One of the leading creatives behind the artwork for Metallica album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct has admitted his team were “shocked” when they were told about its similarity to the cover of Crowbar’s 1998 record Odd Fellows Rest.
Both images feature four band members merged into one multi-faceted head, with the face on the left sticking its tongue out.
The comparison was flagged by fans almost as soon as the Hardwired sleeve art was revealed, prompting Crowbar leader Kirk Windstein to say: “I seriously doubt that any member of Metallica stole this idea from us. Any way you slice it, it’s a cool cover idea.”
Now Dimitri Scheblanov of the Herring & Herring agency tells Decibel: “t was pretty shocking that there was such a similar looking thing. But I had never heard of the band or the music. It was also interesting that it was another metal act. I still haven’t listened to it, unfortunately.
“We went out to Minneapolis to see Metallica play. When we were at the afterparty with the band, somebody brought up the Crowbar thing. Everyone was like, ‘Who the fuck is Crowbar?’
“That made it feel a little bit better, because we were kind of shocked. But because other people within the community didn’t really know about them either we felt it wasn’t such a huge deal.”
Scheblanov explains that another agency, Turner Duckworth, were involved with finalising the artwork, and that Metallica themselves chose one from a number of options they’d been given.
He also points out that his firm is relatively inexperienced in working on album art, and that few of them are fans of heavy music. “We come from such different worlds,” he says.
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“We work very much in the commercial art world – fashion photography is kind of our base, and celebrity and entertainment work. We don’t really do album packaging or heavy metal album packaging. The only reason we did this project was because of our friendship with the band.”
He adds of Crowbar: “I don’t know enough about the band or the genre. I think it’s a really, really crazy coincidence that happened.”
He continues: “It’s not something we had prepared ourselves for. We were preparing ourselves for comments, because Metallica fans are incredibly critical of the band and everything associated with them.
“We were prepared for people to like it or not like it – but we definitely didn’t expect somebody to pop up with a really similar-looking image.
“It’s really cool that people are attentive enough. I guess that probably comes from a community that’s very committed to the musical genre, which is pretty cool.”
Hardwired… To Self-Destruct was released last month. Metallica play a club show in Hollywood tonight (December 15) before their WorldWired global tour commences in earnest next year.
Metallica tour dates 2016-17 so far
Dec 15: Hollywood Fonda Theatre, CA
Dec 17: Oakland Fox Theater, CA
Jan 11: Seoul Gocheok Sky Dome, South Korea
Jan 18: Beijing Le Sports Centre, China
Jan 20: Hong Kong AsiaWorld-Expo, China
Jan 22: Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore
Feb 03: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 05: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 07: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 09: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Mar 01: Mexico City Foro Sol, Mexico
Mar 03: Mexico City Foro Sol, Mexico
Mar 25: Sao Paulo Interlagos Racetrack, Brazil
Mar 31-Apr 01: Buenos Aires Hippodrome San Isidro, Argentina
Apr 01-02: Santiago Parque O’Higgins, Chile
May 19-21: Rock On The Range festival, OH