Metal Insider’s Top 5 is a column where we count down the top five of…well basically anything.

Arguably, one of the most important elements of a band is their name. It sets the tone for the what you expect to hear from their music, and if your band picks a good name, you’re pretty much halfway to immortality. However, if you pick one that isn’t that fitting of your music, it’s a battle to overcome your name. With that in mind, here’s our list of bands that, despite having names that sound metal, are heavy in moniker only.


5. …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

You can almost picture a group of teenagers listening to Cannibal Corpse for the first time saying to each other “Dude, we should name OUR death metal band …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead! That would be ssoo brutal!!” And yet it’s actually the name of an alt rock group (often abbreviated as …Trail Of Dead) from Austin. The band supposedly jokes that the name is taken from an ancient Mayan ritual chant. However, the band does have a little death metal cred since they did open for Dethklok during the cartoon metal band’s first ever tour in 2007, and have been known to trash their instruments onstage.


4. Murder By Death
While IL indie rock band Murder by Death isn’t metal, their subject matter sure is. The band’s second album, Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them, is about the devil waging war on a small town in Mexico. The band’s gothic alt-country sound,  fleshed out by cellist Sara Balliet, is definitely worth a listen, but it’s not pit-inspiring at all. Also, it should be noted that the band got their name from a 1976 comedy.


3. The Killers

This may be the first time we’ve ever mentioned Brandon Flowers in Metal Insider, but we’re mentioning his band, not him. The alt pop rock band behind hits like “Mr. Brightside,” “Somebody Told Me,” and “Bones” is anything but metal. But if their band name is metal enough to be the name of an Iron Maiden album, then it’s good enough for us.


2. Band Of Skulls

Maybe a little too simple of a name for a black metal group, but it could fit well for a hard rock/ biker themed band. Instead, though, Band Of Skulls is an alt rock band with a heavy blues influence from Southampton, England. In addition to having a metal sounding name, they also have song titles like “Death By Diamonds And Pearls” and “The Devil Takes Care Of His Own.” One way to know for sure, though, that this trio isn’t a metal group: they’re featured on the Twighlight Saga: New Moon sound track. (thanks for the inspiration, Zena Metal)


1. Death

How dare we call Chuck Schuldiner’s pioneering death metal band not metal? Actually, it’s not them we’re talking about – there was a band called Death long before Chuck even picked up a guitar. Garage and punk band Death was a trio of African American brothers from Detroit that formed in 1971 and decided to be a punk band after seeing Alice Cooper. Apparently, seven songs they recorded in 1974 were funded by Columbia, but then-President Clive Davis refused to release it unless they changed their name, which they refused to do. The band split up soon after, but reformed last year.


Honorable Mentions:

Emperor X

We hope that at least once someone searching for the Norwegian black metal icons by accident added an X and stumbled upon C. R. Matheny’s noise folk project, or vice versa.


Ghostface Killah

There are a lot of rappers with pretty metal=sounding names, but we’ll throw our horns up to one of the Wu Tang Clan’s most prominent members. If his name was “Killer” and not “Killah,” he’d have made the list outright.



Heavy D

Metal is, by its definition heavy. Therefore, if a band or artist name has “heavy” in it, they should at least be considered for the list. Too soon?