I recently watched the movie Anvil – The Story Of Anvil, which is undoubtedly one of the most feel good films I’ve seen in years. I should admit at this point that I have no interest whatsoever in Heavy Metal but I was intrigued enough by the movie to go and have a look at some of the “greats” that feature in the documentary and thus a blog post was born.

I’m usually not interested in slagging off websites but for such huge money making machines, many of the monsters of rock have pretty ugly and dated looking sites.

The general theme and design of many of these sites is a dark pattern or black background, barely legible text with red text links being popular and rectangular images. The homepages tended to have a vast amount of information crammed onto them in small boxes with very little white space. Many of the sites had a distinctly early noughties feel to them. While it’s important to design for your target audience, and I certainly wasn’t expecting pink or floral backgrounds, it would be really nice to see some interesting use of photography combined with good typography on these old-school metal sites.

In The Could Do Better Category



Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden







Twisted Sister






Overall, from a design point of view I found most of these sites to be uninspired and in some cases downright messy. These are very wealthy bands and musicians and I think it’s time they threw a few more dollars in the direction of their websites.

Breaking The Metal Mold (a little bit)

On the positive side, there were a few sites that broke away from the boxy, black information overload approach as seen in the sites above, these included:

Ozzy Osbourne




Music aside, what do you think of these heavy metal band sites? Have you seen any sites from this music genre that you really liked?

Tags: Web Design Tutorials & Articles
Jennifer Farley is a designer, illustrator and design instructor based in Ireland. She writes about design and illustration on her blog at Laughing Lion Design.

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  • Aleksandar Jovanovic

    In my opinion artist or whoever does their image are not involved enough with the websites, they put in so much work when its about album cover or posters etc. Its like they don’t understand how much internet is important these days, Nightwish a band from Finland used to have a really good website it felt like part of them, and went really nice with the current album cover. Now they have reverted to something that looks like WordPress with a simple theme.

    Designers don’t seem too familiar with the artist they are representing(or the music), so most of the sites look like heavy metal stereotypes mashed together. Not to mention usability and how uncomfortable to read some of them get(Slayer wins with red letters on dark red background). If an Irish pub would need a website and designer mashes up all the stereotypes together do you think customer would be pleased?

  • RichardJ

    I happen to be a big metalfan myself (very active in the scene as a drummer in 2 bands and as a designer for artwork and some organizing work also).
    But regarding websites for metalbands you see that most of the bands do not care about it. They use the artwork from their latest cd to create a website with and in these days most of the bands just use myspace. It’s free, it’s easy and a quick way to directly target audience.

    There are some cases of bands who do care and they have websites which show more the overall esthetics of the band. Some good cases (in my opinion) from some more underground bands are:

    – Behemoth (from Poland) http://www.behemoth.pl/site/index.php/eng
    – Control Human Delete (from the Netherlands) http://www.controlhumandelete.com/

    Wow i guess that’s the only 2 that come to mind that are a little representative. I guess there is much work to be done in this field!

  • jonner

    Although some of these sites are certainly cringe inducing, as a fan of metal there is nothing more cringe-worthy than hearing those who know nothing about the genre (save for a movie they just watched) trying to discuss it. Especially when they patronizingly use the word “greats” in quotes.

    Unfortunately, the truth is that most metal bands and fans, particularly of the “old-school” variety as you put it, simply do not care about websites. I’ve been a Web Designer for years and a fan of metal for longer, but after years of attending metal shows and meeting many fans, I can safely say I’m the exception to the rule. As useless and horrible as MySpace otherwise is, many metal bands still use it over a “real” website to connect with their fans. It appears that the designers of these sites have tried to mimic every terrible MySpace band page layout. This appears to be another issue of a client that doesn’t know anything about web standards or practices choosing a designer that apparently doesn’t know much about them either.

    • http://www.laughingliondesign.net Jennifer Farley

      My intention was certainly not to be patronising. I mentioned pretty early on that I know nothing about metal music , i still don’t, but I enjoyed the movie. This post was not about the music but about the websites which are pretty shoddy.

  • JaredR.

    When it comes to musical artists and their websites I think Soap&Skin (http://soapandskin.com/) stands one of the more creative.

    Skinny Puppy front man Ohgr (http://www.wdihtf.com/) has a great site as well.

  • http://r.je TomB

    Not a “great” band, and not a great from a design point of view but I’ve always found the look of Blind Guardian’s OLD site beautiful: http://www.blind-guardian.com/discography.php3 it’s a piece of art. They changed it since last time I visited it, and not in a good way! The old pages are up there though. The new site ( http://www.blind-guardian.com/ ) is horribly generic and boring.

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