Cover Story: Scale The Summit - The Migration

Artist Duncan Storr discusses the creation of the “broccoli beast” for the US instrumental prog metallers


(Prosthetic, 2013)

A graduate of Newport College Of Art, Duncan Storr did his first album cover in 1986 for Chronicles by Hawkwind. Simnce then he’s worked with bands like Skyclad and Jade Warrior. He first collaborated with Scale The Summit on their 2013 album The Migration, and is now working on their new album cover.

How did you meet the band?

I had been listening to their 2011 album The Collective and really liked its cinematic quality. I quite often see images when listening to music, and so invited [guitarist] Chris Letchford to look at my website. Chris got back to me and really liked the Migration painting I had up there.

Where did the idea for the cover come from?

Well, I live in an area were the River Greta often floods and washes away the banks, exposing the tree roots and moulding the land. On one occasion whilst out with my sketch pad, I came across some hawthorn trees where the bank had fallen away, and the trees looked like they were climbing out of the ground, determined to find a better position to settle.

Had you heard any of the album before doing the artwork?

No. I normally like to listen to the music while working on an album cover but in this instance it wasn’t possible. During the time the band were in the studio I kept them informed visually as to how the idea was developing, in regard to the other paintings in the series, and they used the second painting from the series for the back cover and booklet.

What was the concept behind the artwork?

Well, the idea, (which turned into a series of paintings and drawings), was that the trees being one of the longest living life forms on the earth, at some point in the future, out of necessity, evolve the ability to move when times are getting desperate, and head off toward their Utopia; a little like the way plant life reaches for the light). On my website you can see the last in the series called Pollination Dance, where the trees are climbing all over each other in a show of excited exuberance, shaking out the pollen now that they have reach a lush growing environment

What was the reaction from the band and the fans to the cover?

It really seemed to go down well, with lots of positive feedback. There were some interesting comments made, I love the broccoli beast comment, one from the great allotment I think, they must have known I love growing my own veg. Purple sprouting being in at the moment.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021