For so many, heavy metal provides an escape from reality, replete with dramatic imagery often times serving as extensions of a band's lyrical themes and imaginative minds. It's a fun world and we all get sucked into the vortex, pouring over album art, merchandise designs and, often times, mascots!

Much like sports teams, numerous metal acts have support from their mascot, though they tend to find themselves in more dire situations than a dizzy bat race or a costumed foot race. Figures like Iron Maiden's Eddie, Sodom's Knarrenheinz and Megadeth's Vic Rattlehead can never seem to escape the constant threat of danger. Some metal mascots are perennial fixtures on just about any image related to the group while other remain in the shadows, waiting for just the right moment to pop out.

It can't be denied that some of metal's greatest mascots have had a profound impact on band popularity, becoming synonymous with the group's name and as popular as the members of the band, if not more! Floating heads, winged skulls, aliens, demons, manic humans and more all represent this lovely lot and their bands would certainly not be the same without them.

Mascots were popularized mainly during the '80s, but modern acts like Disturbed, Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold have all become enthralled with the idea, creating mascots of their own, thus carrying the torch and keeping the spirit of the metal mascot alive... or (un)dead. Some of them are definitely definitely on a second life or third!

Click through the gallery above as we count down the 25 Ultimate Metal Mascots!

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