Portland, Ore.'s Across the Sun are a fortunate group. The band recently had the rare opportunity to release their very first full-length on Metal Blade, one of the highest-profile metal labels in the world. In addition to the pressure of producing an album's worth of standout metal was coming up with appropriately eye-catching album artwork. "[W]e knew the artwork for 'Before The Night Takes Us' needed to accurately encapsulate the [album's] theme without compromising our artistic vision," Across the Sun drummer and graphic designer Alan Ashcraft told Noisecreep recently.

The meaning behind the album's artwork "involves making peace with your demons, before becoming enveloped within the ruinous grasp they can harbor," Ashcraft said. "I wanted to personify this by placing a damaged, desperate man into a scene in which he is escaping the darkness, in pursuit of the light. I wanted to evoke thought and emotion by using warm and vivid tones to create a surreal and inviting horizon."

Ashcraft, who creates artwork as It Came From the Sky! Design, originally designed the artwork prior to the release as an study in photo manipulation and illustration. "I find myself most drawn to that specific form of art," Ashcraft explained. "Not only is it in my opinion the most challenging medium in graphic design, but if done correctly, [it] can produce the most epic and breathtaking imagery possible."

Ashcraft created the preliminary design using a photograph of a Scottish landscape from U.K.-based photographer Robin Neilly. After showing Neilly his idea, Ashcraft acquired permission from him to use the photo for the album art. The result was a Digipak release containing an 8-panel booklet.

"Although infinitely challenging," Ashcraft said of his involvement in the album art, "the process was more than fulfilling. I couldn't be more pleased to have provided a fitting visual representation of the resplendent musicianship featured on this album."

Across the Sun are in the middle of a full U.S. tour in support of 'Before the Night Takes Us.'

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