Joe Manganiello’s ‘Death Saves’ brings new life to the metal world

Joe Manganiello’s love for metal music has propelled the actor into new territory. This past summer, just prior to all of the “Joe Manganiello snuck a Metallica song into wedding with Sofia Vergara” headlines, the “True Blood” star had revealed his passion for the genre in the form of a metal-inspired streetwear brand.

The brand (Death Saves) made its debut during a Dungeons & Dragons live stream event last June when Manganiello reportedly rolled up in his Escalade and began gifting people t-shirts from a box in the back of his truck. The line officially launched during Comic-Con in 2018, where Manganiello was on hand at the BAIT store in San Diego, promoting the collection, working the cash register, and signing autographs for fans.

Aside from the metal aspect, Death Saves also has a Dungeons & Dragons theme - which is where the name actually comes from (if you didn’t already catch that reference). The line’s aesthetic embodies the same metal, science fiction, and fantasy art look from the ‘80s. It combines the best components of each and reimagines the style, giving it a 21st-century twist. Every shirt they do actually has a story behind it. Hardcore fans of the era will appreciate all of the tongue-in-cheek references and the Easter eggs hidden in the designs.

Damian Higgins is the creative director of Death Saves. Higgins (the popular drum and bass DJ who is known to most as Dieselboy), collaborates on the concepts and does the typography. As he explained to AXS during the opening night of their L.A. pop-up, gaming and metal have always gone hand in hand. Their idea for the brand is to integrate both. They want to make new images, as opposed to just rehashing old images we see on t-shirts all of the time. “Imagine commissioning a piece of fantasy art from the D&D era and slapping a metal logo on it?” Higgins mused. “It goes together like peanut butter and jelly.”

While there was a hole in the market for something like this, initially, no one, not even Manganiello, expected the line to be such a success. At first, the actor was using space at his 3:59 Inc. production company offices until they just couldn’t keep up with the orders anymore. As the brand continues to grow, they’ve been doing a slow rollout to incorporate tees, jackets, hats, and accessories. Higgins says there’s more to come in the next couple of weeks and there is likely to be a massive expansion in the future. For now, you can order the merchandise online or at different cons and pop-up events. Tip: Things sell out fast so stay close to their social media sites to get the first picks.

Death Saves’ latest pop-up in L.A. was in collaboration with Frazetta Girls. The collection featured a few pieces of Frank Frazetta’s artwork and was on full display this past weekend at BAIT on Melrose. Manganiello was on hand for the launch party on Dec. 6 (sporting his own gear) and was accompanied by his wife, Sofía Vergara. Other celebrities and friends passed in and out during Thursday’s special preview in support of the latest collaboration. The party really just allowed for the actor and his guests to have a good time, talk gaming, D&D, and share in their appreciation for all things metal. 

What started as a desire for one person to wear some badass heavy metal/fantasy-themed gear has now expanded into a reality for others who crave the same. “Death Saves” may mean the end of the line in Dungeons & Dragons, but for Joe Manganiello, it’s just the beginning.