Dio/Killswitch Engage – “Holy Diver”

Standard

In 2015 I started a project which had me designing jackets and other artwork for 7″ records that had none. In my collection was the Dio/Killswitch Engage “Holy Diver” single from the Side By Side series. This was released for Record Store Day 2013 on “oxblood red” vinyl and it was limited to 2,800 pressings. If you know anything about Classic Rock/Heavy Metal then you already know about “Holy Diver” and all of the unholy awesomeness that it holds. Killswitch Engage covered the song in 2006, originally appearing on a Kerrang! compilation album but it was also later released on the special edition of KsE’s 2006 album As Daylight Dies. The original is amazing, the cover is good in its own right but the artwork for this release was severely lacking. That’s where I came in.

I really wanted to do some cool artwork for this release but for the longest time I was totally stumped on what to create. I had visions of a modern re-imagining of the iconic cover image but it just wasn’t ever good enough when I put the ideas to the computer. In the end I decided it was best not to mess with what is already great and a super detailed die cut was settled upon. In all reality this was the best decision I could have made. It stands out from the rest of my project, looks amazing and adds a level of bitchin’ looks that was missing from the release. The only real decisions I had to make was how to treat the tracklisting, liner notes and logos. I decided on a small flap on the back side so that I wouldn’t take away from the die cut image and also because it just doesn’t require anything larger. Keep it simple, stupid. The only design I really had trouble coming up with for this part was the 45RPM graphic. I went with a design that gives a nod back to the 80s roots of the song with a modern treatment.

Continue reading

God Forbid – Gone Forever

Standard

goneforever-vw

God Forbid released their third full-length album Gone Forever in February of 2004. This was their second album (of four) for Century Media. God Forbid used a mix of Thrash, traditional Heavy Metal and Metalcore styles to bring their voice to the masses. Although the band never reached the heights of some of their contemporaries such as Chimaira, Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage and Lamb of God, but they plowed through the world of heavy metal all the same and left their own distinct mark in their wake.

Continue reading

Attila – Rolling Thunder

Standard

attila-pre

Attila is another one of those 80s heavy metal bands that I truly know nothing about. Rolling Thunder was released in 1986 on Shattered Records as an import from the Netherlands. It’s not a bad album but it was definitely no chart-topper here in the States. The album definitely has thrashy bits to it but it’s probably more comparable to Purgatory (Cleveland) or even pre-Anselmo Pantera. Basically a very heavy Glam Metal band. A bit spooky and theatrical but definitely not heavy enough to scare your cooler older brother or even your parents.

The thing that initially jumped out at me was obviously the cover of this album. I mean, look at this thing. It’s an abomination. It looks like it was done in colored pencils. Maybe it was. That’s not really the point. In the era of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and the emerging Thrash movement you just have to have better artwork. This is 1986. The same year that Master of Puppets, Reign In Blood and Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying were released. If I saw this in the store next to one of those albums I know what I’d be slogging up to the counter with. That’s not to say this isn’t a good album musically, it just leaves a lot to be desired from a visual standpoint.

Continue reading

Vinyl Wednesday: Acid – Acid

Standard

acid-pre

Acid is a band I know nothing about but it didn’t stop me from liking their tunes. I received this record in a batch of 80s heavy metal albums that I purchased over a year ago and once I had sorted them all alphabetically, it stood out like a sore thumb right at the front. I had never heard of them and I’ve not seen too much about them since. Maybe just a random album pops up in vinyl collecting groups here and there online. This is no fault of theirs because they kick some serious ass. After listening to every record in that big bunch of records (100+) I kept the ones that really stuck out to me and this was definitely one of them. The artwork is awesome, the logo is cool as hell, the band name is simple and amazing. They also wrote some tasty riffs on top of all that cool imagery. The band has all the makings of a decent 80s metal band. If you want to hear something new (old) that just might knock your socks off then I’d say give this group a shot.

Continue reading

Vinyl Wednesday: Steel Panther – All You Can Eat

Standard

steelpanther-ayce-pre

This week is the highly anticipated conclusion to this most unholy and unclean trilogy of vinyl releases with Steel Panther’s album All You Can Eat. Released on April Fools Day in 2014, this album is surely no joke. Ok, well… maybe a little bit but that’s beside the point. This album rips just as hard as any of their other output thus far. I found the production to be a bit on the weak side but it stays true to their sound and the era that they so obviously worship at the alter of. Speaking of worshipping at the alter, you can see where this album’s visual theme is headed. As for the music, this album is jam-packed with all the raunchy debauchery that one expects out of Steel Panther.

Continue reading

Vinyl Wednesday: Steel Panther – Feel The Steel

Standard

steelpanther-fts-pre

Colorful. Brash. Wild. Parody. Vulgar. Sexist.

There are many ways that one can describe Steel Panther. They are truly an honest-to-God love ’em or hate ’em style of band. I love them. Naners hates them. There’s no in-between with a lot of people. I went to see them while living in Chicago and they were awesome. They played all the raunchy jams that I hoped they would and it was full of faux 80s debauchery. It couldn’t have been any better.

I wasn’t always a huge fan of the band though. I remember when Jason (from Kustom Persuasion) would want to play me something from this album and I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t listen to lyrics. I didn’t listen to the musicality. I just didn’t care. I’m not totally sure why it didn’t initially resonate with me but I eventually caught on. One day the clouds parted and I became enlightened and I will now forever annoy Nancy with their mysical stylings.

Continue reading

Vinyl Wednesday: Gojira – Magma

Standard

gojira_magma-pre

All hail the mighty Gojira!

This band kicks serious ass. No, really. They do. Gojira is a heavy metal band from France that was founded in 1996 (changed their name from Godzilla to Gojira in 2001). They meld together a lot of different styles of metal music to create a truly awesome soundscape of heaviness that generally pummels you into obedience. Their latest album, Magma, was released on June 17th and it has been in my main rotation ever since that day. You want proof that this album is good? Ask Nancy about it. Even she digs it and she was was/is an ardent hater of anything else the band has done.

Continue reading