By Pär Olofsson
When Charles [Elliott; vocals/guitar] contacted me the only lyrics that was written was Leveling the Plane of Existence. It makes reference to us crawling out from the primordial ooze and is basically about wiping us from the planet so that everything starts from zero again. It had great potential as a cover piece since the concept included fossils and things crawling out from ooze. So I made a quick sketch of a fossilized human hand with never before seen bugs crawling around it, a lake of ooze and some city ruins in the background.
Charles kind of liked it but wanted more focus on the new evolution, if I remember correctly. We talked a lot about how these new life forms should look like. There should be a sense of primal beings but with elements in there that you wouldn’t recognize such as lights. Drew a pencil sketch with a pile of bugs climbing on each other to rise from the ooze, like a birth scene. The event takes place in a pit surrounded by fossilized human remains.
Got a positive response from the band on this one so I scanned it and started giving it some color.
Still feels gray and boring but this is often the case in the early stages of the process. At this point I think everybody including myself was pretty happy with the progress. Charles suggested having a couple of bigger bugs walking along the edge of the pit. The image needed some background elements to create more depth.
At this point, after working with the piece for many hours I started to question the composition. It looked crammed and the message “our world is gone, a new one is coming” was a bit fuzzy. But mainly I felt the image looked a bit flat. Also if we were to add the trademarked eclipsed sun and a logo the whole thing would be a complete mess.
So we made some radical changes and removed the background (it always feels like a punch in the gut to throw away so many hours of work). Someone (from the band) had the great idea of bringing back the ‘thing’ in the sky that ate the world in the previous album. Also added some structures in the foreground for more depth.
Work was easy after that. Everything fell into place with the new composition. The ruins in the background gave more sense of a post apocalyptic world than the skulls in the previous version ever did.
Pär Olofsson is an artist based in Sweden. His work can be seen on albums by Annotations of an Autopsy, Pathology, Immortal, Immolation, Malevolent Creation, Natrium, The Faceless, Exodus, Miseration, Brain Drill, and more!
Visit Pär Olofsson’s website, www.parolofsson.se, to see more awesome, if slightly grotesque, art.
Abysmal Dawn’s Leveling The Plane Of Existence is out February 1, 2011 on Relapse Records. Order it here.