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Behind The Artworks: Klamm - Misanthropocene (2021)


Wolfgang: We contacted Daniel as a regional artist because we were familiar with his previous work (and obviously liked it). During our first discussions concerning the artwork we also got to know that he is a big fan of Zdzisław Beksiński, whose art many metal musicians adore, due to the visceral emotiveness and grim mood. Our newest album follows a dystopic theme and we were fascinated by a Beksiński painting (which Simon spotted), which captured the symbolic essence of the current power dysbalances of society that I perceived as an overarching album theme. After handing Daniel the lyrics and a few annotations for inspiration, he was given more or less complete freedom to put together the artwork for the new album.

Daniel: I usually do not like to describe the exact intention behind my artwork or explain specific details. That just pushes the viewer to think or see from a very limited perspective and does not leave enough room for their own interpretations, which is something I would rather encourage.

In most cases, my starting point is a very vague general idea or concept, the details of the final picture evolve throughout the process of painting.

When I heard that the cover art should be inspired by the mood and artistry of Beksiński, I was already hooked. For years, his paintings influenced my own work, not necessarily in terms of style, but definitely in ambience and dramatics. Therefore, during the first discussion about this collaboration, I knew immediately that I wanted to do this artwork!

Painting something based on the imagery of Beksiński and infusing my own style into the concept was definitely challenging, but also very exciting and gratifying!
Dystopian visions, mortality and recurrence, the cycle of life and death, ever present topics of human life are on my mind regularly, just as they can be found in Klamm's lyrics. Therefore, I also directly felt a very natural connection and like-mindedness, which makes this sort of work much easier and more enjoyable.

The cover shows an inexorable, man-made, crushing cycle, which we all are caught up in and have basically lost control over (even though many of us don't realize this). The faint glimmer of hope is still there, but only few are able to still perceive it...

You can see dull and gaunt man-like beings, completely detached from any sense of purpose or vision, unconsciously dragging themselves into a monstrous voracious maw. Directed by an augur, the masses stumble into this dehumanized, transhumanized, colossal creature which is depleting and assimilating all life still left in them.

Within the inlay, between burial mounds and in the midst of this vast and desolate wasteland, you can see a portal – an escape from this dying world.

What this portal could portray, where it leads to, should be left to the viewer's imagination.

Interspersed throughout the scenery, you will find some butterflies. In vanitas paintings, the spirit of which is strongly present in my works, they symbolize the immortality of the human soul. They are almost a trademark element in many of my pictures and fit extremely well into this scenario.

For me, the lyrics and this album's music was a strong inspiration and impetus for my work (the guys from Klamm kindly sent over some material). This really helped me to channel the spirit and vibes of this album and amplified the feelings that I tried to project.

In my view, Klamm really managed to put together a great album and I am truly happy to be able to create the visuals for the album.

When I recently listened to the first released track of the album (Death Worship) and looked at the artwork at the same time, it really hit home. It felt like an organic unity of artwork, music and lyrical subject matter. From my point of view, this turned out to be a perfect collaboration – right up my alley!

Wolfgang: All five of us definitely feel the same way. We truly connected and clicked already in the first discussion session and this only intesified after exchanging some more ideas and notes. We are incredibly happy with the way the artwork turned out: the black/white version was fantastic and I think the ominous red-and-sand-hue colorization and the eye-catching blood red carpet swathes, sardonically rolled out for this tattered and doomed procession, even intensifies the dire atmosphere.

It was just amazing how much nuance and details of our vision was captured just based on very few guidelines.

Instead of a mere commissioned work, we feel that this turned out to be a prolific cooperative effort in which the music intensifies the visual experience and vice versa. We truly hope that fans of our music, message and Daniel's terrific illustrations will enjoy the album as a comprehensive package and we are convinced that we will work with Daniel again for our next release. Please check out and support his work at https://bechtholdart.weebly.com.

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