Being a blog dedicated to the use of gargoyles, grotesques, statues and carvings in album art, especially that of Doom Metal (and related genres). It may also include similar archaic images such as standing stones, monoliths, or mediaeval illustrations.

To my mind Doom Metal (when done correctly) evokes a feeling a great age, spirituality and contemplation, and this is enhanced by the imagery. I have a love of churches and other old buildings, and the two things go hand in hand for me; the images of gargoyles, statues and crosses used by Doom and Doom/Death bands, especially in the early 90s, seemed to perfectly fit the music. Also, the band names like Cathedral, Church Of Misery, Chapel Of Rest, and Castle; all these added to my imagined link between the music and churches and other old buildings.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Grave -- "Soulless"

Swedish Death Metallers Grave give us this excellent cover, interestingly using two images we have seen used before, on the Dark Passages compilation.

Cover image: Green man from the Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral, England.

Back image (main): from the façade of Orvieto Cathedral, Italy, sculpted by Lorenzo Maitani.

Thursday, 26 January 2012


Ah Deicide, the band that lured me into the realms of demonic darkness all those years ago... An iconic image, whatever your feelings on the band itself. I'll research the image more fully in time, but I have a vague recollection of reading that it was a pendant or belt-buckle owned by Glen Benton.


Two great examples from Peruvian Death Metallers Mortem. These highlight a side of gargoyle imagery that I hadn't fully considered -- that of portraying a fierce or bestial quality, as opposed to the sad/sombre feeling of the more Doom/Gothic orientated releases.

Be'lakor -- Stone's Reach

A lovely image of "Perseus Holding The Head Of Medusa" by Benvenuto Cellini, which stands in Florence Italy. Strangely, despite the album title, the statue is actually made of bronze not stone.

Ecstatic Fear -- Somnium Obmutum

This was recommended to me on the Metal Archives forum. I like the ruinous condition of the statue, plus the green leaves in the background give it a colourful element that goes against the usual monochrome trend.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Unholy -- From The Shadows

Finnish Doom/Death kings Unholy next, with their debut 1993 album "From The Shadows". The cover is of an Oriental-looking statue of a man, apparently holding what could be a fish? Answers on a postcard please...


Found it! It's the Las Limas Monumet 1 from the Olmec civilization of Mexico, dating from between 1000 to 600 BC. The thing in its arms is in fact a half-human, half-jaguar baby, or were-jaguar. Obvious, really...

Count Raven -- High On Infinity

Another Doom classic, this is Swedish band Count Raven's "High On Infinity" album. Quite a fierce-looking carving, presumably of Satan/Lucifer/random Devil. Origin as yet unknown.

The same image was used by US Black Metal act Lurker Of Chalice on their self-titled album.

Chapel Of Rest -- Memorium Grief

A classic example of the sort of thing this blog is celebrating; early 90s Doom/Death, church-y band name, black and white photograph of sombre-looking statue, Old English calligraphy, flowing script. It doesn't get much better than this.

Origin of image unknown.

Thanks to Matt Witchclan for the scan.


Two releases from UK Industrial Doom/Death outfit Hybernoid.

The "Well of Grief" demo features a great statue of a lady (angel?) who's obviously having a very bad day. From a graveyard somewhere in North Manchester, UK.

The cover of "The Last Day Begins?" features 4 different images, carved by the band's guitarist Dave Evans. The top left image is inspired by a Celtic statue from Boa Island, Upper Lough Erne, Ireland, and the bottom right image is (presumably) inspired by the stone heads of Easter Island.

Thanks to the band member who commented below.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Misanthrope -- Miracles: Totem Taboo

This startlingly cheeky contribution comes from French avantgarde Metallers Misanthrope on their 1994 album "Miracles: Totem Taboo". Needless to say, I NEVER spent hours staring at this cover as a teenager. Not once.

The image originates from the Visvanatha temple at Khajuraho in India, which is covered in erotic carvings such as this.

Hate Forest -- Battlefields

Another non-Doom act here, Ukrainian Black Metallers Hate Forest, though this awesome album was slower-paced and doomier than their other albums. And I love the cover so much, I couldn't not include it here.

The image is the gravestone of the Cossack military leader Ivan Sirko (c. 1610-1680), located in the village of Kapulivka in the Dnipropetrovsk Region of the Ukraine.

I have a T shirt of the first image, though it has been pointed out to me on a couple of occasions that it looks from a distance like a rolled-up condom...

Current 93 -- Dogs Blood Rising

Another non-Doom offering. Post-Industrial Neo-Folk outfit Current 93 gave us this striking image of a grotesque from Notre Dame in Paris. That's in France, you know.

Funerary Call -- A Comselh De Ors

Not a Doom band, Funerary Call are a Dark/Ritual ambient act from Canada. This image of a weeping stone angel is the same as the one from the inside of Revelation's "Salvation Answer" cassette inlay (which I posted in an earlier post), and is also used on the inside of the inlay for Godflesh's "Pure" CD:

Still no info as to the origin.

Godsend -- demo 1992

An interesting image of a carving (not quite sure what it's of), used by Norwegian Doom band Godsend on their 1992 demo (sometimes referred to as the "Starfall" demo).

At a casual glance I thought the image was maybe of a pair of knights, or possibly Viking warrors given the Norwegian origin. The way the edge of the picture crops the head of the figure on the left gives a false impression of a conical helmet. On closer inspection however, it could be Adam and Eve with The Tree between them (a common image), though the item in the hands looks more like a flower than an apple.

Can anyone shed any light?

UPDATE Oct 2016:

I have been in touch with the guy behind Godsend, and he told me that the picture was taken in a cemetery in his hometown of Trondheim, Norway, though he cannot remember exactly what kind of stone structure it was.


A couple of fine examples from UK doom eccentrics Sevenchurch.

The first is a particularly distraught-looking grotesque from the inside of the "Nefarious" demo, and the second  is a band sticker that features a superb grotesque of a piper (the picture was also used on a T-shirt). Both are from Sevenchurch's home town of Oxford, England (the first from the bell-tower of New College, the second from Magdalen College). Here are clearer images of the full carvings:

Cathedral -- gargoyle logo

One of the most recognised "gargoyles" in Doom (though it's not strictly speaking a true gargoyle) is Cathedral's "gargoyle logo", and it is one that I hold a great deal of affection for (Cathedral's debut album "Forest Of Equilibrium" was my initiation into the world of Doom Metal, and is still one of my top 3 albums of all time).

The band took the image from an illustration in "The Book Of Jade", a collection of decadent poetry by David Park Barnitz which also directly inspired much of the band's lyrical imagery.

Sunday, 15 January 2012


Another great release on Rise Above, the first album from US Doom-lords Revelation. The three formats of the original release feature different images beside the cover, which are listed below.

Cover image, all formats: detail from the East Frieze of the Pergamon Altar, depicting Athena battling the giant Alkyoneus.

CD back inlay: skull carving, source unknown

LP back cover: Gothic tracery, possibly the inside of a spire, source unknown

LP insert: flying buttresses, Reims Cathedral, France

Cassette inlay - tracklist panel: Maze from Reims Cathedral, France

Cassette inlay - inside: Stone angel, source unknown. This image was also used by dark ambient group Funerary Call on their 1994 demo "A Comselh De Ors", and also features inside the inlay for Godflesh's "Pure" CD. I would love to know the source of the image.

And here's another album cover from the same band; a carving of Adam and Eve from the cathedral at Orvieto in Italy.

Dark Passages compilation

A landmark in Doom Metal history, the first Doom Metal release on Lee Dorrian's Rise Above label (RISE 5 -- the previous 4 releases had been more grindcore/punk related).

The various formats all feature differing images besides the cover. I am currently trying to locate a CD copy to compare.

Cover image, all formats: from the façade of Orvieto Cathedral, Italy, sculpted by Lorenzo Maitani.

LP back cover: Cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral, England.

LP insert: bearded male carving/statue, source unknown.

Cassette inlay inside: Green Man from the Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral, England.

Interestingly, both the cover image and the Green Man image were also later used on Grave's "Soulless" album

The roots of my obsession...

I can trace my fascination with gargoyles and carvings back to before I discovered a love of music. As I child, I had a fair collection of Ladybird books, among which was this one:

I loved this book (and it's companion book called, naturally enough, "What To Look For Inside A Church"), and was entranced by the feeling of tranquillity and age that the pictures seemed to convey. Alongside the crosses, sundials and gravestones, I was particularly taken with this little fellow:

A few years later I read the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis, and one illustration from "The Magician's Nephew" caught my imagination and instilled a similar feeling as before; a griffin-shaped fountain from the ruins of the ancient city of Charn:

Years later whilst wandering the phantasmogorical paths of early 90s Doom Metal, I found that the music and related imagery gave me the exact same feeling.