May 132013

If you’re a regular NCS stalker, you’ve seen this cover before. Twice before, actually, because I keep looking for new excuses to stick it on the site. It’s the hellaciously eye-catching gatefold artwork for Bloodlines, the new Relapse Records album by Rhode Island’s Howl — which is also hellaciously good, by the way. To see an even larger image of the artwork, click the pic above.

The artist who created the cover is Ryan Begley, and this is his third record cover for Howl (the other two are also killer). Today we have the pleasure of giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how the Bloodlines artwork came into existence, including the rough and final pencil sketches that evolved into the finished inked-and-colored piece you’re looking at. As Ryan explains:

All the visuals were inspired by lyrical content and both the band and I wanted to have an image with a lot of elements that would take time for the viewer to soak in. I tried to have all the characters and elements interacting and overlapping as much as possible.  The blood was one of the more difficult but fun elements to draw for the cover. Figuring out how it would flow and move throughout the frame and around the characters took a while to sketch out.

The band wanted a bright and vibrant cover and I thought it would translate best if we kept the colors in the same family. Once I settled on a specific red for the blood the rest of the palette was pulled from that.

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May 162010

We like five things about the new Relapse Records release from a Rhode Island band called Howl: the album cover, the name of the album, the name of the band, the lyrics. Oh yeah, we like the music, too.

First things first — the album cover.

Now, we can hear some of you saying, who gives a shit about the cover art if the music sucks? Well, you’re entitled to your fucking opinion. But in our fucking opinion, this band could sound like a garbage truck backing up and this album cover would still stand the test of time. Plus, we saw the album cover before we heard the music, so it comes first.

Just gaze upon that sucker at the top of this post. It’s really only half of the full image. To see the full thing in all its hellish glory, you need the CD insert to unfold.  Looks like this:

The artwork is by Ryan Begley. He’s done artwork for Pelican, Clouds, Ruiner, Doomriders, and other bands, but we gotta say he’s outdone himself with this one. Skulls, flames, skeletal hand, glowing triangle, and plenty of eyeballs (you can never have too many eyeballs) — all rendered in appropriately hell-hot colors. And it meshes beautifully with one of those other things we like — the album title (Full of Hell). OK, now for the music: It’s devilishly good. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »