These are the phantoms of the metal opera. They are the faceless. Human? Alien? Robot? Beast? Pinky and the Brain? Luke Skywalker's father? Nobody knows for sure. The only way we could ever find out is if we go back in time to the '50s to collect a bunch of UPC codes for some X-ray glasses. For now, this list of the faceless will haunt your nightmares.
10. Underlined Underlined looks like they just crawled out of the La Brea Tar Pits, wearing masks created with random junk they found floating around the bubbling black goo. Their crisp electronic industrial metal clashes with their getup until screams of hatred bellow from behind a black mask. They can be considered a second-generation masked metal band inspired by Slipknot and Mushroomhead in the '90s. They look almost as if Satan took a rib from each Slipknot member to create Underlined and to ultimately populate our world with his demon spawn who make metal.
9. The Locust Coming from San Diego, you would think the Locust would wear fewer clothes or just play in the buff, but the members of this spastic experimental punk grindcore band look like the Fantastic Four of surfers, with heads like those of flies. The Locust has an awesome strict policy of not playing any Clear Channel venues as a big 'fuck you' to corporate radio. If they really wanted to cash in, they could play in multiple cities simultaneously, like the Blue Man Group.
8. Lordi All things horror and monsters, Lordi combines hard rock with strong elements of metal -- alternating with each album -- in the footsteps of the great shock-rockers Kiss and Alice Cooper. Lordi is like a Finnish Tales From the Crypt: The members haunt their fans to satisfy their horror B-movie fix all while appeasing their urge to rock. The band has never been photographed or interviewed without its various costumes, including those of mummies, zombies, demon-like creature, an other worldly warrior and a Predator-like creature.
7. The Berzerker Unmasked later in their career, the members of the Berzerker looked more vile and primitive than their Australian island prisoner ancestors when masked, showing up as animalistic demons, the undead, and an ancient mummy that took the time to swing by a mall to clothe himself. Before 2004, the bandmembers were simply known as The Drummer, The Bassist, The Vocalist and The Guitarist. (The rest of their crew should have been called The Manager, The Bodyguard and The Groupie(s).) After the guys' masks melted several times while they were on tour, they decided it was easier to just get their faces all naked.
6. Asesino When Dino Cazares isn't a major cog in the machine of Fear Factory, he's a masked metal man on stage with the grindcore supergroup Asesino. "Can't take me apart!" Well, you can when Fear Factory members are doing other collaborations, but they are easily reassembled. Masked, Cazares is Asesino, alongside Tony Campos of Static-X as Maldito X and Emilio Márquez of Sadistic Intent as Sadistico. If you don't already know Spanish, you'll need to brush up on it to understand the band's sinister lyrics, but it isn't absolutely necessary, because their instrumentation speaks a universal language.
5. Mushroomhead Vegans and A-bombers they are not, but these guys are F-bombers. Mushroomhead got its start a few states down the street from Iowa in Ohio, and look a lot like distant cousins of Slipknot. Forming nine years after GWAR and two years before Slipknot as a masked mayhem crew, this seven-man metal curmudgeon of chaos has often been accused of ripping off Slipknot, particularly after gaining radio play with "Solitaire Unraveling," which came after Slipknot exploded. Mushroomhead can easily be identified by their 'X Face' masks worn by most members, who have changed them through the years like Nick Cage switching his face with John Travolta.
4. Ghost B.C. Yes, Papa Emeritus II wears a prosthetic and painted skeleton face, but his five Nameless Ghouls wear faceless masks, cloaking their hideous darkness. Hooded as well, their identity has never been unveiled along with their ghoulish names -- the things for which they do not speak. Ghost B.C. was born from the most heavy metal riff ever that was obsessed upon by the Nameless Ghoul that wields the guitar and who thought it needed to be joined with satanic lyrics. A convergence of evil formed this clergy of Ghost B.C., mirroring the antithesis of Catholicism with a satanic Pope Papa Emeritus II and his ghoulish cardinals. The only other difference is that they haven't faced criminal charges of molestation.
3. Slipknot Oh, hey, yeah, Slipknot, these dudes wear masks, too. The Slipknot guys look like the love child of a Rob Zombie movie and the Manson family conceived on Halloween night in the remains of a collapsed nuclear plant. If you didn't already know (crawl out from under that rock), their stage names are numbers that two hands could count. They wear matching jumpsuits along with their own unique masks -- slightly changing them with every new album. Wearing masks that make the band look like a demented circus makes the band's shtick seem like a gimmick, but with this level of fame, it's probably nice to walk around in public and not get hassled by dumbasses.
2. Buckethead It's hard to tell just how much of a robot Buckethead is. His guitar songs are supernatural played with elongated fingers that look like flesh colored baby octopi that shred like they just squirmed out of a sea of Red Bull. The legend of Buckethead tells a story of an individual who was raised by chickens in a chicken coop, suffering an incident where chickens scratched his face off. Buckethead found this more than tolerable since continually wearing a mask is like celebrating Halloween 365 days a year. The one thing no other show has, except for a Buckethead show, is an action figure/robot/toy exchange with his fans.
1. GWAR Pirates from the asshole black hole of the universe, or angels dressed up as alien pirates, GWAR can only really be recognized as fucked up heroes of sorts. Every show, the members release pent up anger by destroying the evilest evildoers of our world like Cyborg Jesus, the Pope, Hitler and politicians, while playing heavy metal. They're probably alien pirates dressed up as alien pirates, but you'll never know unless if you want to ask and get decapitated on stage. The band's costume use started as a joke, when its members borrowed getups from a friend who made independent movies, and soon it grew into the satirical metal act we know and love.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.