PESTILENCE Defends Their AI Album Cover, Is Wrong

Pestilence set the metal world abuzz with the announcement of their career retrospective album, Levels Of Perception, but it wasn’t long before fans noticed a peculiar detail – the artwork appeared to be the product of AI, a move consistent with Agonia Records’ recent penchant for AI-generated visual elements, exemplified by the enigmatic Hour Of Penance record cover.

Initially hesitant to delve into the controversy, it became unavoidable when Pestilence itself weighed in on the matter with a statement posted on Facebook. While the authorship remained anonymous, the sentiment was clear: the second AI-generated cover was deemed superior, prompting the band to pose introspective questions about the intersection of art and technology.

Are we so caught up in the past that we do not embrace technology? Is recording with tape better than digital daws? Is taking a polaroid picture better than the newest tech phone? It’s still about the music and lyrics and that’s REAL!!!” asserted the band in their social media post.

However, such assertions were met with skepticism, as fans and critics alike questioned the equivalence of the AI-generated artwork to Pestilence’s iconic classics like Consuming Impulse. The comparison was further scrutinized when the effort and craftsmanship invested in the original artworks, such as Niall “Squeal” James’s work on Consuming Impulse, were contrasted with what felt like a fleeting endeavor before a lunch break for Levels Of Perception.

A crucial point of contention emerged regarding the AI’s utilization of artwork and photography created by passionate individuals, as opposed to generating original content from scratch – a distinction emphasized by recent issues faced by Unleash The Archers.

In a further rebuttal, critics highlighted the disparity between the skills required for traditional artistic practices, such as recording on tape versus digitally or capturing a moment with a digital camera versus a Polaroid, and the seemingly simplistic process of generating AI art.

Despite Pestilence’s legacy of impressive album covers, notably Michal “Xaay” Loranc’s work on Exitivm in 2021, the embrace of AI-generated visuals by both the band and Agonia Records became a point of disappointment for fans as they pondered the state of the metal artistry landscape in 2024.

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