2014 continues to bring us outstanding cover imagery for many Metal albums worldwide. Using all kind of techniques, from traditional painting to digital design, artists have created exceptional visual marvels that amaze thanks in large to their level of detail, careful execution and, in some cases, profound conceptual ideas. In this second part of our “Best Album Covers of 2014,” we keep exploring some of these special pieces of art. Let’s see what the people involved in the making of these images had say.

2014 is just beginning and there already are a lot of interesting artworks adorning the covers of many Metal albums. We’ve selected four of the most striking ones to-date and spoke with some of the people involved in their development who in turn revealed numerous interesting facts. We listened, learned and now, we’re sharing with you this info! Feel free to do the same…

Alcest is a band in constant evolution. Since the year 2000, this French collective, lead by singer/multi-instrumentalist, Neige, has managed to go from playing Black Metal to Indie Rock-oriented soundscapes of profound evocative power. Their recent album Shelter is a perfect example of this change. Gone are the blast beats and the screaming vocals that were so palpable in their magnificent previous album Les Voyages De L’ame. Instead, Neige, drummer Winterhalter and a selected group of guest musicians have been able to create an affecting record that has surprised fans (both positively and negatively) and opened new musical and commercial possibilities for the group. Drummer Winterhalter briefly spoke with PureGrainAudio about this brave move.

French Metallers Alcest brought their ethereal mix of Black Metal and Shoegaze to the legendary Crowbar in Tampa Bay on March 21th, 2012. It was a night filled with plenty of magical moments and an intimate atmosphere. The band focused on playing cuts from their recent, highly acclaimed album Les Voyages De L’Ame, as well as songs from all previous recordings. The night was captured using a Nikon D-90, Nikkor Lens 19-105mmm f: 3.5 and Tamron 28-75 mm f:2.5.

Traditionally, Tampa Bay’s audience doesn’t seem to be very fond of Metal bands with strong melodic leanings. Most fans (and bands) in this part of the US are still deeply rooted in the Death Metal revolution that took the underground by storm during the early 90’s. That’s probably why expectations weren’t high on the night that French metallers Alcest came to town to deliver their unique blend of ethereal Melodic Black Metal and Shoegaze. Surprisingly, all bets were wrong: a pretty decent crowd (formed mostly by 20 and 30 year olds) invaded The Crowbar, helping to create an intimate yet electrical atmosphere.