There are maybe a dozen actually cool metal band photos that have ever been taken, while the rest of the better shots are simply innocuous. You get to see the people who play some music and maybe one of them is wearing the shirt of a band you like. Honestly, over the course of like 25 years of looking at metal promo shots, a guy wearing a cool band shirt has about been my highlight.

So trying anything that will make people notice you — opposed to your usual pointless placeholder for press releases and Encyclopedia Metallum — is a big risk that almost always backfires. You have to almost feel sorry for anyone who thinks they are adding some flair to their band’s aesthetic appeal when they try something that requires any sort of staging or concept. Once you pull yourself away from the spontaneous jeans and t-shirt, you are immediately going to feel some backlash. Sure, many of your fans may think it’s great, but it can also do severe damage to those who are curious to check you out. One little camera trick has the potential to turn away those who may have found your music appealing without that particular flourish.

But no worries with these assholes. I don’t think there is a single person who could look at this picture of Audiotopsy, featuring members of Mudvayne, Skrape and Hellyeah, and not know exactly the kind of ignorance they’d be diving into.

First off, the guy who’s teleported from the future on the left barely even registers compared to the rest of them. One reason is because he’s counterbalanced by the guy who teleported from an “Are You a 90s Kid?” quiz. I appreciate that you play in a brutal metal band, my man, but did you also star in The Secret World of Alex Mack?

And then there is fucking Greg Tribbet. Jesus Christ with that steampunk pilot outfit which, I believe, is matched with swishy warm-up pants. That beard is the kind of nerdy shit even Tolkien himself would give you a wedgie over and how could the guitarist from Mudvayne get sillier looking? Or, actually, how is so much outfit creativity coming from a guy who literally just has the word “MUSIC” tattooed real big on his arm?

But the singer right up front, there is something different about him. I don’t know what it is, but I feel a sort of kinship when it comes to how we’re spending our lives. I may be harsh with my writing sometimes, even to a fault, but the two of us, what are we if not people trying to make a living using our words, searching for the best way to connect to others with art? Some may try to knock us down, say that we aren’t worth the time or effort, but when I look at him I see the same struggle. Take away his glasses, that streak in his hair, the miming a gun to his head, and there I am in the exact same situation: a guy who, after this photo shoot is no longer on my mind, will go back to working for my cousin’s house-painting business.