Wednesday 27 February 2013

The Underground Resistance Artwork Explained

You have to go back to 2009, before Darkthrone's last LP Circle The Wagons was even released, to find where the concept for the artwork to their new album, The Underground Resistance, was born. I'd been in contact with Fenriz for a year maybe, around about the time he started his Band Of The Week crusade and I was doing my blog with a lot more enthusiasm. I had originally gotten in touch with him about an interview for Vice, which he had declined for the time being, but kept up the contact regardless. I then decided I would ask for a mixtape having been blown away by a multi-genred mix he had done for Actual Pain around the time. He complied and came up with the brazen Trapped Under Vice, Vol. I. I had taken the artwork for this mix a bit too seriously perhaps, ha ha, and even had a graphic designer (badly) help me out with the artwork which was supposed to be a take on the classic Scanners poster.

Anyways, when it came to volume two the style had changed so dramatically that I wanted to use some more fitting artwork. My mother introduced me to the works of Jim Fitzpatrick as a child, and had given me his Erin Saga book for a Christmas present some years before. Without thinking of his previous sleeves in metal history (Thin Lizzy and Manilla Road), I set about finding one from the book for the mix. I drew up a list of five or six possibles and sent them over to him to see which he liked best (there's a whole post about this, here).
He said this about the above: "just go with the first one. i don't want to be a bother. it's just the 1st one looks a bit...TOO METAL for the comp, perhaps. i mean, the black widow song has SAXOPHONE on it... (beatiful, though)" Ha ha. I think he was blown away by the effort I'd put into them (I was working for Vice magazine at the time and rarely had anything meaningful to do, so I would milk any menial task to make it seem like I was busier than I was, or I would just pull the "Costanza face", if I wasn't so busy, ha ha) and asked if I would be up for maybe finding something fitting for the next Darkthrone album. I was like WHOA and asked what the title was.

"I wanna call our next album UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE. he (Ted) says it should be THE UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE. But what could portray it?"

To which I replied: Personally, I would side with THE being prefixed as there is a massive Techno movement from Detroit called Underground Resistance. UNLESS, you are tipping the hat to them?!?

And he said: "yeah, i have been since 92 when i bought my first vinyl from there, also RED PLANET was a tip to those submerge guys. But ok, fine with me with the THE"

I was also like HUH not long after when cover images for another album, Circle The Wagons, appeared online, with artwork from Dennis Dread. I didn't have a clue what was going on so I asked him. It transpired that he was thinking further afield indeed, ha ha.

Then I found the image at the top of the page, "The Battle Of Moira", did some tweaks to it and they both loved it. The image of the warrior fighting back with the horde laying in wait, to me, having heard the album now, fits the music almost perfectly.

These are the original concepts:
Ted wanted it to have a browner tint, so I came up with this:
All of which came from this (not the colour version):
Years passed and I honestly thought they had either rethought the album title or artwork, or both, and was shocked when someone sent me a jpeg of the finished artwork a few months ago, which eventually, not by mine hand, ended up looking like this:
And yes, unlike that Che Guevara artwork, Mr. Fitzpatrick was paid for this. End of history lesson. Wait, I never did get that damn interview...


B-rad said...

Excellent background information on the artwork man. I am glad that someone as dedicated as you had a hand in the visual aesthetics of the new Darkthrone. Thrash hard Dylan

Vanya said...

That cover captures perfectly Darkthrone's I-against-the-odds attitude, congratulations! The truth, however, is that it (the cover) would have hardly looked THAT impactful without the music itself...

Thank you all for giving 2013 such a glorious kick!! \,,/

Angelizer said...

Fucking awesome !