I know, I know. There have been many fakes before. But hear me out.
This artwork recently surfaced as a purported artwork for the famed elusive tech death act Necrophagist. Naturally, I did some digging in order to research the veracity of this information, and believe it or not, there’s some evidence backing up the claim.
For those who have been living under a cave since 2004, Necrophagist are one of the pioneers of the modern tech death sound, and everyone has been waiting for their upcoming album since forever. In fact, it’s become kind of a joke. So it’s understandable that a supposed leak of anything related to a new Necrophagist record is received with little more than bitter cynicism. However, let me explain to you why this artwork could actually be legitimate.
This artwork has been circulating in some online circles over the past few days. I did some digging, and discovered that this is a piece by Italian painter Paulo Girardi. He’s known for doing extreme metal album artwork, including this year’s Artificial Brain and the latest Inquisition, among many others. This piece was posted on his Facebook page in November 2012, noting, “Band is still top secret! I’ll write it as I’ll have this permission.”
Here’s the original piece:
I’ve looked at every album art he has been credited for since 2012, and I’ve done a reverse image search on the artwork, and it definitely hasn’t been used yet. If someone faked this, they would have to go through dozens of paintings made by this artist, find one that has been unused, and then use it for this purpose. This is rather unlikely; if it’s a ruse it’s an extremely well-thought one, and kudos to the person if it is. I’ve contacted the artist for further comments, and will update this if hear back from him.
Now, I know it’s a running joke that the album is never happening, but members of the band and their friends have said several times that the album is still happening. Drummer Romain Goulon said in September 2013:
“Necrophagist is definitely not dead !!! There will be a new album. I’m aware that people are crazy about it, but if you ask me for a date, I’m afraid I can’t help… I think we’re close to get all the required “ingredients” to go back to work.”
So that could indicate the album could actually be ready to be recorded at that time — that would give them enough time to finish it by now. Recording a tech death album is grueling work (it took me more than a year to record mine!) so this is understandable. The quote indicates that the album wasn’t being worked on actively until a year ago from now, so this could actually be the right time for it.
Fingers crossed? As fellow author Ahmed Hasan said when I discussed this news with him, “I think my issue stems from the fact that I’ve long given up on Necrophagist ever doing anything again, so feeling even remotely hopeful just feels fundamentally wrong.” I’m inclined to agree. We’ve waited too long, been burned by too many fake leaks, and have gotten frustrated too many times to actually consider if this album is actually happening.
Even it’s real, are Necrophagist still relevant? Can the album live up to 10 years of expectations? Is Half Life 3 confirmed? We shall see.
It might be fake, but what if it isn’t? The optimist in me is still stoked. Of course I’ll love it if it comes out.
UPDATE: I contacted the artist and he gave me a confusing denial, but of course he would say that, even if it was real. By the way, even if this particular art isn’t real, it doesn’t mean the new Necrophagist isn’t happening anyway. We’ll just have to hold tight and await more solid details.