What the...??



I’ve never heard of a band willingly changing their album cover post-release. I’ve heard of bands being forced to change their cover after large retailers reject the original for being too risqué (e.g., Appetite for Destruction), and, obviously, bands doing reissues/re-releases change their original cover art all the time. But I’ve never heard of a band just going, “Oh, hey, that’s not the cover art anymore.”

But that’s exactly what Dimmu Borgir are doing. In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the original cover art, which appears on all original pressings of Dimmu’s latest, Abrahadabra

…and here’s the new cover art, which will appear on all future pressings of the record:

So it’s the same basic idea, but the new version is somewhat more overtly (stereotypically?) “metal.” And the musical content is going to remain the same; it’s just the cover that’s changing.

So why is Dimmu doing this?

My cynical side says it’s a ploy to sell records. As the accompanying press release points out, “the original pressing is now… a collector’s item” — or, at least, it will be if enough people buy up copies. So the idea would be that people will now buy the original “while they still can,” like when Disney releases something on DVD “for a limited time only” or whatever. Plus, Dimmu’s North American tour (with Enslaved!!!) starts on Friday, and now the band gets their name back in the headlines just in time to remind people of that fact (as I just reminded you).

My non-cynical side says… nope, that’s it. I can’t think of any really good reason to do it. You could adopt the mindset of a thirteen year old and say “Because it’s cool,” but, uh, the record business isn’t in good enough shape to do “cool” things “just because” these days, and I don’t know if this really cool or not anyway. If it’s cool, someone will need to explain to me why it’s cool. Releasing alternate covers simultaneously might have been cool, ’cause they would have been a cash grab, but at least fans would have (presumably) had a choice from the get-go. Now the band’s really hardcore fans will have to decide whether or not to shell out more money for another cover.

Of course, all of this is ignoring the fact that physical media is gasping its last breaths, and I am probably one of five people who still cares about album art. Do kids even give a shit which album cover pops up on their iPod when they’re listening to stuff?


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