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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