My 5 Favorite Metal Shirts of 2017 Reviewed for Quality!

Like a lot of thirty-something beardy hipster metal fans these days I typically buy vinyl LPs that have digital download codes attached to them or I buy digital exclusively if I can’t get an LP for less than $25 bucks. After moving from Portland to Los Angeles and then up to Seattle in the space of four years I had to say goodbye to a lot of beauteous, lovely vinyl sleeves for the sake of space and weight. To curb my withdrawal from further purchasing loved ones that I’d inevitably leave behind, and to continue supporting the bands I love, I began reviving my metal t-shirt buying habit.

The early days of my band shirt collection were hilarious. From the baggy 311 shirt I never wore to middle school because it was baby blue, to the bootleg Obituary shirt from their ‘Back From the Dead’ tour with gigantic yellow lettering on the back that I couldn’t wear without a jacket. Hell, I’ll never forget when my mom bought me a ZZ Top t-shirt from Goodwill when I was eight years old, it was the album cover to ‘Afterburner’ and I was stoked that it might have something to do with Star Trek or whatever. I’ve made some questionable decisions! But this year was great despite the loss of my Morbus Chron ‘Sweven’ t-shirt that I cannot find a replacement for (I’ll literally pay $75 for a medium if you have one). I bought a few things that don’t really fit here like a Vektor shirt from last year’s album, a replacement Absu shirt that came with the bundle from their 2011 album, and a bootleg Sepultura shirt that is just the cover of ‘Beneath the Remains’ with a kind of orange tone to it. Still waiting to find good Execration, Kawir and an Unsane shirt without stuff on the back. I don’t like when shirts have shit on the sleeves or back.


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Artist/Album Associated Kadavar – ‘Rough Times’
Type/Size Short Sleeve/Medium
Quality 2.75/5.0
BUY from Nuclear Blast (Includes Digipak CD)
Genres
Stoner Rock, Heavy Psych, Doom Metal

Well I was buying ‘Rough Times’ anyhow and figured $24 was OK for a shirt and a record. The shirt is ring-spun cotton which is soft but breathable fabric that tends to cling and curl if you wash it warm. It shrank more than I liked, I’m a medium but still a fatty and it hugs my stomach and has very short sleeves. I would only recommend this for women or men with lots of tattoos to show off. My hairy biceps feel naked without a jacket in this shirt.

 


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Artist/Album Associated Unearthly Trance – ‘Stalking the Ghost’
Type/Size Short Sleeve/Medium
Quality 4.0/5.0
BUY from Bandcamp $19
Genres
Sludge Metal, Doom Metal

So, I love this shirt. It fits really well at a medium and is a thick natural cotton Gildan t-shirt with a tag that was easy to tear off. It fits properly at a medium and the neck is tight, just like the Power Trip shirt (same t-shirt brand), and thick but I can wear it without feeling like I’m wearing a canvas bag or a woman’s shirt. Not the ultimate comfort but an amazing design taken from one of the best album from 2017. It has held up really well to washing, though it has faded a bit mostly due to being worn the most and washed the most.

 


 

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Artist/Album Associated Power Trip – ‘Nightmare Logic’
Type/Size Short Sleeve/Medium
Quality 4.0/5.0
BUY from Cold Cuts Merch $18
Genres
Thrash Metal

Walking around Seattle wearing this probably got the most random passerby notices. Some DSA canvassers knew the band and talked to me downtown for a while, and a guy with a poodle-assed girlfriend mansplained to her that he “didn’t listen to them” but they are “very fast and loud”. High five! I love the design and it looks awesome from far away. Fits just as well as the Unearthly Trance shirt with those thick cotton Gildan style t-shirts. The neck is a bit tight, but maybe I’m just fukken ripped. Power Trip have an awesome logo and it really reads well from any distance while looking thorny and bad-ass. Despite the detailed breaks in the smashed skull, the design hasn’t chipped off despite washing this quite often.

 


 

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Artist/Album Associated Spirit Adrift – ‘Curse of Conception’
Type/Size Short Sleeve/Medium
Quality 4.0/5.0
BUY from BigCartel $15 (Out of stock)
Genres
Doom Metal

Again with the heavy Gildan cotton, it holds the pattern really well despite having a washing machine with an agitator. I’ve only worn this three times so it has a rich black color still, but it’ll lose a few shades after 5-6 washes. I like the large design with the cover art but it does feel like I have a sticker stuck to my belly when I’m sweating at a show. Love the design and love the album, and I appreciate how the logo is big and readable so when folks see it they don’t ask me what the band name is. I’ve had shirts like this before and I know the artwork will naturally crack apart but the black breaks in the design should have it hold up pretty well. The colors are similar to Dissection shirts I’ve had in the past and the cracks blend it with the black/blue artwork.

 


 

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Artist/Album Associated Droid – ‘Terrestrial Mutations’
Type/Size Short Sleeve/Medium
Quality 4.25/5.0
BUY from Bandcamp $15 CAD
Genres Thrash Metal, Progressive Metal

The day I first heard Droid I e-mailed them and asked if they were putting out any shirts. I loved their design and that album artwork from Karmazid was pure sci-fi novel beauty. Great to see they got a design from him for the shirt and really designed something that expresses the soul of the album. This was printed on thinner cotton and it feels pretty stylish and wears a little tight for a medium. I’d probably get a large because it’ll shrink a little bit, made me look like a fatty anyhow. I made the mistake of washing this without turning it inside out so part of the logo has shredded a slight amount, but that is more the fault of my washing machine than the shirt itself.

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