For any hard rock or metal fan who grew up in the seventies, eighties or even early nineties one of the ways to discover or find a new group was word of mouth but even many more it was by finding a cool album cover. When walking into Sam Goody’s or Tower Records many a metal head who grew up in the hay day of music stores was always drawn to the music of their favorite bands yet when they saw an album or later a cassette or CD cover with great artwork there was always the “that bands cover is so cool let’s give them a shot” mentality. Many iconic album covers drew fans into the bands over the years with bands like Iron Maiden, Helloween, Metallica, King Diamond, Motley Crue and KISS have made an impact on their fan base from album covers alone. These bands album covers alone have had the power to draw fans in without even having heard any songs on said albums. What metal fan can’t remember their first time seeing the Iron Maiden “Killers” album and seeing the second incarnation of Eddie the bands mascot in his trademark form that is still used three decades later? Motley Crue have had a few iconic album covers as have German heavy metal icons Helloween and Danish shock metal icon King Diamond, where they have incorporated the theme or the album or a certain song into the design of their album, take the iconic “Dr. Feelgood” album cover. Some bands may have not used paintings or graphics to make an album cover stand out and make new fans take notice they may have used photography. A prime example of this is the “Vulgar Display of Power” album by Texas rockers Pantera. Their iconic second major release had a picture of a fist punching a man in slow motion close up and it has made the album world known for both its music and cover picture.
In a time where many buy music via the internet where you do not receive album covers or artwork it’s a good time to look back at some iconic albums or newer bands when you can find a nice record shop in your town. In the RVA try Plan 9 in Carytown or Vinyl Conflict Record Store in Oregon Hill, look around, and see something cool, it may become one of your new favorite bands.