Diabolus - A Cover Art Trilogy

Cover art for three upcoming singles; 'Razorbirth', 'Validation Cvlt', and 'The Tragic Protagonist', by death metal band Diabolus.

This was a fun one! Speed was of the essence, as the band were looking to start promoting these singles very quickly, so a mixture of custom rendered and free to use 3D assets were utilised, as I'm certainly no modeller just yet! (TFMSTYLE's free 3D scans of statues from The Louvre were particularly useful here so props to him).

Initially the band wanted a hand-drawn illustrative look for these singles, as if each single were a chapter in a book with its own illustration. What I had therefore planned was to use 3D to mock up the compositions, then create illustrations based on those 3D mockups.

However, when I showed the band the 3D mockups for approval before I started drawing, it turned out they loved the look of them! So what we ended up doing was placing each 3D composition in an illustrative looking border, and using physical textures to add to that book-like feel.

Lyrically speaking each single provided its own challenges to represent:

'Razorbirth' is a typically death metal track with gruesome horror film imagery, so to create an image to represent that without being crass or gory (e.g. Cannibal Corpse album art) was a priority.

'Validation Cvlt' deals with issues such as materialism, social media identity, and technology's impact on mental health, with lyrics that frame social influence and identity as new gods or deities, so classical imagery was used to represent this.

'The Tragic Protagonist' was in some ways the simplest but the most sensitive one; dealing with a band member's experience of cancer in their family, it was very important to create an image that didn't make light of this topic or represent it poorly, so for that one I very much stuck to the brief from the client and created exactly what they asked for; in this case a broken clock (gotta love clients who know what they want!).

Joshua Swabey
Design Lead by day. Dicking about with shiny stuff by night.

More by Joshua Swabey

View profile