XENOMORPHIC: Seven Interpretations of the Acid-blooded Alien Horror!

An extreme metal art tribute to the creature H.R. Giger spawned and the nightmares it fueled.

Posted by Justin Bartlett

UPDATE: "XENOMORPHIC" shirts are available! Check out the article here (look for the Deathwish US/North America link).

KVLT PLANET, a new extreme metal art label brings renowned underground artists together to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the biomechanical insectoid creature from "ALIEN".

The first project of its kind, each artist created their own version of the lethal extraterrestrial using their particular nightmarish metal aesthetic.

Participating in this visionary tribute are some of the best heavy metal album illustrators in the Galaxy: MARK RIDDICK, ROK (Sadistik Exekution), LUCAS RUGGIERI, JASON WAYNE BARNETT, BHARATADANU, SCOTT MCPHERSON (Nihillustration), and VBERKVLT (Justin Bartlett).

This project is RATED C for CULT!!! and for true ALIEN and H.R. Giger maniacs only!

Take a peek below at some of the art and sign up at KVLT PLANET to receive updates and discounts in my store.

Lethal extraterrestrial worship.

For the inaugural collaborative release of my new "art label" KVLT PLANET, I wanted to create something new but altogether familiar to fans of horror, science fiction, heavy metal, and extreme art.

It made sense for the first KVLT PLANET release to be about connecting my favorite artists to new fans through our collective interests beyond the confines of album covers or t-shirts for genre bands. Considering there were limitless possibilities of crossing over our fanbases with a common film interest, that interest or theme had to be chosen very wisely.

After being selected to participate in the official "ALIEN" 40th Anniversary art book it dawned on me that I could possibly curate my own group of artists and release something for the diehards. Instead of pandering to the masses in the official publication, the objective would be to present our darker visions to a more focused group of rabid horror and metal maniacs.

Inspirational Reading Selections from my H.R. Giger and "ALIEN" franchise library.

The idea had to incubate for a while much like a chestburster waiting to explode! But soon after, I contacted six of my peers who all have unique aesthetics and who, like myself also work within underground metal. Astonishingly they were all very excited and most importantly available to participate.

A key component of this project is that although it rotates around the lethal biomechanical insectoid, the artists involved vary dramatically in their approach and there will be no confusing one for the other - much like great death metal compilation albums "Grindcrusher" and "Pantalgia". Each artist differs greatly in their rendering style and aesthetics, however we all share inspirations and interests in cinema, film and the bands that H.R. Giger worked with including Celtic Frost, Danzig, and Carcass.

I hope your chest will burst in excitement as mine did when I saw their artwork for "XENOMORPHIC"! I am a huge fan of the artists involved and I am sure you will be too. Their divergences from the original creature are outstanding.

Join us in paying tribute to the creature H.R. Giger spawned and the nightmares it fueled.

Nihillustration's "XENOMORPHIC" logo on the tie in poster and illustration work.

To begin, an undeniably METAL logo would be necessary to solidify the uniqueness of "XENOMORPHIC". After all, no one has published a collection of death and black metal artists paying tribute to a film before and it had to epitomize the xenomorph and communicate the intent of the project. So as with any metal band's debut release, an EXTREMELY EXTREME logo was a top priority.

The "facehugger" served as an introduction to the xenomorph in "ALIEN", so why not use it as the basis for the project's logo?! Fortunately I had the perfect artist in mind to create such an abomination.

Filling in as front man for this project, Scott McPherson or Nihillustration as he's better known, blows minds and optic nerves with his ridiculously illegible lettering.

When asked to do a logo based around the aesthetics of H.R. Giger’s xenomorph the "Face Hugger" stage was a perfect place to start. It already has all of the aspects of a metal logo... sharp edges, dangly things, drippy things, and things poking out of it and stuff. After that it’s just a matter of making the letters fit. "ALIEN" was always a franchise that stuck out to me when it came to sci-fi/horror. As a dark themed artist myself, experiencing an influence of mine like H.R. Giger get to create his world on such a big stage gave me hope that one day my dark illustrations might be given the chance to be a part of something great. I was honored to work on this project.

The shape of the creature should be obvious to you, but can you find the letters? We hope not! Nihillustration's illustrations have graced the album covers and merchandise of Author & Punisher, Cattle Decapitation, Misery Index, and VANS! @nihillustration

ROK's devilish xenomorph and berzerker artwork.

ROK, frenetic vocal absurdity from the legendary Australian band Sadistik Exekution! The denizens of his album covers are spiked and helmeted terrorvisions dripping in blood and burning in flame. These Hellscape's inhabitants are often biomechanical in nature, engaged in war and all sorts of blasphemic mayhem. Lucky for us, he was able to participate in this project and painted quite a distinct and sadistik red devil creature.

My red and black version of a well-known Xenomorph image is what I would call 50% my style that still retains quite a distinct Giger-esque look about it. The bold, contrast of the red and black, combined with the spikes is obviously a trade mark of my art, but I wanted to do something that was at the same time instantly recognizable as an xenomorph. I believe this painting has achieved what I set out to do!

If you aren't familiar with his artwork or as the frontman for death mental maniaxe Sadistik Exekution, immediately check them out! Get your ears and eyes FVKKKED! This xenomorphic offering is patently ROK and fits in so well with his body of client work for bands like Condor and Nunslaughter. @rok_rokkart

Indonesian detail master Bharatadanu's grim creations!

The cryptic expression of Bharatadanu became a favorite of mine and raging crust punks over the last couple of years after sharing his deceptively childlike creations on Instagram. The Indonesian artist has a highly detailed and expressive pen and ink style akin to outsider art punk Nick Blinko, who many of us here cite as influences. When asked about the idea behind his piece, he was introduced to the film because of his dad. This seems like a common theme, I guess some of our father's didn't take "age appropriateness" into account!

"ALIEN" is one of cruelest sci-fi movies but also amazing to me at the same time. My father introduced me to this film when I was 6 or maybe 7 years old! For my artwork I wanted to explore the idea of having it look like a historic monument (like The Sphinx, Easter Island Statue, Borobudur Temple) that has a memorable feel and has become a symbol about something in the past... in this case of "the past", I mean a memory of when I watched this film as a child.

Although he's on the other side of the world in Indonesia, he's worked with several US clients including Devil Master and Relapse Records as well as UK bands like Primitive Knot. Be mesmerized by his obscure xerox-like black and white imagery full of hidden faces, collapsing buildings and funeral rituals. @bharata.danu

Lucas Ruggieri's intricate line art and his etching-like alien.

The tedious precision work of Lucas Ruggieri will make your brain melt. Every line, every detail is strategized and emanates a classic feel reminiscent of Gustav Doré and Northern Renaissance artists such as Albrecht Dürer. Ruggieri's hand drawn style references etchings of fantastic beasts and occult symbology from antiquity.

I first encountered Giger’s Xenomorph when I was given a vhs copy of Alien by my aunt at age 10. Needless to say, as a child, I was horrified and utterly captivated, and still get the same feelings when I watch it to this day. As I became more familiar with the artwork of HR Giger, his life and work was influential to the creative process but as an example of the success an artist can achieve, regardless of the extremity and sexuality of the content. The timelessness of the Xenomorph only added to the challenge of interpreting his creation through my own visual language. For this project I was referencing the original Giger alien concept art, a Xenomorph hieroglyph painting, and the creatures design in the movie itself, in an attempt to evoke the themes and emotions portrayed by all three influences, while employing my own line work and subtle ornamental embellishments. I only hope my contribution can continue in the legacy of Giger’s constant inspiration.

Besides being one of the most serious craftsmen in underground music, he has worked with an impressive roster of clients including Maryland Deathfest, Dimmu Borgir, and Vltimas. @lr_illustration

A collection of rotten visions by Jason Wayne Barnett.

Are you a die-hard "ALIEN" fan? If so, you might notice two things about Jason Wayne Barnett's insanely stylized xenomorph. Can you spot them? Besides it looking as if a fungus and xenomorph had a mating ritual, it has five fingers (instead of six) and a piercing tube mouth which are direct references to H.R. Giger's original concept for the creature.

I chose to do an interpretation of the original concept art for the Xenomorph by Giger (hence it only having 5 fingers). I was particularly drawn to this image because I found it's more humanoid-like qualities to be even more terrifying as it clearly implies that the Xenomorph is a human-alien hybrid.

I worked in oil on panel and tried to push the painting in a organic direction versus Giger's biomechanical aesthetic. "ALIEN" was a film that truly left me aghast and entranced as a child, so it was easy to channel that terror into creating a grotesque version of the Xenomorph in my style. I can only hope what I created can induce that same horror in someone else and inspire them as Giger and Ridley Scott's films did to me.

Not only is Barnett an accomplished oil painter, he delivers vocals for Petrification a death metal band from Portland, Oregon and has provided artwork for bands such as -(16)-, Grime, and Ghostmane. @jasonbarnettart

Mark Riddick's xenomorph illustration and selection of client work.

Underground legend Mark Riddick has toiled relentlessly for almost three decades while defining a style that has become a staple in death metal. His immediately recognizable gruesome black and white illustration work full of fetid zombies, corpses, goat-horned demons has graced the album covers and t-shirts of bands such as Autopsy, Suffocation, Morbid Angel, and Grave. Riddick's solid artwork and reputation has earned him a place in death metal history and also outside of it as well.

Like many of us artist's involved and also the bands and musicians we've worked with, H.R. Giger's influence could be felt creeping in at an early age.

Every accomplished artist has their own visual language; the mysterious and otherworldly art of HR Giger has been a subtle influence on my own creative endeavors since my youth. Having collected several books, calendars, and prints of Giger's artwork over the past few decades, his fantastic creations have lurked deep in my subconscious. Giger's visual language is a montage of occult mysteries, biomechanical textures, nightmarish creatures, lustful figures, and disease-ridden infants, all encompassed in a monochrome futurescape existing in one man's imagination. When VBERKVLT artist, Justin Bartlett, invited me to participate in the "Xenomorphic" extreme metal art tribute, the answer was a mandatory "yes." After a few sketches and unsatisfactory attempts to start on my submission for the tribute, I finally settled on the idea of bringing the xenomorph into my own personal artistic realm—a visual language filled with decrepit skeletal figures, oozing viscera, and a melange of intertwined flesh and bone. The result is a marriage of my own artistic styling while showcasing the imaginative alien creature that was birthed from Giger's wild imagination.

Mark is probably the only death metal artist to work with Justin Bieber, collaborated with top streetwear brands such as The Hundreds and worked with entertainment giants like NBC, Adult Swim, and the Travel Channel. @riddickart

Justin Bartlett/Vberkvlt's xenomorph scene and his artwork.

With pen and ink, Justin Bartlett aka VBERKVLT renders visions unseen by the naked eye, awakening apparitions as ambiguous as those creatures created by Edgar Allen Poe or ideas fostered by Aleister Crowley. Self-taught, the illustrator/designer has developed a style that's equally distinct as it is versatile.

The films and H.R. Giger have made a deep impression on me since the age of nine. I was immediately pulled into the world of the murderous biomechanical creature after seeing the 1986 sequel with my dad in the theater. For this project I put my own spin on an "ALIEN" tribute by rendering it much like the artwork I created for "Hatred for Mankind" by Dragged Into Sunlight. If you're familiar with Giger's concept artwork for the movie, you might see I referenced some of his ideas too. The piece is something new but altogether familiar to both fans of that album cover and "ALIEN". Hopefully they see the intended connections. @vberkvlt

VBERKVLT's illustrations have cloaked the pages of Vice Magazine and he has been featured in several publications including Taschen Books collections. Justin has also produced an abundance of client work for Southern Lord Records, Danzig, and the "Assassin's Creed" video game franchise. @vberkvlt

"XENOMORPHIC" will be available for pre-order on "ALIEN DAY", April 26th.

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