By now, you've surely met Batlamb, the grimmest ewe to ever walk the land. This little lady was first brought to our attention thanks to @thomassays, whose hashtag #baathory pretty much nailed the primo, non-obvious joke from the beginning. (True, if you instinctively went for "Abbaaath," there's a reason: Batlamb bears a resemblance to a certain blizzard-y bullfrog.) Best part? As Black Forest Magazine reports, you can make a trip to Nærbø, Norway to see the leader of Satan's flock. No word yet if there's a fire breathing show or if you'll be able to purchase the world's evilest sweater.

Of course, after seeing Batlamb, the thought immediately crossed our minds: Could we open a heavy metal petting zoo? We'd have plenty of choices and plenty of business avenues. Running the numbers on the latter, we find it would provide a lucrative tour stop for Hatebeak and Caninus. Death Metal Rooster is ready to open. Plus, one of us, ahem, might have a connection to eco-terrorist seals. Sadly, Biquette, the grindcore goat, was baleeted off this mortal coil earlier in the year. May you be eating ale cans in Valhalla, you cloven hoof hero.

But why limit our zoo to the musically inclined? If we wanted to go cuddly, metalheads sure love their felines. Metal Cats — a photo collection of the kvlt posing with their kitties — is now available for preorder. Obituary get down with the godly beings by way of Donald Tardy's Metal Meowlisha charity that helps out homeless furballs. Not to mention, we used to be quite pet obsessed here at IO. And, finally, the Black Metal Cat Facebook page has a feed full of instant classic graphics, including this new-tattoo template.

That said, we don't want any Luck-like blood on our hands. Moreover, if animals are out of the equation, we could lift the standing ban on W.A.S.P. visiting; a 'do not sell tickets to these men' picture-posted restriction enacted for obvious reasons. So, it might end better if we hired a bunch of humans to play the part. Should be easy enough. Bugs? Why not. Most goregrind is fronted by the same swarm of crickets, for instance. To go a different route, Don Doty's eeks are pretty mousy. In addition, Coalesce's Sean Ingram has been known to get credited as "Hungry Bear."

All fitting, but, well, this endeavor needs to be a spectacle. We need something big. Michael Bay big. Or. . .simply Michael McDonald's bouffant big.

Something fantastic.

Idea: Why bother with the real when we could just deal with the imaginary? It's settled. Our heavy metal petting zoo? Yo, send in the album cover mascots.

— Ian Chainey


JOHNNY (furnus frrrtsmellus)

Meet Johnny. Johnny is. . .a thing. I'm not sure Riot ever figured out Johnny's origins, either. First appearing on 1977's Rock City as an alien-murdering wereseal, Johnny has inexplicably stuck around as Riot's figurehead, thus providing many dollar-bin-buys for discerning metalheads who don't hastily judge books by their covers. The band rocks, Johnny does not. How the hell does the guy endure? Hey, sometimes you fart for so long, you don't even realize you're farting anymore. Something like that.


• Actually a man bitten by a radioactive albino Pomeranian.

• Starred in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but had scenes cut when test audiences deemed the finale too grizzly.

• Holds the record as the worst selling He-Man toy.


FLOTZILLA (taintus nosatanus)

Beware, Beelzebub! Flotzilla is here to. . .sit on your face. Huh. Anyway, perhaps we shouldn't, uh, bag on Flotzilla's powers. After all, the beast has kept Flotsam and Jetsam safe from the devil and his crossroads-esque deals. I mean, no one took one of those, right? That'd be a load.


• Trained Shakespearean actor.

• Dresses as Blanka for Halloween every year.

• Is a great source of fiber.


D-1000 (whatus dafuckus)

Oh, Digger. What did you do? Why couldn't you foresee your future foibles? Trying to stay two steps ahead of the German power metal scene, the efficient Digger — formerly Grave Digger, soon to be Hawaii; no, really — decided to design robots for their road crew. To create the AI, the band turned to Skynet. Chaos ensued, leading to the greatest mass slaughter of golfers and bakers in human history. Bernhard Langer still flinches after any quack. Luckily, we struck back with our own cyborgs modeled after Marmaduke, thus eradicating the metal mallard scourge. This version, D-1000, is all that remains. We've re-coded it to man our gift shop. Don't worry, it's safe around children. We think.


• The answer is angel dust. The band was smoking angel dust.

• "WHERE IS YOUR GODDAMN BREAD, APE BABY? I NEED CRUM-bzzzzt-I mean. . .would you like to buy a snowglobe?"

• Totally got down with Lea Thompson, bro.


There we go. Our first three exhibits. What's that, girl? Got some others? Can't believe we missed the obvious? Speak! WHO IS A GOOD READER? YOU ARE.