The Most Ridiculous Album Covers In Metal History

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Vote up the most over-the-top album covers.

As the old saying goes, don't judge a metal album by its cover. When it comes to cover art, bands strive to present the coolest looking artwork they can afford. Some bands are able to make a memorable cover that will adorn T-shirts and back patches forever. Others, not so much. Of course, all cover art varies depending on the style of the music; a Ratt album cover looks far different than those of Cannibal Corpse. Regardless of the genre, no band is immune to bad cover art. From obscure acts to metal legends such as Black Sabbath and Anthrax, they have all released some real stinkers. Here are some of the most ridiculous album covers in metal history.

  • Torment - 'Bestial Sex'
    Photo: Torment

    These ‘80s thrashers had no intention of using subtle metaphors to suggest perverse sex acts. They also didn’t seem to have much money to get their point across. The gonzo photoshoot yielded an image of a wasted German metalhead in a tattered outfit standing behind a cow with his left hand placed tenderly on her rear flank. In keeping with their lurid aesthetic, the band followed up their Bestial Sex EP with the live album Sperm Over Germany and later released the EP Spermatized. Their last album Tomentizer dropped in 2009 and farm animals sighed in relief.

    555 votes
  • Raven were a cool New Wave of British Heavy Metal band before they signed to Atlantic Records and sacrificed their artistic integrity to a misguided art department for the 1986 album The Pack Is Back. Raven’s drummer Wacko was known for wearing a hockey mask onstage so someone in the art department felt it was a good idea to expand on that look - sort of. They upgraded Wacko with a chest protector and space boots while the other band members wear random athletic gear but still wind up half-naked. And what better way to illustrate that the pack is back than by having them bursting out of school lockers?

    487 votes
  • 3
    451 VOTES

    On the surface, Riot's 1979 album Narita has all the elements of an iconoclastic metal cover; skulls, a mushroom cloud, an ax, and a warplane. But Riot’s Narita definitely doesn’t look metal. The band’s ill-chosen, cute furry seal mascot zaps the metal out of the art. Posed like a Sumo wrestler in the middle of the frame, the mysterious seal man looks like he’s about to be decapitated by a wing of the plane. To emphasize the Japanese theme of the cover, there’s Japanese lettering after the album title name and an image of Mount Fuji in the background. All that from a band from New York City.

    451 votes
  • These glam metal morons pre-dated Steel Panther by at least 30 years but it doesn’t quite look like they’re spoofing the sexism of metal. On the cover of their 1985 album If There's A Party In Your Mouth...We're Comin', they appear like a confused cross between Van Halen, Quiet Riot, and Poison. Still, they appear more than ready to party. They have streamers, tons of balloons but, oddly enough, no women. The only lipstick-lined mouths we see are on the four costume-impaired band members. Guess who’s gonna be home alone with a copy of Hustler after the photoshoot?

    417 votes
  • Metal Church - 'Hanging In The Balance'
    Photo: Blackheart

    Metal Church's 1993 album Hanging In The Balance is solid release from a great band that a lot of metal fans never heard it because of the horrible cover. A mohawked chicken lady wearing a huge silver, nipple-revealing breastplate, a peace sign necklace, garish makeup, pink heels and fishnets is about to step onto a high wire, using only a small pink umbrella and an outstretched hand with black polished nails for balance. Sure, there is a thin connection to the title Hanging in the Balance but why Metal Church went with this art has left us hanging.

    405 votes
  • Sovereign - 'Disgrace Command'
    Photo: Louvarth Records

    Judging from the art of this EP, this Brazilian black metal band could have toured with Balls to the Wall-era Accept. Sovereign's testosterone-fueled presentation is the brainchild of Rudolph the Proud, who is proudly prolific having released five full-length albums and four EPs to date. But none feature artwork as... seductive... as Disgrace Command. Sure, the bare-chested Rudolph is holding a three-pronged fire poker but the vibe for Disgrace Command still feels more eurodisco than metal.

    347 votes