The Lyrical Poster Project

The Lyrical Poster Project

As part of my never-ending quest to improve not only my own technical skills, like typography, but also my sense of conceptual expression, I have decided to embark on a little personal project, which I’m calling the Lyrical Poster Project.

Essentially, every week (all being well) I will be dedicating some of my spare time to visually expressing the lyrical content of a particular song in the form of a poster design.

Get it? Got it? Good.

Poster 1

New Millennium Cyanide Christ on YouTube

So, here’s the first song, Meshuggah‘s famous song “New Millennium Cyanide Christ” from their 1997 release Chaosphere.

Analysing the lyrical content of this song was an interesting exercise. Meshuggah lyrics tend to be rather abstract in nature, which is reflected in their polyrhythmic and arrhythmical metal style, so trying to decipher the deeper concept behind NMCC was rather tricky.

In essence, NMCC is about “a man” (in the abstract sense) who attempts to become a Messiah-like figure, leading a “failed humanity”, through a punishing process of mechanical and chemical body modifications. However, ultimately these “improvements” are self-destructive in nature and the final result is of a human stripped of all senses and humanity.

In essence, it represents the concept that for a man to achieve the state of perfection, he needs to remove his own humanity. Is this evolution or destruction?

If I were to describe the concept of this song in one word, it would be “metamorphosis”. So I needed to visually express this sense of metamorphosis from the state of humanity to something “evolved” but inhuman.

In particular, there were two verses that I felt encapsulated the theme of the song perfectly:

I’m a carnal, organic anagram
Human flesh instead of written letters
I rearrange my pathetic tissue
I incise, I replace, I’m reformed

I eradicate the fake pre-present me
Elevate me to a higher human form
The characters I am, made into a word complete
Then I’ll be the new norm

So these verses provided me with a way of expressing the concept of the song.

I had this idea of typesetting the start of the verses in a slightly chaotic fashion but then gradually the type would become more uniform and strict, representing the metamorphosis from a chaotic, but full of personality, humanity to a strict, featureless state of inhumanity. After all, humanity certainly has its flaws but it’s those flaws that make us human. When you remove imperfections, you remove what it is that makes you human.

New Millennium Cyanide Christ poster

The colours used were chosen to reflect the album art (primarily black and green with a largely metallic image and type). I also chose to fade the colours in the type from green to silver, to further enhance this idea of metamorphosis from a natural state of humanity to something machine-like.

Your Thoughts

I always appreciate constructive criticism, thoughts, ideas and opinions, so please provide in the lovely comment boxes below.

Tune in again next week when I’ll be presenting another lyrical poster.

Ian Cylkowski aka Izo

Logo & Identity Design

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2 Comments so far. Comments are closed.
  1. This is simply great.
    Looking forward to the next week!


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