On May 20th, the classic Cannibal Corpse album Vile will turn 20 years old. We thought it would be pretty cool to have several artists and illustrators create an original work with only the song title and lyrics as the sole concept. Artists from around the world were happy to oblige and come together to truly make this exhibit something special. Leading up to the exhibit, we will be speaking to several of the artists and giving you all a further glimpse of who there are and their work.
Opening night, as luck would have it, is May 20th at Eridanos in Cambridge, MA and run through June 11th. The Facebook event page can be found here, while full details of the VILE Exhibit can be found here.
Mark Riddick, an award-winning illustrator, has been a fanatic of heavy metal music since 1986. Riddick began his career as a freelance illustrator for the heavy metal music scene in 1991 when he began illustrating demo cassette covers, 7” EP record covers, and filler artwork for cut & paste underground death metal and black metal fanzines, bands, and record labels. By the mid-90s Riddick had gained credibility as the ‘go-to’ artist for underground extreme metal bands in the United States and overseas.
In 1998, Riddick earned his undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Greensboro College in North Carolina. Since finishing college, Riddick has pursued his freelance career by continuing to illustrate for underground metal bands and mainstream metal bands alike. His grotesque talent has also been solicited by other media outlets such as the Cartoon Network/Adult Swim’s notorious television series, “Metalocalypse,” the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” series, and NBC’s “Law & Order” series.
Some of Riddick’s most visible illustrations for the heavy metal scene have appeared on merchandise for such bands as Abigail Williams, Coffins, Internal Bleeding, Massacre, Kataklysm, Gravehill, Dying Fetus, Suffocation, Nunslaughter, Trivium, Exodus, and hundreds of others.
In addition, Riddick has published a few books showcasing his undeniably monstrous artwork and continues to participate in gallery showings domestically and overseas. Riddick currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife and children.
Do you recall your earliest Cannibal Corpse listening experience?
Yes, I can recall my first experience after purchasing Cannibal Corpse’s “Eaten Back to Life” cassette. To begin, the explicit cover artwork by Vincent Locke is what initially captured my curiosity. After placing the cassette into my tape deck my senses were assaulted by some of the heaviest music my ears had ever witnessed at the time; “Eaten Back to Life” was a lesson in what North American death metal was all about and simply put, helped to define the American death metal scene altogether. After perusing the lyrics I can remember calling one of my friends up to read the lyrics to him over the phone. They were so extreme and unlike anything I had ever read before on a J-card inlay; they were essentially short horror stories unfolding in the most gruesome and disturbing way possible. Cannibal Corpse was the epitome of shock value. Although I’ve never seen Cannibal Corpse live, the first show I ever attended included the band Corpsegrinder in the line-up. My twin brother and I were in contact with their drummer at the time (circa 1991-92), who ran Chainletter Fanzine. The ominous figure fronting the band was none other than George “Corpsegrinder” Fischer, he had a strong presence on stage which now many fans are privy to courtesy of his long-standing career with Cannibal Corpse.
What are your thoughts on ‘Vile’ – the album and this exhibit?
I do have “Vile” in my collection however I’ve only listened to it two or three times. My preferred taste resides in Cannibal Corpse’s early portion of their discography, essentially their first three full-length albums. I think the exhibit is an appropriate and much deserved tribute to a band that has helped to shape the sound, visuals, content, and reach of death metal; particularly here in the United States. It’s without a doubt that Cannibal Corpse is a staple band and an absolute must for anyone who listens to death metal.
Aside from “Mummified in Barbed Wire,” the song you are giving a visual interpretation of, what else are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on illustrations for Visera Trail (Israel), Skullfist (Canada), Xternity (Germany), Heads for the Dead (Germany), Distillator (Netherlands), Lord (USA), Hate Eternal (USA), Revocation (USA), Zaratus (Greece), Bastard Son (Canada), Horrendous (USA), Bestial Possession (Peru), Hel (Canada), and Metal Hordes Fanzine (Portugal), etc.
Fetid Zombie, your solo death metal project, recently released a split with Necrolepsy, any other releases planned for this year? After all you only released a full-length and three splits last year.
Yes, my new full-length, “Epicedia,” is due out this summer on Transcending Obscurity (India) and features some amazing guest appearances from very talented individuals. A split CD release with Hellripper (Scotland) will be out very soon courtesy of Iron Goat Commando (Colombia). I also have split releases with two bands local to my area, Dispellment and Svierg, coming this year. There has also been talk of split releases with Von and Thornspawn that may or may not come out this year. In addition, the new full-length from my band, Macabra, will be out very soon and a split with Nucleus (USA) is planned. Finally, the last release of my band, Grave Wax, will come out soon in the form of a split 7” EP with Soulskinner (Greece).
Being a fan of extreme music yourself, having zines, labels, and bands approaching you from around the world, plus more normal means of discovering music, what bands have been catching your ear as of late?
As you can imagine, my music collection is massive, I’ve been gravitating toward cassette releases more than any format in recent years. Some of the bands frequenting my stereo include Horrendous, Bearstorm, Infiltrator, Nucleus, Nechochwen, Deathhammer, Invocation Spells, Abyssus, Myrkyr, Johnny Touch, Where Evil Follows, Ripper, Sol Negro, Skeletal Remains, Stargazer, Howls of Ebb, etc. I’ve also been revisiting some older material from bands like Sacred Reich, Morbius, Epitaph, Nocturnus, Malevolent Creation, Necrophagist, Mercyless, Helix, Malice, Hexx, and White Lion.