Note: I reached out to the label and their comment was as follows, “Well this is very disappointing. A fan submitted us the art and we didn’t think to question his medium, now we’ll have to replace it!”. Unfortunately, the release is physical and it’s out there. So I still have to document this, but I do deeply respect that the label wants to make this right. Lets hope they get a second printing out as soon as possible
This is a very common type of plagiarism in heavy metal. The designer in question (Unfortunately, I could not find his or her name – Please write if you know this and I will correct the image) found an image that they liked and mixed it with other elements to make a new piece. This would be called a collage except for all collages need to follow certain rules.
I pulled this summary from the Graphic Artist’s Guild website:
Collages that have more of the following characteristics are more likely to qualify as fair use:
*The collage incorporates many different materials from many different sources.
*The materials are juxtaposed or arranged in ways that create new visual and conceptual effects, the more different from the effect of the original materials, the better.
*The collage does not feature a copyrighted work as the central focus or dominant image. Only portions of copyrighted materials are used, rather than the entire image.
*The collage is a one-of-a-kind piece of fine art, or published in a limited edition of fine art prints.
As you can see, this image violates most of these criteria.
So it is not a collage. The artist simply found an image that they liked, cut and pasted it into their work. Unless credit is given to the original artist, Michael Hussar, in the credits this is blatant plagiarism.