I have decided rather than do a year-end list in which I count down to the best cover, that I would just start posting some of my favorite covers of 2013. They will not be posted in a particular order and of course like any other list this is very subjective.
As an artist, a cover resonates with me for different reasons. Often, I am just floored by the art and it grabs me in a certain way or it is just done so well, that I cannot stop looking at it. Other times, I think it just works so well with the music or the entire presentation of the band. After all illustrators are meant to illuminate or enlighten the viewer. I had a great conversation with Frank Bello from Anthrax about cover art at NY Comic Con and it really drove home the importance of the visual art presentation for metal bands from the musicians perspective.
There are some people that would say that cover art is not as important in the digital music era. But I think it is even more important. People have access to so much more music and you need to do something to have your work stand out or create something that works perfectly with the entire presentation. There are the big bands that get it, like Tool or Mastodon. They have forged solid relationships with amazing visual artists as well as bands like The Black Dahlia Murder or Skeletonwitch. When the visual and aural relationship is in sync… it is an amazing experience.
Best Covers of 2013 part 1:
This cover works so well on many levels. John Baizley continues to create work that grabs the viewer immediately and keeps you coming back. I think this may be my favorite Baizley piece. It feels like a classic as soon as you look at it, as it is both aggressive and majestic at the same time.
In addition, the red snakes against the greenish background do their job well as complimentary colors and provide good depth. John has kept the stipple work in only certain areas and although there is quite a large amount of detail, it is not overdone in the least bit. This cover works just as well being viewed on your smart phone as it does a poster on your wall.