to eleven

Album Art: Impending Doom – Nailed. Dead. Risen. by Jayson
August 11, 2010, 10:00 am
Filed under: Credibility | Tags: , , ,

So. Yesterday I was thinking about Christian music and how it has become seemingly irreparably lame after the mid-20th century. Then I was thinking about what I should try to write for a post. I am going to write about ‘album art’ because I am an ‘artist’ and have multiple art degrees (draw your conclusions now) and am ‘qualified’ to talk about this more so than music, which clearly doesn’t stop me.

Impending Doom’s 2007 album, Nailed. Dead. Risen. is one of my absolute favorite pieces of album art. This isn’t because I think it’s good or really like death metal album covers. I love this because of how effective it is.

A large chunk of metal is about rejecting Christianity. It ranges from metaphoric Satanism to literal Satanism. It is all really pedantic and boring in 2K10, but metal and the devil are an institution now. It is a given thing for many bands that to be metal, you must write about the deevil. It colors the complexion of the entire genre.

So if you love sick pit riffment and Jesus, you’re going to have to soft sell it. It’s got to be on the low-low if you want to avoid instant ridicule. That’s why I love the art and design of Nailed. Dead. Risen. It’s really effective in concealing the fact that it is a hardcore Christian album. First you have the logo. Impending Doom had changed this since this album, but this is your typical death metal logo. Unreadable, drawn to look some it’s made of some kind of rotten, organic material. If you see this logo, looking like every other death metal band logo in the last 10 years, you’re instantly assured of the type of product. This is brutal death metal, nothing else. Same goes with the cover art. Blood, red skies, black-robed figure, bodies everywhere. Sure the church is standing, but there is no cross displayed. It’s a hellish scene, reminiscent of roughly 1 billion other album covers. Again, it provides a sense of security and trust. You pick this up, you know what you’re getting. Now if I’d thought of this before yesterday night. I would have gotten the back cover artwork. See, this actually worked on Pat. He just decided to pick this up on a whim, confident that he knew what he was getting. This is worth mentioning because since this whole deal is a Trojan Horse, the back cover of this album features the band members; nondescript young metal dudes, one of which is wearing a Cannibal Corpse shirt. There is no way that a Christian would be into the Corpse, right? His two favorite things are witnessing and blasting “Sex With a Severed Head?”  This is just a normal death metal album, pick it up.

Of course once you do you’ll figure out what the deal is pretty quickly if you bother to read the lyrics. Once you know what the band is about, the artwork becomes super obvious. This band and album are basically that fake money that some evangelistic types leave around. The band has changed their logo since then, and their Repentagram concept is genius, but while the truth may set you free, truth in advertising will not get metal kids to buy your album.

The album itself? It’s basic post-Corpse death metal. It sounds like roughly 1 hojillion bands currently playing. Really boring unless that is your thing.

– Jayson


3 Comments so far
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I really like the Aphex Twin cover for I Care Because You Do.

I saw that CD at the record store a year or two before I’d heard of Aphex Twin. I remember walking by it while looking for other stuff and always figuring it was some ironically lo-fi indie band or something. Then as I got drawn into the whole mid-90s electronic/IDM thing, I went back and realized that album was something I wanted to buy, by way of other Aphex stuff I liked. And it’s one of the best electronic albums ever made.

But that cover. Look at every other electronic CD from that time and it’s all compositions by artists just feeling out the possibilities of computer art — abstract 3D rendered objects, electronically distorted imagery, futuristic iconography. Aphex puts a creepy almost fingerpainted self-portrait on his. Which is perfect for his brand of music that always refuses to take itself seriously, almost purposefully alienating anybody who would try to throw it into a mix of dance music or try to impress anybody by having it on by throwing in snippets of his mother.

Comment by ymatto

Yeah, I remember that one leaping out at me too. I think that kind of thing is what makes Richard D. James, Richard D. James.

I know what you mean. Mid-90s Cyberpunk. Like every FSOL album or Clock DVA.

Comment by Jayson

Yeah, you had FSOL doing their thing with Photoshop 2.0, industrial guys adding static to stuff, and design dudes like The Designer’s Republic busting the Japan Adprop 2089 style on various Warp albums. I actually still like some of that stuff, but there was a thing of that time.

Comment by ymatto

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