Best Metal Hairstyles for Long-Haired Dads

I don’t look very metal. My long hair is my one vanity, my only outward sign that I’m even remotely metal. Sure, we all know looks don’t define how metal you are, but my hair’s been part of my identity for ten years. That’s longer than most members last in Megadeth.

But there’s little more frustrating than handing off the tyke and finding she’s got a fistful of my flowing mane. I hold my kid primarily on my shoulder, and it’s been enough to make me want to tear the damn stuff out myself. Babies, man! It’s bad enough I’m turning into a total softie by accident. How do I keep my metallic edginess? HOW DO I KEEP MY HAIR??

The answer is style. Metal hairstyles. Seven of them, in fact. They’re metal as fuck, but now have a more functional use. Namely, helping me not lose my damn mind.

1. The Ponytail

Hair pulled back in a ponytail.

The all-purpose appeal of the Ponytail is hard to beat. It’s classic, simple, and takes like five seconds to do. Whether you’re setting up your guitar rig or playing “keep away” with grabby tots, the Ponytail’s no-nonsense approach lets you focus on the task at hand.

Common applications: Burping, changing diapers, setting up, tearing down, audio engineering

2. The Bun

Hair wrapped in a bun.

A good Bun is almost as easy to put together as the Ponytail (unless you’re me; see #6). Used correctly, the Bun lets you pull off an artsy, almost pretentious look that says, “Yeah, I’ve got long hair, but I don’t know you well enough to show it.”

Preferred genres: Progressive metal, Avant Garde, virtuoso gigs at Guitar Center w/ less than 50 people

3. The Pagan Braid

Hair tied in a long braid.

The Braid is your first-class ticket to Valhalla. Both neat and stylish, the Braid lets everyone know you like your mead thick and your metal loud. The added weight of the Braid lets you flip it easily to either side of your shoulder – perfect for scoring some Scandinavian style points while keeping baby’s hands off.

Best bands to listen to while Braided: Amon Amarth, Enslaved, Tyr, Ensiferum, Eluveitie

4. The Legolas

Small ponytail pulled back over long hair, like Legolas from Lord of the Rings.

Unleash your inner elf with the Legolas! This elven metal hairstyle won’t give you dead-eye aim, far sight, or the ability to grind down staircases on a trashcan lid, but you will be able to say you now share at least one thing with Orlando Bloom. The Legolas leaves the majority of your hair down, but pulls the most kid-appealing strands located at the front of your scalp to the back – and away from your kid’s fingers.

Your Legolas-wearing playlist: Blind Guardian, Blind Guardian, Blind Guardian

5. The Topknot

Hair wrapped on top of head in a topknot.

The Topknot is the Bun’s distant cousin. How distant? About two inches (laugh track). This one takes a bit of concentration to center correctly, but with a little practice in front of the mirror, you should master it in no time. This style also helps you avoid bashing your baby in the face when you turn your head. How considerate!

Number of YouTube tutorials watched before realizing you’ve been doing the topknot all wrong: 1

6. The Lazy Bun AKA the Dangling Head Turd

Hair wrapped lazily in a bun. It looks like a turd hanging off a scalp.

For dads who just can’t be bothered to tie a real Bun, here’s the Lazy version. One part Ponytail, one part Bun, all parts Lazy As Fuck, the LB is a fully functional choice for the dad on the go. When no spouse is around to get it right and you’re left to do your best, it usually ends up looking like your worst. Which is just fine with Baby.

Days of the week I wear a Lazy Bun: 7

7. The Skullet

My daughter, sleeping, showing off her "skullet": no hair on top, long hair in back.

Nothing says “fuck it” more than the Skullet. Pioneered by Devin Townsend in the mid-2000s, this unarguably metal hairstyle is edgy to the point of frightening. Like, it isn’t enough you’re playing devil music; now you can look like him too. No need for any advanced grooming, just let nature take its course.

Your baby may already be rocking a pretty brutal Skullet. If you follow her lead, your Christmas photos will look like you had planned it all along.

Optimum age range for the Skullet: 0-100

Never Leave Home Without a Hair Tie

Being metal is a mindset, not a fashion statement. You don’t need long hair to prove your metalness to anyone, least of all me. Even so. I’ve been trained to associate long hair and metal like they had some kind of mutual symbiosis. I can see some dude wearing a Bun at Costco and wonder if he’s into Opeth. It’s a bias, yet one I can’t quite shake.

Maybe I’m just going through some growing pains. Like how learning the drums gradually morphed me from metal fan to metal musician, the transition from Mostly Metal Dad to Remotely Metal Dad is a transition I may not realize has happened until much later. Both will surely result in my daughter finding me just about the most uncool person on the planet.

Thing is, I’ve already given up on trying to be cool. That’s like a symptom of fatherhood, isn’t it? I won’t be cool if I have long hair now or fifteen years from now, when she’s complaining about how awful my taste in music is. So I guess I’ll stick around with it for a little while longer.

And if the time comes to make that final donation, well. Father knows best, right?

Did I miss one? Is there a totally metal hairstyle I’ve missed? Good god, let me know. My sanity depends on it.

Heart Songs

My daughter is starting to smile at me, and it’s breaking my heart. I mean, I can claim to have seen the brutality of birth and lived to tell the tale, but seriously. Each upturned corner of the lips is accompanied by a “goo” that turns my hard metal barriers into angel food cake. If this keeps up, I’ll have to rebrand this thing “Less-Than-Metal Dad.”

I didn’t teach her how to do that, trust me. I haven’t willingly sacrificed what little metal cred I’ve got; it’s all happened naturally. Like the moment you realize you’re doing the high, squeaky baby voice is a moment you can’t go back from. My vocal register is getting so high I’m thinking of trying out for Rhapsody of Fire.

My daughter, giving a little smile.
How am I supposed to stay grimdark with this going on??

So I did what any sensible person would do when their morals and values are challenged: I made a playlist. Desperate times, and all. This is a failsafe to ensure I don’t forget my roots. “Back off, baby,” these songs say. “You may have his affections now, but WE were here first.”

Coincidentally, these songs all have the word “heart” in them. With luck, they’ll remind me of when I had metal flowing through my veins instead of all this goddamned oxytocin.

Crank Up These Heart Songs (But Not Too Loud)

“Heartwork” – Carcass
Even the band name makes me feel like a real tough guy. “This band is named after a rotting dead corpse, what’s yours, something lame like your feelings?” Carcass knows how to get to the meat of a song, and “Heartwork” is as meaty as they come. Layered with sweet riffs, dynamic drums, and raspy growling, even the melodies have the crunchiness to drown out most bedtime lullabies.

“Warheart” – Children of Bodom
From its antagonizing opening sample, Children of Bodom’s “Warheart” sets me and my daughter on a “path of rebound (???).” Okay, so lyrics aside, the combination of cymbal chokes and rumbling bass followed by furious riffing and frantic blasting makes me want to make my battle imminent. Now, I probably won’t ever go so far as to consider my child my enemy, but “Warheart” does remind me of the opposing forces at work whenever I’m struggling to change my daughter’s diaper.

Dawn of the Black Hearts – Mayhem
Okay, not a song, but this recording of a ’90s Mayhem show is the antithesis of adorable daughters. Sometimes the only way to deal with a screaming infant is to listen to something that sounds even worse. The production on this black metal bootleg is so delightfully raw it sets my teeth grinding. Compared to the shrieking china four-count before “Freezing Moon,” somehow my kid’s cries don’t seem all that bad.

“Eagleheart” – Stratovarius
When life gets me down, I can always rely on a power metal pick-me-up. Neoclassical shredding never fails to put me in a feel-good mood, which sounds perfect for a fussy baby that just won’t go to sleep. This song’s soaring chorus and beautifully simple keyboard/guitar lead can lead me out of the dark and into a bright, shining tomorrow. And considering I’m typing this at 3:30 AM, that tomorrow is only a couple hours away! Great…

“Hollow Heart” – Kalmah
Leave it to Kalmah to empty out all the mushiness from my pumper. Nothing about this song, including its swamp-slushing intro, makes me think of babies. Perfect! I’d never take my baby to a swamp; that sounds terrible. Keyboard-driven melodies mix with tight riffing and phlegmy vocals into a concoction that’s just sick. What I wouldn’t give to see Kalmah play “Hollow Heart” in the States. Actually, I might be a few sleepless nights away from a solution. Go on, baby, just try me!

“Blind at Heart” – Dark Tranquillity
Dark Tranquillity knows what’s up. Apparently I’ve got to blind myself to my daughter’s charms. Sound advice from my favorite melodic death metal band; they probably wrote this super-tight, ass kicker of a song just for my fatherly plight. You know, four years after they wrote it.

“Metal Heart” – Accept
Probably the most aptly named song name for this blog, Accept’s “Metal Heart” has the kind of old-school appeal that reminds me of my younger years. I think every metal fan went through an elitist phase, but I didn’t expect this song to make me feel so nostalgic for it. While plenty full of ’80s-era rockin’, this song at the very least reminds me of a time before baby that helped shape me into the metal man I am today.

A metal dad tries his hardest to smile, something I'm sure he hasn't done since he was a child himself.
I know it’s hard, you can do it, believe in yourself

Well the baby’s not going anywhere; she’s here to stay, all smiles and farts and that sort of thing. She mostly smiles while getting her diaper changed, so there’s a good chance she generates joy by making daddy deal with a double doody. But all the same, I never want it to stop.

I guess as long as I’ve got these songs to listen to, I can make it through just about anything. Who knew that actually listening to metal would remind me what I love most about it? If you’re ever questioning your own metalness in the midst of all your dadliness, I highly recommend it.

If you know of any other “heart songs” to add to my playlist of yearning, do let me know. The nights will only get longer.

The Mostly Metal Things About Babies

Somewhere between my fifth and sixth diaper change, I realize that raising a kid isn’t the most metal pastime. Other than the birth, which I admit was pretty goddamn metal, my daughter hasn’t done much to get my goat going. Pooping like 50 times a day isn’t really high on my list of Metal’s Greatest Hits.

But I’m not very metal myself; one look at the top of my internet browser proves that particular sentiment. And a closer look at my daughter reveals that although the act of raising a kid might not be very metal, the babies themselves are. And metal stuff, well; I kinda know how to deal with that.

Chances are your kid probably is too. So if you need a reminder of that, here you go – these are the Mostly Metal Things About Babies.

Babies can really wail.

Straight from the womb, your kid’s got a set of pipes as powerful as Bruce Dickinson’s. Indoors, outside, at three in the morning, any time is prime for warming up the ‘ol vocal cords.

Just like a really impressive vocal performance demands your attention, so too do your kid’s cries. Make sure you give him the response he deserves and repay him for such a killer, ear-splitting performance. No need to ask him for an encore; some soothing words or pats on the bottom should be more than enough thanks.

Babies are natural-born headbangers.

Sure, it may seem like that side-to-side motion means she’s looking for Mom’s boob, but you know better. Your baby’s actually performing an infantile form of headbanging. Next time you notice her moving around, put on something midtempo with a lot of groove (Pantera’s “Walk” is a great choice) and watch Baby rock out.

Just as with adult headbanging, maintaining good posture is important. Make sure you support your baby’s head to avoid whiplash and teach her proper technique.

A long-haired metalhead headbanging. His baby tries her hardest from the ground.
She’s got a lot to learn, but I think she’ll make it.

Babies are gas-powered.

Seriously. Babies emit more fumes than Rob Halford’s motorcycle. For as little as they are, they sure know how to blast ass in a way that makes even Daddy self-conscious. All that noise isn’t just for show, either; gaseous babies are prone to following up their act with a “solid encore.” So make sure she doesn’t stew in it for long.

While peeing and pooping yourself don’t seem all that metal, but it brings us to the final part…

Babies just don’t give a fuck.

In my opinion, nothing is more metal than staying true to yourself and your convictions. Babies understand this right out of the womb. No matter how much they scream, squirm, and defecate in public, babies could not care less what others think of them. And that’s metal as hell.

Be sure to praise your youngin’ when she gets really riled up. Although she’s pissed off at the world, your closeness will be a good reminder that some things are worth calming down for.

Building Toward a More Metal Future

While I’ve been learning the ropes about being a dad, my daughter’s been displaying all these metal traits under my very nose. It’s embarrassing how obvious it seems now. I guess I’m learning, but I should have seen the signs!

So the next time you’re lamenting over how un-metal your pitiful life has become, just remember: your kid is being way more metal than you all the time. So suck it up, get your pointer and pinky fingers erect, and be a good role model for her.

That’s what dads are for, right?