Behind The Artworks: Final Coil - The World We Inherited (2023)

For the final part of a trilogy that started with Persistence of Memory, we had to go back to Andy Pilkington (Very Metal Art), who had done such a good job on the previous two records. While Persistence stands alone in terms of its cover, the closer thematic links between The World We Left Behind For Others and The World We Inherited meant that the artwork also needed to be linked and Andy, once again, came through magnificently.

The concept is simple: The World We Left Behind…. looked at the past to consider how we got to where we are. Although it has a lot of dark themes, including alcoholism, PTSD, and the rise of nationalism, the overarching narrative has a sort of hazy, even nostalgic feel – not least because nostalgia plays a powerful part in how nationalism and populism thrives – and the cover reflects that. I always saw it as someone looking back on their youth and reminiscing, hence the colours and the beauty of the landscape.

In contrast, the cover of The World We Inherited sees the world as it has become – the grimy horizon now dotted with factories and the detritus of neoliberalism. Although conceived before the revelations regarding water companies dumping raw filth into our rivers, the idea was very much there. We have ravaged this planet in search of products and profits, and what’s left is blackened by fumes and tarnished by cheap materials and poor building standards. To look at it from a UK perspective for a moment, we live in what is frequently touted as the 5 th largest economy in the world – which sounds amazing – until you realize that the wealth is hoarded, and almost all of our infrastructure is maintained at a level that barely keeps it functional – which is to say nothing of the social services that have been persistently hollowed out over the years. Is it any surprise that conspiracy theories flourish in such an environment? Maybe it’s easier to blame some fictional “other” (in most cases migrants), for the increasing precariousness of the world in which we live; but if people were to truly look at the distribution of wealth, they’d see where the problems truly lie.

At any event, there is nothing comforting about the imagery that accompanies this new album – no nostalgia to soften the blow. The tree is stripped bare, the bench lies empty amidst a sea of filth, and, on the horizon, factories belch out smoke into a sky that burns yellow in a haze of sulphur. It is a stark image, perhaps – not unlike the apocalyptic artwork of Obituary’s World Demise – and it captures some of the panic that underpins modern society.

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