Brace for a year's worth of visual endeavors sculpted carefully by bright minds.
THY ART IS HEAVY.
Cover artwork creation is a wondrous phenomena that brings together an array of minds and lived experiences in an intersectional manner that finds common ground to serve a purpose. For some, that purpose is economic through a focus on marketability. For others, it's an extension of the life created within a record's musical and lyrical capabilities. Regardless of what the driving factors are, the process becomes a byproduct of the physical and psychological investment placed by all involved, resulting in alluring spectacles to immerse yourself in. That's why we're here today.
The illustration you see before you is but one of the three pieces forming Thy Art Is Heavy, a conceptual triptych crafted by our dear friend Reuben Bhattacharya (Visual Amnesia) exclusively for the Heaviest of Art year-end features. The triptych, which we'll outline in a future column, serves a particular purpose here: to introduce the best of this year's cover illustrations. Artists are stones, carved meticulously by their schools of thought, the surrounding world, and their lived experiences, all of which diverge into one creative being. The works shown today are a reflection of the world of possibilities that are these artists, artists enlisted by musicians for all-encompassing audiovisuals that have enriched our lives for the course of this unstable past year. As editors that kept a running list of notable selections throughout the year, it became hard to reach a list-based consensus, especially art being subjective and there being a high volume of illustrations coming across our desks on a weekly basis. After much consideration, we're thrilled to present you a collection of what made 2021 such a memorable one for music illustration. You know the drill: scroll through at a slow pace and let the mind roam free.
Here are the top 30 album covers of 2021:
30. Reggie Becton - California (Alina) | Listen
29. Noltem - Illusions In The Wake (Anthony Hurd) | Listen
28. Mycelium - Scream Bloody Spore (Dávid Glomba) | Listen
27. Whitechapel - Kin (Jillian Savage) | Listen
26. Mick Jenkins - Elephant In The Room (Ferrari Sheppard) | Listen
25. 1914 - Where Fear And Weapons Meet (Vladimir "Smerdulak" Chebakov) | Listen
24. Vildhjarta - måsstaden under vatten (Rickard Westman) | Listen
23. Trippie Redd - Trip At Knight (Stephen Gibb) | Listen
22. Ungfell - Es Grauet (Robbie C. Ward) | Listen
21. Bornholm - Apotheosis (Peter Sallai) | Listen
20. Aborted - Maniacult (Pär Olofsson) | Listen
19. Mono - Pilgrimage of the Soul (Ahmed Emad Eldin) | Listen
18. Beyond Grace - Our Kingdom Undone (Shindy Design) | Listen
17. Midnight Odyssey - Biolume Part 2: The Golden Orb (Elijah Tamu) | Listen
16. Cradle of Filth - Existence is Futile (Arthur Berzinsh) | Listen
15. Young Thug - Punk (K2, Lil X, Fano) | Listen
14. Rivers of Nihil - The Work (Dan Seagrave) | Listen
13. Khnvm - Portals To Oblivion (Khaos Diktator) | Listen
12. Qrixkuor - Poison Palinopsia (Daniel Corcuera) | Listen
11. Worm - Foreverglade (Brad Moore) | Listen
10. Dvne - Etemen Ænka (Marald Van Haasteren) | Listen
9. HEX A.D. - Funeral Tango For Gods And Men (Dave Patchett) | Listen
8. Vokonis - Odyssey (Kyrre Bjurling) | Listen
7. Livløs - And Then There Were None (Mariusz Lewandowski) | Listen
6. Helloween - Self-Titled (Eliran Kantor) | Listen
5. Trivium - In The Court of the Dragon (Mathieu Nozieres) | Listen
4. Nekromantheon - Visions of Trismegistus (Zbigniew M. Bielak) | Listen
3. Whoredom Rife - Winds of Wrath (Jose Gabriel Alegria Sabogal) | Listen
2. Abscession - Rot Of Ages (Adam Burke) | Listen
1. Mastodon - Hushed and Grim (Paul Romano) | Listen
Congratulations to all for the magnificent works that introduced us to worlds beyond that of the music embodied within. Lose yourself to the arts, purchase and stream the records, and check out the artists responsible for the selections for their portfolios are as grand as the works shown here.