Friday 4 February 2011

RAFAL KRUSZYK – Death Metal Cult

The metal cover arts were always as important as the music itself. Images of suffering, horror, death and mutilation are just an inseparable part of the whole genre. Maybe a bit kitschy, but how awesome? Rafal Kruszyk from Poland is an underground graphic artist who has been haunting our eyes for some time now. His obsession with old school death metal, zombies and pure evil made him a recognizable producer of graphics for such killer bands as Hooded Menace, Interment or Nunslaughter to mention just a few. Rafal answers to a couple of short questions.
When did you start?
Rafal: I never wanted to be just a passive listener. I always wanted to do something more. I started drawing when I saw this "cover" generator in Photoshop and other shit. It all started around 2001. In the beginning I met Tom of Throneum and Time Before Time Records and I drew mostly for him. Later Nunslaughter came along and a lot of other underground bands. Apocalypse keeps going!

How do you work?
Rafal: I simply start with a piece of paper. Do a draft first with a set of fine-tip pens. Then scanning and the addition of a colour or two on the computer. I'm not an artist, just a death metal maniac! In general I specialize in raw and minimalistic artworks for EPs, splits, demos and t-shirts. I don't really like making complicated pictures for full-lengths as it is very time-consuming and I get bored very quickly.

What inspires you?
Rafal: I'm interested in many different things besides music. I draw for the metal scene so my inspiration can only be one thing and that’s METAL! Mainly the old raw stuff from the ‘80s and a whole load of other underground bands.

What bands have you drawn for?
Rafal: There is a lot of stuff but 99.99% of it is for death metal monstrosities like Cianide, Nunslaughter, Throneum, Hooded Menace, Maim, Interment, Regurgitate, Bonesaw, Coffins, Decrepitaph, Machetazo and many more. I can't stop! I'm addicted!

What bands would you love to draw for?

Rafal: For lots of new sick and obscene death metal bands, but also for some rock'n'roll bands in the vein of Zeke and Motörhead.
What graphic artists inspire you?
Rafal: Ed Repka for the best death metal artwork ever! I'm of course talking about „Scream Bloody Gore”! Also Matthew "Putrid" Carr mostly for his work for Hooded Menace, Anatomia, Nunlaughter and Impetigo – masterpieces! At this moment he's the best. Nicke Andersson and his pervert art from demo tapes and fliers when the Swedish scene was growing. Comic artists like Berni Wrightson, Mike Mignola, Paul Azaceta, Eduardo Risso or Shane Oakley. Once I was under the big influence of H.R.Giger and Zdzislaw Beksinski (R.I.P.) but with time my style has become simpler. However, I really appreciate those two artists.

Your top-three best cover-artworks ever?
Rafal: Three perfect records and three perfect covers that give atmosphere to the albums are: Death „Scream Bloody Gore”, Kreator „Pleasure to Kill” and Mercyful Fate „Don't Break the Oath”.

Lasse Pyykkö of Hooded Menace / Phlegethon / Vacant Coffin:
I don't remember exactly who contacted who first. The first thing Rafal drew for Hooded Menace was "The Chalice" design. It came out awesome. He has been drawing us a lot of art just for the fun of it as he's a fan of the band and obviously quite obsessed with expressing himself with all this grotesque illustration. Not only is he a great talent but also an easy-going and fun-to-work-with guy with great taste in music. If we collected all the Hooded Menace art together it'd be safe to say most of the stuff would be Rafal's work as he's been very productive and just possessed to draw! We've been lucky to have Rafal and all these other great artists and cool people working for us.

Johan Jansson of Interment / Centinex / Regurgitate:
A friend of mine, Andy from EveryDayHate Records, recommended Rafal to me. I contacted him to do the artwork for „Into the Crypts of Blasphemy” album and the final result kills! He has also done some cool Interment t-shirts. I really like his old school style with the skulls and zombies.

Elektrokutioner of Decrepitaph / Encoffination / Father Befouled:
We've worked with Rafal many times and he always does top notch quality work! Also, he gets art done in a timely manner too, which we really appreciate! We love working with him with Decrepitaph and I personally have worked with him on other projects too and he always provides just what we're looking for.


Check out more graphics by Rafal Kruszyk at

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