with a striking look.
There are some, though, that take things to the extreme, making their image a core part of their band and continually shifting that look as their music grows and changes.
From legendary artists through to 2019’s bright young things, these 11 bands all have a knack for putting together an image that’s unrivalled by the majority of their peers…
Creating new Slipknot masks isn’t just a matter of changing image for a new album campaign. The construction of the mask is a rite of passage for any new member of the band, and it’s something that’s become as synonymous with Slipknot as their music itself. From percussionist Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan’s ever-changing mask to the furore that erupted when the look of new member ‘Tortilla Man’ was revealed, the iconography of Slipknot’s masks is unrivalled in contemporary heavy metal. True to form, the release of this year’s epic album We Are Not Your Kind brought with it new music, a new look and some truly unsettling new masks.
My Chemical Romance
Following the recent reunion announcement, the internet lost its mind once more over My Chemical Romance when the band’s social media accounts shared the first photo of the four-piece together since their comeback was revealed. Given it was simply a shot of Gerard and Mikey Way, Ray Toro and Frank Iero sat on the floor chatting, it’s not hard to imagine emos everywhere going into meltdown if the band announce a new album, which, if it happens, will no doubt be accompanied by a grand new image. From the vampire-esque overtones of their early records to the military jackets of The Black Parade and the Mad Max look of Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, MCR have always taken their image extremely seriously, inspiring a whole generation of bands to take the art surrounding their music to the next level.
Currently in the midst of a grand European arena tour, image and iconography has always been important to Tobias Forge and his Nameless Ghouls. Like Slipknot, masks and anonymity are a big part of Ghost, with vocalist Tobias’ name only revealed in 2017 following the publication of a lawsuit filed by ex-bandmates. Now five albums into a career that’s seen them grow into festival headline contenders, Ghost’s image has continually shifted, with religious and gothic overtones prevalent throughout.
The image of BABYMETAL has subtly evolved with each album. Always maintaining a focus on red and black, the look of the band has been inspired by the Japanese goth and punk scenes, as well as samurai and manga, the band going as far as to produce their own comic book titled Apocrypha: The Legend Of BABYMETAL. The image that’s accompanied most recent album METAL GALAXY has been decidedly darker in tone, with the band’s costumes almost entirely black, such darkness echoing the bleaker outlook of songs like Starlight.
The God Of Fuck never does things by halves when it comes to his image. That said, the look he plumped for to accompany recent single God’s Gonna Cut You Down – a cover of the Johnny Cash classic – was pretty tame compared to the androgynous appearance of Mechanical Animals protagonist Omega, or the supernatural horror imagery that accompanied Antichrist Superstar. Continually living up to the ‘shock rock’ tag not only with his music but his image as well, Marilyn Manson’s shapeshifting iconography is a major reason why he’s so revered by rock fans the world over.
twenty one pilots
Colour is of high importance when it comes to the changing style of twenty one pilots. Yellow is found everywhere in the world of most recent LP Trench, while 2015’s Blurryface was dominated by a vibrant red. Such colours are attributed to clothing items worn by the band – such as bandanas and beanie hats – which are embraced by the duo’s fans, in turn helping to foster the community that exists amongst the Skeleton Clique. Beneath the colour, though, lies the band’s songwriting core, which spans a vast swathe of emotions that’s seen the duo emerge to become one of the 21st century’s most vital bands.
Black Veil Brides
The look of Black Veil Brides has come a long way from the scene kid image first witnessed in the video for Knives And Pens. Andy Biersack and co. upped the visual ante on second LP Set The World On Fire, donning make-up, tight leather and big hair, in turn coming across like the second coming of KISS. The band reigned things in somewhat for the more dystopian imagery of Wretched And Divine: The Story Of The Wild Ones, and more recently their look has been that of your typical classic rock and metal lover, all black clothes, blacker hair and studded leather jackets.
We’re yet to see the complete visual picture when it comes to Creeper’s upcoming second album, but all the early signs are pointing towards a totally new look for the band. The white outfits and David Bowie-esque iconography of the video for lead single Born Cold are in many ways a far cry from the darker overtones that accompanied the story of debut LP Eternity, In Yours Arms. Whatever lies next for the Southampton punks, they’ve already proved themselves to be, both visually and musically, one of the most exciting bands around right now.
The Smashing Pumpkins
A major influence on the likes of My Chemical Romance and Panic! At The Disco, The Smashing Pumpkins’ image has always been carefully constructed. Take 1995 classic album Melon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, for example. Even within the space of that single album campaign, the look of the band shifted from the top hats and ball gowns of the video for Tonight, Tonight to the more straight-up rocker look seen in Bullet With Butterfly Wings’ video. Their penchant for dramatic visuals remains in 2019, frontman Billy Corgan donning some distinctive silver face paint as part of the promo for the band’s most recent output.
They’re still only young, but the Palaye Royale brothers have already marked themselves as a band known for shapeshifting visuals. The self-described ‘fashion-art-rock’ band have a look that takes inspiration from emo pioneers like My Chemical Romance, combining it with a flamboyant baroque style. Palaye Royale’s image has become more lavish with each new track they’ve released, and it’s one of the main reasons they’re considered a seriously hot property in rock. When it comes to theatrics, there aren’t many as bold as this lot.
In This Moment
It’s constantly changing, but the imagery associated with LA metallers In This Moment is never short of lavish. Vocalist Maria Brink has admitted to pissing off her bandmates by bringing trunks of clothes on tour, but it all adds up to a stage show and look that makes the band stand out from the metal pack. With imagery that’s spanned baby doll dresses through to the style of satanic black metal, In This Moment don’t drop the ball with regards to pairing their brazen music with striking visuals.
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