Monday, August 26, 2019

THE CHUCK SCHULDINER RE-ISSUES: A Conversation with Death/Control Denied's former manager, Eric Greif.

Album reissues have become quite common in today's Metal scene. One of the best examples of such trend are the deluxe editions of Chuck Schuldiner's musical legacy. Painstakingly put together by former manager, Eric Greif and a dedicated team at Relapse Records, these editions pay homage to the life and works of Death's and Control Denied’s late mastermind and include plenty of new information, unreleased recordings, revamped mixes and superb packaging.

A while back, …And Justice For Art interviewed Eric Greif about the making of these reissues. Greif, who is in charge of Schuldiner's legacy through Perseverance Holdings LTD, explains how these new versions of albums like Death's "Human," Control Denied's "The Sound Of Perseverance" among others, offer a new look into the creative world of one Metal's greatest musicians.

Chuck Schuldiner










The visual and sonic quality of these re-issues reveal that you and Relapse Records spent a lot of effort, time and money to make this happen. Is it financially viable to put to a project like this together?

Eric Greif: Yes, it works financially for all concerned. However, I don't get as alarmed about the rise of downloading and file-swapping as others have because I see how many people have been buying the DEATH reissues. Fans want to hold something in their hands, to look at all the extra goodies, and that is just not the same with grabbing a file of album cover art. We strive to make the product as great as it can be, so that everyone says they really got what they paid for and that it was a killer fan experience.

Was the budget crucial to make these new editions successful?  

Eric Greif: I suppose so. With Relapse Records and us (Perseverance Holdings LTD), we have spared no expense in the quest to give fans the ultimate product, so I've yet to read a single negative comment about the product itself (other than from the tiny minority who object to any reissue or tinkering with the past). However, if you have no money to invest in a release, certainly it will look & sound like shit. That has never been the case with any product I've been associated with as that would go against my own ethos about making fans happy.
In the case of the Death's, Control Denied's and even Mantas' re-issues, people praise the quality and level of detail and amount of material included. In some cases, there are even new mixes and the design and overall look of each album is phenomenal. That proves that you and the other people involved have taken very seriously these projects. 

Eric Greif: This is my life. I have been associated personally with DEATH for 25 years. My job is to preserve and grow the legacy for new generations, and that is exactly what is happening. I want it to be the best that it can be, both in terms of sound and look. I am very gratified that it is perceived as being great, and I know that Relapse feels exactly the same as I do about quality being of paramount concern. As for remixing, I felt that the two albums that required this were Human and Individual Thought Patterns, and this we took a stab at, and I feel they both work. The support from fans has been overwhelming and encouraging.

With so much archival material to choose from… Was it difficult to choose what to include and what not in these special editions?

Eric Greif: In our case, Relapse's production manager, Drew Juergens, and I have the final say in working out what ends up on each album. We usually have more than enough material and begin to sift through the contents and come to a consensus about what the whole package will look like in terms of material. So far there haven't been any major problems or disagreements—they have come together in karmic fashion.

From the very first album of these re-issue series (Control Denied's The Fragile Art Of Existence in 2010), you included a generous amount of liner notes discussing many aspects these recordings and Chuck's life. This brings new context to old time fans and opens the doors to Chuck's world for newcomers.  

Eric Greif: Everyone deserves the best package that is reasonably possible to put out there. I think the booklet for the Spiritual Healing reissue, for example, is 28 pages of vivid color, with four separate liner notes, all the lyrics, an updated credits & thanks list, and literally tons of photos nobody has ever seen before. With a standard reissue having a bonus disc, and with the reissue the same price as a normal CD, it is also incredible value for money. Everyone wins, but especially the thousands of new fans who were barely children at the time DEATH came to an end with Chuck's passing in 2001. For them it is all a fresh experience, and the enhanced packaging and audio only makes the impact of what they are holding in their hands that much more vital.

In your opinion... Who benefits the most from these reissues, new or old generations?

Eric: I think everyone benefits and appreciates what they are getting for their money, young & old, DEATH old school diehard or novice newbie—it makes no difference. Our goal when planning is to try and please everyone, with the best layout and contents that are possible at that very moment. This grows the brand.

Do you think reissues and special editions like these, are a way to preserve the music for new generations and a vehicle to enhance the importance of physical albums?

Eric Greif: I think for a short while people were just taking music from the net and that they lost the vibe of discovering a new album, holding it and listening to it as an 'event'. Sales dipped drastically, but have now made a comeback of sorts. I know people surely are buying our product, and it is because we give them something that they want to possess. To have, to hold, to worship.

In the new book ...AND JUSTICE FOR ART: STORIES ABOUT HEAVY METAL ALBUM COVERS you provide many details about Death/Control Denied's album covers. You also reveal that your favorite Death album cover is the new version of "The Sound of Perseverance" designed by Travis Smith. Can you tell us why? 

Eric Greif: Travis had told me how personally important and fulfilling it would be to him to revamp the cover from its original form in 1998, and when he unveiled the reissue art, I was speechless. It was utterly fantastic and was a realization of what he'd originally attempted years previously, when he was a younger artist and didn't quite feel right about what he had created and knew he could better it. He did, and I adore it.



The new book ...AND JUSTICE FOR ART: STORIES ABOUT HEAVY METAL ALBUM COVERS includes chapters about the making of some of Death/Control Denied's album artworks and extensive interviews with Eric Greif and artist, Travis Smith. It's exclusively available here.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Second Edition of "...AND JUSTICE FOR ART" Finally Released!


We recently unleashed the second edition of "...And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers - Volume 2." This new print is limited to only 300 copies via our official store.

"This new book features 252 color pages and more than 400 images. It provides firsthand information about hundreds of graphics, which are presented in extremely high quality," author, Ramon Oscuro Martos, comments. "Although this is a direct continuation of the first volume published in 2015, it's also a true standalone book. You don't to read or see the first book to enjoy or understand the new one. Readers will be able to discover images and stories that haven't been published until now. This volume is the product of three years of intense work and insightful research. Working on it was an amazing experience."

"And Justice For Art - Volume 2" reveals all the particulars behind the making of now-legendary album art including Slayer's Hell Awaits, Judas Priest's Screaming For Vengeance, Morbid Angel's Altars Of Madness, Metallica's Death Magnetic, Black Sabbath's Heaven And Hell, Queensr├┐che's Operation: Mindcrime, Emperor's In The Nightside Eclipse, Death's The Sound Of Perseverance, Type Of Negative's Bloody Kisses, Carcass' Surgical Steel, Amorphis' Tales From The Thousand Lakes, Soulfly's Archangel, Behemoth's The Satanist, Opeth's Sorceress, and many others.

For wholesae orders, feel free to contact us via andjusticeforart@gmail.com

Here are some personalities from the Metal world with their copies of the book, including Max Cavalera (Soulfly) and Oystein Brun (Borknagar).

Monday, August 5, 2019

DEVOURMENT's GOD KILLING


American death metallers, Devourment will soon unleash their fifth full-length, "Obscene Majesty" on August 16th, 2019.

The album cover art was designed by Khaos Diktator Design. Exclusively for And Justice For Art, drummer, Brad Fincher, explains: "We wanted something very different than we'd ever done for previous Devourment album covers. We felt a maturation and evolution in our sound without losing any of the darkness and extreme brutality. We wanted the same from the art. We found Khaos Diktator and he had this incredible Classical Renaissance influence filtered through a surrealist, modernist prism. Most of his work features dark themes that we felt had a gravity to them and I love how he plays with color and shadow. We were instant fans. We gave him some lyrics and general ideas and he created the album cover art which we were blown away by. We think it's the perfect visual idealization of the music. It's extreme, heavy, dark, but has a subdued complexity to it that can be interpreted many ways. We're not being literal with the artwork or are we?"

To describe the cover, Khaos Diktator uses the following Nietzsche phrase: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him... Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”

"Obscene Majesty" will be released via Relapse Records.
Pre-order the album at:ffm.to/devourmentom

The original artwork.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

POSSESSED's HELLISH CATHEDRAL



Death Metal forefathers, Possessed​, enlisted Polish master artist, Zbigniew M. Bielak​ (ABSU, WATAIN, GORGUTS) for the creation of the cover of their upcoming new album, "Revelations Of Oblivion."
According to the band, the cover concept was to create "a piece that brought back the notion of true fear that was once associated with the idea of evil." Bielak crafted an extremely detailed vision that re-purposes an iconic Christian archetype (the Gothic cathedral) and mingles it with elements of obvious obscure/occult nature (the Pazuzu statue, a devilish figure, an overall dark aura, etc).
"Revelations Of Oblivion" will be available on May 10th, 2019 via Nuclear Blast​. Listen to the first single, "No More Room In Hell" here

Sunday, March 24, 2019

WIN AN "AND JUSTICE FOR ART" T-SHIRT!

We're inviting all the proud owners of "And Justice For Art - Voume 2" to write and post online a mini-review of the book. Three lucky winners will be rewarded with a FREE t-shirt (M, L or XL sizes available) featuring the book's cover art created by artist, Costin Chioreanu

The rules are SUPER EASY!

1) Write a review of the book of just one or two paragraphs. Besides your personal opinions, you need to include (mandatory) the complete title of the book (And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers - Volume 2), the link the to the book's official store (https://andjusticeforart.bigcartel.com/product/and-justice-for-art-stories-about-heavy-metal-album-covers-volume-2) and the graphic of the book featured at the end of this article.

2) Post/Share your review in one or more of your social media accounts (especially Facebook, Instagram, Blogger, Youtube, a website, etc.). 

3) Send us a message ONLY to andjusticeforart@gmail.com with your name and the links to your review.

THAT's IT!!! 

The three lucky winners will be selected randomly on April 15th, 2019. Winners will be announced via Facebook and email.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at: andjusticeforart@gmail.com

GOOD LUCK!!!

Make sure to include this graphic together with your review. 



Friday, March 22, 2019

NOCTURNUS AD REVISITS THE KEY


Legendary Floridian Death Metal collective, Nocturnus AD (a.k.a Nocturnus) are about to unleash their eagerly awaited album, "Paradox."

Drummer, Mike Browning, and his colleagues hired the talents of Indonesian artist, Timbul Cahyono of bvllmetalart for the creating of the detailed, Sci-Fi-oriented album cover. The original panoramic graphic seems to be a direct continuation of the artwork created by artist, Dan Seagrave for Nocturnus' classic debut, "The Key" (1990).

"This album is successor to The Key (1990) and so the artwork," Cahyono explains, exclusively for And Justice For Art. "The concept is based on 4 songs from the new album that continue with The Key story. This album cover is one long painting for front and back cover. The story of this sci-fi scenery is The Key character is putting the lightning bolt symbol into a part of machinery to open a portal into the secret room full of ancient alien machinery with Lovecraft type creatures coming through the portal and traveling through time and space."

The artist hopes that "when people listen the album and look at the album cover, their minds travel through time and space too. Mike thinks the artwork is fit perfectly with the music and the story."

The original artwork was painted with acrylic and color pencils on 185 grams watercolor paper. Its dimensions are 12 x 24 inch."

"Paradox" will be released via Profound LoreRecords on May 24th, 2019. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

LORD DYING's PLANETARY LANDSCAPE


American Progressive/Sludge collective, Lord Dying are releasing their new full-length "Mysterium Tremendum" via EOne Records on April 26, 2019.


The planetary-inspired landscape adorning the record's cover art was crafted by legendary artist, Steve R Dodd. Guitarist, Chris Evans, comments: "As the music and themes of the album began to take shape, Erik and I decided the art for the album should be otherworldly or psychedelic. Our first thought was to try to contact Roger Dean of Yes fame as we love the album covers he has done. As that wasn't panning out quick enough, we started looking at old sci-fi book covers and art."

"Every time we really loved one we would see it was by Steve R Dodd," Evans remembers. "I started looking around and couldn't find anything out about him. I eventually stumbled on a band from Australia that had used some of his art and hit them up. They said they knew his sister and that Steve was very reclusive and doesn't own a phone or computer or anything. They put me in touch with his sister and she said he'd be delighted to take on the project. In a very short time he painted two amazing gatefold painting for us and we couldn't be happier!"

"Mysterium Tremendum" can be pre-ordered at: http://smarturl.it/LordDyingMT

Monday, February 11, 2019

VALLEY OF CHROME's CARRIAGE OF DOOM

"This is my very first cooperation with an Asian band," says artist, Marcelo Vasco Arts about his cover artwork for "Victorious," the new album of metallers, Valley Of Chrome."They’re from Philippines, really nice guys and talented musicians. Their manager contacted me some months ago and then they sent me the album title and conception, leaving me free enough to create the artwork from my own perspective, which is always great."
The Brazilian artist admits that it "took some time to finish it because I ended working on three different approaches, until they choose the winner. We’ve tried some different color palettes too and at the end I really liked the final result. I hope the band’s fans too!"
"Victorious" can be ordered via the Valley Of Chrome's website:
http://valleyofchromeph.com
See more of Marcelo Vasco's work at: https://www.p2rdesign.com/

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

ENTRANCE TO ELUVEITIES's ANCIENT CAVE

The cover art for "Ategnatos" (the new album of Swiss folk metallers, Eluveitie) was designed by veteran American designer, Seempieces - The Art of Travis Smith, who has collaborated with the band in several occasions."
"We're honestly excited with the result," the members of the band say. They explain that "the front cover shows a spectacular scenery in central Switzerland, a so-called 'vulva cave', as it was sought to mark sacred rites of fertility and celebrations of life in ancient times! The artwork mystically and beautifully expresses the Ategnatos very core and essence! Once again it was a pleasure to work with Travis!"
"Ategnatos" will be released on April 5th 2019 via Nuclear Blast.