BEST METAL ALBUM COVERS OF 2014… that weren’t square-like shaped.

Instead of just doing what many other sites are already doing (putting a list with the Best Album Covers of 2014), here at Metal Band Art we’ll try something different this year. We’re selecting the five Best Album Covers that weren’t square-like shaped.

Why are we doing this? The answer is simple.

In many occasions, you look at the back cover of an album and notice that basically, it’s an extension of the front. Most importantly, you will notice that the whole image has a richer significance, and even reveals new layers of meaning and artistic intricacy. Just think about timeless pieces of art such as Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave” and Black Sabbath’s debut and you’ll have an idea.

2014 brought some interesting graphics matching such characteristics. Let’s explore some of them.



Mastodon “Once More ‘Round the Sun”

Mastodon’s excellent 2014 recording came accompanied by a monumental piece that, according to the creator, Skinner, explores the meaning behind life and death. “The sun brings life and it eventually dies.. it’s a cycle,” he says.

The Oakland-based artist was brought to Mastodon’s fold via his friend, drummer Brann Dailor, who was the cover concept’s creator.

The original is 2 feet tall by 8 feet wide and was done via acrylics and ink.The psychedelic-looking, colorful image proposes different visual influences including traditional Oriental arts. “The band loved it!” says Skinner of the band’s reaction… Frankly, who wouldn’t!



Polyptych “Illusorium”

Chicago’s extreme metal collective, Polyptych, adorned their monumental recording “Illusorium” with an imposing panoramic artwork painted by Germany’s Misanthropic-Art.

The concept for this expressive, acrylic-on-paper art is about “a human which is transformed into a god by a god of higher power,” comments Misanthropic’s Chris. “It’s basically about his struggle with his human and god self and how to act and handle with such incredible powers.”

“We needed an artist who could visually bring this to life, but we were careful to have the artwork done in a way that was more symbolic as opposed to literal,” the band recalls. For them, “the front cover represents the duality of our main protagonist and the constant struggle he experiences in his search for an identity.”



Inferi “The Path Of Apotheosis.”

Inferi’s guitarist/vocalist, Malcolm Pugh, came up with the cover concept for their 2014 album “The Path Of Apotheosis.”

“It’s based on a Sumerian/Mesopotamian theme. It also ties into the lyrics,” Pugh explains. “It’s our version of The Annunaki, who were the creators of mankind, so I wanted the cover to incorporate themes of Good and Evil, God/Satan, Enki and Enlil—Annunaki Leaders.”

This Nashville-based Death Metal collective used the brushing talents of illustrator, Robert Gonzalez, who created a panoramic piece of undeniable power. This is the artist’s third artwork for the band. ‘If you examine our previous albums, you’ll notice that they all have a warrior on the covers. He is almost like our mascot in a way.”



Vomit Fist “Forgive But Avenge”

“Forgive But Avenge” was, beyond any doubt, one of the year’s most vicious, Grindcore-induced recordings.

Its accompanying chaotic cover art was painted by famed Italian illustrator, Paolo Girardi. He painted it via a recurring mix of oil on pasteboard, using brushes and turpentine. “Oil colors are the best for me. I am totally oldschool,” Girardi admits.

Regarding to the artwork’s concept (Frogmen invading Earth vs. Humans), the artist reveal that the idea came from the mind of Vomit Fist’s drummer Leo Lurkrot Didkovsky. “I just added surreal, ‘dirty’ atmosphere, plasticity of characters, lights and shadows, etc.. I love weird concepts and stuff, so I liked Nick’s idea.”



Siberian “Modern Age Mausoleum”

The complete artwork for SIBERIAN’s new album “Modern Age Mausoleum” was brought to life by artist Mattias Frisk, who has previously collaborated with bands like Ghost B.C., VANHELGD, among others.

The gloominess and a progressive drive of the album’s music has been captured by Frisk on the panoramic art. “The band wanted something that could be used as a gatefold/digipack,” the artist comments. “Their idea was very specific: they wanted a swan on the back surrounded by an industrial complex and on the front a wild forest with moths flying around. They wanted it to be hand painted but in the end there were some digital touch ups.”

Regarding to the concept, the members of the band comments: “The artwork is a romanticized depiction of nature up against society. One of the core concepts of the album is how in our modern age we humans are moving away from our origins. A big brother swan, always watching over us maggots as we work for the machine. The front shows a hidden place in the forest, we’re the maggots has bloomed out into moths, and nothing is touched by humans.”



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 (