The Damned Album Covers: An Edgy Look at the Evolution of Punk Art
From their seminal debut album “Damned Damned Damned” to their latest release “The Rockfield Files”, The Damned have been a force to be reckoned with in the punk rock scene. But it’s not just their music that has captivated audiences for over four decades – their album covers have also become an essential part of punk’s aesthetic.
Let’s take a journey through The Damned’s discography and explore the evolution of their album art.
“Damned Damned Damned” (1977)
The cover of The Damned’s first album is a perfect representation of the raw and unpolished sound that defined punk rock in the late 70s. The black and white photograph of the band members, taken by Keith Morris, is grainy and blurry, with the band’s name scrawled in messy handwriting at the top. It’s a no-frills approach that perfectly encapsulates the DIY ethos of punk.
“Music for Pleasure” (1977)
The cover of The Damned’s second album is in stark contrast to their debut. Featuring a photo of the band in full glam rock regalia – complete with makeup, glitter, and platform shoes – it’s a deliberate departure from their punk roots. The album itself was a commercial flop and is now considered a misstep in their discography, but the cover remains a fascinating artifact of their experimentation.
“Machine Gun Etiquette” (1979)
Widely regarded as The Damned’s best album, “Machine Gun Etiquette” is also home to some of their most iconic album art. The front cover features a photograph of a military grave, with an image of the band in gas masks and army helmets superimposed over it. It’s a striking image that speaks to the anti-authoritarian themes of punk, and one that has become synonymous with the band.
“The Black Album” (1980)
The Damned’s most ambitious release to date, “The Black Album” is a sprawling double LP that combines punk, goth, and even prog rock influences. The cover features a striking black and white photograph of the band members, arranged in a pyramid formation and staring directly into the camera. It’s a haunting and mysterious image that perfectly complements the album’s dark and experimental sound.
By the mid-80s, The Damned had fully embraced their goth influences, both musically and visually. The cover of “Phantasmagoria” features a stunning illustration by renowned artist Dave McKean, depicting a scene straight out of a gothic horror story. The band members are depicted as ghostly figures, surrounded by a swirling vortex of bats, rats, and other creatures of the night. It’s a dramatic and atmospheric cover that perfectly captures the album’s moody, theatrical sound.
“Grave Disorder” (2001)
After a long hiatus, The Damned returned in the early 2000s with “Grave Disorder”, an album that saw them embrace their punk roots once again. The cover features a striking illustration by artist Robyn Neild, depicting a group of punk rockers in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It’s a vivid and imaginative image that perfectly captures the rebellious spirit of punk.
“The Rockfield Files” (2020)
The Damned’s latest release is a collection of new and re-recorded songs, recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios. The cover features a photograph of the band members in front of the studio’s iconic sign, with a spray-painted stencil of their logo over it. It’s a simple and straightforward image that speaks to the band’s longevity and enduring influence in the punk rock world.
In conclusion, The Damned’s album covers are as essential to their legacy as their music. From the raw and gritty punk aesthetics of their early years to the dramatic and moody goth imagery of their later releases, their album art has always been an integral part of their identity. Whether you’re a diehard fan or a casual listener, there’s no denying the impact and originality of The Damned’s album covers.
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