What's the most metal gift you've ever received? I can think of several that stick out: Led Zeppelin vinyl, a miniature model of Dimebag Darrell's Razorback lightning bolt guitar, spike-bedecked high heels that would make a dominatrix envious, a stripper pole paired with a handle of whiskey.
But I'll admit: shopping for metalheads isn't easy. So for this week's Metal Mondays installment, I thought a handy list might be in order. That's right, I actually compiled the ultimate guide of sweet gifts for shredders, thrashers, and moshers. (Or maybe you just really want to scare the hell out of someone with a gift. Trust me, if you want to get that annoying chick to stop calling you, nothing says "red flag" like a documentary of satanic black metal.)
So get out your gift-list for all the cool people you know -- here's to your "antichrist"-mas shopping this December.
Heavy Metal Wines
Several bands and rock/metal musicians have branched out from hard liquor and PBR to the vineyard. Well, for some there's no hope -- we know Sammy Hagar will never stop swilling tequila. But when it comes to vino and combining metal music and booze, the only word I can think of is "sold."
Try Slayer's Reign in Blood Cabernet Sauvignon (dark berry, oak and spicy notes) that comes in a coffin. If your metal head loves to cook, might as well get them the blood-stained Slayer barbecue apron as well.
Tool's Maynard James Keenan currently leads the dedicated staff at Merkin Vineyards and the associated winery, Caduceus Cellars. Grab the Caduceus Sancha, a smooth light red that's 14% alcohol. The fact that it's a local Arizona gift makes it the perfect present for out-of-towners, as well.
And AC/DC's Back in Black Shiraz will have the band's "Have a Drink on Me" tune repeating in your head. But keep it to one bottle at a time; you definitely don't want to end up like original lead singer Bon Scott's, whose 1980 death certificate states his cause of death as "acute alcohol poisoning and death by misadventure."
Marilyn Manson's "Mansinthe"
Ahh..what could be better for heavy metal parents then finally getting your little rugrats in bed, kicking back on the couch, and having a nice chilled glass of Marilyn Manson's absinthe? It may not be as pure and straight-up as Manson would like it to be--you gotta get to Prague of the Czech Republic for that--but it's a close second.
Just make sure the kiddies are sound asleep; they may start to wonder why the green fairy doesn't leave them gifts like the tooth fairy or Santa Claus. Then you'll really have some explaining to do.
KISS Christmas Stockings
Although Gene Simmons may celebrate Hanukkah, we all know that KISS is always in the giving mood of the Christmas spirit -- you just have to pay for it first, of course.
Amidst the mountain of Kiss Christmas merchandise that builds year after year, some of the coolest items are the Kiss boot stockings. And for ultimate stocking stuffers, or if you're on a budget (like most music enthusiasts/musicians always are), you can always grab one of over 25 different Kiss ornaments. Seriously.
If you've ever been to a Motörhead show, then you know how loud they are. Earplugs? Screw that! The legendary band went the opposite way and developed their own brand of headphones, with several different models available. The band developed their headphones specifically to make them ideal for heavy metal music listening, tuned to the sounds and vibrations of the bass, guitar and drum.
Tony Iommi's Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath.
There are lots of heavy metal autobiographies out there. Some are worth the read, but others are just drunken blather; the same stories over and over. So if you do decide to read one, Tony Iommi's is the way to go. This guy is one of the musicians solely responsible for the Black Sabbath sound, hence the trademark chords of heavy metal. In this read, learn all about him accidentally cutting off two fingers, the rise of Sabbath, and struggles with addiction. Heavy Metal Cookbook
Lots of metal heads like to cook, too, grilling up saucy slabs of meat by day and moshing at night.
Plus, we usually aren't afraid of trying new types of food, be it braised beef or brains. For the anti-christ chef in your life, grab a copy of "Mosh Potatoes" by Steve Seabury, an awesome collection of 147 recipes provided by some of metal's finest names, including Joey Belladonna, Zakk Wylde and Dave Ellefson.
Soundgarden Concert Tickets
We're all stoked Soundgarden is back, and it doesn't hurt that the band's newest album, King Animal, appeals to new and old fans alike.
Surprise your heavy metal hitter with tickets to the band's 2013 tour, which kicks off on January 18 in D.C. and ends in L.A. on February 16, which is the closest location for Phoenix fans to head to for a live show. Include King Animal in the package to get extra amped for the show; but don't forget to rock out to such classic albums as Down on the Upside, Superunknown and Badmotorfinger as well.
Slayer Christmas Sweater
'Tis the season for awful Christmas sweaters, even in the world of heavy metal. This Slayer sweater goes above and beyond. Hell, forget ugly sweater parties, I'd probably wear it every day of December just to piss people off.
This blood red and eternal black treasure is warmer than the depths of hell, while covered in skull and pentagrams for all your sacrilegious holiday needs. It's just about as festive as any Slayer fans is gonna get. Added bonus? Makes a hell of a slingshot in the mosh pit.
Heavy Metal Activity Book
For the headbanger in training, or just to pass some time on those long holiday plane rides, check out the heavy metal activity book; it's an entirely new take on the coloring book genre. Color in such legends as Metallica, Danzig, and Pantera, help get Spinal Tap through a backstage maze, complete the black metal word scramble and hair metal crossword, and solve heavy metal Sudoku.
Marshall MS-2 Mini Amp
Warning: This gift may make your beloved metalhead never leave home without their instrument. Perfect for musicians who want to take the classic Marshall tone, crunchy distortion and vibe anywhere they go with the Marshall MS-2 Mini Amp. It's powered by one 9V battery, and includes a belt clip and headphone jack.
Heavy Metal Documentaries
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Always a classic gift, no matter if you're gifting for a heavy metal expert or novice. Personal favorites include Metal Evolution, an 11-part series that traces the history of metal back its blues roots; Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, which covers the history of the heavy metal genre and looks deep into the sub-genres spawned from its creation; and Lemmy: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son Of a Bitch, a look into the life of Lemmy Kilmister from rocking the stage at night to quiet evenings playing poker at home.