Monthly Archives: August 2016

Black metal band’s album cover stirs controversy

While music is always about personal expression, there’s a level of humanity that can still be found in the darkest of music genres.

The album cover for post-black-metal band Numenorean is of a young dead girl who appears to have been brutally murdered.

That’s shocking enough, but the album has also received positive reviews from at least two music sites, one of which is not exclusively about metal (that site failed to post an image of the album cover, which makes perfect sense now.) Another site I found does call attention to how the image overpowers the music — good for them. I’m not going to post the image here, or links to Numenorean’s album, because I just don’t think I should. I’m including the band name because without that, this post would be completely irrelevant.

Every music site out there has its guidelines and rules for what they will or won’t cover, and that’s perfectly within their right. I don’t know if any soul-searching had to be done at those sites when it came to this album, but it certainly got me thinking.

If you read the band’s description of the album (which you can easily google), they explain how the only way people can experience a child’s innocence again is through death, and how listeners will eventually come to realize that as they keep looking at the picture of the dead girl.

I’ve heard the EP and thought the music was intriguing, but couldn’t get past the cover. The image of the girl, with what looks like a faint smile on her face, to me speaks 100 times louder than the music. It’s horrific and it’s terrifying. All I wanted to know was: Who is she? How and when did she die? How was this band allowed to use this picture? Where is the girl’s family and what do they think?

I had more questions about the picture than about the music: Was the entire band in agreement that this was OK? Did they consider how this might personally affect listeners? It was no longer about the music; it was disturbing to the core. This one crosses the line.

A few screenshots of comments about the album show a brief cross-section of what is giving some pause.

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(So far I’ve only been able to turn up this with regards to who the child might be.)

Another music site contained positive and negative feedback:

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Some apparently thought the image was Photoshopped:

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More conversation, with a mention that if the band had the copyright to the image then it’s fair game:

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Again, every music site has its own goals and guidelines as to what’s OK to publish, and that’s what the internet is all about — freedom to say and post what we feel. As a journalist I try to be as unbiased as possible. Maybe I’m taking things too seriously, maybe I’m soft, maybe I’m making a big thing out of nothing. But I think it’s important to note how much music and imagery can happily coexist and to remember those rare times that combination can send the wrong message.


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Filed under Album covers, Commentary, Metal, Uncategorized