3.19.2011

The Saturday Symbol: Vic Rattlehead


Good ole' Vic. He's the mascot that has appeared on almost every piece of album art and insignia of the thrash metal band Megadeth, and for good reason. The skeletal body known as "Vic Rattlehead" may be one of many popular skeletal images in metal (such as Iron Maiden's "Eddie"), but I believe Vic illustrates a message that speaks volumes to a community known for wanting to be loud and heard.

Frontman Dave Mustaine first described Vic in the song "Skull Beneath the Skin" from their first album, Killing is My Business...and Business is Good. He states:

Prepare the patients scalp
To peel away
Metal caps his ears
He'll hear not what we say
Solid steel visor
Riveted across his eyes
Iron staples close his jaws
So no one hears his cries

Looking at the lyrics and the picture above, Vic's mouth is wired shut and his eyes and ears both locked away. Basically, he represents the three evils: Hear No Evil, See No Evil, and Speak No Evil.

This is interesting because Megadeth uses Vic to symbolize a message that they themselves masterfully present in their musical offerings: The idea of being oppressed and unable to free oneself from the confines the world often presents to them. That's a lot of what metal stands for, isn't it? Here's a band that plays loud and delivers powerful guitar solos and lyrical content to the masses that are just as fed up with the world's problems as they are. Their speedy and loud music matches the vibe of the message, and that's an incredibly identifiable asset.

Megadeth not only makes politcal statements through their music, but also through Vic Rattlehead and what he embodies, and he's probably the reason why Megadeth gets up in the morning.


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