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Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 01 Apr 2011 20:06
by Metatron
Blind Guardian is one of my favourite bands, and I follow their progress religiously. I don't think there has been a single BG album with a bad song since TFTTW. I'm not one of those 'their old stuff is better' fans, I understand and enjoy the stylistic developments, I liked the experimentation in Twist in the Myth as much as the more traditional, yet still fresh sounding Edge of Time.

What I have difficulty in accepting is how even though the dynamics, the ambition and the variety in the music remain spot on and in some respects improve, the album covers seem to have regressed into a generic 'random fantasy stuff, a castle or temple and a dragon' in the two last albums. (this isn't to say that they aren't good paintings technically speaking) I understand that part of this is marketing, and Power Metal fans need to be able to recognize a power metal album, but hasn't BG gone beyond Power Metal? I was one of the few that liked the ANATO artwork, simply because it offered something different. Imaginations from the other Side is another good example, where everything isn't obvious and explained, but instead features a certain ambiguity in it's atmosphere, something that complements the music nicely.

In art and design, asymmetry and odd numbers are often favorable, and artistically, a BG album would benefit from e.g a contrast between the music and the album cover. For example, an understated, simple but elegant cover, contrasting with the complex and bombastic music. It's all about subversion. More isn't always better. I'm not saying that it should always be like this, but I reckon the band should be less predictable in it's approach to the artwork. Taking a couple of Hansi's influences, Peter Gabriel and Genesis-they were constantly changing their stylistic approach to album covers so as not to remain stagnant.

To summarize, I feel that Blind Guardian, being a non-standard Power Metal band with progressive leanings, could benefit from a non-standard approach to album covers. One should be able to tell them apart visually, from the countless derivative bands which happen to belong to a similar genre.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 01 Apr 2011 20:16
by krisdaschwab912
I like them all for their own reasons. It personally doesn't matter to me what kind of cover Blind Guardian uses.

Especially considering I have flags/banners from ATEOT, ATITM, And Then There Was Silence and Mirror Mirror.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 01 Apr 2011 22:19
by Alpha Penguin
A Night at the Opera was a fantastic cover haha! The loony conductor is great xD

I can see why you might think they're becoming a little generic, but I still disagree a little bit. "A Twist in the Myth" maybe, but "At the Edge of Time" has a great colour scheme and symmetry.

Let's wait and see what the next release's cover looks like before we make a judgement :mrgreen:

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 01 Apr 2011 22:50
by Dentarthurdent
To me, the TSWoT-cover looked like any other cover that artist has done, sepeciall those for Rhapsody. I'm not too happy with that either, even more since I prefer painted covers over digitally made ones. Marschall was a good guy^^

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 02 Apr 2011 01:08
by Alpha Penguin
Yeah I strongly prefer painted covers, too :S

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 02 Apr 2011 10:42
by arenamaster
ANATO had a great cover, I felt it represents the album perfectly

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 02 Apr 2011 13:14
by sharpened_graphite
Painted fantasy covers are great, as long as they are actually connected to and reflect the mood of the songs on the album (something the AtEOT cover doesn't really do, and that magenta sky behind the logo! Yuck... The illustrations inside the booklet are great though!).

One thing that would be cool is to have the album artwork for the Orchestral Project done by Alan Lee or John Howe (especially if it's going to be Tolkien themed).

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 02 Apr 2011 13:24
by t.a.j.
I find everything from ANATO onwards pretty ugly, with ATEOT being the worse, because it is bad and horribly generic. Not to mention formulaic.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 02 Apr 2011 21:16
by ThePKH
Clearly they hit their highest point cover-art-wise with IFTOS/Forgotten Tales/Mirror Mirror single. But that's just a tiny minus. I don't go into staring at album covers much these days anyway. And metal album covers in general have been pretty much crap lately. There's just not too many ways you can photoshop around a dark forest/skull/dragon etc... So maybe it's not a problem with only Blind Guardian album covers..

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 02 Apr 2011 22:06
by Precurser
I feel like there was a little too much symmetry in the ATEOT cover... I mean it looks nice at first but there's nothing interesting to look at afterwords.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 03 Apr 2011 04:02
by Ryu
I agree wholeheartedly. I can acknowledge BG are brilliant artists and redefine their craft, but the past two covers are bit generic indeed.

It doesn't detract from the music, but I feel there could be much more apt artwork given their immense novelty and talent.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 03 Apr 2011 07:58
by t.a.j.
Dan Seagrave and Andreas Marschall, those made great covers...

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 03 Apr 2011 11:31
by Dentarthurdent
and Necrolord.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 06 Apr 2011 13:22
by Avelar
Who decides which artist's work to use on covers? It's hard to believe that the bards themselves could choose this awful design for ATEOT. Twist was ok, but ATEOT... bleh.. For me a cover art is important, because it is like a face of an album. I believe the recent album would benefit greatly from a painted cover, for example, by Necrolord.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 06 Apr 2011 23:11
by Edain
No, it's usually actually the band who choses artist and cover motif - and in that case it was also this way IIRC. I read more than one interview in which the band members explained why they chose that artist. I'll give you a link, if I happen to find it!

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 07 Apr 2011 05:08
by Led Guardian
Don't know if anyone else has noticed, but fantasy book covers have been transitioning from painted to generic digital images. It's depressing. And you see the same basic thing a lot, because each publisher basically seems to have one artist that they use, and they all tend to do dark grimy looking images anyway.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 08 Apr 2011 20:25
by thrashinbatman
I can see your point, I think the old covers are much better than the new ones. But I must admit, ATITM makes for a bitchin' poster.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 09 Apr 2011 10:46
by Elwood Blues
Yea, I do agree that they're becoming generic. I can find these boring, pieces at work at any spencers store. The older covers done by Marshall were so much more detailed, and offered a more mature and classic look. These last few album covers have been horrid.. They need hand drawn artwork! ANATO was different but in a good way. NIME is gorgeous to look at! Even the Live album! That one album is what drew me in to Blind Guardian! The elf and halfing on the cover looking into the tavern sealed the deal.. I can't imagine what would have happened if they were using one of these new computer drawn covers back then. I would have passed it up, thinking its just some angsty teen band

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 09 Apr 2011 13:15
by Evil Peter
Elwood Blues wrote:I can't imagine what would have happened if they were using one of these new computer drawn covers back then. I would have passed it up, thinking its just some angsty teen band
Then Blind Guardian has taught you a lesson of a very old saying; never judge a book (album) by it's cover.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 10 Apr 2011 01:36
by corrupted old gnom
I can't even recall the ATITM cover artwork - I'd say something 'green'...

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 10 Apr 2011 02:01
by bestpike
I remember it well since we had a discussion on how the cover and the album title are related. One of my favorite assumptions is that the myth is the castle seen inside the portal and then Blind Guardian open that portal between the dragonland and the castle world (with the use of the spell book) to send a dragon (or more) in it to give the myth a little twist :D.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 10 Apr 2011 10:04
by Dragon Guardian
I agree that the ATITM cover looks somewhat generic, but I really like the ATEOT, although my favorites are SFB, IFTOS and NIME.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 11 Apr 2011 00:14
by Islandstone
Good topic. I agree with most here about AtEoT; I think it lacks depth and was a bit disappointed when I saw it.
I prefer ATitM over "Edge", though I miss the older ones. My favourite is IFtOS; now that's how to draw a fantasy cover..
TFT, SFB and TFTTW are also all good. ANATO is a bit weird, but that's okay :wink:

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 11 Apr 2011 23:58
by Dentarthurdent
Elwood is definitely right, the Live-cover is fantastic, especially if you compare it to other live album-covers which are mostly not very creative. Same goes for the ITtLG-cover, by the way. I remember one interview with André where he said, that when he was a kid and bought a new LP, he'd listen to it and lie on the bed to analyze the cover. In the whole ITtlG-artwork there is so much too find - and Gandalf wit a bloody digicam, which owns practically everything.

It's similar with the SfB-cover, I'd really like to have a vinyl-version of that album just for the sake of a bigger cover.

If I'd to name a favourite BG-cover, it would be a draw between these three. Maybe also ANatO, whcih I just noticed I have to take some more looks at :D

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 12 Apr 2011 14:31
by DREAMASTER
Agree with all. F**K the digital covers!

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 17 Apr 2011 20:22
by pingu53
Yeh digital album covers really suck, hand painted ones>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> digital crap, the cover of ATEOT is really lackluster compared to their old covers, i love the old covers so much ive envisioned getting SFB or IFTOS tattooed on my back

even the Mr Sandman single's cover art DESTROYS ATEOT's

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 18 Apr 2011 03:24
by Islandstone
Dentarthurdent wrote:Elwood is definitely right, the Live-cover is fantastic, especially if you compare it to other live album-covers which are mostly not very creative. Same goes for the ITtLG-cover, by the way.
Forgot the Live-cover! Great indeed. Love the dark and the depth.

Oh,the DVD-cover..it's the best music DVD I have,and also the best looking! 8) Quite witty as well,with Gandalf's digicam and Legolas and Gimli wanting tickets on the back front :D

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 18 Apr 2011 11:08
by Nahar
I agree with the general dislike of the digital covers, although I think the design of AtEoT is quite good (aside from the cover). In general I was never too fond of Blind Guardian covers though, at least from NiME on (including NiME). It seems to me that their music deserves more than that. ANATO was more in the direction I'm thinking about - giving some challenge to the fans. I think more abstract stuff should also be an option. But perhaps I'm getting it wrong - maybe the cover shouldn't try to compete with or say anything about the music. Perhaps their choices now are the best for their music (though it's hard to believe).

The closest thing to what they've done that I would prefer is something in the direction of Ayreon covers, made by Jef Bertels. Personally I like a lot Dark Tranquillity covers which are made by Niklas Sundin (their guitar players) that makes more album covers, though I'm not sure if they would fit. Maybe someone like Paul Romano would be able to make something interesting. There are many good and original ones.

Ah, btw, about digital designs - I really liked the And Then There Was Silence cover which was digital... Digital covers can be done well too.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 17 Jun 2011 14:00
by Metatron
I'm glad i'm not alone in thinking critically about the artwork.

I really like some of the above suggestions, indeed, Ayreon has beautiful covers! And this type of abstract cover would work with Blind Guardian because the music isn't just epic, it's unique, layered, weird even. You discover new things after multiple listens.

I agree that some of the old artwork was great in this respect, you found little details after careful evaluation.

It's quite funny to see how most people here seem to have an indifferent attitude to the digital stuff, I think it's a sign of the times, we are so saturated with mass produced graphic design that we are pining for something more personal. And I also agree that digital art is fine when done creatively.

All this said, I have to agree that the booklet design is much improved in BG's albums nowadays.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 19:04
by Halcynd
I agree, their last 2 covers havent been that great, they should return to the NiME / ANATO style, just look at NiME, the details on it are just amazing.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 17 Sep 2011 07:13
by jouzinka
Sorry for reviving a dead topic (again), but I just wanted to humor you: the moment I'm be able to decipher the acronyms you guys use so commonly without having to think twice about them, I'll consider myself a true fan... :lol: :lol: :lol:

I spent more time thinking and searching about the album names than I did writing this post. :oops:

Now, for the peace of my soul, can you please tell me which album is "TSWoT" supposed to be? :?

On topic, I usually don't pay much attention to album covers beyond the like/dislike level. I love NiME - the level of (accurate) detail is superb (although to make my humble self utterly happy, I'd have a non-ugly Morgoth) - I DO like ATitM cover as a standalone artwork, but I'll agree it doesn't link or convey much to the lyrics on the album, love the intricacy of IftOS. And as far as AtEoT goes, I'd say that the temple pictured on the cover at least links to A Voice in the Dark videoclip. And the color scheme used at the top is the same as is used on the cover of the A Voice in the Dark single (where the temple is featured again), so at least they're connected that way.

I like most single covers (And Then There Was Silence, Another Stranger Me), but again those don't have much relevance to the content...

So the most "accurate" or "fitting" cover is of The Bard's Song? Hm, what about The Past and Future Secret - there IS a sword stuck in a stone on that cover. :lol: :wink:

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 17 Sep 2011 09:11
by wade-newb
I think that, ATEOT's cover was okay, while the booklet design was pretty awesome. It's such an amazing album, and deserved to be represented a lot better than how it actually was. Had it been given a cover like, say NiME, I probably would've enjoyed the album a lot more straight off the bat, because the imagery of the music would've been so much more relevant to the cover.It took some time before I saw the music's imagery, and not the album cover whenever I listened to one of the songs.
It's really important that the album cover feels like the music within, and almost every BG album has gotten that right. Except ATEOT.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 17 Sep 2011 10:56
by t.a.j.
I think that both NIME and IFTOS had excellent covers.
IFTOS' cover was both fantasy art and worked symbolically. It had a certain depth to it, you could look at it again and again and notice details or see it in a different way relating to the music and lyrics of that album.
NIME's cover was very thematic, fitting for a theme album, showing a pivotal scene in the narrative and it also highly detailed, with a lot to be discovered.
Both are have one dominant color, which serve to texture the experience of the albums for me. It right away generates a certain amtosphere which interacts with the musical and lyrical character of the albums.
This, the dominant color, was a hallmark of all Andreas Marschall covers and I think it worked very well. By the time of IFTOS, I had the brown, the blue and the beige album. Since blue was taken, NIME became the dark album.
The cover of ANATO seems to me like a sad attempt at a joke, breaking with the whole fantasy image and its expected seriousness and for what it was worth, it certainly made me take ANATO less serious.
The covers of ATITM and ATEOT both are just cheap, formulaic attempts at marketing with no depth and no soul and whoever said yes to them should be flogged, hard.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 17 Sep 2011 17:06
by Andreas
^Agreed. But I have to say that ATEOT is one of the best works of Felipe Machado Franco. Which isn't that much of an achievement, since I don't like his work at all.

Andreas Marschall was the best BG cover artist. Period.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 27 Sep 2011 01:18
by Gasha
I really like the SfB cover, and, of course the oft mentioned IFtOS. Agree that the last few ones have been pretty uninteresting, though. It feels like they're sacrificing the detail and symbolism in favour of just making everything more massive and grandiose.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 07 Dec 2011 19:23
by brazilian_bard
Precurser wrote:I feel like there was a little too much symmetry in the ATEOT cover... I mean it looks nice at first but there's nothing interesting to look at afterwords.
You said everything I think of this new cover, in a few words. Thank you.

There are a STRONG, excessive simmetry on the AtEoT cover, and, well, where are the misterious details?

Unless I have not discovered them yet, I really missed those TfTtW, SfB, NfImE and AnAtO details, that are always challenging us to discover them. A Night at the Opera cover is great. Full of secrets, and magic. Just like the songs of this beautiful album.

I must say, even thinking the AtEoT cover has excessive simmetry and poor details, I think it ilustrates well the album.
By the way, that should be it´s purpose, huh?

AtEoT brings a whole new and still magic BLIND GUARDIAN... but, who knows, there are missing some details... this cover is honest.
It follows the album´s songs, a new, updated, and why not say, a recycled, renewed band. It was Hansi or Andre, I think, I've read in some place, they saying: "We want to do things that our fans don't expect us to do. We like to surprise our fans." Please, keep it up.

8)

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 07 Dec 2011 19:35
by brazilian_bard
I must talk just a little bit more about this:

Have somebody here noticed the small details of the A Night at the Opera cover?

Man, it says a lot of things... I think there are indirect ilustrations saying things that would be happening inside the band... just look at the 3 men/creatures standing in the middle bottom of the cover...look at their faces... they're up to something... they are thinking and sharing... they will do something... and looks like they're not enjoying much the party. Call me crazy... but it looks like there was someone or something being just like that crazy conductor in the band, making them feel and play unconfortable.

After this, Thomas leaves the band.

Think whatever you want.

8)

Image

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 17:55
by oganalp
As a professional musician who worked with artists and labels, I have to say that it depends on the money. Traditional artists usually ask for more than digital artists unless you dig for new, unknown yet talented people. The work of a famous artist usually costs around the same amount of several mastering process' price + the royalties (yep, most ask for royalties). The labels have contract artists who design all the artworks for the company and that is the reason of seeing generic artworks coming from a record label, especially when it is about similar bands - if the band decides to leave it to the company. If they don't, usually the label says that they can compensate the amount that they would give to their contract artist and rest is up to the band.

A big band like BG picks its own artist. Even we did that for our band in Neverland / Dreamtone. It is of preference in the same way of changing your musical approach. So the idea of a BG cover differs from the idea of digital artwork prices. In this case, I simply believe they wanted to do it this way.

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 06 Jan 2012 23:03
by GreenAjah
Aww man, I can't complain. You see, I've suffered through twelve Wheel of Time book covers, so they could do clip art from 1986 and I'd still happily buy the album. Here's a taste of what I'm referring to:

Image

I've read thousands of pages of these books, and nowhere do I recall such a scene taking place. According to the artwork, this is the book in which the eligible-for-AARP Rand al'Thor blows a hole in the Haunted Mansion, much to the dismay of the lady straight out of a Ratt video, while tastefully and carefully draping his cloak over his stump. He's also a conquistador. What a book! Um, wait...

Re: Are Blind Guardian cd covers becoming a bit generic?

Posted: 07 Jan 2012 14:15
by Desert_Storm
GreenAjah wrote:Aww man, I can't complain. You see, I've suffered through twelve Wheel of Time book covers, so they could do clip art from 1986 and I'd still happily buy the album (...)
I've read thousands of pages of these books, and nowhere do I recall such a scene taking place. According to the artwork, this is the book in which the eligible-for-AARP Rand al'Thor blows a hole in the Haunted Mansion, much to the dismay of the lady straight out of a Ratt video, while tastefully and carefully draping his cloak over his stump. He's also a conquistador. What a book! Um, wait...
:mrgreen:
Indeed clip art would seem like an improvement... ;)