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Baptized in Blood: ‘We’re Not Hip on the Skulls’

Omer Cordell

The great white shark gnashing down on the name Baptized in Blood wasn’t the first album cover design Killswitch Engage bassist Mike D. (also of Dark Icon Design) came up with for the Canadian punk-metal act’s Roadrunner debut.

Baptized in Blood were in Massachusetts recording their album with producer Zeuss (Hatebreed, Shadows Fall) when they learned that Mike D. — who is also on Roadrunner — was flying back from tour for a couple of days. They met at a Mexican restaurant to discuss the artwork.

“Originally, we were looking for darker imagery, really high contrast stuff,” Baptized in Blood frontman Johl Fendley tells Noisecreep. “We went back and forth for almost a month trying to figure out an idea.”

They knew more what they didn’t want than what they did want. Most of the rejected offerings were rock clichés. “A lot had to do with skulls. We’re not hip on the skulls,” he says. “He had sent over a couple of ideas with tombstone things, stone carvings and praying Mary’s with their faces wiped out and a skull in its place. It was like, ‘I like the stone idea, but I don’t like the skull.’ And there were some others.”

Then the shark came out of the blue. “I don’t know what it is that we need to see, but it has to be high contrast and really grab you by the balls and say, ‘Buy this CD.’ And he sent that over,” says Fendley. “As soon as we saw that, it was like, ‘Are you kidding me? This is perfect.’ It was actually another shark to begin with. It was a great white, but it was a different picture, and a few days later we found out that the picture was copyrighted and we couldn’t use it.

“‘Oh man, when is this cycle gonna end? We want it to be over with just as much as he does. It’s been too long going through this album artwork,’” Fenley remembers thinking. “Then all of a sudden he found this other picture. I don’t know how he got it. I think one of his buddies had it or something.”

Fendley is pretty sure the shark will be used on their merch, but he doesn’t foresee it becoming Baptized in Blood’s mascot — not like that of their manager Dave Mustaine’s band Megadeth and the skeletal Vic Rattlehead.

“It’s a rad album cover for sure, and it will obviously be involved in marketing tools somehow, whether it’s a shirt that has the shark and teeth marks out of it; there’s tons of things that you can do and will be done to market it. For now, it’s just our album cover.”

Baptized in Blood’s self-titled album will be out in Canada Oct. 19 and digitally in the rest of the world. The first single, ‘Dirty’s Back,’ is already at radio.

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