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The Metal Claw, and why I love it.

I have no doubt that many of you are familiar with the Metal Horns, the typical hand sign associated with heavy metal appreciation. I have no problem with the horns on principle. They serve to show how fucking into the music you are. When the metal gets so fucking intense that you just can’t take it anymore, the extended index and pinky fingers are excellent heatsinks for all the metal intensity built up in your frail, human form. God knows that I threw the horns more times than you could believe when I was a teenager. I love the horns. The horns are awesome.

Here are a couple of examples of the horns being used appropriately.

Ronnie James Dio - Popularly considered the inventor of the horns
Ronnie James Dio - Popularly considered the inventor of the horns
Nergal of Behemoth throwing the horns
Nergal of Behemoth throwing the horns

Nevertheless, the horns are subject to rampant abuse. Watch the MTV music awards sometime and notice how many kids in the front throw the horns for all sorts of random bullshit, none of which falls under the “metal” header. You’ll see pop stars and country music stars and assholes on American Idol throwing the horns. What the fuck? Don’t you fucking dipshits get it? The horns are not for you and your bullshit music; the horns are an expression of metal. Yet sometimes the horns aren’t sufficient. And the horns are expected, practiced. The horns, for as great as they are, leave something to be desired these days.

For this reason, I am a supporter of the Metal Claw. When the horns just can’t do it, then you must make the claw. Where the horns send metal from only two fingers, the claw sends metal from all five. That’s 150% MORE METAL.

Typically associated with Satan, though not actually so, the horns can be divisive. The claw on the other hand promotes unity across all metal genres. Here is an example of my favorite Christian as Fuck death metal band of the moment making HEAVY use of the claw. I mean, seriously, check out his Jesus t-shirt.

In contrast, we have Nergal of Behemoth, a profound believer in Darkness, making the Claw while recording.


See the difference here? In the first photo he is on stage, performing, throwing the horns to a photographer. In the second he is focusing on the task at hand in the studio, feeling the slaughter erupt in his veins. Thus the Claw is made.

You might say, “But Joe, this claw you speak of is a new phenomenon. Was not the almighty Dio throwing the horns in the early 80s?” This is a good point, but I have evidence to the contrary. Here is 1995’s “Slaughter of the Soul” by At The Gates.

Too new for you? How about some proto-Claw throwing by Bruce Dickinson? Check it at about 1:30 into the video.

And so, it is with this incredibly persuasive argument in mind that I am pleased to unveil The Official The Black Laser Seal of Approval. Check it out:

How sweet is that shit? My Photoshop skills are legendary.

In conclusion, let us agree that while the horns have their rightful place in the Metal culture, the Claw is a true and brutal expression of what metal is and should be to the true aficionado. If I ever see the Claw thrown on American Idol—I don’t watch the show, so I guess I never will, however—then we’ll have to reevaluate its stance in my heart. But really, I think it’s as likely as hearing blast beats and harmonized growls in pop music, so I feel secure in the Metal Claw’s status as niche expression of intense metal power.


  1. Julian Julian December 8, 2008

    dude, that claw is flat-out AWESOME.

    and yet even though i have never seen that At the Gates video, i am strangely underwhelmed, probably because their music brings up far more brutal visuals in my mind than what was offered in that clip. that disc-saw/spark machine thing was pretty badass though. that should have just been the whole video.

  2. The Wizard The Wizard Post author | December 8, 2008

    Maybe I see that video through rose-tinted glasses. When I first saw it when I was 13 or 14, it was the awesomest shit I had ever seen. Tomas Lindberg as the gnarly Swedish Metal Jesus? Sign me up for that shit!

    I wonder if you can get that Earache My Eye tape on DVD. I loved that thing.

  3. Don Diggler Don Diggler December 19, 2008

    Remember how much we watched Earache My Eye? I have been looking for that on DVD and I dont think it exsists. I would like a shirt please of “The Black Laser Approves Logo” I wear an XL. Thank you sir.

  4. Don Diggler Don Diggler December 19, 2008

    What was the name of the really shit band that thought they were witches? Im sure they are amazing people……..

  5. Don Diggler Don Diggler December 19, 2008

    Dude….Im watching it right now. You should post this amazing piece of music video history

  6. Don Diggler Don Diggler December 19, 2008

    I clicked the link and it was like finding the holy grail after having it my hands but then losing it for a century. I love thee.

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