First of all, the artwork is iconic to say at least! The black/white stripes on the suicidal man forms the core of the mentality and mindset of Beat Down. Let me explain why. In current society humans tend to only think black and white. A polarization of thought about and judgment towards others. Whether people are driven in categoric thinking by fear or not, the ‘why’ question is not important. What is important is that the modern hardcore pioneers also get a label or are put in a category. People think they have to react on this movement with aggression, mostly verbal aggression phrased as “those beat down pioneers are bastards!”
They are the bad guys they need to sanitize or re-educate. How funny is that, because the beat down movement know what people feel about them. Better than anyone else!
And maybe the guy on the cover wants to get rid of that black sheep label they put upon them. And maybe that’s why he points that gun towards himself? Or he points that gun towards himself because he wants to exterminate that dual categoric thinking that is reflected by the colour pattern on his face, while shooting himself along.
Is Beatdown the cause or the effect of modern society’s aggression? Beatdown stands for strength in a weakness, cowardice and sinful modern world! Is that so bad?
I think this artwork is very adjust on a V/A who wants to document the movement for the above reasons. Also a compilation is bought by a diverse public so it should speak (or this is at least the intent) to as many people as possible and that’s why it needs to bring the message in it’s most naked essence. No frills, to the point and therefore minimalistic also.
Artwork done by Alexander Kluge.