CURSED IMAGERY: The Month in Album Art (March 2021)

cursed imagery

Man, we’re already a quarter of the way through the year? What the hell, man. The time, it flies. I think the highlights of 2021 so far have been: getting vaccinated, reading 10 books and counting (which, I think, is fully half of the quota I committed to on Goodreads — whoops!), and somehow managing not to overspend on LEGO. There’s also been some music, too, I guess.

Anyway! It’s a new month, and that means we’ve got some ridiculous album art to discuss. Let’s jump in!

403 Forbiddena — Heroes Part II

Okay, so there’ll be a bit of a theme in the early-going of this month’s post. I wanna see if y’all can figure it out. Okay?

Anyway, this is an unquestionably freaking awesome album cover. I love it so much… until I see the band’s logo. Why on Earth is a band called 403 Forbiddena — yes, it’s a play on the error messages you sometimes see while navigating the Internet — making this album cover? It’s a freaking shame, but the cognitive dissonance has taken this piece from BANGER status to, well… this post.

Dictatorshit — Marcha Funesta

ME, FIRST GLANCE: Wow, this cover’s kinda dope!

ME, SECOND GLANCE: Wait… is that… a McDonald’s logo?

ME, THIRD GLANCE: …and Apple and Microsoft? And… [groan] Facebook and Instagram?

ME, FOURTH GLANCE, noticing that the store is apparently sporting a pair of Mickey Mouse ears: Man, fuck this.

Old Nick — A New Generation of Vampiric Conspiracies

Have we figured out the theme yet? Anyone?

The theme is the word “until” — as in, these first few covers are all varying degrees of tolerable until you notice something that prompts so strong an “UGH” as to force their inclusion in this column. The 403 Forbiddena logo on their album. The corporate iconography on the Dictatorshit album. Both pretty cool designs! …until that shit kinda ruins ’em.

For California black metal / dungeon synth act Old Nick, the “until” is the typography at the top of the design, which you’d be forgiven for missing at first glance given that it’s black type against a dark grey image. (Another A+ design choice!) The type is set in the plainest of fonts — I can’t quite pick out which, but it’s definitely one of the generic, pre-loaded fonts in your Word Processor of choice — which, actually, is something of a theme for Old Nick? Bleh.

Witchtrip — Sledmetal

If I was a harder-hearted soul, I might be tempted to include Sledmetal among the “until” albums — you know, pretty dope album cover until you realize that the dude is riding a freaking motorized sled across the demonic tundra.

But you know what, this “until” not only doesn’t ruin the album cover; it makes it even friggin’ better! Witchtrip promised us sled metal (sorry… sledmetal) and goddammit did they deliver. I freaking love everything about this and I don’t care who knows it.

Morvidhen — Morvidhen

Bargain bin Eddie.

Racer Steel — …No Time to Go Back!!!

A Cool Idea: Setting Racer Steel’s logo in this, uh… “type”? It’s not really type. Design? Graphical Configuration? Whatever you wanna call it, the logo fucks.

A Less Cool Idea: Setting literally any other text in that design / graphical configuration.

Think about the Iron Maiden logo, y’all. It’s a friggin’ awesome, iconic logo. And yet, the thought of having to read literally any other words in “Iron Maiden logo” font makes me want to shoot myself. If Maiden can’t pull it off, Racer Steel shouldn’t even be trying.

Zludij — Shitty Execution

Aside from “being smothered to death by golden retriever puppies,” I can’t think of a way I’d rather go out than “spreading liquid shit all over some dude spectating my death for some reason, literally as I am getting hanged.” Credit to the dudes in Zludij: this is a pretty solid depiction of the No. 2 Way to Die, as ranked by C.I. Albums & Associates.

Trollfest — Happy Heroes

I got major Captain Underpants vibes looking at this album cover, and readers, that is never a bad thing.

Incantations of Cadaver Mutilation — Insects Under My Skin

Renacer — En Versiones Vol. 2

One day, back in the Before Times, the five young rapscallions in Renacer went to the beach. The sun was hot, and the boardwalk was mobbed with folks of all ages and only intermittent evidence of sunscreen application. The guys all had their hair down, and were decked out in their finest leathers, despite the obvious challenges this would pose for body temperature control on a mid-August day.

After a highly competitive game of mini-golf, a lunch of cheese fries and snow cones, and then an ill-advised ride on the Gravitron, the guys came across a wizened old caricaturist.

“Draw us!” They requested.

The caricaturist grinned. “Okay, tell me about yourselves.”

“Well, I just won mini golf,” guitarist Diego offered.

“You did NOT, asshole,” said vocalist Christian. “You came in dead last. And you lost your lunch on the Gravitron.”

“Nuh uh,” said Diego.

“YUH HUH,” said his four bandmates simultaneously.

The five turned to the caricaturist with widened eyes, hoping against hope that the random septuagenarian they’d literally just met would be able to resolve their dispute, despite not having been present for either the mini golf or the Gravitron ride.

The caricaturist chuckled. He took off his cap, grabbed a cloth and dabbed the sweat off his balding head. “Boys, you’re taking this too far,” he said, turning back to the group. “Who are you? What do you do?”

“Well, I’m Lucas,” said drummer Lucas. That was the extent of his offering.

“Hi Lucas,” said the caricaturist. “And what do you do?”

“I play drums.”

“Interesting! Are you all in a band together?”

The proverbial lightbulbs turned on simultaneously for all five band members.

“Oh yeah! We’re called Renacer! Heavy metal!” said bassist Guillermo, pausing to flash the obligatory double devil horns as the bemused caricaturist looked on. “We’re actually working on a new album! It’s called En Versiones Vol. 2, and we’re super stoked for it! Except…”

“Except…?” said the caricaturist.

“Well, we don’t have a cover for the album yet,” Guillermo continued. The band members’ heads all dropped simultaneously — not in a headbanging manner, but more a “we has the sads” kinda way.

The caricaturist stood up suddenly and began to stretch. He raised his arms to the sky and then, keeping his legs straight as telephone poles, bent all the way over to touch his toes. He stood back up and brought his arms across his body to stretch his shoulders, and then, one at a time, flexed his knees back behind his body to stretch his quadriceps. Next came ten jumping jacks, following by a series of in-place sprints lasting about 30 seconds.

The band, of course, saw none of this; they still had the sads and their heads were still down.

Finally, after three cycles through what appeared to be a variation of the macarena, the caricaturist concluded his regimen.

“Boys,” he said, snapping the band out of their apparent trance. He grabbed his markers, flipped a new sheet over on his easel, and then turned back to face them, grinning. “Allow me.”

That’ll do it for this edition of Cursed Imagery. Tune back this time next month for the best / worst artwork of April! But until then…

Keep it heavy,

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