Bands, Don’t Rip Off Each Other’s Album Art

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Earlier today, I was browsing through new releases on Bandcamp, as I am wont to do most mornings, when I discovered an exceptionally blatant case of album art plagiarism. By all accounts, it appears that Denver-based metalcore band Bleeding Diamonds straight up ganked the cover art of White Ward’s Futility Report, an album released just this year! Bands, don’t do that!

Here is the cover for Bleeding Diamonds’ I Am the Enemy (Single).

And here is the cover art for White Ward’s Futility Report.

There’s no way around this. The Bleeding Diamonds cover is clearly an exact copy of the White Ward art, which begs a further question: Is this simply a coincidence, a case of the band just finding the art and liking it enough to use it without doing much research?

Honestly, I don’t buy it.

  1. If you look closely at both images, the Bleeding Diamonds version clearly has a lower pixel count. The jpeg artifacts seem to indicate the band copied the image, threw it into a photo manipulation tool, and added a filter before re-uploading it, resulting in a minor loss of fidelity.
  2. White Ward credit the artist, Olia Pishchanska, directly on Bandcamp and on the album’s press release on the Debemur Morti website. If you look at Pishchanska’s DeviantArt page, you’ll see she has an album specifically for White Ward, so she either took the photographs explicitly for them or gave them permission to use these photographs.
  3. Futility Report‘s release has been fairly high-profile, as far as underground metal goes. A quick Google search shows it’s been covered on Angry Metal Guy, Metal Archives, Metal Injection, and more. We even talked about it here. If Bleeding Diamonds are metal fans, it’s unlikely this release never crossed their profile, especially considering it was released quite a bit earlier this year.

Folks, this is plagiarism, pure and simple. Is it possible that Bleeding Diamonds also received permission to use the art? Yes, but there is zero credit given to either White Ward or Olia Pishchanska on their Bandcamp page, so I find that pill a tough one to swallow. In academic circles, that’s the kind of thing that would get you expelled or your journal submission denied publication. It’s problematic because it muddies the waters for the original artist and harms the reputation of the plagiarizing artist.

Unfortunately, art plagiarism is a widespread issue in the metal world, either due to the bands themselves or due to graphic artists stealing each other’s work. Just this year Pestilence discovered their (admittedly poor) album art was plagiarized from concept art developed for another project. The blog page Sad But True exists entirely to highlight this type of intellectual and artistic thievery. Honestly, the metal community needs to do better.

So what can young artists do to avoid getting in hot water like this? There are definitely options, several of which Stephen Wilson discussed with our very site. If you’re looking for tips, check out that podcast and choose something original.


Futility Report is out now via Debemur Morti. Listen to it here

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  • Howard Dean

    In comedy circles, this type of thing would get you an HBO special and the cover of Vanity Fair.

  • Shitty metalcore band does shitty things, news at 11

    • or maybe there’s a greater point to make here that young bands could learn about how to better incorporate art into their music 🤔

      • GrumpDumpus

        PLEASE STANDBY WHILE I PREPARE A SICK BURN WHICH DEPENDS ON WHAT THE MUSIC SOUNDS LIKE WHICH DEPENDS ON UPDATING THIS BLINKY WINDOW

        • GrumpDumpus

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      • Wasn’t implying that we shouldn’t call this behavior out, more just a lack of surprise at the type of band that did it

  • ooh, it’s the saxophone band. been meaning to check out that full album

  • Howard Dean

    Sorry for OT, but this made me literally spit out my drink.

    I was reading about the Wonderlic Test (intelligence test administered by NFL and others) on Wikipedia, and came to this part (highlighted below). Had to wipe coffee off of my keyboard:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b906a0db04a831cf14491b1adfd30852166e75defd8736977c4bae9bb9c17628.jpg

    • Dubby Fresh

      Catching a stray shady edit is always good for a laugh.

    • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

      Glad to see I’m not the only one who reads random Wikipedia articles at work

      • Howard Dean

        It’s my kryptonite. One second I’m building a spreadsheet, the next I’m reading about foie gras and the New Mexico Prison Riots.

        • more beer

          I know someone who was doing time in Santa Fe at the time of the New Mexico Prison Riot. I had read quite a bit about it, but hearing what went on first hand from someone who was there was quite chilling.

          • Howard Dean

            Yeah, totally fucking insane. The shit that went on in there… bone-chilling. The book “The Devil’s Butcher Shop” is all about it and is really good. Highly recommended.

          • more beer

            I read The Hate Factory which was about it. I heard enough about it from him to last a lifetime. He was really young at the time about 18, after that experience he didn’t get in trouble anymore after getting out. Some seriously inhumane shit went on there.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      Holy shit that’s funny.

  • Howard Dean

    I know it’s not always practical or possible for a band to commission an original piece of artwork for their cover, but it really should be the standard. There’s an almost endless supply of starving artists in all mediums out there attempting to sell art on coffee shop walls. I think they’d probably be super pumped if a band offered them $50 to paint/scribble/decoupage an album cover.

  • ME GORAK™✓ᶜᵃᵛᵉᵐᵃⁿ
  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    FVCK YEAH
    FUTILITY REPORT IS ON MY END OF YEAR LIST

    • GrumpDumpus

      UTILITY REPORT IS ON MY END OF MONTH LIST OF THINGS I HAVE TO PAY FOR

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    I want to see more holiday snaps used as album art.