Two Tickets to Merchandise: Mastadon
If it was possible for me to listen to most heavy metal albums without getting a headache, I’d probably be a Mastadon fan. Not just because the Atlanta-based four piece has been crafting solid, forward-leaning, critically-acclaimed metal since the early 2000s. Or the fact that they’ve made cameos in Game of Thrones (as Wildings, naturally). Or that I saw the band in an airport one time, which feels like it has to count for something.
Those factors are great reasons to become a Mastadon fan, but there’s one more: they have excellent visual aesthetics. This has been obvious over the band’s career, as their record covers developed a distinct, illustrative visual style that set them apart from bands of any genre, let alone a sea of unimaginative metal acts.
As you’d expect, their merch benefits from these unique designs, but Mastadon also takes their items a step further.
The image on this t-shirt is taken from the cover of Mastadon's 2006 album, Blood Mountain. It's an awesome, totally metal illustration, even if you had no idea what it was meant to represent. It's the type of shirt I could see being sold at Upper Playground, for instance, referencing nothing in particular besides just being a dope illustration of some nightmarish antlered demon. Other bands, take note: When you start with awesome album art, awesome merch is a simple byproduct. And this shirt is awesome, but wait...
That's correct, these are Blood Mountain leggings. See how easy that is? Maybe get your lady a pair if she's into that sort of thing.
No, this insane shirt— which recalls vintage street/skate/surf wear— doesn't contain official album art. It's a random, original design that prove Mastadon are a multifaceted merch threat.
Owls with lasers shooting out of their eyes chasing six-eyed tigers? Yes. Again, this is an example of a t-shirt that, if you removed "Mastadon," could be sold at any number of retailers. And I'm betting there's a lot of crossover between the type of folks that are into this design and those who love Mastadon. These guys know their audience.
The eye-popping artwork from Mastadon's Once More 'Round The Sun gets converted into a backpack, and I'd definitely nag the shit out of my parents to buy me if a new school year was rolling around.
There are tons more great examples of merch glory over at Mastadon's store, including the pint glasses at the top of this post. Honestly, I'm about ready to nominate Mastadon to the Merch Hall of Fame. Keep up the great work, guys.