Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Great moments in metal photography: Mortuary Drape

The world of black metal has always been dominated by theatrics. In response to low budgets and lack of stagecraft, bands like Dark Throne perfected the idea of shooting all pictures in dark environments, and in black and white (cutting out the mid-tones). This was the easiest way to hide the fact that the pictures were being taken in their mom's front yard. Italy's Mortuary Drape are the complete opposite, flaunting their low budget costumes and make-up in full color. You'd almost have to admire them, if it weren't for the fact that they look like retards.

Fantastic purple vest on this hooded young man. Quilted items are big for black metal this season. Who said that a store like J. Jill was not a metal place to shop?

While I applaud the consistent use of purple throughout costumes and props, I have to point out a few things. The tombstone is clearly made of cardboard and hard to read due to this picture being taken with a disposable camera. Also:
1. This guy looks depressed, and also pregnant. Maybe he's depressed because he's wearing a Mama Cass-like robe.
2. I love the little curl of hair on this guy's forehead. He's like a black metal Superman.

1. This guy was all "no-ah way-ah, I get to hold the cross made of 2x4's. I put on my aqua colored jeans and purple vest. I'll be damned if I have to stand behind the cardboard tombstone-ah" (the "ah"s are my way of saying that they probably speak with an Italian accent.)

1. Is this little strip of chest hair the Italian version of a soul-patch? Fantastic cape, by the way.
2. Nice consistent use of the purple again, great way to generate a brand. Love the quilted vest.

1. These guys are singlehandedly keeping the Italian cardboard industry afloat.
2. "This-ah show-ah gonna be so nice, all the tombstones look awesome, I HAVE-ah to tape this and watch my performance"
3. Gibraltar brand triggers. Of course. What would metal be without your bass drum sounding like a typewriter.
4. Nice upside down cross made of chain. Shop class welding lessons are paying off.

1. Do the roadies have to dress in costume as well? Damn. Maybe he plays keyboards? No, the keyboards are on the right. Hmm. Maybe he's the ghost of lame black metal from the future coming to pay them a visit.
2. Sweet lights at the edge of the stage. Tony Bennett would be proud.
3. Nice altar with red velvet tablecloth. I wonder if the roadie ever gets yelled at for forgetting the candles, and table cloth. "Luigi! you forgot-ah mama's table cloth again-ah!"
4. Aw, the cross fell.
5. Lime green Steve Vai signature guitar? Not very black, or metal.


  1. Just discovered your blog, I'm an old fart metal fan myself, your comments are pure gold, had me laughing at work.

  2. I never figured that Mortuary Drape were a black metal band, they seemed more like they were aiming for a Mercyful ah-fate kinda thing to these eyes. Then again, I concluded this from just looking at their covers.

  3. (Post scriptum in your face: Any fucktrain who claims Mercyful fate were a black metal band (including the reanimated corpse of Euronymous, in case that should arise, hahah, did you get my funny fucking joke about arising?) can go fuck himself.)

  4. i agree they may not be black metal. i've never heard them nor would i want to. i don't need to, and refuse to. i just like their funny pictures. but in their myspace page they are listed as black metal/death metal. and as we all know...myspace is like the crystal ball of metal. ask it, and it will tell you the truth about any band. do people really say that merciful fate was black metal? oh man. wrong they are. i once sat backstage during a Death / Merciful Fate show and saw King Diamon walking around normally. ten minutes later he was in costume and walking around hunched over. he insited in being called "king" once in costume. what a pop tart.

  5. I once overheard some idiot claiming early Sepultura was black metal because their "lyrics" were "Satanic" (which approximates Euronymous' view on that matter rather well, even though he at some point in the early nineties stopped calling Mayhem a death metal band and opted for black metal even though their music and lyrical content was the same) so I suppose people will decide to believe most anything. If they're shitheads.

  6. Here's a completely ridiculous scenario I just dreamed up (straight from the top of my dome): perchance the constant fucking purple is a yet-unfulfilled attempt at a hilarious joke alley oop wherein the band has gone for years expecting someone to call them Mortuary Grape. I didn't claim it was probable.

  7. Svein, you're a genius, man, ha, ha...

    All I can say is this: Mortuary Grape... BREAKFAST CEREAL. They can call be characters. Like Boo-Berry and shit.

  8. no no no! they're like the california raisins! hence the purple. i've never heard the music...maybe they just sing ray charles tunes and doo-wop oldies. they are grapes and/or raisins. that's it.
    Euronymous was perhaps not the brightest guy around, how did he get to be such a leader in the world of black metal? It's funny to think that "rules" about so many types of sub cultures are made up by teenagers or those in their 20's. now kids live by that stuff...just look how confused mortuary drape are. they don't know what the hell to do or how to look.

  9. ok, this has become my favorite post here so far. i'll make sure to keep you guys up-to-date on which one is my favorite post from now on.

  10. the best part about Mortuary Drape is their names. the singer's name is "Maniac Of Sacrifice." speak english or die you fucking wops!!

  11. I knew eventually you all would roast "th' drape."

  12. Haha, that guy in the middle, in the last picture, seriously looks like my granny. Granted, he looks kind of like my granny after she died.

    Perhaps a few Mortuary Grapes could easily poison an old, fragile lady to impending destruction! Those bastards must be after my granny's death. Worse, they seem to be trying to replace her!

  13. I could just be having a stroke, but I swear I've read that Mortuary Grape gag before... possibly in the Grimoire.

  14. They used to have good songs believe me, i had their "into the drape" mcd back in 93. But they always looked like shit anyway ! A lot of bands from that time sucked shit, it took me a few years to realize that. Broken dreams...

  15. This post is well deserved. Mortuary Drape is great, but every photo they're in is ridiculous.

    My introduction to the band is when I read a distro catalog section from some zine, and they advertized a Mortuary Drape "live" album featuring a real satanic sacrifice. GASP someone really died! But it wasn't even a live album. The distro guy probably got spooked by a scary intro, norwegian black metal was just catching on and the rumors were crazy. Just imagine if they tried to sell that angle with one of these photos.

    It's pathetic that I can remember stupid descriptions of CDs from catalogs 15 years ago. I just remembered that the phrase "carcass worship" was coined by someone trying to sell the first General Surgery CD in the Relapse catalog. I'm so proud.

  16. Being from Europe i actually heard them in the 90's and unfortunately listened a bit to their stuff.
    Here are links if any of you are interested in their shit:
    Older stuff

  17. I'm the drummer in pic n°5.
    I used to play in MD from 2002 til 2006.
    the trigger are DDRUM and not Gibraltar and the sound was not as you ignorantly say (moreover the sound comes not from the trigger, but from the drum module...).
    The cam on me is there because of MD where recording that show (it was the 20th anniversary show). you know when a band does a videorecording of a show? well is that! incredible!
    you can't find that videorecording because the singer beated a person during the gig and so the recording where ruined.
    I no longer play with them also for that, and I find your comment quite funny also if they come from a total ignorant person, who you are. as you can't use pics of the 80es together with pics of 2006 like they are the same things. and if you haven't listened to "buried in time", the latest album, the one I recorded with them I suggent you to do it. you can easily found all tracks in youtube.


  18. Hail and respect to Mortuary Drape.
    Ignoranti del cazzo. Translate this!
    Regen Graves

  19. Mortuary Drape was one of the first "black metal" bands and band such Darkthrone etc. and most of you can suck dicks them as when they started to play real occult black metal you were probably still swiming in your's father sperm.

    To the writer: with what fucking program you will change a photo into "cult-darkthrone-b/w-photo" in 1986... with Photoshop Hitler edition?

    Nowadays bands such Watain gain influences to Mortuary Drape for their own exsistence (besides all Mortuary Drape will tour with Watain in Brazil)

    learn some fucking music history you kiddies...

  20. "2. I love the little curl of hair on this guy's forehead. He's like a black metal Superman."

    Actually it is NOT a curl of hair, you waste of O2; it's simply a symbol drawn on the forehead.

    And it seems you don't know shit about the purple color and it's meaning into the Mediterranean and Roman-Catholic culture also; it's something the Drape knows perfectly and actually totally fits into the band's whole ideology/concept and intentions.


  21. "1. Do the roadies have to dress in costume as well? Damn. Maybe he plays keyboards? No, the keyboards are on the right. Hmm. Maybe he's the ghost of lame black metal from the future coming to pay them a visit."

    You FAILED again: that person is an ex-guitarist called Old Necromancer.

  22. Hilarious!
    I just discovered your blog today and am reading it all day...great.
    I was in the 90ties BM scene and alot of youth memories are coming back.

    but what is your thing with Nocturnus?