Behind the Cover: Rivers of Nihil - The Work

Dissecting the interconnectedness of Seagrave's works ahead of the cosmic new venture.

Preface by Jake Sanders (@themetalscholar), Interview by Luis (@luis.hoa):


Something eldritch and primeval ascends from murky depths and ancient peaks, all constructed under the watchful eyes, and hands, of Dan Seagrave. His art — which has graced the covers of extreme music albums since the late eighties — continues to reign supreme as one of the most iconic aspects of death metal. Often depicting desolate and alien worlds, the blueprint of his unique style of chaotic landscapes and cataclysmic events have painted both a figurative and literal backdrop for the auditory hell that listeners across the genre have become accustomed to. Painting a legacy of meticulous detail and lyrical consanguinity into much of the work, Dan captures the essence of the projects he chooses to embrace, solidifying a foundation of color, shape, and words into the face and facade of every listeners' introductory glance.


In Dan's approach to Rivers of Nihil, a vast world where we gain moments of panorama has emerged as a visual encyclopedia to the grimness behind the Pennsylvania outfit's lore of psychological torment, isolation, and descent into an uncomfortable, and at times, cloying insanity. Deliberately incongruent, the group's sound evolution has crafted a world that ranges from a panic attack, to anxiety, to mortal despair, and finally a peaceful acceptance. A sharp spire stands pointing to the sky, surrounded by pale waters and a hollow canyon that severs its presence from its own environment. Sun-scorched pyramidion structures mingle with Mesopotamian architecture shrouded by a dense canopy. Sinister archways bridge the gap to a sprawling tower with venous hieroglyphics and an Insectoid ornamental figurehead that claws at the sun with malice. A bone-dry mire lays hollow and rotting as a bramble of thorns and deadwood stand at attention, settled in the foreground of a toxic miasma of juniper that seeps into a sea of desiccated trees, lingering in the distance, directly overneath. Come September 24th, Metal Blade Records will give way to The Work, marking the end of the band's conceptual narrative and giving way to a new era worth basking in.


We go Behind the Cover of The Work with bassist/vocalist Adam Biggs and Dan Seagrave to unpack what makes their near decade long partnership a modern marvel in audiovisual excellence:

‘The Work’ has seen the light and the release cycle is now underway. Like all of the previous Rivers of Nihil full-lengths, it sports a brilliant Seagrave cover that personally stands as one of the most unique offerings this year. What can you comment about the visual identity you’ve built together over the years? It has surely evolved over the last decade.


Seagrave: It's been great to be a part of that, and see where the band would go next with the narrative connectivity and storytelling aspect. So, getting word each time to be involved in the latest stage of that narrative has been very cool. The 'Owls' record took the sound to some new creative level, and I was surprised and impressed by the evolution in the music. It's clear they were not holding back on allowing different sounds and elements into the creative pool on that album.

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