Shirt Stains: Potpourri


It’s beginning to smell a lot like Shirt Stains everywhere you go!

No special theme for this week. No specific genre of focus, no similar sound. The one attribute they all share is that they are bad. Okay, so they’re also all black t-shirts, but whatever; you get the point. Consider this a cornucopia of crap. A plethora of putridity. An abundance of ass. Take a big whiff of this metal merch potpourri. It smells like Shirt Stains.


Sonic Syndicate – Sonic who?


I don’t hate Sonic Syndicate. I also don’t love Sonic Syndicate. I nothing them. They’re like the pimento loaf of metal. They exist, and I have no desire to consume what they produce. But if there was absolutely nothing else and I was close to death, they would do. That being said, I do feel bad for the band who had to endure a bunch of metal fans being jerks to them while opening for Amon Amarth. Instead of pulling a Peter Steele and laughing at the fans by saying “You paid $15 American dollars to get in here. We’re getting paid, who’s the real asshole now?” Sonic Syndicate wrote a song about it. They would have been better off just ignoring the real-life trolling, but instead made it a big deal. This was one of those situations where there were no winners.

I’d like to believe they were still angry and embarrassed from the incident while making this shirt. It’s the only explanation for why they would hide their band name, not once, but twice. Splashed across the majority of this shirt is what I can only assume is a bitchin’ bird with the band’s little “S” compass symbol. While it may sound silly on paper, it actually looks pretty good. If it wasn’t so big and printed all cock-eyed with just the band name printed above it, this shirt would be cool.

For whatever reason, though, everyone involved in this shirt thought it would be a good idea to just completely block out the band name. A band name that manages to ride up all the way to the neck line, across to the armpit, and off to the ribcage. Maybe the artist was drunk. Maybe the printer was stoned. Maybe no one has any idea what they’re doing and just waiting for the moment when someone finally calls them on it.


 Serj Tankian – Version 1.5


Oh, Serj. While you may have the most successful solo career of all the members of System Of A Down, this shirt doesn’t convey it. It’s like a half-finished watercolor from a “Learn How To Paint!” class at the local community college. The thing still looks wet. The mixture of greys, browns, and whites looks like what’s left at the bottom of a coffee pot at a soon-to-be-closing Dunkin Donuts. It’s hard to read his name at the top and the “Elect The Dead Symphony” is kind of small. Taking a page out of Sonic Syndicate’s playbook are we?

I like the surprised look on Serj’s face. It’s like someone busted into Serj’s room while he was jerking off and took a picture. You can practically hear him yelling, “SHUT THE DOOR, MOM!” At least they captured his beard and mustache combo. Is he supposed to be playing piano? Maybe they’re supposed to paint that at next week’s class. Oops, too late. Shirt’s already been made.

The Haunted – Don Drapercore


This shirt is for The Haunted’s latest album Exit Wounds. I was excited to hear that Marco Aro was returning, as I had really enjoyed The Haunted Made Me Do It and One Kill Wonder. It seems like the new album was promptly forgotten about, despite being an aggressive return to form. I wonder why that happened. Are people no longer interested in that sound? Has time passed The Haunted by? Do people want more experimentation from the band? I leave that up to you to decide as there is no one answer. What we can agree on is that they probably shouldn’t have used the album art for a t-shirt.

In a smaller version, say as a cd cover or a small icon on iTunes, I can see where this might look good. Well, not good, but good enough. When blown up to fit a shirt, it just looks goofy. We’ve got a Mad Men-inspired shadow man with teeth as white as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a blizzard. This shadow man is psyched as all hell which is strange since he is on fire. Maybe he’s sexually attracted to fire. Oh, and the top of his head is turning into a hipster tattoo.

Just when you thought the pain was over, the back of the shirt screams at us. “Screams” is the correct term because they use an exclamation point. I appreciate the punctuation, even though the sentence still doesn’t make sense. “Cutting teeth grinding deep!” That would definitely get you a five point deduction on any English test. You better shape up The Haunted or else you’re going to be held back, just like Whitechapel.

Pierce The Veil – I can still see a little bit of black


This Pierce The Veil shirt was originally going to be in the “I want your skull” edition of Shirt Stains but didn’t quite make the cut. Thankfully, the metal-inspired commercial from India reminded me of its existence. Once again, this is a shirt where the initial design is good, but it’s ruined by people’s inability to stay out of their own way. While skulls on band shirts is way overdone, at least this design looks good. The fancy crown is a nice touch and the vegetation adds a splash of color. Are those flowers? I’ll just pretend they’re grapes.

For reasons unexplained, the skull is surrounded by a few fancy letters that hold no meaning to me. I guess they didn’t mean much to the designer because they’re practically off the front. Why blow up the whole design? There’s plenty of shirt to go around. The band’s name is forced to compensate by being just as big, leaving little room for anything else. This is a case of “smaller is better.” It’s hard to pierce the veil when there’s no room for either the veil or the piercing. Keep the grapes, though.


The Amity Affliction – The Broity Brofflictbro


The Amity Affliction are metalcore taken to it’s annoying end. You hate bad cop/good cop vocals? Well you’re going to want to rip off your ears and throw them at The Amity Affliction. The tough guy stuff is fine, if completely generic, but holy pop punk, are those cleans stab-worthy. I’m sure the meatheads at Warped Tour will lovingly point their stubby fingers during those parts. #ThanksRoadrunner #Momcanyoucomepickmeupatthemall.

There’s this weird trend for the past few years where somewhat heavy bands have semi-ironic shirts using typical metal symbols. This Lionheart shirt is a good example. I get it. It’s supposed to be funny, but it stopped being funny before I even finished this sentence. This Amity Affliction shirt tries to crank up the irony to such a degree that irony tried to get itself removed from the dictionary. Haha 666. Haha flames. Haha Baphomet…on wheels? Okay, that one is new. Jesus may have built my hotrod, but Baphomet built my go-cart. Using that font on “Affliction” to make it look like “Affitctton” really seals the irony deal. Good work using the Thrasher font for part of your name. Wouldn’t want a shred of originality to hurt this monument to fuck all. This shirt is the physical embodiment of someone asking to borrow your homework and they just cross out your name, write in theirs, and hand it in.

Now let’s see if Behemoth makes a shirt using Warpedtourcore tropes.

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