Art Attack

Metallica Hardwired Cover Artist Denies Crowbar Influence


The cover artwork for Metallica’s latest, Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, ruffled a few feathers over the summer when some Crowbar fans claimed it ripped off the cover from the latter’s 1998 album Odd Fellows Rest:


While the similarities are obvious, we surmised at the time that there was most likely no ill-intent on Metallica’s end, and that perhaps the artist was subconsciously inspired by Crowbar’s art — or it was just a complete coincidence.

Now Decibel has tracked down Dimitri Scheblanov of Herring & Herring, the cover’s creative director and photographer, and gotten the skinny first-hand:

Had you seen the Crowbar cover when you designed the Metallica one?

We had not. We hadn’t heard of Crowbar or seen the album, and it was kind of a surprise to us. I think the first comment we saw with the image was on Facebook. After seeing it, there’s definitely a similarity, but definitely not an intentional one.

So there you have it. Although Scheblanov later admits that it’s possible some of the people at the agency that worked on the cover — Turner Duckworth — could’ve been familiar with the Crowbar cover.

Scheblanov goes on to describe an interaction he had with members of Metallica and their management team in which no one in the group had heard of Crowbar, which can’t possibly be accurate. He further downplays the similarity by claiming that it would’ve been worse if Crowbar were a popular band, treating them as if they’re some random unsigned act trying to gain some publicity from the artwork similarity. It’s friggin’ Crowbar we’re talking about here! I was totally willing to excuse the album cover art mishap — almost definitely coincidence — but this guy is, unfortunately, making it really hard to defend.

Read the full interview at Decibel.

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