I love good music and I love drawing, so when I get to combine both I am obviously thrilled.
The now dormant Finnish doom-death metal band Katakombi wanted to do something special for two unreleased tracks of theirs: a single 7″ vinyl, and they invited me to make the cover for it. The overall theme was the “consciousness that’s inside a statue, stone corpse, or a human that doesn’t move and doesn’t die. So it witnesses changes and revolutions in nature and culture without change to manipulate them at all.”
After dabbling with different ideas, including that of jiva – the living being or essence that survives death in Hinduism and Jainism – I decided to turn the concept over, depicting Time instead as a giant worm or abyss fish devouring the world in front of itself.
I wanted something black and white, murky, relatively quickly drawn, yet detailed and precise. I started drafting some ideas:
The Beast is a traditional depiction of Time. Time has the same attributes as the Devil: it fragments, destroys and discriminates. This is no coincidence. I wanted to avoid the Serpent, however, as he will be the main feature of another work of mine, and also needs a rest from all the metal covers he’s been depicted on all these years. There are other ambiguous animals out there — for example some fish whose outer nastiness are in a category of their own.
After some messing around with different species, I settled for the infamous Lophius piscatorius a.k.a the angler fish, whose face is so abject it was believed to give pregnant women miscarriage.
One unsuccessful attempt at drawing the real thing without figuring my tones and my composition forced me to start over. Remember folks, if it’s worth painting, it’s worth planning.
I made sure the eye would follow the right direction, spiraling down the beast’s throat. Once again, playing around with time-tested composition tricks such as the Golden Spiral pays off.
I hope that the final result managed to visually capture what makes the character of Katakombi’s music: slow, dark, weird, intense, crushing, yet oddly fascinating. Like a dim light dangling in the throat of Time.
Listen to one track already on Katakombi’s Soundcloud.
The single is due later this year on Hämähäkki Music.
Until next time,