I walk into a local "mom and pop" style record store on the west side of my hometown of Evansville, IN. Joe's Records was the place. It was a tiny joint set into a small strip mall. Walls lined with old DVDs and video games, center aisle lined with crates of CDs. This was all before vinyl had made its triumphant comeback. Why am I there? Tagging along with my older brother--three years my elder. I occupy my time flipping through a random section of CD's while he went about whatever business he was on that day. At this point in my life, I'm 15 and a burgeoning graphic designer with aspirations to design for the "big bands". Suffice to say, album art intrigued me as it still does to this day.
It's at this point that I pull out a CD with an album cover and think "holy shit!". It's the coolest looking CD in the whole place. I had a little bit of money, and it was priced about $12. The purchase was made and rest, as they say, is history.
Now, keep in mind: at this point, I have no idea what kind of music this CD contains or who the band is but the album art alone trumped my ignorance in both of the aforementioned instances. The album? The Oncoming Storm by Unearth. My first dose of metal.
Music plays a bigger role in my life than almost anything else. I sit here writing about it this very moment. Now, when I say "music" I don't mean all music. No no. I'm very particular. My drug of choice? Metal. Released in 2004 via Metal Blade Records, The Oncoming Storm single-handedly changed the course of my life. Am I being melodramatic? No. I remember putting that CD in my portable Sony CD player, popping on headphones and yet again thinking "holy shit". I was blown away by the power. The energy. The emotion. The raw fucking force that was all packed into one album. Unearth set me on course to loving metal and thus beginning to take my graphic design more seriously. I began developing an understanding of what metal and hard rock bands wanted and thus was able to design for just about every local band in Evansville at the time. Today, I am an in-house designer for a powerhouse of a website (not referring to Blackskye -- we're not quite "powerhouse" yet) and have been for four years.
So let's take a few steps back and sum this up: I randomly happened upon a CD with album art I thought was badass in 2005 not knowing what kind of music it held within. Call it chance, call it serendipity, call it what you will. But The Oncoming Storm by Unearth both got me into metal (and kept me there) and pushed my graphic design career forward. This album and this band are, and will always be, incredibly special to me because of this.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Unearth: thank you for writing, recording, and producing that album. I wouldn't be where I am today without it.
Curious about what I heard back in '05? Check out the video below. Then do yourself a favor and grab the album on iTunes.