Dark Nights: Metal and its sequel Dark Nights: Death Metal have been two of the biggest events produced by DC Comics. Both series are written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Greg Capullo, an artist whose impressive resume includes designing the covers of several heavy metal albums. The stories of these events involve the rise of the evil Dark Batmen from the alternate realities of the Dark Multiverse. The plot of Dark Nights: Metal deals as much with fictional metals that have mystical properties as with heavy metal music.
Of course, heavy metal music is a very broad spectrum with more than 40 years in which it has evolved. Dark Nights: Metal and its sequel are inspired by numerous genres of metal. In fact, the comics are so metallic that they even have their own concept album.
10 Death Metal – Notably, the Laughing Batman is inspired by death metal aesthetics, just like many other Dark Batmen
This may be a bit of a no-brainer, as the sequel to the original Dark Nights: Metal is titled Dark Nights: Death Metal, but that makes it the best place to start.
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Death metal as a musical genre has a bit of a reputation even among non-metalists, which has as much to do with the name as it does with the throaty growls of the vocals and powerful lyrics. It’s worth noting that the Batman Who Laughs draws inspiration from death metal aesthetics, just like many other Dark Batmen.
9 Power Metal – the two best examples of power metal influences are the ruthless and the dragon Joker
One of the key characteristics of power metal has always been its fantastic aesthetic. Taking inspiration from high fantasy novels, it imagines battles of knights and dragons, epic clashes of gods and the tragic journeys of wayward heroes.
There are tons of power metal motifs everywhere, not least the myriad of high fantasy weapons and medieval-inspired battles (especially with Wonder Woman and Hawk Girl slicing through hordes of enemies). But the two best examples of power metal influences are the Ruthless (a version of Batman crossed with the God of War) and the Dragon Joker. It’s also worth noting that artist Greg Capullo did covers for various power metal bands.
8 Speed Metal – a genre that requires performers to have a true mastery of their craft to deliver fast-paced riffs and lyrics
One of the Death Metal titles was Eddie Barrows and Joshua Williamson’s Speed Metal, which follows various versions of The Flash as they run through the Speed Force as they try to escape the Batman Who Laughs.
The plot – the last desperate race of sprinters trying their best – is basically a summary of the technical demands of speed metal music, a genre that requires players to have a true command of their craft to deliver riffs and lyrics of Fast pace. The Flash outfits are even redesigned with a new look inspired by 80s speed metal bands.
7 Doom Metal – Doom Metal is a perfect fit for the slower, more despondent moments from the two Metal books where heroes indulge in despair
Considering that the villainous Legion of Doom helped create the (anti) crisis event Dark Nights: Death Metal, is it any surprise that Doom Metal is among the many influences that led to the creation of this comic? In fact, the history of the Justice League that is related to Dark Nights: Death Metal is even called « Doom Metal » (and it is written by Joshua Williamson with art by Robson Rocha and Xermanico).
Known for its heavier sound and low tempos, doom metal is a perfect fit for the slower and more despondent moments from the two Metal books where heroes indulge in despair.
6 Black Metal – The new designs of Batman and Superman in Death Metal are equally inspired by black metal
The raw raw screams and incredibly fast pace of black metal give it a distinctive place in heavy metal history. Its history of church burnings, body painting, and rejection of mainstream norms make it one of the most avant-garde metal genres relevant to the plot of the early Dark Nights: Metal.
The Batman of the Dark Multiverse want to burn down everything that is sacred in the DC Universe and create a world of undead. That only relates to the church burnings and the painting of corpses from the early Norwegian black metal culture. The new Batman and Superman designs in Death Metal are similarly inspired by black metal, as are the Batman Who Laughs and Barbatos designs in the major Dark Nights: Metal Comic. In fact, there are so many ways black metal ties into this story that you could make your own list, but sadly, they don’t all fit.
5 Hair Metal – Twisted Sister’s « We’re Not Gonna Take It » & Bon Jovi’s « Livin ‘On a Prayer » perfectly embody the spirit of superheroes who stand against what seem like desperate situations.
Hair metal, also known as glam metal or pop metal, is prized for its aesthetics and contributions to the early metal scene, but is considered too soft by many younger metalheads to be properly considered real metal by modern standards.
That said, two classic examples of glam metal, Twisted Sister’s « We’re Not Gonna Take It » and Bon Jovi’s « Livin ‘On a Prayer » perfectly embody the spirit of superheroes who stand up against what seem like hopeless situations. Quiet Riot’s « Cum On Feel The Noize » could be the theme of the final battle.
4 Prog Metal – The genre experimented with the technical aspects of metal music, much like Dark Nights: Metal experimented with the technical aspects of the comics medium
Progressive metal (or prog metal, as it is sometimes known) is an aggressive guitar-centered fusion of progressive rock and heavy metal that gained popularity throughout the 1990s. The genre experimented with the technical aspects of metal music. , much like Dark Nights: Metal experimented with the technical aspects of the comic book medium.
There are several scenes in which a hero strumming a guitar or subverting a classic motif are turning points in the comic book narrative, permeating prog metal in this progressive narrative.
3 Nu Metal – The official dark nights: The metal album includes the song « Brief Exchange » by the nu metal artist Chino Moreno
Nu metal exploded in the American metal scene of the 90s and 2000s, combining elements of alt-rock, grunge, industrial, funk and hip hop in a « nu » genre that was an integral part of the « new wave » of heavy metal. American, a revolutionary transformation of the genre.
The Official Dark Nights: The metal album features the song « Brief Exchange » by nu metal artist Chino Moreno, whose syncopated music, guitar solos and screeching vocals exemplify the genre. Another famous nu metal album, Disturbed’s Ten Thousand Fists, has a cover designed by Greg Capullo. Interestingly, many of the musicians who inspired nu metal have rejected the genre, such as Batman – whose fears manifested as the Dark Batmen of the Dark Multiverse – rejected the nightmares he helped create.
2 Goth Metal – where Dark Nights: Metal really takes inspiration from gothic metal is in the comic book album
As a defender of Gotham City, Batman was inevitably going to run into some Gothic metal. That said, there’s actually less of an atmospheric haunting gothic metal influence than one might think.
Some of the cave scenes and journeys through the underground depths of Challengers Mountain have aspects of it, but where Dark Nights: Metal really takes its inspiration from gothic metal is in the comic book album, where one of the songs, « The Calling », is written and performed by Maria Brink and Chris Howorth of the band In This Moment. This song is so goth it practically comes with eyeshadow, fishing nets, and an Anne Rice novel.
1 « Rawk » – Just as modern DC heroes grew out of WWII comic book heroes, so metal grew out of rock music
This last entry may be a bit tricky, as all metal is technically derived from rock music, but this genre, and the distinctive spelling of « rawk », is used explicitly and repeatedly in Dark Nights: Metal and Dark Nights: Death. Metal.
Of course, progressive rock and hard rock are intrinsically tied to the evolution of the American metal movement, but it’s the inclusion of the classic WWII hero Sergeant Rock as a Death Metal narrator that makes this so important. Just as modern DC heroes grew out of the comic book heroes of WWII, so metal grew out of rock music. And as Lois Lane says at the opening of Dark Nights: Metal # 3, « I’m just here … to rock. »