Nick Mango

Oct 23, 2011

You're Not Man Enough To Open This Cage

I thought I'd post the Kinghorse ST record I picked up a few weeks ago. It's not super rare or anything, but it does have something cool that you never really see. A little background on this record if you've never heard of it. Kinghorse is a thrash metal band from the late 80s early 90s. This is their first full length which was released in 1990 and was produced by Glenn Danzig. This record really has Glenn written all over it to be honest. It was released by Caroline, and the artwork is by Pushead. The artwork is actually the interesting part I wanted to talk about.

Take a look at the cover. You see how the horse and the spears are cut off on the left hand side? Kind of strange considering the name of the band is Kinghorse. Why in the world would Pushead do that? An artist like Pushead has integrity and I highly doubt he would have allowed Caroline to just chop his drawing up to suit a 12x12 format. Not only this, but Pushead does artwork for a specific purpose. He doesn't just do art and someone takes that art and uses it for something. Meaning, if someone wants an album cover, he will do an album cover. When I put that together I remembered that this record is stamped for promotional use only on the back. Vinyl was not the originally intended format for this record. And since 1990 was too early for CDs to be the #1 format, their left only one other way to listen to music. Cassette. So I dug around looking for a picture of the cassette artwork and found this...

The artwork was specifically designed to fit a cassette. Never in my life have I seen something like this done. There was probably only a small window in music history where this was possible. 1990 fits right into that window. It's right when vinyl was dying, cassette was at it's peak because of the portable player war of the very late 80s. This is when Sony released the WM-DD9, which is considered to be the best portable tape player ever. Used ones still sell for $100 to $500 because of the sound quality. A lot of people forget that cassettes were analog, just like vinyl. And this walkman could play the full 20-20,000 range. I assume Caroline thought cassette was the future, and CDs would probably never take off. Maybe their sales dictated a decision like that. Pretty crazy if you think about it. They basically said this album will probably never exist of any physical format that's square. They thought CDs would never take off, and vinyl would die completely. Unfortunately for them, the complete opposite happened. Cassettes died, vinyl never seems to die, and CDs took over the world. Now the great art of Pushead is chopped off like a shitty photoshop job.

P.S. I wonder if this decision by Caroline to go heavy on cassettes affected the sales and place in history of this record.

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