Friday, January 15, 2010

A Look At Ihsahn's Cover Art

After, the ultimate release in the trilogy of Ihsahn recordings that started four years ago, isn't nearly as accessible as its predecessors; the inclusion of a Coltrane-style jazz saxophone over-top many of the album's black metal stylings ensures it'll take more than a few listens to pry apart the shell and gain access to the sweet juices within. There is one thing about the album that's odd enough for both Seth and myself to note it immediately: in a game of one of these things is not like the other, After cover artwork seems like it would be the odd art out (in order of release):

Notice in particular the large pink stain on the cover of After, which is the biggest indicator that the art direction seems to have gone awry: the covers of The Adversary and angL are so dark; why the pink and white that suggests some sort of black metal princess cake? In addition, the photo seems a little incongruous: as Seth pointed out, using a cross makes the album seem like it's crossing in Black Sabbath territory. On closer inspection, I think there's a bit more linking the three, like the transition of living angel to angel statue to cross, the inclusion of color on the cover of The Adversary, the different mediums of the artwork (chalk drawing, sculpture, and photograph) and the bleakness of the photo on the cover of After, which I suspect is a reference - along with those dirgy saxophones - to the album's title. Still haven't figured out what that pink stain is supposed to mean, though.

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