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Review: The Seventh Serpent
Book Review
The Seventh Serpent
Publisher: Kris Verwimp
Author: Kris Verwimp
Year published: 2004
Pages: 96

Rating: 5+/5

Review online: April 10, 2008
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
The Seventh Serpent

Rated 5/5 (100%) (3 Votes)

The name of Belgian artist Kris Verwimp is one that should be very familiar to metal fans. Even if you don't know his name, however, I guarantee you have seen his work, as Kris is one of the most prolific and recognizable cover artists in the metal firmament. He is probably best known for his iconic, famous covers for Absu, including Third Storm of Cythraul, The Sun Of Tiphareth, and the masterful Tara, for which he actually went to Ireland and brought back sacred earth from the hill itself to mix with his paints. But the other works he has painted are so extensive they defy a quick listing. He has created numerous covers for Sear Bliss, Thyrfing, Dagorlad, Suidakra, Sathanas, Dark Fortress, Enthroned, Ceremonial Castings, and Manegarm. He painted the cover for Skullview's Legends Of Valor as well as the great painting for Callenish Circle's Graceful Yet Forbidding. He did Marduk's Nightwing, as well as shirt art for Enslaved.

In short, if you think of your favorite album covers, chances are at least one of them is a Verwimp painting. His usual style is very distinctive, mixing a dynamic approach influenced by Frazetta and Bisley with a deep and rich use of colors to create powerful moods. Also, Kris paints cool stuff: monsters and demons, standing stones and deep forests, blood red skies over hulking warriors in spiky armor. His works can be action-oriented or iconic, swathed in deep pagan earth tones or flaming with bright, demonic reds and yellows.

I had no idea he had even produced a book, but when I learned of it I contacted him right away to see if he had any left. He only printed 400, and mine is numbered 305, so he still has some more of these. Even at about 40 Euros I call this a bargain. An entirely self-produced book, The Seventh Serpent is a beautiful, satin-finished softcover with 96 thick, quality pages bursting with practically everything he had painted up to that point. A few of the musicians he has worked with wrote short bits on how pleased they were with his covers, including written praise from Proscriptor of Absu, and Ashmedi of Melechesh, for whom he painted the cover for Djinn.

Words cannot really describe how much I love his artwork. Kris combines a comic-book design aesthetic with a fine art painter's sense of color and atmosphere, creating works that do more than illustrate: they evoke. You look at his misty, brooding ruins and deep moonlit forests and think "I want to go there." That, for me, is great art — the ability to create a world in a painting that extends far beyond the edges of the paper, a world you want to crawl into and explore.

Kris is a very easy guy to get along with, as he not only paints metal album covers, he is also a fan like us. He can often take a long time to answer e-mails, as he is very busy, but he will answer. Besides, how can you fault a guy who says "gotta go, I need to work on the new Moonsorrow cover" — how fucking cool is that? You will not find this book for sale anywhere besides from the artist, and I highly recommend you get one while you can, as someday this will be a sought-after artifact. Besides documenting the early career of an artist headed for greatness, this is just an awesome book. All in one place you get a ton of artwork previously only available scattered over a hundred CDs on dozens of tiny labels, as well as obscure and personal works rarely, if ever, seen before. I highly, highly recommend this book for anyone interested in album cover art or fantasy art in general.

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