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Behind The Artworks: SCIMITAR - Shadows Of Man (2019)

Both the Shadows of Man album art and the piece for the single, Knights Collapse were created by the venerated Warhammer fan-artist, Hammk ( Clayton (drums) and Angus (vocals/bass) are huge fans of the Warhammer fantasy and sci-fi universerses, and Angus discovered Hammk on a typical online browse-binge of 40k artwork. After weeks of back and forth through Google Translate, Hammk agreed to take Scimitar on as his first band-commision for the Knights Collapse art. The band was so awestruck by his work that they immediately commissioned Hammk to create the album art for Shadows of Man.

As Knights Collapse is a historical-perspective narrative on the Battle of Agincourt, the art is Hammk’s depiction of the mud and arrow-littered demise of a vanguard of armoured and heraldry emblazoned French knights. The twin title tracks of Shadows of Man (I: Imperium, II: Cataclysm) however, are a fantasy-fiction; thus the subject matter for the art was conjured from both Hammk’s and Angus’s (Scimitar’s lyricist) imagination.

In the twilit foreground of the ‘Shadows’ art a lone warrior in outlandish armour and masked helm glances over his shoulder at the looming ruins of an ancient city. The warrior carries a large, two-handed scimitar leaned against his shoulder; a posture that exudes a feeling of fear, weariness, and the expectation of imminent attack. They are surrounded by the horizons of an unforgiving sea, the meagre foliage of a recovering jungle, and the giant, gnarled stone heads of an empire long forgotten. Behind the warrior, hunger-wasted shadows of man pursue through the creeping brush.

This snapshot is a glimpse of the larger story that the title tracks are paired to convey; the cyclical rise and fall of a fictional empire from a pastoral to imperial state and back again, on an isolated and ocean-locked archipelago. Weathered stone monuments litter these islands, warning the forgotten fate of past empires. This narrative was largely inspired by the fall of Easter Island; especially as depicted in the film Rapa Nui (2004). It was also inspired by the 1833-1836 series of paintings The Course of Empire by Thomas Cole, as well as Shelley’s classic 1818 poem Ozymandias.

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