Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hanoi Rocks-Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks


I picked this one not so much for itself, but for the style it represents. That is a live picture on the cover of a studio album. Doesn't happen that often and seemed to happen more on punk albums than in metal in hard rock. Others include Soundgarden-Louder than love, Acid King-3, the Nuge did it on more than one occasion. There are others as well and a number were in the 1980's. I don't know the reasoning behind any of these covers, but for some reason someone saw a live photo as being more fitting than bringing in artist to do a drawing or painting.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Peter Gabriel, Peter Gabriel aka “Scratch”

Peter Gabriel adopted some funny habits after he left Genesis in 1975. Things like shaving his head—not very popular in that era—and gardening. Weird stuff.

Musically, he got into a pattern of skipping titles on his first four solo albums (although in the US, the record company slapped Security on his fourth record.) His early albums are thus all known as Peter Gabriel, reflecting the only words appearing on the covers, or by one-word descriptions of the cover images, words like “Car” and “Melt.”

His second solo album, shown here, was produced by King Crimson’s Robert Fripp and released in 1978. Naturally, fans refer to it as “Scratch.”

For the cover, Gabriel enlisted famous British graphic designer Storm Thorgerson, who had helped bands such as AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, and Yes—and designed the Dark Side of the Moon cover for Pink Floyd—as a member of the Hipgnosis company. The album was the worst selling of Gabriel's eponymous albums, but its cover image remains one of his most memorable.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ted Nugent-Intensities in 10 cities


Seriously if a hairy, sweaty, almost naked Ted Nugent jumped into the crowd would you touch him?

***Any nightmares, nausea or future fear of loin clothes caused by this cover are not the fault of Whole lotta album covers, Metal Mark or any of the other staff members. We wash hands of any responsibility and if you were on this cover touching the Nuge then you should have definitely washed your hands with something stronger than just soap and water.

Oh and Happy Memorial Day!

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Skid Row, Slave to the Grind

Skid Row’s sophomore effort in 1991 made rock history.

With the use of SoundScan to measure album sales, Slave to the Grind debuted at number one—the first metal album to do so. This confirmed what fans had long known: Metal was selling much better than mainstream pop fans dared to acknowledge.

The cover had a personal connection for lead singer Sebastian Bach because his father, artist David Bierk, created the cover (and its wraparound extension into the album’s booklet).

At first glance, it seems to depict a mob preparing to torture some poor soul in ancient Rome or maybe medieval Europe. Only on closer examination is it clear that the scene is more modern, with at least one of the men wearing a business suit and another talking on a telephone.

Bierk died in 2002. Despite his long career and works in numerous galleries, he remains best known for this album cover.

Robert Johnson - King of the Delta Blues Singers Vol. 2

I fell in love with this album cover at The Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame last week, and though the artwork was produced in 1970 for this reissue of Robert Johnson's Great Depression blues stamps, most certainly the aura of Johnson's poor boy recording technique is captured perfectly, registering a sign of the times in which his drippy and deeply affecting music were laid down.

You can feel the economic oppression of the thirties even though the hotel room Johnson is depicted in is rather clean though strictly ordinary. I really dig the fact his mike cable trickles out beneath his room's door, leaving the viewer to wonder where it's connected to, a common outlet in the main hallway or another room or a portable generator? What's the story here? Is this hotel so strapped its residents need to share an outlet plug as they likely share a bathroom? The isolation of Johnson and his blues odes is rendered by the juxtaposition of him and his microphone in an obtuse corner, only given character by the adjacent painting and offsetting vibrancy of the pink-bordered rug. You have to appreciate the duality presented here.

Of course, the answer to where that cord leads to is reflected on the back of the cover, which I'll leave you all to seek out on your own, appropriately leaving as much an air of mystery as Johnson's death, which stories have been diversely attributed to poisoning, the black arts and stabbing from a jealous husband. Methinks Johnson has created an unheard blues tune in the afterlife in which the accurate details of his passing are waiting to be discovered by spirit travelers.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Chainsaw-Smell the saw


So how clever is it to do a play on something that's already spoofing your style of music? Spinal Tap is a great movie, but taking inspiration (or ripping off) the film it doesn't make your album great.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Battleroar-To Death and Beyond

Okay, the medieval/fantasy battle scene is fairly standard cheesy metal fare. It's certainly not great, but it doesn't stand out as being particularly bad when compared to its peers. The real trouble here is the logo. The first time I looked at it, I thought it said "Butteroak." Now, I don't know what a "butteroak" is, but it sure doesn't sound very heavy. I guess I should at least be thankful that it was discernible after a second look, not only because Battleroar is a better name (if only slightly), but also because that means the content of the album is probably not death metal.

If you're curious about the music, check out Metal Mark's review.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Caleb Klauder - Dangerous Me's and Poisonous You's

There may be no better album art that celebrates both the joy and precariousness of life than the cover Dangerous Me's and Poisonous You's. Each of the pair, enraptured in the moment of dancing, of living, has at the same time, a vehicle to a quick end. The background isn't the red of a warning, but the crimson of the blood that runs in the dancers' veins. This isn't a message about life, but life itself.

I think the cover also taps into the edgy faith of snake handlers. It is fundamentalism taken to an extreme, but there is also an awesome and simple truth for those who can believe in that way.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Rush, Vapor Trails

This 2002 album was Rush’s first after Übermensch drummer/lyricist Neil Peart’s personal tragedies in the late 1990s.

The car-accident death of his only daughter in August 1997 and his wife’s subsequent death 10 months later prompted Peart to tell Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson to consider him retired. But in 2001 Peart returned to the band to write and record Vapor Trails—the name being a plural version of one of the album’s strongest songs.

Peart has worked with art director Hugh Syme since the mid-1970s to create covers that match the content of the many Rush albums. As always, Syme delivers here, capturing in one blistering image the lyrical themes of transition and transcendence as well as the harder edge to the album—which features deeper guitar and bass chords and (finally) eschews keyboards.