Mass’ Top 30 Album Covers of 2019

Second Echelon

Ellende – Lebensnehmer by Lukas Gosch.

Lukas OWNS Ellende like a BOSS. The mastermind behind music is also the artist of this communicative album cover. The concept behind this art is the familiar dread and pointlessness of war. However, the dejected expressions on the skeletons’ faces convey more than horror and they, in fact, invoke sympathy. The soldiers’ postures are also of significance: one lying face down and to the side (towards the viewer’s angle) with open arms, the other kneeling on the side of his comrade-in-arms with one hand on his back and the other gripping a rifle, a symbolically futile tool, gazing into the depth of distant nothingness outside the frame. A piece worthy of contemplation.

Elvenking – Reader of the Runes Divination by Zsofia Dankova

The fine details are present at almost every inch of this artwork, from the delicate touches on the skulls, the blurred, ghostly faces in the trees and in the air to the ornaments on the seer’s staff, the books and the marvelously-painted girl. What adds to the beauty of this piece is in fact the lighting and how cool and warm colors have been juxtaposed to have deadness of the cave/hut and warmth of light and candles presented to the viewer instantaneously.

The Membranes – What Nature Gives … Nature Takes Away by Valentine Cameron “Val” Prinsep

Here’s an artwork by a classical British artist which radiates with class and screams art. Painted in 1897, this work is titled “At the First Touch of Winter, Summer Fades Away,” and personifies the two primal forces of nature (life/death, summer/winter, light/darkness, or whatever else you name it). The band has, oh so cleverly, paraphrased the concept and turned it into an adage for the title. Thumbs up to the band and their work.

False – Portent by Mariusz Lewandowski

Much has been said about the mastermind behind this artwork: Mariusz Lewandowski. He is a Polish artist who has been on almost every single artwork list of this year with many phenomenal cover arts for a great number of bands. The works of this artist have this exceptional feature: they are immediately identifiable and have a shared, unique tone which makes them distinctive. Many bands have used Lewandowski’s works this year and I decided to pick only one. Certainly more than one deserved to be on this list, especially the ones he has done for Mizmor, Vukari and Abigail Williams.

They all, at least to the best of my knowledge, depict minuscule creatures in the presence of giants and share a color palette dominated mainly by yellow and orange. This one, however, infuses much more of cool colors and portrayal of old age in the hollow eyes of the seeing eye gives a hint at some Persian miniature art.

The Number Twelve Looks Like You – Wild Gods – photo and artwork by Karen Jerzyk and the mask created by Nandrysha

The grotesquely clownish character who is holding his blood-dripping hands in prayer, with a grin on his face which reveals a set of decayed teeth and a pair of dead eyes is far from the soothing background color and the cheery coloring of the letters of the album title, not to mention the peace symbol which seems quite comical standing on top of a cross and behind the character. It might as well remind one of the new Joker movie as the two share many visual elements.

Avantasia – Moonglow by Alexander Jansson

Right out of a nightmarish fantasy or a fantastical nightmare, this artwork is where the enchanting words of Lewis Carroll meet the dark crevices of (young) Tim Burton’s ghoulish mind. This artwork is ornamented with a multitude of elements of fantasy, especially those of old witch tales. Among these elements are a haggard-looking face with long hair which shapeshifts into tree branches and a carriage rider who moves through these woods, many lanterns here and there, a ghostly lost child, specters lurking behind some trees and a skull.

It is not spooky since the various shades of blue, which color the background and marginal spaces reassuringly, remind you it’s not a nightmare, rather a fable or folktale of some sort.

Let’s Get Invisible – The Bitter End by Sarah Sapiro

Seriously???!!! Is this artwork for a punk album?! That is unbelievable! It’s the dance of death and his mistress; it is just so weighty. But it is evilly sublime and frighteningly eye-catching. The maroon on the sun behind the hills is of dried blood and the black of the sky is stuff of the nightmares.

Kampfar – Ofidians Manifest by Peter Paul Rubens

Of the artworks present on this list this one is singular in terms of creation. This is the work of the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens which was created approximately in 1617 and, if I’m not mistaken, belongs to the baroque movement in painting. It is believed that another Flemish painter, Frans Snyders, has contributed to this piece by drawing the snakes surrounding the head. Originally titled (Head of) Medusa,

this art piece illustrates the head of the (literally) petrifying gorgon after being severed by the legendary hero Perseus. No more could be said of the value of this marvelous painting.

Hex – God Has No Name by Warbanner

The fiery mouth of Vulcan is now opened to welcome unwise adventurers and false heroes, devouring them in his melting entrails. On another note, it reminds me of Gates of Hell, a natural gas crater in Turkmenistan, or even Yanar Dag, an ever-burning fire in Azerbaijan. With the metallic black color of basalt on the surface of the mountain and the scorching red of the caverns and pits, it resembles a very earthly hell; however, its imposingness and the existence of some creatures here and there in some corners give this work of art a certain mythological air as well

Whiskey Jam Band – Pork Trumpet by Ilya Khilko

Death playing the banjo on a derelict car! Who would have thought you could find such a gem on the cover of a blues punk band from Belarus? What I like about this artwork is the fact that the colors are vibrant and alive, but the texture and the subject are quite opposite, rusty and lifeless.

The creases, which go across the work, are what I liked besides the art itself and I consider it as the extra mile of creativity that this author has gone.

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