The Making of Mammoth Black’s Debut Album Cover Art.


American quintet Mammoth Black  self-describe their music as “Heavy Sludge styled Doom induced noise.” Their debut full length “Death Is Not Ashamed,” (out this December via Stonerkill Records) promises to be exactly that and also a first promising step in their hopefully long career.

The album’s sepia-dominated cover art courtesy of Casey McKinley of McKinley Illustration, surprises for his simple-but-iconic depiction of a detailed creature/mask that somehow alludes to the band’s name.

Metal Band Art briefly interviewed McKinley about the process of creation of this memorable graphic.

Who came up with the idea/concept for this cover and what inspired it?

Casey McKinley: Mammoth Black’s singer, Brett Lloyd, came up with the idea for the album cover, and wanted me to draw a plague mask.

What does this mask/creature on the cover represents?

Casey McKinley: The mask/creature on the cover represents a plague mask, with the addition of tusks, relating to Mammoth Black. It also has some broken straps coming off of the back showing that “Death” has broken free of the need for the mask, and is therefore “not ashamed,” following the concept of the name of the album.

How did you became involved with the project?

Casey McKinley: I’ve been doing design and illustration work for Mammoth Black for a little while now, and Brett asked me to work on the cover illustration and design.

What technique/media you used to create the art?

Casey McKinley: The mask/creature was drawn with ink on paper, using Micron pens on Canson drawing paper. Then it was scanned, and brought into Photoshop for color, and texture treatments.

Was the predominant sepia/brown color palette on the cover something you requested and why?

Casey McKinley: The colors on the cover were meant to be dark, and earthy. I like the “human-touched” feel when creating a color palette. Something that feels old, like it has a dark history to it. A fun point of interest is that some of the texture treatments within the mask came from photos I took of the walls in Alcatraz prison.

Are there other images on the Cd booklet related with the cover? If yes, please comment about it.

Casey McKinley: From what I’ve seen, it looks like the booket/interior of the album package design takes visual cues from the cover, and the overall design is very succinct and clean. Delivers a very direct message.

About rmartos

Verteran journalist, Ramon Oscuro Martos, has been writing for several Rock/Metal publications for almost 20 years. He currently writes for Metal,,,, etc. He also runs the facebook community about album covers, And Justice for Art (book coming soon) and the independent record label, Dark Canvas Records (