Metal and all its sub-genres are highly influenced by historical, religious and mythological motifs. Mythological references can be found in every single Metal style – from Black Metal, Death Metal, Thrash Metal or Grindcore to Heavy Metal, Pagan/Folk Metal or Power Metal. They are integrated in artworks, songs, lyrics and appearances of bands, scenes and labels all over the world.
Archive: General Art
Comaworx is an art and design studio from the Netherlands that’s been around for quite some time. Comaworx has done amazing artworks for several well known bands like Rotting Christ, Spearhead, Deathspell Omega, Necrophagia, Bunkur or Varathron. I’ve had the chance to ask Manuel Tinnemans – the head and pen behind Comaworx – a few questions about his work.
Metastazis is a design studio from Paris, France, founded by Valnoir. Even if you haven’t heard of the studio’s name you’ve definitely seen his work. Metastazis has created various artworks for a who’s who of Metal and beyond – among them are Alcest, Morbid Angel, Anathema, As I Lay Dying, The Black Dahlia Murder, Black Anvil (as seen previously on Symmetal), Glorior Belli, Immolation, Paradise Lost, Nachtmystium and a lot more.
Metastazis is also known for unconventional projects like the Watain poster printed with blood or – for the cover artwork of his own band Glaciation – Metal patches sewed to his guitarist’s back: “It’s a nostalgic project about my teenage-hood, when I had an iron faith into black-metal and I was showing it on my metalhead patched jacket. I had that in my flesh. So I wanted to pay a tribute to this age.” (source).
Bolt Thrower is a Death Metal band (well, legend) from Coventry, United Kingdom, formed in 1986. The band was founded by bassist Gavin Ward and guitarist Barry Thomson in a Coventry pub toilet during a hardcore punk gig (source). Bolt Thrower has released two demos, eight full length and one live album. Their name actually comes from Warhammer, the popular tabletop war game developed by Games Workshop. The band’s lyrics and artworks are also based on the game (the artworks of Bolt Thrower’s albums even were provided by Games Workshop).
Black Metal logos often follow the same established design guidelines. Among them are a volitional bad legibility, black letter references, satanic or antichristian elements like inverted crosses or pentagrams and dark ornamental elements like thorns or spikes. But one simple form can be found in a lot of these logos: the circle. Of course not always as a complete shape, but rather as a grid the logos are based on.
Godmachine – born in Cardiff, South Wales – is one of the most impressive rising artists in Metal illustration – yet unbelievably underrated. His artistic style is clearly inspired by comic illustrations (as he states on his website he “grew up with a steady diet of … 2000AD comics“) while adding a very morbid, dark atmosphere, grungly elements and an insane amount of details. Another source of inspiration is Jim Philips and Santa Cruz skateboards, famous for their shrill illustrations (like the iconic screaming hand). There are various books available covering Jim Philips’ work, for example Surf, Skate & Rock.
Biohazard, the Hardcore veterans from Brooklyn (New York), USA, originally formed in 1987, were one of the first to combine Hardcore with Hip Hop elements. They’ve released two demos (in 1988 and 1989), nine studio albums and two live albums (1997’s No Holds Barred is one of my favorite live albums of all times). They wrote legendary songs like Punishment, Tales from the Hard Side or Shades of Grey. As the band had to undergo several line-up changes throughout the years I would need a whole paragraph to mention all of them. But thanks to Wikipedia we have this amazing graph: