Artist News Releases

The Darkness respond to criticism of sword on new album cover

By | Published on Tuesday 29 October 2019

The Darkness

The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins has apologised to anyone offended by the cover of the band’s new album, ‘Easter Is Cancelled’.

The artwork, which depicts the band’s members in a crucifixion scene, has already been banned on some digital music services in the Middle East and North Africa on the grounds that it could offend certain religious groups.

In the painted image, which mimics classic Christian iconography, a muscular Hawkins is seen breaking himself off a cross by flexing his biceps. Meanwhile his brother Dan holds a severed head, drummer Rufus Taylor beats a Roman guard with drumsticks, and bassist Frankie Poullain stands ready to stab another with a sword.

The latter element of the image has been criticised in its own right on the somewhat dubious grounds that the presence of a sword somehow promotes knife crime.

Speaking to Sky News, Hawkins said that while he wouldn’t apologise for an image portraying himself as a crucified Jesus Christ – “Willem Defoe has played Jesus, no one gives him a hard time” – he was sorry if anyone was offended by the image in the context of the recent rise of knife crime in the UK.

But, he pointed out, “what we were trying to do was interfere with biblical iconography and the sources we studied to assemble that image were from hundreds of years ago. We didn’t recognise that it might be insensitive in the current climate. We saw it as … escapism in talking about an imagined scenario from an alternate reality, and if we have offended anybody, all we can do is apologise”.

As for the ongoing conversation around the recent rise in knife crime incidents, Hawkins then posed a number of questions. “Why has this person got a knife in the first place? Why have they taken it from their kitchen? Is it with a view to defend themselves or to attack somebody? There’s obviously a danger present in their daily existence which makes them feel like they need to be armed. I think the problem is bigger than knives”.

‘Easter Is Cancelled’, the band’s sixth album, was release earlier this month.