For some Hard Rock/Metal fans, the best way to support their favorite bands is by buying records, t-shirts, concert tickets, etc. Others go a little further and start fanzines, blogs and websites. There’s also a very select group of people that helps to protect and enhance the visual legacy of the genre. British designer, Hugh Gilmour is one of those such people. He’s been a true champion in keeping current the visual works of old masters like Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Dio and by also designing new, original covers for artists like Bruce Dickinson, Orange Goblin, Grand Magus, and the list goes on… Herein Gilmour talks about his origins as a designer, his passion for music and the particularities of creating the visuals for Special Edition reissues, something which he considers a unique privilege.

These days, American Prog Metallers Fates Warning are indisputably busy. They are promoting their most recent opus, Darkness In A Different Light, the cover artwork of which features a rather-simple-yet-iconic digital illustration of a bird-like origami piece. If fans look back; however, they’ll discover that some of the most unforgettable cover artworks in this band’s discography have been designed by Ioannis. This Greek-born artist has created, for the band, hypnotic and surreal images that stimulate viewers’ imaginations to unexpected new heights. Herein the artist reveals the stories behind the making of four of these such cover artworks. Discover the secret….

During his life, iconic singer Ronnie James Dio championed countless musical and humanitarian crusades, the famous all-star Heavy Metal ensemble Hear ‘n Aid being a perfect example. Another of these such causes is The Brittany Foundation which Dio and his beloved wife Wendy supported from its early stages. This non-profit organization is dedicated to the rescue and recovery of homeless and endangered dogs. Such was the Dio’s commitment that before the singer’s untimely passing, Wendy spent a day in a kennel to raise awareness about the subject and raise funds for the organization.

Picture the covers for Kiss’ Destroyer, Rainbow’s Rising, or Manowar’s Kings Of Metal. These works of art all posses the epic feel and masculinity that only an artist like Ken Kelly is capable of conveying. For more than 40 years the Connecticut-born illustrator has been working non-stop, creating Comics, book and album covers, film artwork, private commissions, and much more. In fact, his KISS artworks have been featured as part of the band’s merchandise more than any other visuals in the band’s history.

In today’s musical landscape many people believe that physical formats aren’t as relevant as they use to be. Truth to be told, many have succumbed to the temptations of consuming music by just clicking a button on their computers, cell phones, iPods, or whatever gadget they have. That’s maybe why, in order to compete, physical formats have become more interesting than ever, featuring alternative artworks, exclusive content, videos, and in some cases, even out of the ordinary packaging.

American Death Metal entrepreneurs, Six Feet Under, just finished a mini tour through some North American cities. The reason for said campaign was to support their latest album, Unborn. Considered as a companion piece to their previous recording, Undead, this new studio venture sees the group navigating throughout some familiar territories. However, on both Undead and Unborn SFU also explores new sonic landscapes while during the process becoming a more technically proficient entity. Just before going on tour, iconic growler and SFU’s founder, Chris Barnes, spoke with us about the particularities of these new vicious slabs of infectious, groovy Death Metal.

Dusty Peterson is one of those illustrators who really enjoys talking about their work. His level of enthusiasm is evident, especially when giving detailed explanations of his creative process, his technique, and the pieces of which he’s most proud. Even though to date this Seattle-based designer has produced artworks for Metal giants the likes of Six Feet Under, Bloodbath, and Cattle Decapitation, he still keeps exploring new creative paths that help him to become a more refined artist. PureGrainAudio recently had the opportunity to delve into Peterson’s mind and learn about his influences, sources of inspiration, the mechanics behind his creativity, and his overall experience working in the world of extreme music.

Without Judas Priest, Heavy Metal wouldn’t exist as we know it today. Their influence in the development of the genre has been well-documented thanks to their four decade-long career. The same can be said about the mostly iconic covers accompanying each of their album’s cover artworks. Whether they’re are portraying a fallen angel, a hand holding a razor blade, or an eagle ready to attack, the truth is that their impact on Metal aesthetics and popular culture in general is both undeniable and revolutionary.

Epic metal sextet Storm Of Perception are without a doubt, one of the new “Americans Band to Watch”. As demonstrated on their album debut Into The Sun, their sound is raw and uncompromising. It mixes power, thrash, symphonic, and even black metal elements with a larger-than-life lyrical approach that promises to please everyone from fans of Dream Theater and Children Of Bodom, to Dimmu Borgir. On top of that, the Arizona-based outfit are signed to Tru-B-Dor Records, the new label established by former Guns ‘N Roses manager Alan Niven. PureGrainAudio recently talked with frontman Brian Herring about the band’s music, getting signed, and of course, the new album.

From opener “Shades Of Gray” to closer “A New Day”, Amorphis’ latest recording, Circle, is simply outstanding. In conjunction with legendary producer and Hypocrisy mainman Peter Tagtgren, the Finnish kings of Progressive Metal have been able to conjure an album that stands side by side with any of their previous studio opuses. Heavier and darker than its recent predecessors, but retaining the band’s melodic and eclectic trademarks, Circle seems to announce a new chapter in the Helsinki–based collective. Guitarist Tomi Kuvousari told us everything about the new album, the experience of working with Tagtgren, and the band’s future plans including a possible North American Tour.

After publishing more than 7,000 album reviews and 40 Rock/Metal-related books, Martin Popoff can easily be considered one of genre’s ultimate writers. The Toronto-based author has also professed on many occasions his love for the visual imagery used in Metal and Rock music. In fact, he’s already written several books about the subject, including “Run For Cover”, a look into Iron Maiden’s iconic illustrator Derek Riggs and “Worlds Away”, a book centered on the visuals created by Voivod’s drummer Michell “Away” Langevin.

If there’s something that becomes completely clear after watching Sebastian Bach’s new live DVD ABachalypse Now, it’s that the singer still is as relentless and potent as he was 25 years ago. His vocal power hasn’t diminished at all and the Canadian rocker still reaches each of those glorious high-pitched notes with notable (no pun intended) easiness. Onstage he irradiates the kind a savage energy that many younger frontmen can only dream about. That very same kind of flamboyant, hyperactive and outspoken personality accompanies him everywhere, including to his PureGrainAudio interview. We talked; he revealed all juicy details about ABachalypse Now (whose special edition also contains two live CDs), information about his upcoming studio material, and of course and his opinion about an improbable Skid Row reunion.