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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…

In many ways, Cynic’s 1993 debut full-length, Focus, was such a revolutionary recording that even by today’s standards it still sounds as current as ever. Its unparalleled uniqueness still produces amusement, especially among the legions of Progressive Metal enthusiasts. Could this album be the product of the musical maturity the young Floridian quartet found after recording their early demos? Was it maybe, the wizardry showcased by producer Scott Burns in one of his finest studio efforts ever? Or perhaps, could it be the result of a “butterfly effect”-like cosmic event happening on the other side of the galaxy? Whatever the case, the truth is that Focus rapidly became an instant musical landmark that established new standards within the world of extreme music. As founding member and guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal acknowledges: “We had something we were proud of. It succeeded and survived as a creative work and that’s really all that matters from an artistic standpoint. It also served the greater purpose of inspiring other musicians.”

Last week both veteran and upcoming Metal artists talked about some of their all-time favorite album covers and the long lasting impressions and influences that many of those visuals have imprinted on them. Today, we keep exploring this subject and asked another slew of mighty metal musicians: “What’s your all-time favorite Rock/Metal album cover artwork and why?” Let’s see how they answered…

This is another disc I could add to my CD shelf labeled, “Anti-Insomnia”. It’s real good music for putting you to sleep, yo! With such a screw-the-rest-of-the-world kind of name, a casual observer might go, “Oh, another run-of-the-mill death/black metal band.” But Cynic is really a had-been progressive tech death band, and they play friggin’ prog rock now.