Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Artists have it really tough. Original ideas are harder and harder to come by as time goes on, making it difficult to pass off any work of art - music, visual, or otherwise, as 100% BRAND NEW. Everyone has influences, but once and a while an artists rips something off so blatantly that they need to be called out.

That's where Illogical Contraption comes into the picture.

Today we'll focus on Heavy Metal album covers. The subject is a hotbed of artistic burglary and copyright infringement, as you'll see in the examples shown below. I'm calling BULLSHIT on this shameful practice, as a service to both the genre and my community.

Above and below: I've pointed this one out before, in my post on Heavy Metal Cryptozoology. The brilliant cover above, painted by the master himself Dan Seagrave, is a classic in the Metal world. But what the Hell was Cryptopsy thinking when they ripped this shit off back in '94? Not only is it blatant theft, but it's not even a decent rendering of the mighty Brachyuradomus infernalis. Everyone knows this creature lives on the ocean FLOOR, dammit.

-LOCAL BANDS: SF area Metal bands guilty of album cover thievery.

Ripping Corpse's classic album, Dreaming With The Dead, may be a monumental achievement in the kingdom of Death Metal music, but you've gotta admit the cover is pretty lame. The creepy priest-guy appears to be assuming the lotus posture, and as we all know, yoga just isn't very Metal. Sorry guys, but it's true.

Which makes it all the more disappointing when a sweet local band like Black Queen straight up steals that shit (right). I mean, it really wasn't that great to start with. Sure, they cut the guys arms off and added some sort of seaweed-y arms and hands, but look at the band logos! A textbook example of album cover THEFT.

Left: Perhaps you are familiar with the band Iron Maiden and/or their 1982 record Number of the Beast. Great artwork, as always, from Maiden's guy Derek Riggs, another master of the Metal cover art genre. I, for one, have this poster on my bedroom wall, and say a silent prayer to it before bedtime every night. But that's beside the point.

Right: Dammit, Brocas Helm! You put out a great fucking album but straight LIFTED the cover from Maiden! Did you think we wouldn't notice? It's like an exact mirror image, except they substituted a magical knight for the Devil and put a silly wizard hat on the skeleton/Eddie. And while I am a fan of the silly wizard hat, I just can't condone such obvious thievery. I never thought I'd have to say it, but shame on you, Brocas Helm. Shame on you.

-EXTRA SHAMEFUL: When shitty bands rip off sweet album covers.

Above: This Is Spinal Tap.
Below: Metallica's "black album". I wonder if they're even aware of the self-contained irony in ripping off SPINAL TAP, of all bands. I kinda doubt it.

Left: Some record that I've never heard (thank God) from the cock-tacular metalcore band Avenged Sevenfold. I could go on and on about why this band is the enemy of everything good and decent in the world, but let's save that for another day. I think what I dislike most about them is that they simply STOLE another band's mascot, the winged skull. And that's just LAME.

Right: It belongs to Overkill, you assholes. Now give it back, before I come over there and TAKE IT BACK. You fuckers. You foolish, Myspace-haired, black nail polish-wearing, Hot Topic douchewand FUCKERS.

-JUDAS PRIEST: A category all their own.

Priest is a unique breed. They steal cover art, but always manage to somehow make it way cooler. Observe the three album covers below as proof.

Above: Emerson, Lake and Palmer's 1971 prog-rock opus Tarkus. Priest kidnaps the Tarkus, slaps some sweet samurai gear and horns on the fucker, and turns it into the raging beast seen on the cover of Defenders of the Faith (below). Well played, lads. Well played.

Above: Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell, sporting an undeniably awesome cover depicting some dude soaring over a graveyard astride his Steel Horse. How could anyone possibly improve this timeless gem?
Answer: Turn him into a fucking CYBORG, and turn the wheels of his motorcycle into fucking circular saw blades (below). Again, I applaud your good taste and aesthetic zeal, Mr. Halford.

Above: The only Priest rip-off cover that doesn't rule, 1988's Ram It Down. Nice try, guys, but take it as a lesson: In the future, don't EVER fuck with Rainbow (below). Ever.

Above: Another local band rips off a classic, this time the inside cover of Queen's News of the World (right). Subtle, but the all-seeing eye of Illogical Contraption will reveal your transgressions EVERY TIME. Your pose, as they say, has been exposed!

Above: Computer weirdness caused my first download of Priest's Defenders of the Faith album cover to come out looking like this. I justed wanted to share.


sean said...

excellent post. informative and totalling ruling.

Shelby Cobras said...

thanks sean.
i try my best for you, the reader.

Steven said...

Dude, we've been over this before: the 'Arise' artwork was by Michael Whelan. It doesn't even resemble Mr Seagrave's signature style.

Shelby Cobras said...

I'm sorry... I didn't get that memo.
Whelan rules, though... his work with Cirith Ungol is epic. He did the Meat Loaf cover too, right?

viagra said...

It is just a shame that so many bands tend to make their own versions of epic and classic Heavy Metal Albums. Some are good enough that you really need to look at both of them to see the trick, but others are just lame.