As times goes by all bands in any music genre must face the facts of changing music industry and re-invent or at least update their concept of producing albums. There must be millions of things you need to discover again as an artist but one of the key points is how your album cover should look like in 2013. As we all know the direction is going more and more into digital publishing and it’s pushing the boundaries of design as we speak and raises questions that never existed in past days. Where to focus on your design? How to reduce the size as small as possible? What are the typographic demands? What are technical specs in my chosen mediums? How to create responsive album cover design? How to make it work both in print and in digital format?
Bands who have started in their 70’s or 80’s could have difficult times figuring out these issues yet again they already have survived all the technical and cultural changes throughout in their past so it can also make things easier for them. What is the correct path to take? Let’s keep in mind the fact that good music itself is the factor that builds success and visual identity is there to support your goals and to help you to achieve them. As long as you don’t change the way you look on every album you have a better chance to make it.
With all this in my mind I wanted to take a look at various metal bands first and latest album covers. I have chosen covers from 70’s to this day and compare what has changed. Some bands have totally changed their logos and visual identity whilst some have kept almost everything like they were just releasing their very first album. I dismissed live albums, compilations and EP’s and tried to focus on official albums only.
Here are some bands who emerged from the early days of metal and are still going strong with very similar logotype and visual language.
Iron Maiden (from ‘Iron Maiden’, 1980 to ‘The Final Frontier’, 2010).
30 years and 13 albums in between.
Kiss (from ‘Kiss’, 1974 to ‘Monster’, 2012)
38 years and 18 albums in between.
Slayer (from ‘Show No Mercy’, 1983 to ‘World Painted Blood’, 2009)
26 years and 8 albums in between.
Saxon (from ‘Saxon’, 1979 to ‘Sacrifice’, 2013)
34 years and 18 albums in between.
Metallica (from ‘Kill ‘Em All’, 1983 to ‘Death Magnetic’, 2008)
25 years and 7 albums in between.
Sepultura (from ‘Morbid Visions’, 1986 to ‘Kairos’, 2011)
25 years and 10 albums in between.
Amorphis (from ‘The Karelian Isthmus’, 1992 to ‘Circle’, 2013).
21 years and 9 albums in between.
Black Sabbath (from ‘Black Sabbath’, 1970 to ’13’, 2013)
43 years and 17 albums in between.
Article by Pete Alander – Copyright 2013 © Heavy Music Artwork.