Behind The Artworks: GODS OF DECAY - Collective Psychosis (2021)

Before I developed the concept of illustrations for the debut album Collective psychosis by God's of Decay, I listened to the songs included in its composition for a long time and carefully read all the lyrics. We decided from the start that the album cover would be designed in red and black tones. But together with the main artwork concept I decided to offer a couple of additional versions of art - and as a result, they all became part of the album artwork. Although the main CD jacket still remained in red and black.

Contrasting shades of red and black emphasize the unrelenting tension and stress that reign in the inner world of the characters depicted in the songs. There are not rainbow halftones of happiness, there is not even a shadow of hope for the best. There is only hopelessness and pain. Dead gray plants grow through you. Prickly scarlet whips dig into your bones. But the roots of it all are inside your brain.

And only your thoughts become a platform for the battles of the light and the darkness of the true madness. But this happens not only to the modern young people - it has happened from time immemorial. An allusion to this is the image of old scrolls supporting a platform with candles.

Candles here are also not accidental - they are both an illustration of the end of a human life that’s burning out and a reference to the fire of purgatory. The flame of candles at the first glance appears to be small - but when there are many tiny flames, anything can melt under their heat - even the band’s name. So is madness, the symbol of which is also fire: one person suffering from this disease of mind does not pose much danger, but when there are many of them, it’s different. And this is also a reference to the album title. It is a collective psychosis in all manifestations.

You can also see the prickly stems against the background of the booklet with the lyrics. They are a logical continuation of the cover. These prickly vines are trying to break through the stone walls behind which the remnants of rationality are hidden. Will they succeed?…

This illustration was inspired by an etching by Francisco Goya “The sleep of reason produces monsters". The sleeping mind in this context is also a direct reference to insanity. The insane are often called blind, because of their inability to adequately assess the world around them - that's why the crowd of people in this illustration is blindfolded. They do not see where they are going, they do not know and do not want to know their own future. That’s why their world is a never-ending nightfall, the ruins of the past and the remnants of a once brilliant and sparkling world. And only the sarcastic skull above the sign grins slyly, overlooking everything happening below…

The wrought-iron fence in the foreground is a reference to the design of the Mikhailovsky Garden fence in St. Petersburg. This fence is part of the architectural ensemble of the church-monument of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood erected at the site of the assassination of the Russian Emperor Alexander II in 1881. The murder was committed by terrorists, and terrorism is yet another kind of madness.

The third illustration in shades of emerald and ochre, is probably the most positive of all three. But this is just an artist's point of view:) The design of the edges of the map evokes images of ruthless medieval times when a totally inhuman attitude towards humans was hidden behind the external beauty and romanticism. Similarly, insanity is ruthless - even though sometimes those who carry insanity inside appear to be ideal people from the outside,despite the fact that all of them have their own cold-blooded serpent of disease inside them. A person suffering from insanity is confused and lost in a maze of internal contradictions. They are already poisoned by the venom of their inner snakes, although not always are they aware of it. The skull in the foreground serves as a silent monument to all those caught in the net of suffering from the loss of reason - and an eternally flame of the candle is lit in the memory of those who lost this battle.

In my opinion, the creativity of Gods of Decay, especially in the state of the pandemic, is the most relevant. Because everything that is happening around us now is yet another collective psychosis. The one we've all been living in for a long time without even realizing it. And I hope that the art presented here could illustrate this to the fullest.

Vera Ermak

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