Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Metal Inquisition Archives: Pencil renderings of metal bands (Part 1)

This is the first post (I mean "piece") in what will probably be a long series of posts about the contents of the recently found Metal Inquisition Archives. Much like a time capsule that was left behind for decades, the Metal Inquisition Archives feature incredibly telling artifacts from the lifelong commitment to metal that my brother and I have shared. A bit like our ongoing Metal Archeology series, this one will focus on the contents of a single storage bin that was recently unearthed. For many years, most of the contents of the archives were kept secret, partially due to having forgotten about them...but also as a result of my sheer embarrassment of its contents. Some years ago, in an attempt to make Sergeant D laugh, my brother and I shared some key pieces from this collection, and laugh he did. To this day, there are still a few things about the collection that he continues to bring up in order to make himself laugh. We hope you have a similar reaction. So why share this stuff with the world, when we've been hiding it for years? I have no idea. Perhaps I think of our readers as our family. No, that's probably not it at all. I guess I'm just an all-around good guy and want to share the wealth with the world. Either that, or I'm self destructive and hate myself, who knows. Let's get started.

What are these things?
The items I'm sharing with you today are some one of the key pieces of the collection. Both the Smithsonian and the Getty have been after these for sometime, but we turned down offers that totaled dozens of dollars, so that we may share these with you, our readers. You see, these are just some of the amazing drawings that my brother and I created back in 1988 and 1989, although some are as recent as 1991. As you will see, the artistic skills shown in these pieces of art are only rivaled by our lack of understanding of the English language. Sadly, Blogger is not great at showing large images...but don't worry, at the end of this series I'll provide a link so you can download a hi-res PDF of these pieces, which are suitable for framing (Thomas Kinkade, eat your heart out). In the meantime, double click the images, and enjoy them at a much larger size.

Why were these horrible "masterpieces" drawn in the first place?
I don't have a great answer to this question. My brother and I were not exactly loners growing up, but the huge stack of drawings in front of me seems to tell another story. We had friends, enjoyed sports, and took public transportation all over the city where we grew up. We weren't sickly or awkward (at least not too awkward), but I guess we also liked staying at home and drawing away. We were always obsessive as kids, and when metal became a part of our lives, we dove in head first. In South America back then, the chance of ever seeing a live metal band was slim at best. The opportunity of ever seeing a world-class band, or even a fifth-rate thrash band (I'm looking at you Laaz Rockit) was non-existent. Similarly, we had no access to magazines or even metal albums. All of our tapes were tenth generation dubs with no covers, and perhaps as a result of this isolation, our minds were left to wander. Sometimes, we would see a tiny bit of a band's video at a friend's house, and our minds were blown to the point of having to draw the image that had been burned into our minds. Looking at many of these drawings, I'm taken back to that time, and can easily place why certain things are in these drawings, such was the impact that imagery within the realm of metal had on me. It's for this reason that I often feel that those of us who grew up in seemingly distant and secluded nations had a greater bond to metal and other subcultures. This is not something I'm particularly interested in debating, as I'm certain I could be proved wrong, but when I think back to just how insanely obsessive we were about metal, I'm often left to think that it was more about our surroundings than our personalities. Like a religious fanatic who praises the unknown, metal seemed like a distant heavenly thing, and we worhsiped at the altar of metal.

How/when were these masterpieces drawn?
The majority of these pieces were done by me (each one signed and dated on the back), with a few being done by my brother as well. A few were done as collaborations since my brother was way better at drawing hair (especially mid-headbang), and I was better at drawing drumsets. You see, I badly wanted a set of drums, and my brother wanted a bass guitar. Although we lived in an extremely populous city, there was only one instrument shop in the whole city. We had never been there, as it was well over an hour we also fetishized musical instruments as much as we did bands and metal in general. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that the first time I ever saw a set of drums in person, I nearly fainted. I was so excited that I simply couldn't contain myself. Again, this speaks to the level of isolation that we lived in. Still, it was a great childhood, and many of those positive memories took place at my desk, drawing these amazing pieces of art. My bedroom was next door to the family room, in which my father's Sony stereo system sat. Since I didn't have a stereo in my room, my brother and I took one of the oversized speakers (one of those huge ones with the fake wood veneer), and put it in my room so we could listen to music. In order to play a tape, we would have to go into the other room, start up the tape, and then go back into my room to listen to the right channel only, since we only had the one speaker in the room. To this day, there are certain Slayer and Venom songs that sound weird to me as a result of now being able to hear both channels. From time to time, we would play radio DJ for one another, plugging a set of headphones in the other room and using them as a mic. "And up next is a killer track from Slayer", we would say into the set of headphones, trying to entertain one another as we drew for hours. My brother was particularly good at it, taking care to mix music behind his talking, a skill that would come in handy years later when he hosted his own metal radio show for about four years. Keep in mind that I was 10-11 at the time. I'm not saying my age makes it any less embarrassing, but I'm hoping it puts things into context for you.

It was through that old, piece of doo-doo Sony stereo that we would make dubs from our friend's tapes. The stereo, I should tell you, did not have two cassette decks, oh no. The way we copied tapes was by playing the cassette on my dad's stereo, and placing a small boombox by the speaker, which recorded the sound from the stereo. We surrounded the speaker and the boombox with pillows, and made sure not to talk or make any noise during the full duration of the dubbing session. Now that you have a clearer picture of when a 10-11 year old version of me worked on these drawings, you can enjoy them that much more.

The masterpieces

Let's just get this one out of the way right now. I know it's Mr Sergeant D's favorite, so this one's for him. Why on earth I shared this drawing with him many years ago, I'll never know...and why I'm posting these for all of you to laugh at me is also beyond me. First things first: yes, his shirt and the sticker on the guitar say:

Welcome to the hell

Did I warn you about my lack of English skills back then? I was 10 for god's sake, and all the English I knew was from Slayer songs and Eddie Murphy movies. This piece is unusual, in that it only depicts one member of a band, in this case the band is E.S.S., a made up crossover type band. When I say "crossover", I don't mean like DRI circa "Dealing With It". That would be way too cool. I mean, more like how Anthrax thought they were crossover by virtue of merely using the NYHC symbol on their guitars, and by having posed twice with a Variflex skateboard for a picture in RIP magazine. The band's name being three letters was a cue I took from bands that seemed to play har(d)core or punk, although I had never heard most of them. DRI, GBH, SOD, MOD...they all seemed the same to me. Again, I can't explain enough how detached I was from music and reality at large. Why his fretboard says "harcore", I'll never know. First of all (as a reader pointed out) it's missing a "d". But see.... I guess, he loved har(d)core music and wanted to let his fans know. Hey, no one gave James Hetfield any guff when he put that man/wolf design on his go take it up with him. The same is true for the backwards baseball hat, which I (for some odd reason) thought was a sign of being "har(d)core", and crossover. No one where I lived wore hats, it was a very American thing, and it seemed so odd to me. Note the GBH patch on his leg, which I erased for some reason. Lastly, I should point out that the guitar depicted is clearly a Jackson Dinky with a reverse headstock. I'm proud to say that after all these years, I'm a proud owner of that guitar, which I bought from one Sergeant EMG pick-up and tremolo included.

Please note:

- The unbelievable detail on his fingers. The poor guy's left hand looks like a packet of hot dogs.

- E.S.S. stood for Eat Shit Stupid. I have no idea where I came up with that. If only I had access to the Nocturnus time machine, I'd use it to go and ask the 10 year old version of me what I was thinking.

- Highly realistic pose, at least as far as the legs are concerned.

- The guitar strap realistically shows the slack created by the dude having picked up the guitar to do his sweet solo. Come on, give me some credit here!!!

Another made up band, this time it's Satan Sons, not Satan's Sons...just Satan Sons. Apparently possessive nouns were a difficult thing for me to learn in the English language. As I think about it now, it sounds like a plumbing business. Toilet clogged? Are your drains slow? Call Satan Sons, they'll fix you right up.

Considering when this was drawn, I would have to say that the influences for this piece were primarily the Ultimate Revenge video, and seeing the back of the Venom Black Metal album cover. What is the bass player on the right doing? Honestly, and I'm not even kidding, he's doing some sort of salute or prayer to the devil. Seriously. I remember thinking about this, and you will see it appear in other drawings. I guess that's what being raised in a catholic country will do to you. Can you imagine walking into your 10 or 11 year old's room, only to find him drawing this?

Please note:

- The bass player is using a chain as a guitar strap

- The lines coming up from the top of the page are my highly realistic depiction of the amazing light show that Satan Sons no doubt had.

- Guitar player on the left has an SOD patch on his trenchcoat (kinda' funny since the name of the band shows I didn't know how to speak English at all)

- Slayer t shirt

- sweet band logo, which predated Deicide's trifixion

Let's just talk about the obvious thing first. Yes, the band's name is Anti Posers...and yes...the slogan behind them says "slay a poser, & get a free yo-yo". Even typing it out, I get the shakes, and begin to laugh. I have no rational way of explaining this at all...except that I must have hated posers back then, and felt the need to convey it through a made up band that I drew. As far as how the band ran this promotion, or if it was their label or management that gave out the yo-yo's I don't know. You have to give it up to these guys, for feeling so strongly about a single message and really running with it. The was no mistaking their stance on posers...they were like Bikini Kill, Nocturnus, Voivod, Earth Crisis or Nile when it came to their singular lyrical focus.

Please note:

- The dude on the left has an "I hate posers" shirt, while the guy on the right has a shirt that repeats the yo-yo giveaway promotion they were currently advertising on that tour. These guys HATED posers. For real!

- I clearly got sick of drawing, and chose to cover the faces of two dudes with hair...thus minimizing my workload. I was smart, even as a little kid.

Another piece featuring a band you are now well-acquainted with, E.S.S. This one features the usual rubbery legs (see guitar player on the right), oddly shaped people (singer and bass player) and that all important "ahh fuck it" moment. What do I mean? it's the moment when I clearly decided I had been drawing long enough, and just wanted to be done. In this case, you can see how little effort was put into the drummer. His arms make no sense, the drumset sucks even more than everything else...I had clearly had enough and wanted to be done. If you're wondering where else in the world of metal this "ahh fuck it" spirit can be captured, look no further than the cover of Death Angel's Act III album. As Sergeant D has rightfully pointed out in the past, the artist wasted like six weeks getting the drapes to look realistic as hell...and when it came time to paint the people in the seats he just said "ahh fuck it", and drew repetitive stone statues. Speaking of Death Angel, when did they go from looking super sweet, like this:

(Note the short-shorts, and the all-white outfit.) To looking like this:

Which basically amounts to the dudes that change my oil with a nasty case of Tommy Victor's Disease. Which reminds me...a lot of white people make fun of Cross Colors clothing, which many-a-minority rocked in the early 90s. Well, its payback time. Let white people (and some Filipinos apparently) get laughed at for wearing Affliction. Okay, back to the drawing.

Please note:

- "Not Man" t-shirt, an homage to Anthrax, whom I loved at the time.

- E.S.S. flag being waved around by the badly drawn, chubby singer. This is definitely influenced by the Anthrax home video, where Scott waved that huge "NOT" sign.

- Check out the guitar player on the right, he's doing a killer solo as he slides on the floor. Weee!

- lots of guitar picks taped on the mic stands, which means they were probably throwing out tons of them to their adoring fans.

- bass player is wearing bermuda shorts, another Anthrax nod

- The guitar player on the left, is the same guy that was depicted on the first drawing. See his fretboard? It also says "Hard(c)ore". In this drawing I found yet another way to spell the same word incorrectly. I deserve some kind of award. Apparently he plays for a hugely popular band, but still prefers the warm, bluesy sound he gets out of his small 2-12 Fender amp.

- The bass drum on your left says "don't you fuckin' look at me", an obvious Antrhax reference.

- The monitor on the left has a number on it, 83. I remember seeing rented equipment being numbered like this when watching large concerts on TV, probably by someone like Jose Feliciano.

Hope you liked these, and hope I didn't oversell them. There are many more to come, as well as other weird crap from our archives. Another post about amazing art coming up this Friday.


  1. Good stuff. I like the way in the first image the text on the T-shirt is conveniently misplaced on one side of the shirt so it just happens to be fully visible despite a guitar across the chest. Also the word HARCORE (not HARDCORE) on the guitar neck.

    The guy on the right in the second pic is really disturbing. Which way is he facing, towards the back of the stage or towards the viewer? It looks to me like he's just had a very strenuous session with a chiropractor.

    My mum recently gave me a whole briefcase of drawings and stories from my early youth (3 - 10-ish). None as skillful as these but interestingly mine are quite violent and gory. Been meaning to scan them for ages...

  2. God bless your heart lucho.

    Whenever I find something old and sort of embarassing, i toss it out, but this post makes me wish I didn't.

    I wonder if my friend has my notebook drawings of david lee roth and dimebag darrell.


    What is Geddy Lee doing in a hardcore band?

    The guitarist for Satan Sons has Issac Newton Hair.

    I take it you got the idea for the les paul with uncut strings from old videos of Jeff Hanneman?

    Also they have a sort of paranormal vibe since they resemble apparitions now they sort of fade into the monitors.

    Lucho, as a kid what did you think when you first saw the slayer live undead artwork. and did it influence any of your work?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This post made my day. the "Slay a poser and get a free yo-yo" line made me laugh hysterically for about 10 minutes. I can totally picture those tough guys of Anti-Posers slaying posers unmercilessly, and then, playing around with yo-yos.
    I did something similar in my early youth. I was very influenced by the Jem cartoon, so I created a comic that featured a kick-ass all female band whose members looked like Mythic.
    P.S:Sorry for my poor Engrish skills!

  5. Ha! I thought the guitarist in the first picture was an illustration of Geddy Lee, too.

    The Satan Sons picture reminds me of Deicide. Speaking of that picture, Lucho, you forgot to mention that the bassist is wearing an upside down cross earring. That's metal.

    These photos are great and I hope you scan and post more. You didn't overdue it; the captions add so much more to the hilarity.

  6. Good God, where do I start? This has to be the best 'piece' for a long time. I had thought until now that we were spiritual brothers, doing similar shit in different continents. But whereas I only went as far as drawing the first Iron Maiden album cover on my recorded copy and dating my Reign in Blood cassette, later graduating to drawing band logos over any exposed surface of my school books, you were doing so, so much more. Lucho, I bow to your creativity, nay, your vision. These vignettes NEED to be seen by the modern Myspace users. Let's show them what went on before. This is isolation at it's best!

    I want my free yo-yo!!

  7. the strings were from the Ultimate Revenge/Slayer video for sure.

    Oh lord, now that you mention the Geddy Lee thing, I will never see that drawing the same way. It's not a bad thing, mind you, as I'm a Rush fan...but still.

    Alex, your yo-yo is in the mail.

  8. I'm all too familiar w/the "ahh, fuck it" moment. I'd always draw all the way down one side of a person first. They'd be doing something active like rocking a solo or taking a slapshot, then I'd say "ahh, fuck it" and rush through the other half of their body. Because of this, every portrait I've ever drawn has looked like a stroke victim.

  9. I presume the second E.S.S. drawing was done later than the Anti-Posers one? I note that the AP vocalist's shirt says 'F* YOU' while the ESS guys have plenty of actual swearing, so I guess you had become more comfortable with potty mouth in the meantime.

    Also, I would like to compliment you on those drum sets, or at least the SS and AP ones. Certainly better kits than I could draw even now.

  10. I am back to overwhelmed.

  11. This was amazing.
    I burst out laughing in the middle of a conference call at the yo-yo slogan. A wee bit embarrassing!

  12. WOW! Metal Inquisition Yo-yo's need to be made available stat. Time to start generating revenue from all your dude's hard work!

    Great piece.

  13. It can be done: METAL YO-YO's

  14. 500 minimum...who's in? ha ha

  15. Harcore dude

    I remember doing this with my friend in middle school, but they had armor and played in cathedrals

    in high school i just made illegible death metal logos of random words of the handouts

  16. I'm in my school computer lab reading this again and laughing and I thought that I've always thought I had horrible drawing skills and that I would never show the world, but after reading this again, I'm so glad I have 2 years left in university, so I can give metal artwork a shot.

    P.S. saw morbid angel last night and the muffin man covered up. Denim vest, no latex top sorry to say :(

    also trey was wearing these horrible track pants with a chain and some rings running down each side with some late nineties all white nike air basketball shoes. I'm not talking heavy metal white tops. I'm talking something grant hill would have worn.

  17. a grant hill reference. nice.

  18. I can just picture you struggling to make the two lines in each direction of the upside-down crosses perfectly parrallel becuase they were some of those unforgiving ruler lines that had to get right the first time since they did not erase well due to the pressure of the pencil on the paper due to the ruler.

  19. Although I am not the best speller myself,I would be amiss if I didn't point out that the guitar player on the left in the last beautifully drawn artistic rendering of E.S.S. does not say "har(d)core”. It clearly says “HARD(C)ORE” which means stubbornly resistant to change or improvement. Please correct this in your post (piece) so as not to confuse future generations of metal fans.

  20. E.S.S. = possible name of a song from the next Metallica record (Eat Shit Stupid a.k.a. The Unforgiven IV)

  21. Great post Lucho! The yo-yo thing is amazing! I believe when you say you were only 10 when you were drawing this: who else could have thought that a yo-yo was a great reward for an anti-poser? I think that if you were 16 at that time you would have said something more metal, like: "Slay a poser and get a bj from our fat groupie", but the yo-yo thing???

    PS: Cthulhulpal: you reminded me that Morbid Angel played yesterday. I totally forgot. Not that I care much, but some years ago I'd have gone, and since I've never seen them before, it would have been a nice opportunity.

  22. I wish that Satan Sons was a real band so that they could be my favorite band.

    PS the guitarist on the left is exactly what I picture YOU looking like, Lucho. Please don't ruin the image by telling me otherwise.


  23. This is the coolest post so far!
    Reminds me of all of the band logos I drew everywhere as a young whippersnapper. Never tried to draw bands, but I drew lots of electric guitars as a young kid as I wanted one very badly (finally got one when I was 13).

    I do remember doing something quite funny at about the same age (and time, to be honest). I had the most metal G.I. Joe collection ever. I actually crafted miniature guitars and a set of drums for them and would set them on a makeshift stage to look like they were jamming out. Looking back, it it funny and kinda sad, but definitely fun at the time.

  24. LOL is a phrase that's bandied about with far too much casual impunity these days. That said, LOL! When I was 11-12 I went through a phase where I became obsessed with drawing variations on the Kiss "Alive!" cover. They always came out looking like meth-addicted transvestites with little crack-baby heads. And the less said about my renderings of the human hand, the better.

  25. I dunno about the yo-yo thing, but at this point, the world demands that you go to Cafe Press or Spreadshirt or somewhere like that and make some Metal Inquisition "Welcome to the Hell" shirts available.

  26. ..with 'Slay a poser - get a free yo-yo' on the back. I'd buy the shit out of it!

    thanks so much! made my day.

  27. I think the important question here is why did you stop Lucho?

  28. I'd prob. wear a WELCOME TO HELL or REGIN IN BLOOD shirt unironically

  29. Two things:

    1. Impressive to see that even at age 10 you were On Message w/r/t 'posers'.

    2. I now seriously need some Sgt D snark to get rid of this horrible nice warm feeling inside - Bring it, Sarge.

  30. holy shit, i have not laughed this hard in forever.
    this post has made my year and pulled me out of a deep, deep depression; thank you.

  31. Amazing post!!! xD

    If I had to choose a fav character I'd go for Satan Sons (Rythm?) guitarist! You skillfully managed to depict a balding long hair, has a "guitarra" tshirt (that's like the guy with the knife in a butchery wearing a 'butcher' tee), has anime crying face ( and proudly sports tracksuit pants, unfortunately, without patches. Please keep the archives up :)

  32. Wow... this is easily one of the best posts i have ever seen.

    Thanks for sharing that. "Slay a poser, get a free yo-yo" shirts would sell like hotcakes. Well, I'd rock one at least!

  33. Good lord dude, you are like the South American version of me as a kid. Of course, I grew up in rural Iowa, which in the late 80s/early 90s was sort of the South America of North America, so go figure. I drew the same drawings, except mine were pretty much all of Metallica & Slayer. Also, I had that exact same black Jackson Dinky Reverse (sans EMGs though).
    This is one of the best and funniest (and dare I say tear-jerkingly nostalgic?) M.I. posts ever. Thanks for the belly-laughs.

  34. I didn't draw so much in my teens...I only drew terrible logos of my imaginary bands: Mortal Fungus, Lethal Injection, Hecatomb, Cimitero, Carcase...some of them later turned into "actual" bands.
    I also wrote lyrics and fake "metal news" and interviews on my school diary.
    I still own all the fake releases from the fake bands I mentioned above, complete with a cardboard cover, pictures and liner notes!

  35. Frank, scan them and send them in along with some explenation. We welcome submissions!

  36. haha drum mics hanging off everything! hope there are triggers on the bass drums in the next post.

  37. these are fucking brilliant lucho, keep em coming! i bow my head at your drawing skills at 10 y.o., these guitars look better than all the ones i drew at age 13-17. i really repent having thrown away all my metal drawings now...i used to have a fictional mag called "speedzone" with news, record reviews, fictional live reviews i said in the last comments, i had always thought that i was the only one doing stuff like that as a kid and always was a bit of embarrassed when my friends discovered some of my treasures, but seeing this and reading the comments, it seems that it was a normal thing for weird, metal-obsessed kids to do. thanks, lucho!
    ps. I love this blog

  38. This post was so good. I emailed it to all 3 of my friends. Keep it up!

  39. Are you sure the "don't you fucking look at me" reference is Anthrax and not Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet? Most kids seem to get into the films of David Lynch around the same time they flip up the bills on their "injun" caps.

  40. Oh man this is classic, thank you for sharing. This totally reminds me of the drawings that my friends and I would doodle in Junior High of our own "band", oh how I wish I still had those today.


  41. Actually, the Anthrax song Now It's Dark features a lot of references to Blue Velvet : a candy coated clown, a well-dressed man, and of course the title.

  42. When is E.S.S. going on tour? If you don't start this band up, I will. is available.

  43. large live room to get great drum sounds... plus SSL 4000

  44. Thanks so much for this!

    I feel much better about myself, because like Frank said above, I also have made up fake bands, with fake discographies and interviews (alas, no liner notes).

  45. I never want to fake it. That's my whole thing.

  46. cool post. very informative. Thanks and keep posting

  47. Wonderful sharing. I love your nice writing. Thanks