Best Metal/Rock Album Covers
25) Kreator- Coma Of Souls
Kreator is a thrash metal band from Essen Germany that’s been melting faces overseas since the band was formed in 1982. Kreator has released 13 Albums, its most recent being 2012’s Phantom Antichrist. Cover artwork for Coma Of Souls was done by Andreas Marschall.
24) Bobaflex- Hell In My Heart
Bobaflex is a nu metal band formed by brothers Shaun and Marty McCoy. The brothers have ancestral ties to the most infamous family feud in American history, between the Hatfields and McCoys which almost caused a war between West Virginia and Kentucky. The bands name was inspired by the bounty hunter Boba Fett from Star Wars. Bobaflex has released seven albums, its most recent being 2013’s Charlatans Web.
23) Mushroomhead- Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children
Mushroomhead is a nine member heavy metal band formed in 1993 from Cleveland, Ohio. Known for their sound and imagery which feature masks and costumes, Mushroomhead usually performs at smaller venues despite their massive popularity. Stories For Ugly Children is the final album to feature Big Benis on bass and Gravy on guitar. It is also the only album to feature Lil Dan on percussion.
22) Avatar- Hail The Apocalypse
Avatar is a Death/Groove Metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden. Formed in 2000 by drummer John Alfredsson and singer Johannes Eckerström. Avatar has really been making waves here in the states since the release of 2012’s Black Waltz. Hail The Apocalypse is Avatar’s first album to chart on the Billboard 200 at #97
21) Children Of Bodom- Follow The Reaper
Children Of Bodom is a melodic death metal band from Espoo, Finland. In total they have released eight studio albums, two live albums, two EP’s, and two compilation albums, and one DVD. Follow The Reaper was the band’s first album to go Gold in Finland and Children Of Bodom are one of Finland’s best selling artists of all time.
20) Avenged Sevenfold- Nightmare
Avenged Sevenfold or otherwise known as A7X by their fans is a heavy metal band from Huntington Beach, California. They are known for their diverse sound and dramatic imagery in both album covers and merchandise. To date, A7X has released six studio albums and one live album/DVD. Nightmare is the only release to feature Dream Theatre’s Mike Portnoy on drums after the untimely death of James “The Rev” Sullivan in 2009. Cover artwork for Nightmare was done by Travis Smith.
19) Coal Chamber- Coal Chamber
Coal Chamber is a nu metal band formed in Los Angeles California in 1993. The band gained a large following early in its career because it was the first “darker” themed nu metal band having more in common with the Goth subculture then the hip hop culture. The band has released four studio albums along with three compilation albums.
18) Rage Against The Machine- Rage Against The Machine
The debut album by Rage Against The Machine went to #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and #45 on the Billboard 200 chart. Rage Against The Machine was an American alt metal group formed in Los Angeles, California in 1991. Known for their leftist political views the albums cover features Malcom Browne’s Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of Thich Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk burning himself to death in Saigon in 1963 in protest of the murder of Buddhists by U.S. backed Prime Minister Wgo Dinh Diem’s regime.
17) Five Finger Death Punch- War Is The Answer
Five Finger Death Punch or FFDP is a metal band from Las Vegas Nevada. Formed in 2005 the groups name is derived from classic martial arts cinema. FFDP has released five studio albums, having sold over 2.6 million albums in the United States alone. Their sixth album is scheduled for a 2015 release. Jekyll and Hyde, The first single from the upcoming album is out now.
16) Motorhead- Motorhead
In 1975, Motorhead began a journey that would change the rock scene forever. Formed by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian Fraser Kimister, professionally known by his stage name Lemmy. The band is often considered a precursor to or one of the earliest members of New Wave British Metal, which re-energized heavy metal in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. Despite this, Lemmy has always said their music is simply “Rock and Roll”. Joe Petango is the artist responsible for the infamous fanged face known as War Pig that serves as the symbol of Motorhead. He drew it in 1977 for the cover of the album Motorhead. Phil Smee turned it into a negative and did the lettering to complete the logo.
15) Rob Zombie- Hellbilly Deluxe
Hellbilly Deluxe started Rob Zombie’s solo career. It is Zombie’s highest selling record to date and was a play on the Dwight Yoakam album Hillbilly Deluxe. The cover art, done by American illustrator Basil Gogos came under controversy and had to be altered in order for Wal-Mart to sell the album. Though resistant at first, Zombie later stated, “for some of these kids, it was the only place they can buy records. At the end of the day, its these kids who are getting f—ed.” He had to remove the pentagram image, as well as the “X” engraved on his forehead. Images of “scantly clad women” were also removed from the album’s booklet as well.
14) Megadeth- Youthanasia
Youthanasia is the sixth studio album by Megadeth who was formed in 1983 out of Los Angeles, California. The cover art features an elderly woman hanging babies by their feet on a seemingly endless clothesline. According to bassist David Ellefson, the cover art was inspired by a direct line from the song Youthanasia that says, “We’ve been hung out to dry.” Ellefson explained, “That song was probably the strongest representation of how we feel about the young people who listen to our music and what their future holds for them. Its like you have a choice, you can become proactive or you can chose ‘Youthanasia’.” Lead Singer Dave Mustaine has stated that the idea for the title stems from hearing about Jack Kevorkian, as well as the declining state of well-being of young people, specifically referring to issues like drugs, crime and violence, and lack of parenting.
13) Slayer- Divine Intervention
Slayer is a thrash metal band formed in 1981 in Huntington Park California. Divine Intervention was released in a clear jewel box with a die cut O-Card. It included sixteen pages which folded out to be a poster of the Cover Art. Wes Benscoter is the artist who painted and designed the front cover. He would also paint covers for other Slayer released albums Undisputed Attitude and Live Intrusion.
12) Anthrax- Fistful of Metal
Fistful OF Metal is the debut album by the trash metal band Anthrax. This is the bands only album to feature Neil Turbin on vocals and Dan Lilker on bass. Two covers for this album exist. The original gained controversy due to its imagery of a mans mouth exploding as a metal wrapped fist emerges from his throat. The album was re-released in 2000 and a different image was used, which combines Fistful Of Metal artwork with less blood shown and the Armed and Dangerous EP artwork.
11) Slipknot- Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
Vol. 3 is the third major label studio release by the nine member Des Moines Iowa heavy metal band. It’s the band’s only album to be produced by super producer Rick Rubin and also is the only album to not feature profanity. The cover features the “maggot mask” designed by custom percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan. The mask was made of stitched leather with a zipper around the mouth area and can be seen in the video for the albums second single Vermillion. Vol. 3 was recorded at Rick Rubin’s ten bedroom mansion in the Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles. Built in 1918, The Mansion as its referred, is rumored to be haunted. Lead singer, Corey Taylor, took pictures of two orbs hovering near the thermostat that changed the temperature. Drummer, Joey Jordison, claimed to have had an unsettling experience in the basement when he felt something touch him sexually and subsequently never went down there again. The album peaked within the top ten in album sales across eleven countries and went Platinum in the United States. Slipknot would receive a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for the song “Before I Forget”. At the end of 2009, “Before I Forget” was listed as “AOL’s Top Metal Song of the Decade.” Roadrunner Records have listed the music video for “Duality” as the best video in Roadrunner history.
10) Marilyn Manson- Portrait Of An American Family
Portrait Of An American Family is the debut full-length album by the rock band Marilyn Manson. Portrait Of An American Family is the only album to feature bassist Gidget Gein. Gein was fired from the band after its production following a very public drug problem. He would be replaced by Twiggy Ramirez who at the time was a roadie and friend of Gein and Manson. Formed in 1989 in Ft. Lauderdale Florida the group was originally named Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids. Until 1996, the name of each member was originally created by combining the first name of an iconic female sex symbol and the last name of a iconic serial killer. The album’s original art cover featured no text, simply a painting of a clown done by iconic serial killer, John Wayne Gacy. In the early stages of the album’s conception Manson intended to use a picture of himself as a child sitting nude on the couch for the albums interior artwork. Though no genitalia would be shown the record company would reject that idea so Manson instead would create the clay sculpture present in the final cover artwork for the album. Portrait of An American Family is notable for being the band’s only studio album to not feature a image of Mason on the cover. Originally named The Manson Family Album- a direct reference to serial killer Charlie Manson’s own band, it would be changed after the band simply wasn’t satisfied with the output of those recordings and shelved the album for a short time. After a few months they would convince rising star Trent Reznor to produce the album instead and the name of the album would then be changed.
9) Judas Priest- Painkiller
Judas Priest is a English heavy metal band formed in Birmingham, England. Painkiller is the twelvth studio album by Judas Priest and was released in 1990. It was the last album to feature Rob Halford on lead vocals until his return in 2005 and the first to feature Scott Travis on Drums. After two less then successful albums Painkiller was released and has become one of Judas Priests most successful albums. Songs from Painkiller have become staples in Judas Priest live sets. The cover illustration was done by Mark Wilkinson which was based on a original concept by Judas Priest.
8) Ozzy Osbourne- Blizzard of Ozz
Blizzard of Ozz is the debut solo album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne after he was released from Black Sabbath in 1979. It is the first of two studio albums recorded with Randy Rhodes prior to his death in 1982. It featured the hits Crazy Train and Mr. Crawley. It also featured the song Goodbye To Romance which Osbourne has stated was his way of saying goodbye to Black Sabbath The album would be a commercial success, being certified four times Platinum in the U.S.
7) Pantera- Vulgar Display Of Power
The title of this album is taken from a line in the 1973 film The Exorcist. One of the most influential metal bands of the 1990’s Vulgar Display Of Power has been described as “one of the defining albums of the groove-metal genre”. The album features two of Pantera’s most notable songs in “This Love” and “Walk”. The albums cover is the iconic photo of a man being punched in the face. The photo was shot by photographer Brad Guice. The first version showed a boxer with a punching glove but it was rejected by the band so the label did a second version showing a man being punched.
6) Iron Maiden- Killers
Killers is the second album by Iron Maiden. The album was the first with guitarist Adrian Smith and their last with vocalist Paul Di’Anno. Killers was the first Iron Maiden album to be recorded by veteran producer Martin Birch. Birch would go on to produce Iron Maidens next 8 albums. The cover concept is by Dave Lights and the illustration was done by Derek Riggs who is best known for creating “Eddie the Head”, Iron Maiden’s mascot.
5) Metallica- Master of Puppets
Master of Puppets is Metallica’s third studio album and was their first album to be released on a major label. Released by Elektra Records it would peak at number twenty-nine on the Billboard Top 200 and became the first thrash metal album to be certified six times Platinum by the Recording Industry Of America in 2003 for shipping more then six million copies in the United States. It would feature the the hits “Master of Puppets” and “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”. The cover art was designed by Metallica and Peter Mensch and was painted by Don Brautigam. It depicts a cemetery field of white crosses tethered to strings, manipulated by a pair of hands in a blood-red sky.
4) Nine Inch Nails- Downward Spiral
Downward Spiral is the second studio album by Nine Inch Nails and is a concept album detailing the destruction of a man from the beginning of his “downward spiral” to his attempt at suicide. The album was recorded at 10050 Cielo Drive Benedict Canyon in Los Angeles California. That address would become famously known as the address where Sharon Tate was murdered by members of The Manson Family. Lead vocalist, Trent Reznor, bought the home and turned it into a recording studio. Downward Spiral would feature “Closer” and a re-make of the Johnny Cash song “Hurt”, those two songs would put Nine Inch Nails on the music map and also become two of their most popular songs. The cover art is a painting done by Russell Mills
3) Kiss- Dressed To Kill
Dressed to Kill is the third studio album released by rock icons Kiss. While the album cover depicts Kiss in business suits, the only member of the band who actually owned one was Peter Criss. The suits worn by the other members of the band were owned by manager Bill Aucion. The album was certified gold on February 28, 1977 and features the hit “Rock and Roll All Nite” which is one of Kiss’ most well known songs and remains a staple in the bands live shows. The cover photo was shot by rock and roll photographer Bob Gruen. Gruen is best known for his photograph of John Lennon wearing a New York City t-shirt.
2) Quiet Riot- Metal Health
Metal Health is the third studio album released by Quiet Riot. Metal Health is most notable for being the first heavy metal album to reach #1 on the Billboard 200. It featured the hits “Cum On Feel the Noize” and “Metal Health”. The album went on to sell more then six million copies and is considered a classic among heavy metal fans. The artwork was done by Quiet Riot with Stan Watts doing illustrations and Jay Vigon being the art director.
1) Nirvana- Nevermind
Nevermind is the second studio album and made Nirvana a household name upon its release on September 24, 1991. It was recorded at the iconic Sound City Studios in Van Nuys California and is the first album to feature Dave Grohl on drums. Nevermind, with the help of the hit single “Smells like Teen Spirit”, replaced Michael Jackson’s album Dangerous at #1 by January of 1992 and there was no looking back for this Seattle grunge band after that. You could say that with the release of Nevermind the music scene went from one of Glam/Hair Metal to the music genre of Grunge overnight. The big hair and spandex were suddenly put away for ripped jeans and plaid flannel shirts. I can’t think of record before or since that has had such an impact on the music scene as a whole. The Recording Industry Association of America has certified the album Diamond with over 10 million copies shipped and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. The album cover was conceived by Kurt Cobain while watching a television program on water births with Dave Grohl. The photo was shot by renowned photographer, Michael Lavine, whose personal friendships with Kurt Cobain and other Nirvana members gave him unparalleled access to create a visual record of the iconic group.