The Best Beards In Metal

As it's World Beard Day we thought we'd celebrate all the rug-faced manly men in our world who have honed their chin wigs into something you could live in.


The Crowbar main man has been cultivating an epic and godly inverted bearskin on his chins for over a decade, and the “Beard Of Doom” (as Kirk’s official ‘posse shirt’ dubs it) has recently developed genuinely beautiful symmetrical iron-grey cascades flowing down its substantial length from the corners of his mouth, giving the ex-Down riff lord the fearsome look of a nightclub bouncer crossed with an Istari wizard.


“Stop shaving” is the Amon Amarth frontman’s considered advice to any who covet the Chewbacca-strength wire-wool chest-blanket tumbling out of his ruddy Swedish face. His magnificent, flowing crumb-catcher has landed him the role of a Viking warrior in forthcoming epic movie Northmen: A Viking Saga; in many ways, his beard has opened doors for him.


Of course Kerry’s beard’s a no-brainer, but his well-groomed warrior shrubbery mustn’t be allowed to overshadow the varied facial hair phases of Tom Araya. From the heavy Latino stubble of the early 90s, through a Satanic goatee to his current Evil Father Christmas incarnation, the Slayer frontman’s no slouch on the face-fuzz front himself.


The friendliest mutton chops in rock, Ian Kilmister has been rocking the stashburns for over 40 years (except for an unnatural and disturbing clean-shaven phase in the late 90s); he’s also the progenitor of the facial hair that shot James Hetfield to fame circa 1991. Not the longest or bushiest but easily the most stylish, this chops/‘tache combo is increasingly known simply as The Lemmy.


First unveiled to the world in 1992’s This Love video, ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbot’s shocking pink goatee was about the only dash of glam that Pantera allowed themselves in the 90s. In his eulogy for Dimebag on the Anthrax website, Scott Ian – who later dyed his own goatee in tribute to his fallen friend – recalled that Dime once owned an actual goat (“somebody left it at his house,” apparently) whose straggly beard was also dyed shocking pink.


Who the devil is that shiny-chinned pretty boy hanging out with Clutch on their first two album inlays? Why it’s an almost-unrecognisably silky Neil Fallon, before he grew his full black spiky Bluto beard (which has nearly 1000 likes on its own Facebook page). Somehow though, Fallon manages to make his Wolfman-style face fungus look positively gentlemanly.


Black Label Society berserker Jeffrey Wielandt began the 1990s as Ozzy’s poodle-permed, dimple-chinned, smooth-as-an-eel whiz kid and ended it enveloped in a towering mountain-man giant haystack of a beard that you could lose a badger in, getting caught in his strings and showered with beer, spit and sweat. And yet, unaccountably, the Twitter account for Zakk Wylde’s Beard only has 21 followers.


There aren’t many metal beards that inspire 9000-word gonzo essays, but Tres Crow’s ‘The Mastodon Beard’ relates a phantasmagorical encounter with the Mastodon guitarist’s fiery ginger whiskers, describing its subject as a “writhing, flaming, Spanish mossy thumb of facial hair” which “waggles and waves and twists and turns and distends from his face like a burning bush of awesomeness.”


The Anthrax rhythm king first sported an embryonic tuft of chin-pubes in the late 80s, but since then his King Tut goatee has sprouted, thickened and changed colour several times, from mousy brown to fire engine red to its current distinguished grizzle. A warning though: do not attempt to stroke it. “I don’t want somebody’s fucking filthy hands on my face,” Meat Loaf’s son-in-law told a presumably disappointed Bizarre magazine.


Big bad Varg’s pointy beige soup strainer has a distinctly Nordic, trollish feel to it, resembling poisonous lichen on the stump of a dead conifer. Burzum’s controversial Count first grew a devilish little VanDyke while serving a prison sentence for the murder of Euronymous, but nowadays he looks like he gets a mouthful of droopy moustache whenever he tries to eat a tuna mayo sandwich…

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.