Shirt Stains: Metallica Outfitters



When you think of Metallica, what are some words that come to mind? Thrash? Big 4? Lars? WhooAAAoooOOOhhh? Yeah-heh!? Napster? How about body-shamers or massacre-promoters? No? Well, now you can because Metallica has hooked up with Urban Outfitters to peddle expensive clothing to shithead rich, white, soulless teens from the suburbs.

Urban Outfitters, whose longest section on Wikipedia is “Product controversies”, has been a lightning rod for condemnation over the past few years and for good reason. Whether it is a shirt evoking imagery from the Holocaust or promoting anorexia or merch that’s just plainold racist, Urban Outfitters is there to make a quick buck. Of course, a company that would sell this garbage would also treat other human beings like garbage. They’ve also been accused of stealing designs from independent artists as well as denying collective bargaining rights to employees. Metallica took a look at all that and said, “Yeah, that’s cool.” Hey, if the Dead Kennedys, Slayer, King Diamond, and Iron Maiden can do it, so can Metallica.

Normally, I would shit all over Metallica for this decision. Truth be told, I use most opportunities to shit on them because a) it’s fun b) it’s deserved. At this point in their career, though, this should be expected of Metallica. It’s expected that they’ll slap their name and logo and just about anything to make some fat stacks of cash. It’s expected that they would no longer contain one final shred of respect for their fans or themselves. It’s expected that they follow KISS and The Misfits into a merchandising utopia where any and everything is covered with your name and logos. So no, there’s no reason to give Metallica grief for cashing in as hard as possible. It’s just the way things are now for the band and that’s more devastating than any curse word or insult.


It looks like this long-sleeve shirt came from the same toilet that Lars gets his snare sound from. Holy ugly, Batman. When I think of Metallica, I don’t think of a purple logo and blue tie-dye. Then again, I try not to think of Metallica at all, but here we are. The tie-dye is 100% not needed. Why not just blue or black or fucking cerulean for that matter? Maybe it’s all just a ruse to distract us from the confusingly gross and grossly confusing logo.

This $44 dollar long-sleeve shirt comes with a jaundiced skull with a giant fist coming out of it’s head. Is this a commentary on the classic struggle of man vs. himself? A nod to the story of Athena’s birth from Zeus’s head? Judging by context clues from the rest of the design, I would say it means absolutely nothing. Is that a plane in front of the skull? What’s that in the corner? A bowl? James’s crystal slop bucket?

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA! This is a Sisyphean fate worse than death. All four members of Metallica forced to live eternity as giant, disfigured, conjoined heads forced to serve as  the gavel of a giant, malevolent disembodied hand. The tie-dye really brings out the soullessness in their eyes. This shirt, whose design comes from the band’s Damaged Justice tour, would be ugly even if Urban Outfitters is involved. Now it’s just expensively ugly without any of the memories you would have if you purchased the original shirt from the tour.

What is it with the skulls and the tie-dye? The Grateful Dead already cornered that market. This is just a cheap and easy way for Urban Outfitters to re-purpose someone else’s art to sell it to people who don’t know any better. I can’t wait for some vapid celebrity to be pictured wearing this so 50 metal blogs can cover it and insecure metal fans can lose their shit in the comments. All that, of course, is just free press for both the celebrity and Urban Outfitters. The cycle is complete and we’re all a lot dumber because of it.

As for the design of the shirt itself, this is what you see when you stare directly in the sun then rub your eyes really fast. A yellow vampire skull, more disembodied hands…I’m beginning to sense a theme that might work well as a plot for the next season of True Detective. We get something new on this shirt in the form of a five of giant, bloodshot eyes. What an odd number of eyes. Maybe one of the eyes belongs to a really stoned cyclops. There’s some writing at the bottom, but it looks like it was done by a 6 year old that just had a really strong cup of coffee, so I’m not sure what it says. I’m going to guess it says “All sales are final. No refunds. Peace out, bitches.”

The back of this shirt is actually the front of another Metallica tour shirt, this time from their 1990 Europe shows. This version is cheaper than the original, for sure, but it’s not worth the savings. It’s still ugly as sin. Is there a market for shirts that have a skull with uncooked spaghetti for hair on them? Well, probably, but those people aren’t dropping $34 on it.

Again! Again with the skulls! I know Metallica likes The Misfits, but this is getting ridiculous. This shirt isn’t particularly offensive to the eyes, I just wanted to bring it to your attention because someone, somewhere thought putting “REBEL” on the skull was incredibly funny. Does this mean that all rebels must die? Are they fans of female pro wrestler Rebel? Was it just a random word that the artist threw on to the skull at the last minute for copyright purposes?

Why does the skull have wings? Why does it have the Metallica logo in its mouth? Why is it a goddamn vampire skull again? It’s not tie-dye, but the shirt still looks off, like it has been pre-faded. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is completely thrown out the window into a truckbed full of rusty nails and salt when it comes to Urban Outfitters. Pay a lot of get whatever the fuck we give you. That’s the Urban Outfitters way.

Have I mentioned that all-over print shirts are terrible? Yes. Yes, I have. It is worth repeating. All-over print shirts are terrible. They took a great live photo, spread it out like butter on a piece of toast, and said “This. All of this.” If they could, the designers would have this shirt go past the stitching all the way to the wearer’s arms and legs. The precarious placement of the band’s goofy logo is as random as it is unnecessary. Is the back any better? What do you think?

Not only do we get a bigger version of their made-by-a-future-sociopath-logo, but we also get a giant “01” for some reason and Lars giving the finger to the crowd. Why? Because he’s Lars, that’s why. “Fuck you for coming out to see my band. Fuck you for paying an arm and a leg to watch me hit things for a few hours. And double fuck you for buying this shirt of me flipping the bird.”

The shirts can be purchased here or you can give your money to a good cause such as this here website. Send your personal checks, money orders, credit card numbers, bitcoins, and crumpled up dollar bills to us.  It’s a better investment and not as many people will laugh at you.

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  • GL

    I bet each one of those shirts weighs 5lbs with all that fucking ink/print-material.



  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    really though, I think we’re more likely to see these shirts on aspirational urban youth who can probably never name the song with no words on RtL

  • BattleBornNDN

    I’ve seen a lot of dumb shit, but this is definitely top 5.

  • Óðinn
    • GL


      • Óðinn


        • GL

          Imma half to minimize this lol

          • Óðinn

            I appreciate your honesty.

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    I don’t understand the hate on Metallica for leveraging their brand equity into merchandising. It’s no different than any band peddling t shirts at the merch stand in the lobby at a show, it’s just on a much larger scale.

    • GL

      It is because the entire world is BLACKENED. BLACKENED.

      Being negative all the time is no fun.

    • This is the same shit as buying a Ramones shirt at Target. These bands are more of a brand than anything else at this point.

    • tigeraid

      For me it’s more that they’re just tacky. They look like they glanced at whatever recent metal shirts were selling and tossed their logos on it. That doesn’t look like anything you see back in their albums. That, and like Affliction shirts for MMA fans/fighters, it’s mostly non-fans wearing them.

    • Dumpster Lung

      I’d normally agree, but in this case I think it’s less that they have merch (we all love band merch), but the fact that now they’ve gone on to produce clothing for a stupid, overpriced company. At least if you got a Metallica shirt at Target, you wouldn’t be paying upwards of $40 for it.

      But even that is beside the point that these designs are atrocious. At best, they’re ok (or at least established/previously used) designs, but slapped on a dumb tie-dye background, and at worst, just plain ugly to look at no matter what you do.

  • As a youth, I owned the first two designs printed a black t-shirt. Now my neighbor can have a spiffy new version of those for double the price! Solid deal

    • Just wait til some teens come ask, “What’s the best Metallica album, Load or Reload?”

      • Depechemodeisgangsta

        has to be Reload right?

        • C) LuLu feat. LoRead

          • Depechemodeisgangsta

            god i have never even bother to check that out at all.

          • years ago i woke up one saturday morning, hungover as sh*t, and listened to the whole thing.
            if you’re in the right state of mind, it’ll bring a few chuckles out of ya. it’s not good, but it sure is funny

          • Depechemodeisgangsta

            God no, is been 5 years since that thing came out, i don’t even want to bother, i hope Metallica doesn’t play any of those songs live.

    • Guppusmaximus

      Yea, I was wondering when someone was going to point it out to these kids that those designs aren’t new.

  • Joaquin Stick

    My gods, the chin on that top left Metallicabro in the gavel…
    As always, A+ roasting, 365.–uKiW_Mk9–/c_fill,g_face,q_70,w_479/f_jpg/v1/click/sites/8/2015/02/Lord-Farquaad1.jpg

  • tigeraid
    • GL


  • Tim Wilsön

    Like the majority of the shirts are ugly but honestly who really gives a shit. Like band t-shirts are normally such shitty quality that I’d be fine getting them from some of these sorts of places if they did them. Like why is it an issue

    • Hi, welcome to Shirt Stains. This is a weekly column dedicated to making fun of bad shirt design.

      • Tim Wilsön

        Okay poorly phrased on my part. I was more going for something similar to what Elegant Gazing Globe said above (which he managed more eloquantly) about not understanding the scorn at buying merch from urban outfitters/next etc.

        • Lone Biker of the Apocalypse

          Did you click on any of the links 365DOH so conveniently included in the intro explaining why the scorn is justified?

          Or, to put another way: Two words…Eat Less.

    • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

      Hello. What do you think about Zacky Vengeance of Avenged Sevenfold’s new look? He always has a bow tie and his hair gelled back. Personally, I think it’s kind of ridiculous. I like when he used to wear an ACDC or Misfits shirt or whatever now he looks like a nerd! Don’t get me wrong I think he’s awesome and I love A7X for eternity. But what DO you think??

      -Gretchen asked, 7 Years Ago

  • Howard Dean

    “Alright folks, take a seat for a second. My quants just crunched the numbers from the most recent earnings report. We did some analysis based on projected free cash flow generation, enterprise value, and expected IRR for a modest-sized investment. The ToH is gaining momentum, but despite the exuberance and optimism displayed by their CFO 365DaysofHorror on the firm’s most recent earnings call, they haven’t quite overtaken Metallica in the metal famdom sphere. Metallica is trading super high right now, maybe too high at 15x FY16 EBITDA, but let’s face it: they are still the table.

    I’m certainly not putting a “sell” rating on the ToH just yet, but I’d like to see the blog string together a few more quarters of strong earnings before I give it a “buy.” Time’ll tell. CEO Joseph Thrashnkill is hoping some of the ToH’s new features like the Weekly Podcast and old cash cows like Riff ov the Week can offset some of the losses from the firm’s ill-advised ventures (I’m looking at you, Riff or Raff and Dropping the Gloves with Chris Simonopolosistamos). It looks like the firm is taking the necessary steps to pivot away from its freewheeling past.

    Look for the firm to reenter the merchandising space with the launch of new t-shirt designs in Q2. Also in FY17, expect the firm to finally ban serial contrarian and grumpy old bastard Howard Dean. It’s been a long time coming, and we expect it to cause a positive (albeit short-lived) surge in share price.

    Metallica is a better investment than the Toilet ov Hell as of Q1 2017. It doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy. But the numbers don’t lie, folks. Look for Metallica to continue its brand dominance in FY17 and beyond.”

    Metallica ($TBLE): Soft Buy
    Toilet ov Hell ($FLSH): Neutral

    • Hans Copronym

      I predict banning Howard Dean is going to be part of the, as of yet, nebulous redesign of the brand that has stockholders holding their breath.
      That and revitalizing the Bump ‘N Grind product line could really launch ToH towards closing the gap.

  • Waynecro

    I hate tie-dye. The Pushead art is still pretty cool, though I have no idea what’s going on with that spaghetti-haired skull. It looks like a super-edgy aromatherapy diffuser from Pier 1 Imports.

  • Dental_Damnation

    Can we talk about how absurd it is for a man in his 50’s to be wearing that many ‘friendship bracelets”? I think there’s probably a couple “Live Strong” ones in there too….

  • saprophial

    Oh, Kvelertak. You deserve more.

    True Detective, you don’t. Just let it go.

  • Kyle Reese

    Zoom into the picture to see Lars giving the devil horns. Not to mitigate the disastrous folly on display. Just to PEDANT.

  • Ted Nü-Djent ™

    That last shirt was pure garbage

  • My eyes are fine

    Looks better than your recent toilet shirt |(no offense but a million barfs)