Deranged Doodlings: Universevil

When Maligno bassist, Marco Gil, asked me to do the cover artwork for their second LP, Universevil, I was certainly thrilled, as I’ve never taken the opportunity, with the exception of the Caustic Death demo tape, to provide my own visual interpretation of another bands sonic creation. The band wanted me to create an image that reflected their Mexican heritage and they wanted something akin to 70s-era prog rock album art which would visually encapsulate their lyrical ideas and capture the overall sound and vibe of the music contained within. Marco sent me a package with some demo recordings of some of the tracks that were to be on the recording along with the lyrics to all the songs. For inspiration he also enclosed a small book of  illustrations and engravings by popular Mexican artist, Jose Guadalupe Posada, and I quickly got to work.

After listening to the CD of recordings and reading the song lyrics I began to formulate ideas for the cover image. I began by drawing a small thumbnail sketch which I usually do for most of the bigger or more elaborate pieces that I create. One of the songs on the album is called Son Of Tlalocanso I decided to make Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain, fertility, and water, the central image and focal point of the cover. Though, after a bit of thought, since Maligno is a metal band and since I am a morbid bastard, I decided it would be cool to incorporate Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec god of the dead and king of Mictlan, the lowest and northernmost section of the underworld, into it is well. As you can see in the final finished drawing I went ahead and split the main figure into two opposing halves, one representing fertility and the other representing death in an attempt to employ the old mystical symbolism of duality and the harmony of opposites. If you look at the upturned hand of Tlaloc on the right you can see the attached umbilical cord which leads to the floating fetus of the son of Tlalocan. On the right half, Mictlantecuhtli is crushing the head of a man in professional attire which is a reference to the song Dirty Black Suit  and it’s lyrical denunciations of  corporate greed, deceitful masters, and “bullshit bastards”. The ancient god of death has returned to reap his just rewards on the the evil conqueror that vanquished his people oh so long ago.

Now, I’m not too sure if this is what the band had in mind with the song Golden Demons  but I took the title as a metaphor for that wonderfully decadent elixir of life which I like to imbibe more often than most health professionals would probably recommend, and added the little gleeful mephistophelean reveler with upturned goblet down in the lower left-hand side of the drawing. Believe me, I’ve hung out with the Maligno boys enough times to know that they are not averse to the practice of consuming copious amounts of the sacred brew, so I feel that this choice of imagery was certainly apropos. Just opposite the golden demon you’ll notice the flaming witch of the album’s opening track The Red Witch. I was pleasantly surprised after initially viewing the video for this track to see that some ideas taken from my artwork were actually included within! For the cover’s background, two flaming suns for the song Two Sons can be seen behind the central figure, illuminating the whole joyous scene. And finally, to tie this album together with it’s predecessor, I borrowed the skull from that LP’s front cover which you can see there at the very bottom. Unfortunately, due to deadline restraints, I didn’t get to add as much detail and shading as I would have liked, but the band was more than pleased with the end result. Ultimately though, the experience of trying to visually capture the aural mood of a band which I thoroughly respect and enjoy proved to very rewarding and enjoyable and I look forward to more opportunities to do so again.

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2 Responses to “Deranged Doodlings: Universevil”

  1. katocurse Says:

    You killed it with that artwork! amazing stuff.

  2. katocurse Says:

    you killed it with that artwork! amazing.

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