Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. I suppose people in our community have as varied a set of tastes in artwork as the rest of society at large, but when it comes to album art in particular, we’re off in a world unto ourselves. What we find “beautiful” in album art tends to fall on the ugly side of things. I think that’s because we look for album art that represents the dissonant, frequently voracious, often bleak sound of the music.
But even within the realm of extreme metal album art, there’s good and bad. Today I came across a collection of new artwork for forthcoming albums that I’d put on the good end of the scale . . . plus some works in progress by a well-known metal artist for album covers that are in the making.
The first example is the one you see above. It’s the just-disclosed artwork for the next album by long-running Swedish death metal band Grave, who happen to be one of my perennial favorites. The next album will be their 10th and is titled Endless Procession of Souls. It’s due for release in Europe on August 27 by Century Media. The artwork is by Costin Chioreanu, who also created the art for Grave’s last two albums. If you know anything about Grave’s music, you’ll appreciate how perfectly appropriate this creation is for their style of music. Beautiful.
This is another piece of album art just released for viewing today. The band is Vancouver B.C.’s Auroch, their debut album is From Forgotten Worlds, and it’s scheduled for release sometime later this summer. The artist is Danille Gauvin, and she did a hell of a job in my opinion, especially considering that Auroch’s music is described as harrowing, barbaric, Lovecraftian death metal. Here are some links (the song on that Bandcamp page is an older one and isn’t listed on the new album):
This eye-catching piece of art is for the second album by Rings of Saturn, Dingir (pronounced “din-jeer”), which Unique Leader has tentatively slated for release on November 20. There’s a teaser trailer of music from the album, which sounds like this band is moving in a more progressive direction with their music.
I haven’t made up my mind what I think about the sound, but I think the album art is killer (and thanks to Utmu for nudging me to feature it). You can really never go wrong with eyeballs, teeth, saliva, and vomit, particularly when the visual setting is as interesting as this. Unfortunately, the press release I got did not identify the artist (shame!). To hear the sampler of music from the album, go here.
This is the cover for the second album by Riverside, California’s Arkaik. The album is called Metamorphignition, and it’s another Unique Leader release, scheduled for October 9. I liked this band’s debut album, and will be curious to see what’s up with the next one.
The artist here is Tony Koehl. By coincidence, in a recent post our man Andy Synn picked one of his album covers — for Deflorate by The Black Dahlia Murder — as an example of bad album art fronting a good album. Andy may not like this one much either, but I think it’s cool. More spacey and less brutal than the ones featured earlier in this post, but still eye-catching.
The Gardnerz are a Swedish doom/death band whose music I haven’t yet heard. Today they unveiled a track list and the above artwork for a new EP titled It All Fades, which follows their debut album The System of Nature. The artist is Daniel “Devilish” Johnsson. Nice work, and will certainly help incline me to check out this EP.
The creator here is veteran extreme metal artist Mark Riddick. This is an inked drawing for the cover of an EP, as well as a t-shirt, for a U.S. band called Avenger of Blood. He still plans to work on artwork for the background of this piece.
This next one is a hand-illustrated logo that Riddick created for the next album by Arsis:
And lastly, here’s an inked drawing of the cover for a forthcoming 7″ EP by a UK band called Cultfinder:
These are all pretty recent posts by Mark Riddick on his Facebook page. To see my grisliness from him, you can reach that page via this link.