THE ART GALLERY: Earth - The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull (Arik Roper)

Washington drone group Earth's fifth full-length record, "The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull," is a hit for the world of thickly atmospheric and psychedelic drone. On top of that, it comes complete with some great artwork by American painter and illustrator Arik Roper, who has also made artwork for bands such as Sunn O))), High On Fire, and Buzzov.en. The cover depicts an old-looking lion skull, inhabited by a swarm of bees and covered in honeycombs. It does seem a little intimidating at first, but it is undeniable about how well-composed it is, in both its coloring and detail, to the point where it would make a great tattoo design on its own. It is quite a captivating view, in both the design and the archaic look to it.

As for the artwork's meaning, the album's title is based on a biblical account where Samson, an Israelite Judge, wrestled and tore apart a lion. Later on, when he came back to marry his loved one Delilah, he found that bees have nested into its bare skull and made honey, hence the skull's golden color in the artwork.* This album represents that situation very well, and it does carry some intriguing meaning behind it. Even outside of a religious scope, the artwork could represent how hard work can result in great reward, in how Samson fought a ferocious battle with the predator, and subsequently, found his nectar-covered trophy. It could also represent how new life can be brought from death, the bees finding a  new home in a lion's carcass. Along with looking stellar, the artwork shown for this album holds a couple nice messages as well.

Arik Roper's Website: http://www.arikroper.com/
*Judges 14:6-8. I found out about this comparison from a review of this album from BBC's website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/gdzf