A strong start to what's shaping up to be another memorable year in music illustration.
In Memory of Mariusz Lewandowski, 1960-2022.
When the heart-wrenching funeral doom masterpiece that is Mirror Reaper hit shelves in 2017, Bell Witch had the metal underground wrapped around their finger, due in part to the towering illustration that graced its cover. The artist, Mariusz Lewandowski, was largely unknown to the genre at the time, but from there on out, the circumstances changed and bands across the metal spectrum gravitated towards his surrealist works for visual representation. Surely enough, any record with a Lewandowski was sure to catch a glancing eye on both physical and digital shelves, and rightfully so. Lewandowski's strategic use of color, contrast, and scope captured emotion in profound ways that not many others in music illustration have been able to. Though Lewandowski passed away last year, his artistry is eternal and will forever remain a pinnacle in metal and music artwork as a whole. Obituary's Dying Of Everything is the prime example.
Beyond Lewandowski's greatness, angels fall from the sky into turbulent rivers on Vamperess Imperium's ghastly cover for Thy Darkened Shade, contrasted entirely by Mark Stutzman's joyous, light-hearted undertaking for White Reaper's Asking For A Ride, which finds a protagonist hand hitchhiking in what appears to be a chaotic New York City overrode by flying witches, a battle between a cowboy, a tornado, and a cyclops, and an alien with a three-headed Doberman to name a few outlandish details. Sebastian Jerke paints a brilliant face to Ahab's take on Jules Verne’s 20000 Leagues Under The Sea as Season of Mist's Adrien Bousson perplexes viewers with an astral, interconnected sight ripe for immersion as ...And Oceans excel in their atmospheric black metal. The always consistent Travis Smith does right by the somber elegance of Katatonia's Sky Void Of Stars and transports one to a dimly lit alley swarming with crows amidst the rain while Namurian Visions showcases the art of color palette selection, making great use of green hues on The Poisoner's Dream painting being utilized for Esoctrilihum's latest transcendental beast. Victorian murder mystery comes alive in Niklas Sundin's visual interpretation of Ashen Horde's Antimony as great as Kerem Beyit crafts glory in the triumphant feat that is Twilight Force's At The Heart of Wintervale. Timon Kokott wraps up this month's strong array of cover selections with a piece fitting for the old school death metal listen it represents, consuming everything in its path. Scroll through, lose yourself, and take a listen.
Here are the best album covers of January 2023:
Thy Darkened Shade — Liber Lvcifer II: Mahapralaya (Vamperess Imperium) | Listen
Ahab — The Coral Tombs (Sebastian Jerke) | Listen
...And Oceans — As in Gardens, So in Tombs (Adrien Bousson) | Listen
Obituary — Dying of Everything (Mariusz Lewandowski, 1960-2022) | Listen
White Reaper — Asking for a Ride (Mark Stutzman) | Listen
Katatonia — Sky Void of Stars (Travis Smith) | Listen
Esoctrilihum — Funeral (Namurian Visions) | Listen
Twilight Force — At The Heart of Wintervale (Kerem Beyit) | Listen
Ashen Horde — Antimony (Niklas Sundin) | Listen
Zombie Riot — World Epitaph (Timon Kokott) | Listen
As always, thank you for supporting artists responsible for enriching our lives with their creativity. We remain sane because of it. Stay tuned to Heaviest of Art on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for your art and music needs throughout the day.