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And Justice For Art Book

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Friday, August 14, 2015 @ 8:46 AM


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And Justice For Art
by Ramn Oscuro Martos
2014 Dark Canvas Publishing
www.andjusticeforart.com




A great album cover can make an average album successful. It can make a great album even more outstanding and iconic. Not everyone will agree with me, but I have long maintained that the cover of an album is just as important as the actual music on the album. It is a symbol of the band, and represents the music on the album. This is even more important in the world of heavy metal, which features the greatest artwork in any genre of music.

And Justice For Art is a fantastic book that metalheads and hard rock fans will enjoy. Ramn Oscuro Martos has written a book that provides great insight into classic album covers on a level that has never been seen before. This book explores the covers of albums by bands in hard rock, classic metal, death metal, prog, thrash, doom, black, and several other metal genres.

This is not a best of type of book. Instead, Martos explores some of his favorite album covers by his favorite artists. A nice forward is contributed by MORBID ANGEL vocalist/bassist David Vincent. The book is laid out in chronological order. There are 60 album covers examined in all beginning with BLACK SABBATHs eponymous debut album (1970) but in reality, you are getting much more, as the stories typically examine many other works by the artists. Some of my favorite album covers are investigated in this book, including Ken Kellys powerful painting for RAINBOWs Rising (1976), Todd McFarlanes awesome Spawn illustration for ICED EARTHs The Dark Saga (1996) and METALLICAs famous cover for And Justice For All (1988), which also inspired the name of this book.

The amount of research here is impressive. Martos presents the facts for each album cover: the cover image itself, band, title, release date, artist, medium and original size. He interviewed the artist of each cover about their experience working with the band, and dug for the never-before-heard stories. He also spoke to various members of these bands regarding working with the artist. Frequently, he gets the band to recall their initial reaction to the artwork. Martos even interviewed the guy who posed (when he was a child) for photos that were used for the inspiration for the cover artwork of VAN HALENs 1984 album. Interesting to learn that the illustration was not originally intended for the album, and was far from what VAN HALEN originally wanted. Similarly, Yngwie Malmsteen originally wanted a far different cover for his iconic third album, Trilogy (1986).

The book also explores photographic works such as the controversial covers of OZZY OSBOURNEs debut solo album Blizzard Of Ozz (1980), METALLICAs Load (1996) and PANTERAs Vulgar Display Of Power (1992). Was the cover punch photo of Vulgar Display Of Power really a punch as was rumored? Youll find out here.

Also reviewed are Ed Repkas masterful paintings that adorned DEATHs album covers, as well as the other artists who worked with DEATH (Rene Milvilles trilogy of covers and Travis Smiths more recent work with the band). In fact, multiple covers by Travis Smith are scrutinized including OPETHs Heritage (2011) and KATATONIAs Dead End Kings (2012).

Don Brautigams work for ANTHRAX is explored in detail. Dan painted covers for ANTHRAXs Among The Living (1987), State Of Euphoria (1988) and Persistence Of Time (1990). His work on METALLICAs Master Of Puppets (1986) is what brought him to the bands attention. The book covers Dan Seagraves cover paintings for death metal bands PESTILENCE, ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER and SUFFOCATION. Did you know that SEPULTURA originally wanted to use OBITUARYs Cause Of Death artwork for their album Beneath The Remains? Their eventual cover art became iconic, and the band ended up hiring the artist who painted it Michael Whelan - for their following covers of Arise, Chaos AD and Roots. The book goes into depth regarding HR Gigers involvement with CARCASS and other metal bands. Also studied is the late Storm Thorgeson (who is famous for designing album covers for PINK FLOYD and UFO) and his brief foray into metal artwork with ANTHRAXs Stomp 442 (1995).

Extreme metal band covers are also analyzed, including DARKTHRONEs A Blaze In The Northern Sky (1992), CRADLE OF FILTHs The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh (1994), MAYHEMs Grand Declaration Of War (2000), and CATTLE DECAPITATIONs Humanure (2004), among others. The final entry is a fantastic documentary on the making of BLACK SABBATHs 13 (2013) album cover.

And Justice For Art has quickly become one of my favorite books. I own a lot of these albums, and reading about them was intriguing. Even the ones I didnt own, I found to be a fascinating read. The size of the book, at a nice 8 x 11.5 inches, is perfect and the beautiful full-color layout is very attractive and easy to read. The cover artwork (with spot varnish) is a nice touch. As a rock and metal fan, I practically devoured this book. I sat with it for hours at a time, enjoying all the notes, sidebars, and details that went into the design and layout of each CD and LP. This book is a must-own for serious fans of heavy metal and album artwork!

5.0 Out Of 5.0


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