When first I saw the words "Blog Submission - Helvetica Metal" in my e-mail inbox, I feared the worst -- did this e-mail come from a young American metal band trying to name itself after the Norwegian term for hell ("Helvete"), but unknowingly aligning itself with a sans-serif font? Nope, it was just a blog post about artist Noah Venezia's harebrained scheme to re-set the liner notes to Master of Puppets in a more pleasing typeface (which turns out to be Franklin Gothic, not Helvetica).
Venezia's project re-contextualizes the angry critiques of Master of Puppets' lyrics as texts to be studied. Reduced to blocks of text, laid out on one page in a font mostly used in books and advertising, the above liner notes resemble a newspaper story about the album. Perhaps this project engages purely academic questions of visual aesthetics more than it engages issues specific to metal. Still, it does raise a couple interesting questions. We've all debated the badassedness of heavy metal logos (see here for an example). What makes a font "metal?" and why do we place a valence on something as objectively meaningless as a font, anyway? The brain, it tingles!
For those readers in New York, this poster is on display TODAY (June 19th) at the Littlefield art & performance space in Brooklyn.