Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Treatise Of Magic: Angelo Roccagli and Overunit Machine

Italian metallers, Overunit Machine recruited fellow countryman artist, Angelo Roccagli of Black Reflection Media for the design of the cover and inner illustrations featured in their new album "Aldaraja." In the following interview, Roccagli recounts how these graphics were brought to life.

The front cover artwork

How you became involved with Overunit Machine and this particular project?

Angelo Roccagli: I got in touch with Overunit Machine thanks to a Facebook comment. A friend of mine is a fan of the band and when they did a post searching for a graphic designer for their new album, my friend proposed my name. So the band checked out my work and they contacted me.

Who came up with the cover concept and what inspired? Were there any other cover concepts that you discarded?

Angelo Roccagli: The idea for the cover is mine. There was another image I proposed, but the band thought that wasn’t strong enough so I decided to slightly change it and made it a part of the inner pages.
The complete front/back cover

Did the band give you any materials (lyrics, music, etc) in order to get you inspired?

Angelo Roccagli: No, they didn’t give me any materials. They just gave me the title “Aldaraja” (a XVI century Latin treatise on magic) and some keywords to let me imagine how the artwork should be. This was strange, it was the first time I found myself in this kind of situation, all the other bands I worked with gave me lyrics and few songs. But, although this caused some initial problems for me, it let me free to open my mind and work following the instinct of my inspiration, I took it as a creative challenge.

Human, mechanical and oceanic elements are heavily present not only in the cover but also in the inner illustrations. Can you explain the symbolical significance of these elements? 

Angelo Roccagli: The human element always fascinated me in all his aspects, I think it gives the watcher the feeling of being part of the illustration, a way to let him identify himself with art. The oceanic factor was a choice I made casually, following the instinct as I said before. The band wanted something mystical and I thought that the sea and all its characteristics could fit well in this case.

Is there any specific meaning behind the constant present of the triangle and other mechanical/mathematical references?


Angelo Roccagli: Yes, all those parts have a sense in my concept of the artwork. Other keywords the band gave me were “magical” and “decay.” The triangle and all the symbols I used are the magic side, related to the occult symbology. The mechanical parts are the decay side. I say this because I choose to associate this features to the modern age: the concrete, logical and material aspect counter-posed to the unreal world of magic.


















Tell us more about the making-of process not only for the cover but the whole layout.

Angelo Roccagli: I started to design a inner illustration of the booklet. This allows me to develop the imaginary and the atmosphere of the artwork, without being stressed by the cover, the most hard part to create. I showed it to the band and they found it great, so I knew I was stepping in the right way of thinking. So I keep on collecting and gathering ideas based on those keywords, trying to interpret them with my own sensitivity and my artistic style.

About the technique: it’s all digital. With Photoshop I manipulate images chosen from an accurate selection based upon the ideas I have. I use a lot of textures in my work, and I ‘m really meticulous when it’s time to opt for one of them. Most of time I create them on my own, starting from photos I made. And so I did with this artwork.

There's a prominent use of stock imagery. From what sources you selected these images and what was the criteria for your selection?

Angelo Roccagli: I pick up the images from websites that provides stock photos. This took a lot of time, because I searched with a very specific criteria. Since the title refers to a XVI century book, I looked for images that could give that kind of “ancient” feeling, both for the human features and the symbolical elements. Also the mechanical parts are not contemporary drawings, but handmade illustrations.

The color palette for this design is very specific and tends to avoid too much tonal vibrancy. Can you tell us more about the reasons to select this particular tonal combination?

Angelo Roccagli: The color palette is one of the things I prefer about this work. When you think about a Metal release the first colors that usually come in mind are dark/black oriented, so I decided to go to the opposite side. This was a risky decision because it could be seen bad by the band, but they liked this style. So I continued using these bright backgrounds, focusing on complementary colors, as blue and red, to create opposing shades. I choose to use red as a predominant color, because I think it can be related to something passionate, impetuous, but also primordial and magical.




This artwork is a good example of your visual style and your obvious preference to mix photography with digital media in order to create images of cryptic beauty. Can you comment about this?

Angelo Roccagli: Since I was sixteen I use this type of art to express my thoughts and my way to see certain aspects of the world. I grew up staring at the beautiful works of masters like Travis Smith, Seth Siro Anton, Zdzisław Beksiński and they gave me the inspiration to try this kind of catharsis, obviously always trying to do it with my personal style. Mixing photography and other digital media allows me to do it with a more “realistic” feeling. I like to take photos of existing natural places, cities, people, walls and make them a part of a new reality in my visions. I take details and transform them in a unique frame. I like to think that as a sort of realistic fiction.

How did the band reacted when you showed the finished artwork?

Angelo Roccagli: The band just loved each illustration, they were really enthusiastic each time I forwarded them a new piece of the work. Luckily they gave me such freedom to create the artwork and they liked all of my proposals. In the meantime, while I was working, they let me listen to three songs of the new album and I realized that my work fitted perfectly with their music.

Angelo Roccagli 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

...And Justice For Art: The Revised Edition

A limited, revised edition of the out-of-print book ...And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers was recently released by indie publisher Dark Canvas.

This one-of-a-kind collection of stories features more than 450 color graphics and recounts all the particulars behind the making of artworks as iconic as Slayer's "Reign In Blood," Morbid Angel's "Blessed Are The Sick," Metallica's "...And Justice For All," Mayhem's "Grand Declaration of War," Tiamat's "Wildhoney," Cradle Of Filth's "The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh," Black Sabbath's "13," and many more!
The stories are told through 105 exclusive interviews with renowned musicians like Jeff Walker (Carcass), Charlie Benante (Anthrax), Max Cavalera (Soulfly, Sepultura), Fenriz (Darthrone), Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Paul Masvidal (Cynic), Chris Adler (Lamb of God), David Vincent (Morbid Angel), Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation) among many others. The book's Revised Edition also features new revealing commentaries by Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth), Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Kelly Schaefer (Atheist), Neige (Alcest) and by critically acclaimed illustrators such as Michael Whelan, Eliran Kantor, Dan Seagrave, Joe Petagno, Arik Roper and Travis Smith, just to name a few.
When asked why he decided to create a revised edition, author Ramon Oscuro Martos—who writes for Metal Underground—says: "I didn't want to just re-print the same book again. I had new material available. So, I decided to introduce some changes that definitely bring something new to the table while keeping intact the essence of previous edition. There are new comments, more graphics, but it's still the same book... dramatically improved and updated."
Metal musicians that have supported the book.
The author believes that all the additions "make the book more complete. It's like what happens with an album or a movie: there's the original edition. Then you get the especial edition, the limited box set, etc... For me, this is it. This is the best version of the book I can create and it demonstrates that a creative work can evolve through time and become better, eventually... There's nothing wrong with that."
The Revised Edition of '...And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers' is limited to 300 copies and it's exclusively available right here.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Best Panoramic Metal Album Artworks Of 2016

Since the release of Black Sabbath's debut, "Black Sabbath," countless Metal recordings have featured striking panoramic-shaped graphics on their front/back sleeves. Usually, the right portion of these images (the front cover) is the one that receives most of people's attention. However, in many cases, the left sections—commonly known as 'back sleeves'—tend to be as visually and thematically important as the front and reveal new layers of meaning and artistic intricacy. Just think about timeless album artworks like Iron Maiden’s “Somewhere In Time,” Saxon's "Crusader," Mastodon's "Once More 'Round The Sun," or the aforementioned Black Sabbath’s debut and you’ll get the idea.

Below, we're exploring six of 2016's most relevant panoramic Metal album covers. We talked to bands and the designers about making-of process and meaning behind these mesmerizing images that have already become part of heavy music's visual legacy.

BEASTWARS "The Death Of All Things" 
New Zeland-based sludge metallers, Beastwars, employed the unrivaled artistic talents of fellow countryman, Nick Keller, for the creation of the amazing artwork that adorns the  front/back sleeves of band's new album "The Death Of All Things." 

The imposing 60cm x 120cm oil on canvas painting is based on the legend of the Phoenix bird—but with a new twist. "In discussions around the visual direction, Beastwars' vocalist, Matt Hyde, revealed strong themes running through the album—songs dealing with trials of life through vice, damnation and possible redemption; a complete sense of running out of time and how, like death, all things can change in an instant," Keller explains. "No ending is perfect, strewn with unfinished hopes, ambitions and dreams. While that does sound grim, we wanted to express an impacting sense of power and optimism with the cover art."

Having designed the covers for the band's previous recordings definitely gave the artist freedom to explore certain themes—including the Phoenix idea. "I thought the idea of a twist on the mythological Phoenix presented an interesting metaphor for a number of these themes. Unlike the classical creature, birthed from the ashes of it's predecessor, our bird should be bursting forth from the belly of the serpent."

"The Death of All Things" is available via Beastwars' bandcamp.

KVELERTAK "Nattesferd"
Kvelertak collaborated on their first two album covers with American musician/illustrator, John Baizley of Baroness. For their third full-length, "Nattesferd," the Norwegian combo decided to change their visual aesthetics and joined forces with legendary artist, Arik Roper. The American visionary would develop a haunting, Sci-fiction-inspired landscape that also incorporates Nordic motifs.

"I came up with the concept, though I asked for input from the band," Roper—known for his artworks for Sleep, High On Fire, among others—reveals. "They suggested the Owl because they apparently use owls as an ongoing theme. I liked the idea of combining Norse mythology with Science Fiction elements. So I thought of a futuristic character within a fantastic environment and the tree of life, Yggdrasil, as part of the world."

The alluring, blue-dominated illustration was created with ink, gouache, and pastel. "Nattesferd" is available via Roadrunner Records.

HIEROPHANT "Mass Grave"
Italian fierce quartet, Hierophant, combined efforts with fellow countryman, Paolo Girardi, to create the artwork for their new album, "Mass Grave." The wild visionary painter delivered a chaotic, red/crimson-dominated piece that features most of his visual trademarks—including apparent disarray in the composition, exploration of apocalyptic themes and a confluence of grotesque, violent and supernatural visual elements.

"Hierophant wanted a totally red artwork," Girardi comments. "For the front side (right) I've thought of Italian crypts under churches (columns and vaults), Italian cemeteries  mixed with the hill of crosses in Šiauliai, Lithuania  Many corpses as in many war (or drug trafficking) scenes. The big eyeballs give a human, deep, sick, insane, obsessive, delirious accent to the scene."

The artist used oils to create such apocalyptic vision. He confesses that the left portion of the artwork (the back) was mainly "inspired by Luis Rojo's apocalyptic landscapes with water and post-atomic ruins, joined with Turner's romantic views of Venice or London. The tower of houses in the middle  has been inspired by many Italian southern picturesque villages, clanged to spurs."

"Mass Grave" will be available via Candlelight Records.

TEMPLE OF EVIL "The 7th Awakening"
Released on CD early this year, "The 7th Awakening"—the debut of Cyprus-based black metallers, Temple of Evil—features a cover art depicting an obscure, cryptic ritual. It was crafted by the artist known as Khaos Diktator Design. "The main ideas for the artwork came into existence several years ago," the band comments. "It was obvious to us that the artwork needed to reflect the general atmosphere of the songs, conveying the appropriate dark feelings and ideas on to the listener and viewer, as both music and art need to be equally complementary and representative of each other."

According to Khaos Diktator, he got "brief instructions from the band concerning the concept and atmosphere which was expected from me to achieve with my art. After that I listened to the album tracks while trying to create clear visions which will be transformed into painting later. This album was pretty inspiring and it was easy to translate it on canvas.Temple of Evil creates occult, ritualistic atmosphere, so I figured out that fusion of baroque technique and images that I achieve while listening to their music came out as perfect recipe."

 "The 7th Awakening" can be streamed and downloaded at Temple Of Evil's bandcamp.








MAZEMATH "The Illusion Of Freedom"
"Creating this cover was really challenging in terms of bringing to life the different views and ideas of the band," reveals Scotland-based artist, Gabriel Hernández regarding his artwork for "The Illusion Of Freedom." This is the debut album by novel Chilean metallers, Mazemath

"The main concept they asked me to illustrate was a human timeline from baby to a defeated man, was only the starting point," Chilean-born Hernández says. "There were other ideas they wanted to incorporate: a group of girls in fetal position and a burning city. Since all these elements needed to have their own level of importance, I suggested them to create an extended cover, basically to enhance the main concept and give coherence to all these elements and build a consistent world.

Expanding on the cover concept, the band comments: "The lyrics [of the title track] talk about growing up and realizing that the game of life is not what they told and you are not free at all. The classic image of the monkey evolving into man came to mind. Every element in the art has to do with some track of the album: the bombers, the numbed bodies, the tree and the crows, the sun is really Apophis 99942 (an asteroid that may clash the earth), the burning city has some iconic building of Chile’s capital and the iron necklace was a torture device that was used on slaves." 

Hernández adds that "working digitally allowed me to manipulate elements at every stage of the process such as sketches, line art and final color, until they were happy with the result. I like to state that this project was definitely a collective effort rather than an illustrator’s vision."

"The Illusion Of Freedom" will be released on September 30, 2016. 




ARKONA "Vozrozhdenie"
Originally released in 2004, "Vozrozhdenie" ("Revival") has become a landmark in the career of Russia's premier Folk Metal collective, Arkona. Fast forward to 2016, the band decided to re-record the album and appointed celebrated illustrator Kris Verwimp with the task of painting a new cover art.

Verwimp (well known for his involvement with many Folk and extreme Metal projects and as the creator of mythical character, Odoric) started painting the ambitious panoramic artwork in 2015, using acrylics and water mixable oils on paper. "The moment is etched in my memory when I heard "Vozrozhdenie" for the first time," he comments. "I was awestruck by the phenomenal vocals and wonderful songs. Who would have known back then, that I would one day be painting a cover for a re-recording of this album?"

According to the artist, "the painting itself is a re-imagining of the original artwork in my own style. It depicts a Pagan celebration scene with a Slavic princess, warriors, priests and idols. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find out what the little insect creatures at the bottom represented, so I left those out. I also did illustrations for each song on the album."

"Vozrozhdenie" will be released on November 11th by Napalm Records.


USURPRESS "The Regal Tribe"
The eerie panoramic artwork for Usurpress new album, "The Regal Tribe," was painted by Marald Van Haasteren of Marald Art.

Exclusively for And Justice For Art, the Swedish metallers reveal that they "sent Marald the lyrics and the synopsis for the storyline of the album and gave him freedom to create something based on one of songs of his choice. He chose the track "Across the Dying Plains" and the painting is his interpretation of what it would look like. Those who are familiar with his art know that the skeleton, and especially the skull, is a recurring theme in his paintings. I think it's very important that the artist feels that he/she are allowed to do what he/she wants to do instead of just doing something that the band has already decided. The result will always be more alive and inspired."

"It was an absolute pleasure working for [the band]," Marald recently said. "Thanks again for all the artistic freedom and trust."

"The Regal Tribe" is available via Agonia Records.


IHSAHN "Arktis"
The cover for Ihsahn's "Arktis," is basically a rework of old photo of Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen, taken during his three-year expedition to the North Pole. Such stark visual approach is a continuation of the photography-based aesthetics Ihsahn and Spanish graphic artist, Ritxi Ostáriz have developed on the covers of the musician's previous albums. "As always, it's been an amazing pleasure to work for Ihsahn," enthuses Ostáriz. Before "Arktis," he designed the artworks for "Eremita" (2012) and "After" (2010), among others—usually using a similar aesthetic approach.

Regarding the relationship between the panoramic image and the album's music/lyrics, the visionary Norwegian metaller comments: "The whole atmosphere of facing the cold, immense unknown fits rather good with the general lyrical concept of the entire album. It paints a sense of doubt, hopelessness and frustration yet celebrates curiosity, free will and the choice to avoid conformity. It is, at best, an observance of one’s insignificance in relation to time, nature and space yet each individual’s ability to make things matter even if only to themselves.”

"Arktis" is available via Candlelight Records.

MORE ABOUT ICONIC PANORAMIC ALBUM ARTWORKS
If you want to know more about the making of some of Metal's most iconic panoramic album artworks—like Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath," Sleep's "Dopesmoker," Obituary's "Cause Of Death," Neurosis' "Times Of Grace," "Cathedral's "The Carnival Bizarre," Skid Row's "Slave To The Grind,"—check out the book "...And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers" and dare to explore this fascinating topic even further. The book is available exclusively via our online store at BigCartel


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Bloodstock's Rock And Metal Museum honors Motorhead's Lemmy Killmister.

"The term legend is often overused but not in this case. Lemmy is a legend to so many fans and bands—an inspiration and character the like of which we're not likely to see again." These words by celebrated British painter/illustrator, Paul Raymond Gregory, clearly reflect his admiration for Motorhead's late vocalist/bassist, Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmmister. As the runner of UK's Metal fest, Bloodstock Open Air, Gregory had the opportunity of meeting Kilmmister in 2010. They had "a long conversation that left me feeling honored to have had. When I heard Lemmy had died I was both shocked and saddened. Motorhead also played Bloodstock which made me feel we had to honor his memory."

The artist (who has created artworks for bands like Dio, Saxon, Blind Guardian and is also known for his Tolkien-inspired canvases) took very seriously the idea of honoring Motorhead's frontman, whose unexpected passing last year shocked Metal fans and bands alike. "A fan came up with the idea of renaming the [festival's] main bar which we now call Lemmy's Bar." In addition, "I decided to create a painting of Lemmy for the bar sign, which I did." 

The imposing, oil on canvas portrait will be displayed this year at the Rock And Metal Museum (RAM). This exhibit is taking place during the celebration of Bloodstock's 2016 edition, from August 11th to 14th at Catton Park, Derbyshire. The exhibit includes many Rock/Metal related-art pieces, including some of Gregory's works. However, this year, it's going to be Lemmy/Motorhead-centered. "I decided to create a Lemmy wall that has the original Lemmy artwork in a bespoke hand-carved frame I designed that was made by the framer John Davies, responsible for framing all of my Tolkien inspired work." 
Paul Raymond Gregory's Lemmy portrait.



Gregory even commissioned regular RAM gallery exhibitor and great luthier, Oliver Andrew of Cynosure Guitars, with the creation of two hand-carved bass guitars which will sit either side of Lemmy's portrait. One of then, pays homages to Motorhead's iconic mascot, Snaggletooth. “Though stylistically very different from one another, both bass guitars represent the iconography and mise-en-scene of perhaps one of the most prodigious and pioneering rock/metal acts in musical history”, Cynosure proudly comments. 
Cynosure's Snaggletooth-inspired bass guitar
For the gallery, Paul Raymond Gregory also promises "a stunning poster designed by Christian Sloan Hall plus a plethora of framed Motorhead vinyl and much more." This includes the new revised edition of the book "And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers" which features a chapter about the making of some Motorhead's most iconic artworks. "I wanted to make this all it could be in his memory," says Gregory. Definitely, it's a mission 100% accomplished.  
The new edition of the book "And Justice For Art" includes a chapter about Motorhead's artworks. Pre-order here.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Unveiling artwork for the poster of the documentary "Home Of The Wind. A History Of Moonsorrow."

Independent film-making proposes many challenges—including finding proper financing to make your ideas a reality. Young filmmakers, Leo Aragon and Abel Grilo Do Demo, know this and are currently embarked in a titanic crowd-funding campaign via Indiegogo to raise the funds they need to finish their epic documentary "Home Of The Wind. A History Of Moonsorrow." 

As the title indicates, this film will be a recount of the career of Pagan Metal heroes, Moonsorrow. The filmmakers have the complete support of the Finnish band, who are helping them in their efforts to raise funds for the documentary. So far, their combined efforts have raised 70% of the campaign's goal.
The film's official poster was painted by seasoned illustrator, Kris Verwimp, who is well-known for his epic album covers for bands like Absu, Marduk, Suidakra, among others. He previously collaborated with Moonsorrow on the creation of the cover for the EP, "Tulimyrsky." In the following interview Verwimp talks about the creation of the poster for the documentary. His impressive, evocative Nordic-inspired landscape can be seen for the first time below in its original form—without any lettering or band logo. 

Kris, you have been painting artwork for metal albums for over 20 years. How did you start? Was it your own initiative, and did you decide to do it continuously already at that time?
Kris Verwimp: Actually, it all started way back in 1993 when I was trying to find a publisher for my Odoric comic book. At a local convention, the owner of a small underground label called “Midian Creations”, asked me if I would be interested in painting an LP cover for Ancient Rites’ “The Diabolic Serenades”. I had always been into Metal, but I never imagined I would ever get the chance to actually design an album cover. So I jumped at the opportunity and tried to create my best work ever. 
I didn’t think I would ever get such a chance again, but soon after the Ancient Rites album was released I got a call from Osmose Productions from France. A while later I was painting CD covers for Marduk’s "Opus Nocturne" and Absu’s "The Sun Of Tiphareth” along with numerous T-shirt designs for bands like Immortal, Enslaved, Angelcorpse, etc…
It was never a conscious decision. In the following years I just kept getting artwork requests from great bands. The music is always my number one source of inspiration. So when the music is great, it’s not hard to find the motivation. 
You painted the artwork for Moonsorrow's Tulimyrsky almost nine years ago, and it became a popular painting, that was even made into a huge poster in 2014. What are your memories about that one, concerning inspiration and the painting process itself?

Kris Verwimp: Well, I must start by saying that I was a fan of Moonsorrow ever since their first album “Suden Uni”. It was a blind purchase at the time, but I loved it immediately and bought all their releases ever since. I’ve spent many hours painting while listening to their music. To my surprise, one day I got a mail with the message that it was my turn to create an artwork for them! They presented the idea to do a very wide artwork. In fact, it was the same amount of work as 5 regular covers. The front cover would be this calm scene of only water and mountains, with only a hint of what was really going on. It was such an inspiring idea that it wasn’t difficult for me to come up with several rough compositions to choose from. The painting process itself took quite a while, but I remember enjoying it a lot. I love epic historical scenes, so this was a great opportunity. 


What was your reaction when you got a request about a Moonsorrow documentary—which needed pretty much the exact opposite of an epic historical action scene?

Kris Verwimp: Actually, I thought it was a great idea! I believe that nature can also be pretty epic and I think that the concept fits the title very well. There’s also the fact that the illustration has to serve as a backdrop for the logo. So it was something a bit different than usual and it required a different approach. I thought it would be a nice challenge.

What inspired you to paint this particular image? Were you given a clear description, just a few guidelines, or did you have complete freedom?

Kris Verwimp: I was given the title and some guidelines. It had to be a nature scene in a DVD size format and there should be enough room for the logo. Everything else was up to my own imagination. The title itself creates a certain expectation, so I wanted to go for a sweeping landscape with a lot of open space and a lot of sky to convey the concept of the wind. The warm colors were meant to add a sense of belonging. The animals were painted to make the composition a bit more dynamic. The main source of inspiration was of course Moonsorrow’s epic music itself!     

What technique did you use in the "Home of the Wind" artwork, and why did you choose it?

Kris Verwimp: I used acrylics and water mixable oils on paper because it’s my favorite technique at the moment. In the past I mainly used gouache, but then I started experimenting with airbrush and other techniques. After a while I stopped using airbrush and switched to acrylics. It’s a constant evolution. I never went to an art school, so I’m discovering all those techniques on my own. I think it’s part of what keeps it interesting for me. It’s like a journey… 

Now you've just made a painting for a film, even if music-related. Have you made artwork for films before? Is it different for you, and if so, in what ways?

Kris Verwimp: A few years ago I also worked on “Death of a Shadow”, a Belgian short movie directed by Tom Van Avermaet. I created concept art and credits illustrations. The movie featured actor Matthias Schoenaerts and it was even nominated for the Oscars in 2013!

The big difference with painting album covers is that you get to see your drawings turned into reality at some point. Which is very cool of course, even if the final result could look a bit different.  

I’ve always been very interested in movies. After all, the reason why I started drawing in the first place was because of my love for movies such as Conan The Barbarian, Excalibur, Mad Max, Dune, etc.. In those days a movie could only be experienced at the cinema. So the only way for me to recreate the experience at home was by trying to draw what I had seen. It was also the reason why I started drawing my own comics. A comic is actually very similar to a movie storyboard and you get to be writer, director, photographer, costume designer, etc… And the best thing is that the budget is only limited by your imagination. 


Those interested in supporting the film can check "Home Of The Wind" official Indiegogo campaign and the official Facebook. The campaign offers all kind of perks, from digital copies of the documentary to rare band-signed items.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Misanthropic Urban Landscape: Creating Polyptych's "Defying the Metastasis" Artwork.

America's extreme metallers, Polyptych, just made available their brand new album,"Defying the Metastasis."



Despite being a self-released effort with budgetary limitations, the band has paid a great deal of attention to every detail related to the album. This includes the cover and layout artworks which were created by Chris Kiesling of Misanthropic Art, who also worked with the band in their previous album, Illusorium.

Exclusively for And Justice For Art, Polyptych's bassist, Frank Lato, explains that "the art seeks to visualize both an individual/population struggle against forces that are overwhelmingly larger than themselves including themes of paranoia and oppression within a fictional totalitarian society."




"My goal with the artwork for “Defying the Metastasis” was to create something different and new that I had never done before in terms of drawing technique and style," Kiesling comments. "I talked with Frank about the album's concept and what the band wanted to express with their music, and I only saw it fitting that I should push myself a step further and kept it very abstract to capture a modern dystopian world."

"It was clear from the beginning that the artwork would be different to "Illusorium," Kiesling adds. He produced the artwork using a combination of mixed/digital media and acrylics. [The city landscapes of] Jeremy Mann among others, were a huge inspiration. The band sent me some example images for mood color scheme and general perspective, I went from there and had basically free hand in doing my thing, which resulted in me also doing the complete layout for the release. I really appreciate that Frank and the band trusted me and supported my creativity. I’m glad it turned out the way it did, and I wish there would be more bands out there with such a great attitude towards painters and illustrators.



“Defying the Metastasis” is now available via Polyptych's bandcamp at: http://polyptych.bandcamp.com/

Friday, April 22, 2016

An Infinite Skull-Filled Landscape: Making Burning Hatred's "Carnage" Cover.

Dutch death metallers, Burning Hatred​, just released their new album, titled "Carnage" via Vic Records​. The album's stunning cover was painted by The Crystallomantic Art​.


"This  artwork is an acrylic painting and was actually created way back in 2014 when Burning Hatred's guitarist, Martin Brakert, approached me and asked if I would be interested in creating the cover for the then still-to-be-recorded album "Carnage". I had previously collaborated with Martin and his other band Anarchos for whom I had created the 'Descent into the Maelstrom' EP cover and we had developed a good working relationship," comments Crystallomantic's mainman, artist Wolven Claws​." 

"The concept brief from the band was to depict a pile of dead bodies shrouded in mud with a pit in the foreground," Wolven Claws comments, exclusively for And Justice For Art​. "I was given links to various concentration camps and POW camps and various massacres for inspiration. I was also pointed towards a particular artwork by the Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński​ to provoke the overall feel the band wanted as well as its colors and tonal values... The layout of the design was pretty spontaneous and stayed unaltered from start to finish. However, during the final stages, I came up with the idea of painting lots of skulls/ rotting heads disappearing off into the background to create an extra sense of perspective. I messaged Martin and asked 'how many dead bodies do you want in the artwork?' to which he replied 'hundreds!' so I literally added hundreds of heads buried in mud."  

The creative process presented some unexpected problems. "First, the place where I took it to be scanned had problems with its scanners and ended up with colored stripes running down the entire artwork which I had to digitally remove. Then, my computer crashed whilst saving the final image and I lost part of the top of the art which I had to redo digitally. Apart from that I think it turned out pretty good."

The band is also very satisfied with the finished result. Guitarist, Martin Brakert, comments: "We are impressed and proud of the artwork Wolven made for us. It really suits the music and the artwork sums up the lyrical content of the "Carnage" album. You see the somberness, terror and death of the lyrics in this piece of majestic art."

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

PROTECTING THE CHILD: THE STORY BEHIND LELAHELL's "ALIF."

Lelahell is a fierce Algerian death metal band currently recording their second album, titled "Alif" featuring a cryptic-yet-iconic cover artwork courtesy of German artist, Björn Gooßes of Killustrations.


"When Lelahell got in touch regarding a possible artwork, I knew this would be something special," Gooßes comments, exclusively for And Justice For Art. "Guitarist/singer, Aouameur Redouane, approached me with a quite elaborate lyrical concept about a person named Abderrahmane and his tale of woe. I had to convert that into a striking image and I came up with Abderrahmane sitting on desert soil, while drawing a circle of blood around him in order to protect himself from danger. I think it turned out to be a quite unusual image and hopefully captures the feeling Lelahell wants to evoke with their music."

In addition, guitarist/vocalist, Redouane, comments: "Each Lelahell release is conceptually linked to the character of Abderrahmane, yet focusing on another evolutionary step—another chapter in his own book. In the lyrics of our first EP "Al Intihar" Abderrahmane is tired of his own life full of constraints, so he commits suicide. Our first album "Al Insane... the (Re)Birth of Aberrahmane" deals with his rebirth. Our new album "Alif" is now focusing on Abderrahmane's first steps in his new life, just like a child learning to speak, walk, learning about the world around him. Yet this is full of foes and fears, that's why Abderrahmane needs to save himself from those dangers. Killustrations' interpretation of this concept with Abderrahmane sitting amidst a blood circle in a vermin-infested desert perfectly captured the mood we had in mind."

Lelahell is currently running a crowd-funding campaign to raise the funds they need to finish the album. Help them to reach their goal. See more details at Indiegogo.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New "And Justice For Art" and "Extreme Shots" Exhibit at Florida Metal Fest 2016.

We're proud to announce the exhibit "And Justice For Art Presents: A Look To Some Of Floridian Death Metal's Greatest Album Covers." As the title indicates, this is a short but significant visual journey showcasing in glorious vivid colors, some of the most iconic artworks in the discography of bands like Morbid AngelObituaryHate  Eternal, Deicide, Death (Official)NocturnusAtheistCynic and many more... Next to each artwork there will be exclusive comments by musicians like David Vincent (ex-Morbid Angel) John Tardy (Obituary), Mike Browning (Nocturnus), Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal) and celebrated artists like Eliran Kantor, Dan Seagrave, among others.


The exhibit will take place during the upcoming Florida Metal Fest on January 30, 2016. The "And Justice For Art" book will be also on display. Those visiting the exhibit will enjoy the possibility of winning an autographed copy of the "And Justice For Art" book and talking with the book's author, Ramon Oscuro Martos.

In addition, renowned music photographer, Tim Hubbard, will be exhibiting some of his iconic images for bands like Obituary, Death, Atheist, Nocturnus, and many more. Martos and Hubbard will be also promoting "Extreme Shots", an upcoming book spanning more than 20 years in the Hubbard's career and his involvement with the Floridian Metal scene. You can now follow Extreme Shots on Facebook.

Florida Metal Fest will take place on January 30, 2016. If you're coming, make sure to check out these unique exhibits.