By Lauren Wise
Searching for the perfect gift for that music lover in your life isn't so difficult. However, trying to find the perfect gift for a metalhead is a bit more daunting. It's not that we're picky -- we just don't particularly value the commercialized side of our beloved genre. Therefore, the emerging market of heavy metal "gifts," short of albums or t-shirts, hasn't really ballooned until lately.
I've received some killer heavy metal gifts in my day -- Pantera Chucks, Zeppelin vinyl, a miniature model of Dimebag Darrell's Razorback lightning bolt guitar, Jimmy Page's memoir, spike-bedecked high heels that would make a dominatrix envious, a stripper pole courted with a handle of whiskey. Oh, and a vintage typewriter. You might not think that's very metal -- but it is badass to this heavy metal journalist.
So here's a list of gifts for the shredder or thrasher in your life, whether it's you significant other, father, sister, friend... or if you just want to scare the hell out of someone. Trust me, if you want to get that annoying chick to stop calling you, nothing says "red flag" like a documentary on satanic black metal.
While vinyl records are making a comeback, you can use them for more than just listening pleasure. Designed and cut with precision, these vinyl record clocks represents the energy, logos, name or concept of different heavy metal bands. Here are two of my favorites:
Crop Shop has some unique, intricate designs for bands like AC/DC, Guns N Roses, Rammstein, Iron Maiden, Manowar and Arch Enemy, while Second Spin Vinyl Record Designs has a more straight-forward take on hailing bands like Led Zep, Pink Floyd, KISS, Hendrix, Black Sabbath, The Rolling Stones, and others.
Tickets to the World's Loudest Month
Nothing says "I love you" like a ticket or two to the world's loudest month. Created by AEG Live, Danny Wimmer Presents and RockHouse Presents, The World's Loudest Month features the biggest names in rock music performing in eight distinct U.S. concert atmospheres in April and May. In 2014, these eight concerts attracted more than 368,000 fans and 150 bands -- only a testament to the nation's hunger for heavy music.
The 2015 World's Loudest Month festival dates and locations are as follows:
Monster Energy Fort Rock: April 25 in Fort Myers, FL
Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville: April 25 & 26 in Jacksonville, FL
Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion: May 2 & 3 in Concord, NC
Northern Invasion: May 9 in Somerset, WI
Rock On The Range: May 15, 16 & 17 in Columbus, OH
Rocklahoma: May 22, 23 & 24 in Pryor, OK
River City Rockfest: May 24 in San Antonio, TX
RockFest: May 30 in Kansas City, MO
With so many choices you're bound to find one near you. I'm personally most excited for Rock On the Range, which will host Slipknot, Judas Priest, Linkin Park, Godsmack, Marilyn Manson, Ministry, Anthrax, Periphery, and more than 50 other acts.
Kicks for the Mosh Pit
Converse and Vans have had some great music-inspired designs over the years. Converse's spring 2014 line highlights Black Sabbath with prints of their album artwork, for about $65, for sale on the Converse website. However, just last year, Iron Maiden, Slayer and Metallica released a line of Vans. Let's hope the shoe designs just keep on coming -- my Pantera Chucks have seen way too many mosh pits over the years.
Donate in the Name of Rock
I stand strong on the opinion that heavy metal has one big ass heart, and the majority of the industry is dedicated to making the world a better place. So here's a range of charities you can donate to in honor of your favorite metalhead.
There's the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, co-founded by Dio's widow Wendy Dio (one of my favorite women in heavy metal), and the Solid Rock Foundation, a Phoenix-area effort put forth by Alice Cooper, which provides a way for kids to nourish their creative skills in free after school programs. And speaking of keeping the music spark alive in kids, The Fender Music Foundation is dedicated to keeping music education alive and well for all those future Syd Barrets and John 5s.
The Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program focuses on educating about the disease and assisting those diagnosed. The Ride for Dime and Dime Scholarship supports the charities that Dimebag Darrell donated to when he was alive. And Metal of Honor hones in on some very deserving charities, including Pathway Home, which is a PTSD rehabilitation facility in the San Francisco Bay Area; and Hope for the Warriors, which is similar to Wounded Warriors but not as big so they need the funds. In fact, Mayhem has raised more than $150,000 to date for the organizations.
Whether it's for a professional musician or someone who is constantly plugged into their iPod, the Audio-Technica ATH-M5ox Pro Monitor Headphones will impress any music lover. There's refined ear pads, three detachable straight and coiled cables, large-aperture drivers, sound-isolating ear cups, and a strong bass. These work for just about everything across the board, whether you are just using them for personal listening, recording, examining important audio applications, or even utilizing live sound.
The Taste of Metal
Whether they are single-handedly crafting the oakey notes of a Cabernet, or simply slapping their name on the bottle because they get a free lifetime supply--several bands and musicians have branched out into the world of wine, beer and liquor. The website Metal and Wine offers a whole list of booze made specifically by heavy metal musicians.
There's Mastodon beer, Motorhead vodka, and Iron Maiden beer (surprisingly yummy). Don't forget to send the life-of-the-party metalhead Coldcock herbal whiskey, a now well-known beverage on such tours as Rockstar Energy Mayhem, Uproar and Knotfest, and endorsed by dozens of metal bands. The Headbanger brand is similar, and is endorsed by artists like Sevendust, Digital Summer, Adelita's Way and Chris Kael. Headbanger whiskey is distributed all over the country at spots like Southern Wine and Spirits, including California, Florida, Nevada, Texas and more.
If wine is what you're looking for, Slayer's Reign in Blood Cabernet Sauvignon (dark berry, oak and spicy notes) comes in a coffin. Tool's Maynard James Keenan currently owns Merkin Vineyards and the associated winery, Caduceus Cellars. Grab the Caduceus Sancha, a smooth light red that's 14% alcohol. There's also Pink Floyd cabernet; a white blend created by Kreator frontman Mille with grapes from Sicily, a call to his Italian ancestors; and an Amon Amarth Shiraz (the "wine of metal Vikings").
If you're anything like me, you either spent your childhood with your nose in a book, or looking down at an instrument. For all the avid readers, there's a plethora of heavy metal books, especially creative non-fiction and memoirs. I posted some of my favorite in a Metal Mondays list this past October, which includes Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen by Al Jourgensen; My Life With Deth by David Ellefson; Scott Ian's I'm The Man: The Official Story of Anthrax; and Phil Anselmo's Mouth For War: Pantera and Beyond, which is out in January of 2015.
And if you aren't a big reader, check out Murder In The Front Row: Shots from the Bay Area Thrash Metal Epicenter. It has some super rare photos of the biggest thrash bands of the early '80s.
Cooking with Anselmo.. well, kinda
You might not know it, but hunting, grilling and cooking kinda go hand-in-hand with heavy music. Haven't you ever watched "Cooking Hostile With Anselmo"?
Maybe it's the thrill of the hunt; the butchering; the power of creating a beautiful meal like a badass riff. For that little headbanging chef in your life, grab a copy of Mosh Potatoes by Steve Seabury, an awesome collection of 147 recipes provided by some of metal's finest names, including Joey Belladonna, Zakk Wylde and Dave Ellefson.
Another fine heavy metal-feasting cookbook? Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook by Annick "Morbid Chef" Giroux, which features more than 100 recipes from 30 countries, and band members like Accept, Eyehategod, and Gorgoroth.