Top 10 Most Illegible Metal Logos

When it comes to heavy metal — specifically grindcore, black metal and death metal — the rule of thumb is generally the more illegible, the better. In a sense, these logos, which often include at least one inverted cross or a pentagram, are actually anti-logos. Still, fans snatch up T-shirts like nobody’s business so they can proudly display these indecipherable logos across their chests.

While there are innumerable bands who embrace this trend, some have taken things way too far, with logos that look more like a scribble you’d find in a bored 8-year-old’s notebook. Our friends over at the Headbangers Blog have found enough material there to churn out the “Indecipherable Logo of the Day.” We don’t have the patience for that, so we’re giving you our 10 favorite metal logos, but if you know of one that puts these to shame, let us know about it in the comments section.

Borknagar 10. Borknagar: This Norwegian band combines folk metal and black metal with progressive and melodic elements. The lyrics often touch on philosophy, paganism, nature and the cosmos.

Finntroll 9. Finntroll: Folk metallers from Finland who churn out extreme music cross-pollinated polka (yes, polka). Unless you knew the band’s name, there’s no way you’d be able to tell who they were just by their logo.
Bloodbath 8. Bloodbath: The former band of Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt, Bloodbath are a death-metal outfit from Stockholm, Sweden, with a penchant for the diabolic.
Nachtmystium 7. Nachtmystium: An American psychedelic, atmospheric black-metal group that’s been around for years. Their Worldfall EP landed in stores in early April.
Naglfar 6. Naglfar: Swedish black-metal heathens who’ve toured with the #4 band on this list. While not the most illegible logo by any means — unless you knew how to spell the band’s name — you’d think it was just a crude Jackson Pollack.
Averse Sefira 5. Averse Sefira: One of the States’ best black-metal bands, these lads hail from Austin, Texas, and are in legion with Watain, one of the best black-metal bands ever. They’re one of the only black-metal bands from America who’ve toured on three continents. The band’s logo is sinister-looking and nothing if not an advertisement for how awesome they are.
Dark Throne 4. Darkthrone: All hail these highly influential black metallers who’ve become a driving force in the Norwegian black-metal scene. Darkthrone consist of Nocturno Culto and Fenriz, who were heavily influenced by the punk genre. Eerie and menacing, it’s one of the most recognizable logos to metal fans — but to everyone else, not so much.
Leviathan 3. Leviathan: An experimental/ambient black-metal band consisting of one media-shunning man: Wrest. He is involved with Sunn O))) and Lurker of Chalice, who also have a very unreadable logo.
PROSANCTUS INFERNI 2. Prosanctus Inferi: Imposing American black/ death metallers who’ll be on the bill for this year’s Sacrifice of the Nazarene Child Festival in San Antonio, Texas, later this month. Their logo looks like something you might flush down the toilet.
Xasthur 1. Xasthur: American one-man black-metal band a.k.a. Scott Conner — but you can call him Malefic. Xasthur’s lyrics focus on astral projection, darkness, despair, suicide, hate and death. Xasthur’s logo is without question one of the hardest to decipher, making it our top pick for most illegible logo.