It seems that despite the so-called, current ‘supremacy’ of the digital format, album covers still matter – at least in the world of Metal music. Both bands and graphic artists keep producing arresting imagery to accompany and enhance (visually and conceptually) the power of the recordings being released daily. Here’s the third chapter of this miniseries exploring some of those amazing album covers. Let’s discover what those involved with their creation had to say…
01. Septicflesh – Titan:
“The central figure, in conjunction with the placement of the lamb and the birds, lend a triangular acidity in space, while delineating to the subconscious, a mental pyramid,” comments Septic Flesh’s Seth Siro Anton (www.sethsiroanton.com)
regarding to his artwork for the band’s ninth album Titan.
As the Greek band’s bassist/vocal/graphic artist, Siro understands better than anyone else, every visual and conceptual detail contained on this digitally-created, monochromatic graphic. “Emphasis has been given to the symbolic nature of the figures in general, so that each individual depending on his experience and maturity of consciousness, decodes and interprets the image in a different depth,” he explains. “But what characterizes this line of work, is the intense bipolarity of the characters portrayed: Is the lamb wearing the mask of a wolf, or is it the opposite? Is the central figure symbolizing Titan Prometheus, or Human being transformed, evolving into a higher being? The poles rotate, creating conflicting emotions.”
No doubt, this is thought-provoking art. Dare to come up with your own personal conclusions.
02. Origin – Omnipresent:
For the creation of the cover for their latest opus, American sonic extremists, Origin, decided to employ the talents of Colin Marks (www.rain-song.co.uk). “I worked with the band on their previous album Entity and we’ve been in touch since, so when they contacted me regarding this new record I couldn’t wait to get started on it,” the British designer recalls.
“For Omnipresent we wanted bigger. We were looking for something that would represent the total insignificance and helplessness of humanity to the impending doom of the universe that surrounds us at all times,” vocalist Jason Keyser explains. “It’s a strong running theme of the album lyrically; how our pride and arrogance can advance us as a species in so many ways, eventually conquering the unknown reaches of space. But ultimately we continue to exist only at the whim of the cold, indiscriminate forces that could snuff our sentient spark at any moment.”
“Aesthetically, there are Alien and Lovecraft influences in there,” Colin Marks confesses. “It was quite a slow process to get this one together. It’s all built up from personal photography which was shot and painstakingly cut out and gradually compiled in Photoshop. I initially only gave the band a pretty vague idea of how I planned the cover to look and it was quite a tricky concept to try to describe, so they were very trusting and it just came together perfectly. I was concerned that people may find it a little bit strange, but everyone seems to have taken to it… I think it’ll look great as a stage backdrop!”
03. Gormathon – Following The Beast:
Swedish extreme metal collective, Gormathon, decided to adorn the cover of their new album Following The Beast with an artwork courtesy of Berlin-based maestro, Eliran Kantor (www.elirankantor.com), who has worked with bands of the stature of Testament, Iced Earth and Atheist.
The image, (which includes dancing children and a menacing beast) was born from an actual ancient legend. “The band asked me to paint my version of the legend of Hårga, about how the devil, disguised as a fiddler, deceived the youth of the Hårga village (just outside of Bollnäs, Sweden) to dance until death on a hilltop,” Kantor recalls.
Technically, he confesses that “this is a mixed-media piece, which always include hand-painting with various materials.” As a curious note, Bollnäs is actually Gormathon’s hometown.
04. Obituary – Inked In Blood:
The Floridian death metal pioneers decided, once again, to collaborate legendary German artist, Andreas Marschall, to paint the cover of their first album in five years, Inked In Blood.
The image of a headless human torso sporting the band’s logo plays as sort of a gorier, pseudo-cartoonish continuation of the visual style the band has adopted since its early days, on some of their previous album covers. “This cover is very classic, just very basic, nothing special but a classic Obituary logo,” drummer Don Tardy comments.
“Andreas did the End Complete, Frozen in Time, the Left to Die EP, Xecutioner’s Return and Darkest Day. So yes, he is our main guy, and he did another wonderful piece. I think the fans are gonna love it. “The Xecutioner’s Return and Darkest Day covers were these big epic paintings and battles and blood and dragons and shit, and this time we just realized the band’s logo and the music speak for itself.”
05. Schammasch – Contradiction:
The mostly handmade cover artwork for Schammasch’s new album Contradiction was designed by powerhouse visual artist, Valnoir of French design boutique, Metastazis.
“The first draft of this illustration was initially made for Behemonth but at the end it was not fitting to what I was looking for,” Valnoir reveals. “But I kept the basis in a drawer, convinced that I’ll find a project that was demanding this specific type of Illustration.”
When the Switzerland-based black metal band contacted the designer with the idea of having him design the Contradiction cover, he knew that the illustration featuring two demons killing each other could work. “It depicts a self-destructive vision in which ‘evil’ slaughters ‘evil.’ That is kind of a contradiction with classic black metal thematic.”
Next Time on AJFA: A preview of “…And Justice For Art – The book”
Previously on AJFA: Interview with author Martin Popoff about the book, ‘The Art Of Metal’
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