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The Truth Behind Metal Iconography Exposed!

During my usual late night quest to find sweet unheard of bands around the world, I recently stumbled onto the artwork of Dennis Dread. Dennis is a Portland, Oregon based ball point pen artist, album cover designer, and DIY fanzine maker (those things written, cut & pasted, copied, collated, and mailed by hand). A couple days ago, Dennis had posted an unusual blog to his site that had nothing to do with his own art, but serves as one of the most comprehensive reads concerning the truth behind some of metal's most memorable Iconography. Some of the stories are already well known, like the Danzig Horned Skull which was taken from a CRYSTAR the Crystal Warrior comic book, but Dennis touches upon many new cover ups I've certainly never heard of before.

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One of the most fascinating stories in my opinion concerns the lies and cover up behind the debut Bathory release in 1984. The album cover which depicts a goat head against a black background is probably one of the most memorable album covers in metal history, it was also believed to be "a monster face made up from several bits cut out from various horror comics" which was a direct quote from Bathory's main man, Quorthon. As of 2008 (4 years after Quorthon's death) we now know this image was in fact stolen from an American illustrator named Joseph Smith who teaches at Pratt Institute here in NY to this day. Perhaps 1984 Quorthon never expected the internet to catch up with his lie? Maybe he was genuinely crazy and thought the public would continue to believe he had something to do with the design since he literally did everything else on the record? I guess the world will never know.

You can read the full blog post here where Dennis also discusses album art from Slayer, Emperor, Slayer S.A., Manilla Road, Amebix, and Engorged.

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