2013 has been a great year for Metal so far. So I thought this would be a good time for a small recap of this year’s Metal albums. Based on the cover artworks of all 2013 releases by five of the biggest record companies (Metal Blade Records, Relapse Records, Nuclear Blast Records, Century Media Records and Roadrunner Records) here’s a nice and simple statistical overview for the Data Metal Nerd in you.
Mose Giganticus is a Progressive Synth Sludge Metal band from Philadephia, USA, formed in 1999. And when I say band, I mean Matt Garfield (songwriter, vocalist, programmer, drummer, and keyboardist) plus several additional musicians for live performances. The band has released three albums with 2010’s Gift Horse (released through Relapse Records) being the latest one. Gift Horse actually was one of my 2010 Top 5 albums.
I just stumbled upon Krakow on Blabbermouth – and to be honest I’m quite blown away. The four-piece comes from Bergen, Norway, plays Post-Metal (is Metal dead now?) and was founded in 2005. Within a couple of months they had already recorded their first three-track demo. Inspired by bands like Mastodon, Iron Maiden, Queens of the Stone Age or High on Fire. The cover artwork depicted above is from their upcoming full length release Diin – coming in September 2012 through Dark Essence Records.
Jacob Bannon (portrait shot by Brook Pifer) is one of the most famous faces in the Hardcore scene. He is the vocalist and lyricist of Hardcore pioneers Converge, a famous graphic designer and artist and founder and CEO of the independent record label Deathwish Inc. He somehow can be compared to John Baizley of Baroness, who’s also a jack of all trades being a brilliant artist, musician and vocalist (I can’t wait for their new album being released on 17th July).
Bannon’s work is very bold and iconic. It uses very graphic stylistic elements combined with a grungy graffiti and silk screen technique. The artworks are mostly symbolic and very reduced, using only a minimum amount of colors.
Bison B.C. is a Canadian Sludge Metal band from Vancouver. Their second (third, if you count their 2007 EP/LP Earthbound) full length album was released in 2010 through Metal Blade Records. Honestly, this record might be my most-listened to album since 2010. I’m actually not the biggest Sludge fan (I’m more a Death Metal guy), but this record and their live performance in Hamburg’s Hafenklang in that year gave me an instant erection that’s just not ebbing away. Just listen to Stressed Elephant, the opener of the release and you’ll know what I mean.
Kylesa is a Sludge Metal / Psychedelic Rock band from Savannah, Georgia, and was founded in 2001. To this day they have released five studio albums with Spiral Shadow being the last one, released in 2010.
The cover for this brilliant release (one of my 2010 Top 10 albums) was done by the artist Santos and shows the endless spiral of a tree (being continued in the booklet) containing a special kind of symmetry: The helical symmetry. The most common examples of helical symmetries are drill bits or springs.
“It can be thought of as rotational symmetry along with translation along the axis of rotation, the screw axis. It can be visualized as the tracing in three-dimensional space that results from rotating an object at an even angular speed while simultaneously moving at another even speed along its axis of rotation.” (source)
Mastodon is an American Heavy Metal band from Atlanta, USA, formed in 1999. They have released five full-length albums to date. The video featured in this post was made for the song Spectrelight (featuring Scott Kelly of Neurosis) from their latest release The Hunter.
The video uses a kaleidoscope effect to generate symmetric patterns and images out of a few pictures. It was released about 500 hours before The Hunter was released (Sept. 27, 2011) (source). That might be the reason why the video feels like a teaser to the album and its visual content. Documented in the cover art of The Hunter – a sculpture made by AJ Fosik – being a repetitive image in the video.