(In this post, guest writer This Is The News hands out some personal awards for the best metal album cover art of 2013. Please leave your thoughts — including your own favorite cover art of the year — in the Comments.)
It’s time again for year end lists, which boils down to two things for most of us:
- No surprises. Decibel, Revolver, and Metal Sucks will publish lists that we probably could have predicted back in June.
- We will want to argue with their choices anyway.
As much fun as that is, let’s take it a step further with a look at some of the best album cover art of 2013. Good artwork can be the incentive to hear an unknown artist, or a small consolation to a disappointing album. Even if you’re bummed out that the new Avantasia album isn’t actually about gnome wizards, at least you still have a fun bit of fantasy art to admire. So look, argue, give your own list of favorites. You know the drill.
Art by Paolo Girardi
Most readers will already be familiar with Girardi’s work, but that’s no reason to start taking him for granted. The art on Tempest was a standout even for him, and a perfect complement to the deep, foreboding doom of Lycus.
Deeds of Flesh, Portals to Canaan
Art by Raymond Swanland
This is the sort of art that will compel a kid to pick up their first sci-fi novel. A little further down the road, it might just get them interested in death metal, too. A well established figure in the realm of Magic: The Gathering, Swanland’s art has been finding its way onto more death metal records these days, including albums from Psycroptic, Suffocation, and an upcoming one from Cephalic Impurity.
The Black Dahlia Murder, Everblack
Art by Nick Keller
There is arguably more atmosphere and evil on the cover of this album than in the music it contains. Nick Keller knocked this one out of the park, giving Black Dahlia the best art they’ve ever had. Check out his Facebook page to see how varied, yet consistently awesome, his work is.
Eye of Solitude, Canto III
Art by Remedy Art Design
Fun fact: Artist Giannis Nakos of Remedy Art Design also sings for the brutal death metal band Mortal Torment (the Greek one, not the other one). Looks like he channeled a lot of that pure metal energy into the art for Eye of Solitude’s third full-length.
Rivers of Nihil, The Conscious Seed of Light
Art by Dan Seagrave
Dan Seagrave is more or less a legend at this point, but that doesn’t stop him from pushing himself. The bright, spacious landscape on The Conscious Seed of Light wouldn’t ordinarily scream “metal,” but it perfectly compliments the lyrical theme of the album. That, and it’s Dan Seagrave, so it’s automatically more metal than all the skulls and demons you can squeeze into a 12” x 12” portrait.
With how familiar some of these pictures become, being in ads and on merch, you would think that the artist’s names would be as well known as the bands’. Sadly, that’s normally not the case. If there is an artist dear to your heart who needs recognition for their work in the service of metal this year, be sure to give them a shout-out in the comments below.