Jeff Jordan is a surrealist painter and one of my personal favourites, whose art work also happens to appear on some of my favourite albums too. He is mostly known for the art work featured on albums from The Mars Volta, especially for his work on ‘Amputechture’, which opened up a new part of his career as an album cover artist primarily for progressive bands. For this blog I am going to list some of my favourite albums featuring Jeff Jordan’s unique art works.
The Mars Volta – ‘Amputechture’
Jeff Jordan’s ‘Big Mutant’ adorns the third record from progressive metallers The Mars Volta. The record is a brilliant juxtaposition between hectic instrumentation and relaxed textures, with most songs coming in at over seven minutes in length. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s leads are thick and dripping with distortion, whilst Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s vocals squeal at high pitches. The record features many flamenco elements including increased use of horns, Spanish lyrics, a wide variety of percussion and acoustic guitar sections.
My favourite Mars Volta song, ‘Day of The Baphomets’, is the longest track on the album (which comes in at twelve minutes) featuring a bongo solo, crazy guitar and horn solos and the catchy refrain of ‘poachers in your home’ which (whether a good or a bad thing) will be circulating your mind for several days to come.
Leprous – ‘Bilateral’
‘Bilateral’ is the third full length effort from Norwegian progressive band Leprous. Frontman Einar Solberg is incredibly vocally diverse with a large range, and the ability to switch seamlessly between a screamed and a clean Jonathan Davis reminding vocal attack. The album is very keyboard and synth heavy, posing as a modern, heavy take on bands such as King Crimson and early Genesis. It’s also not too hard to see the percussive elements of their sound being inspired by progressive masters Tool, shown best with ‘Restless’; a brilliant cut which condenses their varied styles into a very accessible track.
Protest The Hero – ‘Volition’
As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Protest The Hero’s fan funded, fourth studio album ‘Volition’ is yet another brilliant piece of progressive metal from the Canadian five-piece. Protest the Hero are known for their fast calculated sound, with guitars, bass and drums driving forward with perfectly executed complex rhythms. The album ‘Volition’ takes the band back to more of the pop, louder-than-life choruses featured on their first album ‘Kezia’, whilst still keeping the technical proficiency from both ‘Fortress’ and ‘Scurrilous’.
The Mars Volta – ‘Octahedron’
‘Octahedron’ is described by The Mars Volta as their acoustic album and whilst the songs are certainly less crazy, they are hardly fit for a campfire sing-a-long. Although opener ‘Since We’ve Been Wrong’ awkwardly reminds of ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ (more from rhyming similarity than actual musical plagiarism), the album follows a vastly different musical direction and is very successful at it. ‘Teflon’ has a distinct groove and succeeds in being reigned back and concise. Although ‘Cotopaxi’ could so easily be featured on the previous album ‘The Bedlam in Goliath’ (which features the artwork ‘Agadez’ from Jeff Jordan) for its high octane approach, it’s welcome on ‘Octahedron’ for the good contrast in provides against the ambient pair of ‘With Twilight as my Guide’ and ‘Copernicus’.
T.R.A.M. – ‘Lingua Franca’
T.R.A.M. are a jazz fusion/rock super group consisting of guitar virtuosos Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes from Animals as Leaders, Suicidal Tendencies’ drummer ‘Eric Moore’ and wind player Adrian Terrazas-Gonzalez. The album is a revision of and a tribute to the elements of jazz that have inspired the progressive metal sound of Abasi’s main project. Elements of Abasi’s unique guitar technique come across on the album, especially the sweeps and tapping, although they aren’t quite as prominent as with Animals as Leaders, allowing his fellow musicians to rotate through the spot light.
Please check out Jeff Jordan’s art at http://www.jeffjordanart.com
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Amputchture, Octahedron, Lingua Franca art work from http://www.jeffjordanart.com
Leprous art work from http://www.leprous.net
Protest the Hero art work from http://www.nuskull.hu