Archive for symbolism

Deranged Doodlings: Universevil

Posted in Deranged Doodlings with tags , , , , , on February 25, 2012 by backstabbath

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.

Deranged Doodlings

Posted in Deranged Doodlings with tags , , , , , , on February 12, 2012 by backstabbath

Okay, fellow freaks and mutations, in addition to my miscellaneous mental meanderings I figured I’d use this blog as a platform to showcase some of my various doodles and scribblings. I chose the above irreligious drawing as my first choice for display here simply because it was one of the few that I’ve done that would actually fit in my home scanner. This drawing was done for use on a flyer for a show that Mala Suerte played at Emo’s with Buzzov*en. I can’t really remember what I was thinking of doing at the time but as is often the case when I’m at a loss for what to draw, I consulted one of the many books in my library for inspiration. In my copy of “The Christian World” edited by Geoffrey Barraclough I came across a detail from  Lucas Cranach the Elder’s The Trinity which pictures the Father as ruler of the universe, the Son as sacrificial victim, and the Holy Ghost as a dove. I copied a lot of the basic image but obviously I had to change things around to make it a bit more profane, so I changed the Ol’ Bearded One into Death himself with skeletal hands gently massaging the shoulders of Christ. I also changed the dove into the Masonic two-headed eagle and in keeping with that theme, added the all-seeing eye, checkerboard pattern, and sun and moon symbolism. After looking at both the original painting and my bastardized desecration, I’m not sure which is more morbid.