Aliases Preview Artwork for New Album ‘Derangeable’
The UK prog/tech metal band has roped in Delhi-based graphic artist Visual Amnesia aka Reuben Bhattacharya for their second full-length record
As we’ve noted before, metal bands have always hadÂ a keen eye and priority for artwork as visual accompaniment for their music. Among the top graphic artists in India is Delhi-based Reuben Bhattacharya aka Visual Amnesia, who has illustrated artwork for bands ranging from Mumbai metallers such as Zygnema and Bhayanak Maut to Dutch prog metal bandÂ Textures. But his latest commission for UK progressive technical metalÂ actÂ Aliases’ new album Derangeable is like unlike any project he has done before–Bhattacharya calls it his “piÃ¨ce de rÃ©sistance”.
For Derangeable, which releases on April 15th via Basick Records, Bhattacharya has created 12 different artworks including the album cover. He says, “Both Aliases and I wanted to bring back that feeling we would get back in the day, sitting with our favorite albums and going through art and lyrics while listening to the music, drawing up a picture in the mind.” Early last year, the band’s guitarist Leah Woodward contacted Bhattacharya to get started on the artwork. The artist, who also plays bass for Delhi groove/tech metal band Undying Inc., says he spent a year drawing up all the creepy-crawlies, disturbed protagonists and visual metaphors for Derangeable. Says Woodward, “The guy is fantastic, and every moment of the process with him has been incredible. He has managed to take an already difficult concept that we thought up and do the music more justice than we could have ever imagined.”
Bhattacharya describes the artwork as psychoanalysis of the “very deep and disturbing layers of the human condition.” The artist dove back into literature ranging from sci-fi author Isaac Asimov’s The Robots of Dawn to poet Edgar Allen Poe’s seminal work “The Raven”. He says the process tapped “that mad vein and brought out a sort of lunatic calm.” He adds, “The aim was to create a visual prose, akin to what the written word of these books did. That it must burrow into the hidden corners within and turn you a little insane.” Known for his intricate drawings, including having one T-shirt design voted to be American metallers Slipknot’s official tour merchandize, each song’s artwork reflects the themes of the human condition.
The visual narrative of Derangeable’s artwork is held together by a narrator, a girl who has survived the Nagasaki atom bombing of 1945. Bhattacharya says, “She narrates a constant reminder on how naÃ¯ve humans are as a species.” For the track “Back To The Start,” which is about the human inability to master time, the girl is drawn as a puppet tied to the ticking hands on the dial of the Big Ben tower’s clock, while the artwork for “Uncontrollable Desires” Bhattacharya reflects on technology and friendships in the digital age. He describes the track’s artwork saying, “She’s seen sitting alone on a Ferris wheel on a moonlit night watching a bunch of lunatics have a debauched night on the streets, watching a bloke take pictures of friends who are passed out and vomiting.”
There’s a call-to-action against environmental degradation with art for “Callous,” something that Bhattacharya calls “probably the most disturbing visual of the lot.” He assuredly says it might just cause trypophobia [the fear of small holes]. He explains, “Her childlike hands hold a dead cockroach, one that has survived millennia and yet she was unable to protect it. That guilt eats away at her like worms making holes in her skin.”
While Derangeable is still a few weeks away from release, Aliases have released the first lyric video from the album, for the track “Smile All You Like.” The video features Visual Amnesia’s artwork animated to life, with a few more sneak peeks at additional artwork from the album.
Watch the video for “Smile All You Like”