Apr 272010

We’re suckers for eye-catching album art.  We’ve found, more often than not, that when the album art is really cool, there’s something worth hearing in the music, too. That’s not based on a statistically valid survey, of course, and it doesn’t make any logical sense. But in our own personal case, it seems to be true.

To test out that hypothesis, we hunted through news items on a recent 48-hour period at Blabbermouth to find eye-catching album art, and then we listened to music from the albums in question.

For example, check out that one above.  Actually, if you’re already on this page, you don’t really have any alternative but to check it out. But it’s pretty fucking cool, isn’t it? It’s the cover to a new album called Reptilian by Norway’s Keep of Kalessin, which will be released n North America on June 8 via Nuclear Blast and in most of Europe on May 10 through Indie Recordings.

Based on the track listing (which you can see here), it appears that many of the songs will have something to do with, uh, dragons. So whaddaya know? In addition to being scary cool, the album cover actually has a thematic connection to the music.  The band’s guitarist Obsidian C. commented on the cover: “The music on Reptilian is more in your face and direct than before so we chose this cover and the title to emphasise that directness as well as focusing even more on the fantasy elemement in the band. This beast of an album is staring at you and it’s going straight for your throat!”

Well, if we had a dollar for every band that used the “straight for your throat” line to describe its music, we could quit our day jobs and flog away on this blog full-time. The question is whether Obsidian C. is spouting mere puffery or whether the music really is as cool as the album cover.  That’s the point of this little experiment. What’s the answer?  (we’ll give you our opinion, after the jump, plus another test case for our hypothesis about cool album art and cool music . . .)

The answer is based on a song from the album called “The Awakening”, which the band has just made available for streaming on its MySpace page. And the answer is a resounding Yes — it’s cool. If you want to pigeon-hole the style (and you haven’t heard the band’s exceptional 2008 album Kolossus), it’s a blackened style of melodic death metal. The song is a long one that moves from galloping riffs to black-mass style chanting to orchestral choruses. It’s ominous, it’s grim, it’s beautiful, it makes you want to bang your head. It makes us anxious for the album. And it tends to prove the validity of our cool-album-cover-cool-music hypothesis.  Go check it out.

And now for our next test sample:

The cover above is for an album called World Destruction released on March 22 via Regain Records by a Swedish extreme metal band called Trident. We weren’t familiar with Trident, but we thought that ghostlike image of a raptor shimmering with otherworldly energy was pretty cool. So, we decided to check out the band and the music.

It turns out that Trident is something of a super-group formed by guitarist Johan Norman (Dissection, Soulreaper), with other bandmembers from Necrophobic, Jaggernaut, Karneywar, and Grief of Emerald. We haven’t listened to the whole album yet, but we have heard the three songs from World Destruction that are streaming on the band’s MySpace page. And those songs again tend to prove our hypothesis.

The music is old-school, evil, blackened death metal, with thick, chugging riffs, buzzing guitar leads, hammering drums, and echoing, glass-shredding, shrieked vocals. The songs are varied in their pacing, but all three are cool, in an evil, blackened, death-metal kind of coolness.  Certainly cool enough that we’ll be checking out the whole album. Go see what you think.

We’ve got a few more test cases of our hypothesis that we’ll share a bit later. Have a nice day.

  2 Responses to “EYE-CATCHERS (Part 1)”

  1. Trident definitely caught my eye. And my ears. Their official site has a couple songs that their mySpace page doesn’t, FYI.

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