Metallica's 'Hardwired' Creative Director Addresses Crowbar Art Similarity: "We Hadn't Heard of Crowbar or Seen the Album"

Metallica's 'Hardwired' Creative Director Addresses Crowbar Art Similarity: "We Hadn't Heard of Crowbar or Seen the Album"
Upon the announcement of Metallica's latest LP Hardwired...To Self-Destruct, many noticed a similarity between the record's cover art with that of Crowbar's 1998 release Odd Fellows Rest, leading guitarist/vocalist Kirk Windstein to playfully tease his one-time touring partners over social media. Now, the design team behind Metallica's grotesque mash of faces has spoken out about the sameness.

In an interview with DecibelHerring & Herring creative director and photographer Dimitri Scheblanov said the team behind Metallica's cover had never seen the art for Odd Fellows Rest before beginning work for the thrash titans. 

"We hadn't heard of Crowbar or seen the album, and it was kind of a surprise to us," Scheblanov said. "After seeing it, there's definitely a similarity, but definitely not an intentional one."

Scheblanov revealed that the idea for Metallica's cover came from previous projects involving superimposed images, including one shoot that drummer Lars Ulrich had done for his wedding. While initial brainstorming sessions for Hardwired... art proposed multiple covers with one band member's head on all four members, Metallica looked to have everyone on the cover, leading to the creation we see now.

"I think while the look might be somewhat similar, I think the intention behind it was probably pretty different for us and also for Turner Duckworth, the design agency [who worked on the cover]," Scheblanov said. "I guess I like the Crowbar cover... There's nothing wrong with it or anything. But, yeah, it was pretty shocking that there was such a similar looking thing."

He continued: "The thing is we come from such different worlds in terms of the work we do. We work very much in the commercial art world; fashion photography is kind of our base, and celebrity and entertainment work. We don't really do album packaging or heavy metal album packaging; the only reason why we did this project, which was fantastic, was because of our friendship with the band."

Scheblanov also described a conversation he had with Metallica members and management in which none of them had heard of Crowbar, though Windstein's claims certainly say otherwise.

You can read the entire Decibel interview here.