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SERMON Frontman Names The Best Masked Acts In Metal

Including Imperial Triumphant, Batushka, Sleep Token, and more!

Photo by Jack Snell

We caught up with masked frontman Him of Sermon to discuss his favorite masked artists in metal. Check out the brand new Sermon single "The Distance" below and pre-order their new record Of Golden Verse here before its March 31 release. Now, on to Him's thoughts!

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Masks are a divisive tool in metal music; either seen as a cheap gimmick (although strangely, the black metal corpse-paint-conveyor-belt seems to avoid a fair amount of scathe) or as a necessary accessory to help sculpt the listeners imagination in an effort to lose themselves in the music.

I think it's fair to say that it's a bit of both; Sermon is likely to come under a similar sort of fire for the former. But the blunt truth is, I'm really just a dull man who doesn't look like the music he makes. So in that sense, I feel like it's the latter and only reinforces the thing that matters. The music.

Lately, I've noticed a rise in masked acts, and not just in metal. Could this be with the advent of everyone's lives being fully published to the world and the need to protect an identity somewhat? Or is it simply just a tacky parlour trick to distract from questionable music? Either way, here are some of the best our genre has to offer.


Portal is mental. Without question. Musically and visually. The guy is wearing more-or-less a cupboard on his head, for most likely hours on end. I can't even imagine the physical discomfort of such an act but boy is it fucking terrifying. Wonderful stuff.

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It's hard to keep up with the identity drama of Batushka, and I'm still not quite sure if I'm listening to the ‘real' one. Still, Litourgiya is to this day one of the best debuts I've ever heard, and the masks/costumes/candle adorned lectern support the whole vision magnificently. A triumph.


We all know that Slipknot are the ones that broke through to the ultra-mainstream. They did something different to the world and I think it's fair to say the impact would not have been the same without the masks. Not to undermine the music, because it's extraordinary, but there's no doubt that the two elements go hand in hand in creating the success that they are.

Sleep Token

The new hot property on the metal music scene, again one of division. I can't help but be impressed at what they've become, truly unique sound and truly unique visuals. Although, I listened to them the other day and felt like the vocalist sounded like the guy from the pop band Bastille. Could it be?


You could probably say these guys were the originals. Going strong for nearly 40 years is nothing short of miraculous and with a full-blown lore to support it. Just looking at them you know you're going to be in for good ol' fashion rock and roll fun, and I'm just so here for it.

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A divisive band for so many reasons (though I'm sure just even suggesting they're metal will ruffle some readers' feathers), but one of them being the look of the band. I say those who hate the outfits miss the point. It seems obvious to me that it's a satanic-pop pantomime that's both tongue-in-cheek, and deadly serious. It's a spectacle that we're free to lose ourselves in. It's plain good fun, and I'll defend them to the day I die.

Imperial Triumphant

With mind boggling amounts of technical ability, I think Imperial Triumphant will be immune to any kind of criticism about their look. It looks like their aesthetic was lifted off Metropolis, but with a twist. For me though the masks ground a truly bonkers musical output. A sound that's like someone gifted The Mars Volta with blast beats, growls and unlimited distortion.

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