Legendary Death Metal band Death are going to re-release their 7th and final album ‘The Sound of Perseverance’ on February 15 in North America, February 21 internationally. The album will be remastered and it will include previously unreleased demo material.
On top of that, original cover artist Travis Smith updated the album artwork for the re-release. Make the jump to read why Smith decided to update the artwork.
Reign In Art: “The Sound Of Perseverance” was one of the first covers you did, how do you think your art has matured since then?
Travis: Well, I think it has in many ways. Everything from the process itself to knowing what to leave out, to getting a more polished and focused final result, and everything related to those, really. It one of the things that actually led to the Death cover being redone.
Reign In Art: What did you think of “The Sound Of Perseverance” the first time you heard it and did that come across in the creation of the art?
Travis: The music on the album itself didn’t have so much of an effect on it as I didn’t hear it until the Main body of the art was complete, but I knew what Chuck was trying to say and achieve with the album, and I had the rest of the catalog to listen to as well. The first time I heard it, I liked it, of course, although it did catch me off guard a bit as the vocals were a bit higher than I was used to and I was sort of expecting it to sound a little more like “Symbolic”, I guess, with that being the previous one.
Reign In Art: Was it your choice to update “The Sound Of Perseverance” cover art or the record company’s?
Travis: It was mine. The short answer is that I didn’t feel it truly did the album justice today. Knowing things now we didn’t know then (such as this being the last true Death album, and the events surrounding that), and having the luxury of hindsight in addition to feeling, as we mentioned above, that my work has matured in different ways, I simply felt the album deserved better. I believe the label was even a bit apprehensive about the idea at first. I feel compelled to mention that as I’ve already heard accusations of it being a label-sanctioned cash grab (or worse), and things of that nature. In addition, in the 12 years since its completion, its flaws have stood out to me and with what I’ve learned along the way I began seeing ways it could be better. Not only that, but I actually hear people ask what it was even supposed to be on occasion, which, to me, defeats the purpose of a cover of this nature. In that way, I also saw it as sort of the “sore thumb” in a legacy of great Death cover artwork (“Symbolic” being one of my all-time favorites) and wanted to redeem that as well. The motivation was completely sincere and meant as a way to pay tribute to the album for this release. Later, when I heard about this reissue I began thinking about it again. I spoke to Eric Greif (President of Perseverance Holdings, Inc.) about it. There was a little time so I presented the idea that I would try it and if I truly felt that it was surpassed the original in every way, then I would present it to him and Chuck’s family (and later other members of the band that I still talked to), and if it had everyone’s blessings then it would it be considered a go. In a few ways, it’s even closer to Chuck’s original sketch (and notes) from the beginning, which on the original had a few details that were done a bit differently for various reasons at the time. It’s true that Chuck and I were both quite happy with the original at the time, but I’m absolutely confident that if this one was presented to him, he wouldn’t have given the original a second look.
Reign In Art: What was the medium you used in 1998 and what medium did you use for the reissue?
Travis: The same. Photography based and digitally constructed. The new ones has a bit more organic elements implements such as painted textures and things like that.
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