Without Metallica, there would be no modern metal — at least as we know it. From day one, Metallica was faster, louder, and heavier than anything else that had been heard at the time. Formed in 1981, the band has sold over 50 million Metallica albums since 1991, they have had five consecutive albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200, and they were the first band ever to play all seven continents.
Unlike a lot of bands who may change their logo numerous times over the years, Metallica has kept the same signature logo their entire career, with only slight iterations. Originally designed by singer James Hetfield, and first seen on the cover of 1982’s “Power Metal,” Metallica’s first released demo, the logo that displays the band’s name is nearly as iconic as many of the group’s biggest hits. The rigid edges, the way the “M” and “A” hook around, almost as if they are framing the album’s cover art, and bold edges of the logo’s font all protrude the same amount of attitude as Kill Em All’s “Battery.”
Except for St. Anger, which featured no text on its cover, all mainline album releases by Metallica have featured the band’s logo in one way or another. Often very large and very prominent, every single piece of Metallica merchandise sold on Merchbar.com also proudly displays the band’s logo. From the vintage Metallica Tour ‘86 shirt to the recent Lords of Summer vinyl. It is easily recognizable and both the band and fans alike proudly display the logo across their chest, stage, and shelves.
Metallica’s logo saw a more conservative redesign for sister albums Load and Reload, with edges being softened and points being shortened. But other than that — and the aforementioned St. Anger — Metallica’s logo has stayed true to form, and for good reason.
In 2008, when visual artist Turner Duckworth was hired to design album art for the band’s latest release, Death Magnetic, he wanted to revive the original logo: modernizing it, yet holding true to the original. Because “great brands are unmistakable,” his website reads.
With rumors of a new Metallica album in the works, time will tell if the band once again employs their iconic logo, but chances are that after 34 years, the band is firm believers in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Make sure to check out all of Merchbar’s Metallica merchandise here.