Testament is a Thrash Metal band from Berkeley, CA, USA, formed in 1983. They have released ten studio albums, four live albums, six compilation albums, and six singles to this day. The latest one is pictured above – Dark Roots of Earth released in 2012 (actually yesterday) via Nuclear Blast. It’s an amazing album with an amazing cover. The artwork was created by Eliran Kantor who’s previously worked on Gwar, Atheist or Havok.
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).
Coliseum is a Hardcore band from Louisville, USA, formed in 2003. They’ve released three full length albums (Coliseum in 2004, No Salvation in 2007 and House with a Curse in 2010). The cover depicted above is taken from one of their three EPs – Goddamage, released in 2005 via Auxiliary Records.
Goddamage’s cover artwork reminds me of the artworks of Black Haven with its black and yellow color coding, the iconic screen printed motifs and a love for big skulls. This cover not only features a big skull as central element but also skull headed bikers and a dead girl holding another one. The EP has been re-released as a deluxe LP edition (see picture on the left) with additional live tracks and all three tracks from their 2005 split EP with Doomriders. Packaged in a metallic gold triple-gatefold jacket that spreads out to a whopping 3 feet in length. You can buy it over here.
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.
Purified in Blood is a Metalcore band from Hommersåk, Norway, formed in 2003. They have released three full length albums and one EP to this day. The pictured above Flight of a Dying Sun is their latest effort released in 2012 via Indie Records. The artwork was created by Jondix Mahashakti.
Jondix is a tattoo artist who “learned a lot about oriental drawing and painting techniques in Thailand and North India” (source) as you can clearly see in Flight of a Dying Sun’s artwork.
This cover artwork is just amazing. Black Anvil is a Black Metal band from New York, USA, formed in 2007. The band was started by members of legendary NYHC band Kill Your Idols. Triumvirate – the cover depicted above – is their second effort after their debut Time Insults The Mind. The illustration is inconceivably well-done with amazing details. The style is reminiscent of old copperplate engravings and is actually a collage of different historical and religions motifs. The artwork was created by Metastazis from Paris, France.
The dominant element in the artwork are the skulls in the centre. If you look closely you’ll notice that there aren’t just two mirrored skulls but also a third one in the middle looking at us. This kind of visualization is a centuries-old representation of the Christian Trinity – Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. In the small picture to the left you can see an old example. This painting was created by Spanish artist Jerónimo Cosida around 1570. Here the three faced Jesus Christ also represents the Christian Trinity. A common representation in Renaissance iconography (but disavowed by the Catholic church in recent centuries), accompanied by a Shield of the Trinity diagram. So Black Anvil’s skull trinity could be interpreted as: God is dead.
Coffinworm is a Black-, Sludge-, Doom-Metal band from Indianapolis, USA, formed in 2007. They have released two full length albums to this day – When All Became None in 2010 and Great Bringer Of Night in 2012.
Great Bringer of Night’s album cover – created by Bryan Proteau – is a classic hand drawn illustration with genre-typical elements: skulls, gravestones, snakes and a cross. What makes the artwork stand out is its iconography due to the minimalistic sujet. The cross obviously is the dominant part of the illustration surrounded by lots of black space and being unseen in its construction.