Top 10 Creepiest Album Covers

Here is Ultimate-Guitar's Top 10 Creepiest Album Covers of all time. Let us know what you think, we know you will.

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What scares you? Everybody has a different definition of scary, and Halloween is the one time of the year where we all reflect on and revel in what creeps us out the most. Whether it's supernatural imagery, the grotesque realism of a mutilated body, or the subtle snapshots that seem superficially harmless, but suggest something so inexplicably dark and haunting they stay with you forever, album art has covered them all. Here is a celebration of some of the creepiest covers in music history. There's something here for everyone.

Here is Ultimate-Guitar's Top 10 Creepiest Album Covers of all time. Let us know what you think, we know you will.

Aphex Twin

Richard D. James Album' (1996)

Richard James aka Aphex Twin has always had arresting album covers but this one from the mid-90s is his scariest. At the time of this album's release, Aphex Twin was the leading force behind the electronica boom so the music world was definitely watching. The cover art shows a close-up of James in lighting that makes him look nothing less that demonic. As hard as black metal musicians try to make themselves appear as evil as their lyrics, they can't hold a candle to the creepiness of Richard D. James Album.'

Mayhem

Dawn of the Black Hearts' (1995)

Although it was released as a bootleg, we had to include Mayhem's Dawn of the Black Hearts' on this list. Where bands like Cannibal Corpse and Mortician use gory paintings and imagery to get their point across, the folks that originally issued this record used an actual photo of a suicide to drive their message home. If that weren't macabre enough, the person in the photo is Dead, Mayhem's late singer who took his own life in 1991.

Cattle Decapitation

Humanure' (2004)

Lead by vegetarian throat abuser Travis Ryan, California's Cattle Decapitation write songs where humans are put through some torturous predicaments. The cover to their Humanure' album is a stomach-turning vision that depicts a cow sh*tting out the bloody remnants of a human.

We're sure Ryan was trying to turn the tables and show a world where animals ate us instead of the other way around, but that probably went over a lot of people's heads. In the end, we're still left with one of the most memorable and vile album sleeves we've ever seen.

Sanjaya

Dancing to the Music in My Head' (2009)

Andy Warhol said everyone will get 15 minutes of fame in their lifetime. This American Idol' reject had about 6 minutes of it and that was 6 minutes more than he actually deserved. The guy had zero talent and the personality of a garden gnome, yet for a fleeting moment, America fell for his crap and voted for him week after week. Whereas other American Idol' finalists went on to get major label record deals, Sanjaya didn't exactly have the A&R executives running in his direction. Released on a tiny indie label that no one has ever heard of, Dancing to the Music in My Head' is horrid even for teen pop standards. The only thing ghastlier than the songs is the cover of the record. It looks like something a 9-year-old girl would create in art class if that girl were on 3 hits of acid.

Anathallo

Canopy Glow' (2008)

These forward-thinking indie rockers don't pay attention to genre limitations and the cover to their Canopy Glow' album displays that same F You attitude. Most of their hipster peers go with the precious and pretty route when it comes to the visual side of their work, but Anathallo bravely went with a haunting vision of a boy lying dead in the dirt.

It's an image that will conjure up emotions and stay with you long after you see it. Despite its shock value, the nightmarish moment somehow works beautifully with the group's dizzying songwriting.

Sodom

Get What You Deserve' (1994)

Leaders of the original Tuetonic Thrash scene of the 80s, Sodom's band name alone displays the trio's disregard for mainstream conformity. They've had their share of offensive album covers in their long career but 1994's Get What You Deserve' is on another level of horror. The photo shows a dead fat dude lying on a bed surrounded by blow up dolls, handcuffs, and what looks like an underage girl, whom, from the album's title, one would infer he was victimizing. It's a testament to the band's rebel spirit that they would use this disturbing image for one of their releases. There's no way in Hell that Wal- Mart would ever stock their shelves with this.

Millie Jackson

Back to the S**t!' (1989)

It's not often you see R&B covered in the pages of Ultimate-Guitar, but just look at that photo! Are you kidding us Millie?! The scariest thing about the entire thing is the thought of walking into the bathroom right after the singer abuses that poor toilet bowl.

Antony and the Johnsons

I Am a Bird Now' (2005)

Antony and the Johnsons is the solo vehicle from singer/songwriter Antony Hegarty and it's the kind of high-brow stuff that the critics in New Yorker' magazine go gaga about. But the cover for his I Am a Bird Now' could have easily been used by a hardcore or metal band. Gorgeously shot by Peter Hujar, the cover of the record is taken from one of the photographer's most celebrated works, Candy Darling on her Deathbed, 1974.' It shows Darling, one of the aforementioned Andy Warhol's so-called Superstars, in Columbus Hospital, sprawled across the bed where she would soon die from leukemia at the age of 29. Her thousand-yard stare will pierce you.

The Afghan Whigs

Gentlemen' (1993)

It's just a simple image of a boy and a girl. No blood, no lifeless victims. But I defy you to take in the cover of this classic Afghan Whigs' album without feeling a little uncomfortable. There's no denying the suggestive nature of the photo something is about to happen between these kids, or maybe it already has. The look in the boy's eyes could convey apathy or regret, but no matter how you interpret it, there's a complete lack of innocence. Like in the album's title track, the boy is a wolf in sheep's clothing, disguised as a harmless child. There's no mistaking his intentions though. Boys will be boys, and girls, no matter how young or old, are their willing lambs.

Herbie Mann

Push Push' (1971)

It's midnight and you've just returned home from a long day at work. You open the door to your bedroom and all you see is this naked guy, standing there waiting for you in the dark, holding a flute. Happy Halloween.


Article by Carlos Ramirez Ultimate-Guitar.Com 2009

179 comments sorted by best / new / date

    tom1thomas1
    pizzanipple wrote: Black Sabbath's debut not here? The UG team are shitter than i thought. Get back to your Xboxs.
    bet you wouldnt have thoguht of putting sanjaya on here lol
    Jøhnny
    Its midnight and youve just returned home from a long day at work. You open the door to your bedroom and all you see is this naked guy, standing there waiting for you in the dark, holding a flute. Happy Halloween.
    One of the best things I've ever read in my whole life, seriously. That made my day.
    Pukka-VCU
    There are way too many oblivious users on this site. Quality article just in time for the best holiday of the year! Great work, that ending slayed
    pizzanipple
    Black Sabbath's debut not here? The UG team are shitter than i thought. Get back to your Xboxs.
    BushMasterFlex
    sweet album covers! im suprised theres no canibal corpse. probebly because it dosent take much creativity to make one there covers
    Motortool79
    This list sucks. They need to add Exhorder's Slaughter in the Vatican and the original cover of Far Beyond Driven! Some Cannibal Corse would have been nice too. The only album cover on this list that actually deserves to be is Mayhems.
    ticklemeemo
    Chromex wrote: How is the Afghan Whigs one disturbing?
    It's pretty sad that you don't get that one.
    SuicidalFreak
    Most of Death's albums, including Leprosy and Spiritual Healing, should have been on the list.
    spghlax15
    metallicafan616 wrote: Thank God for the Mayhem one, it's the only 'scary' album cover with any meaning behind it at all.
    Yeah I'm glad to see they mentioned dawn of the black hearts, Its more creepy that the person who took the picture died before that album came out.
    56deci
    they missed Rammsteins "Sehnsucht"! that belongs this top 10 totally
    TheArtOfRuinxxx
    phoenix_crush wrote: no cannibal corpse ?!
    yea, and like the other guy said, maiden would be equally as good. hell awaits by slayer is pretty creepy too.
    AstheticsOfHate
    Holy donkey nips, that Mayhem cover is amazing. The rest are pretty average, more of a spoof article than anything substantial. The grammar was also shocking.
    Seaneh
    Oh, come on! The only one relatively shocking was the Mayhem one. All the rest were just pics of random people.
    iH8CarAccidents
    Dude, I'm surprised Megadeth's The World Needs a Hero didn't make it on the list. Look it up and tell me that's not creepy. Haha.
    Ali-b912
    I wouldn't call alot of these creepy, but creepy isn't reall. Shocking or gory would probably be more relevant, but then you'd just have the cannibal corpse discography. TBH the only creepy one is aphex twin, and even then it's not really creepy.
    [travis]
    Wow. Antony and the Johnsons is the creepiest. Scratch that, Sanjaya's got me the worst. I won't be able to sleep for a week now because of him. Like Ryan Seacrest in a stripclub, I freaked out.
    andeen10
    I don't think CC covers are all that creepy anymore... CD's cover is pretty sick and sanjaya, omfg that was creepy >
    andeen10
    it cut me off :p anyways, its creepiest covers not most brutal covers
    The JesterHead
    Shinsen88 wrote: Opeth's Deliverance album has a pretty creepy cover.
    This. Actually, so does Damnation in a way - but not as creepy as Deliverance, totally agreed.
    rosie247
    Hey thanks great choices but why havent u got a cannibal corpse one, like wretched spawn, tomb of the mutilated, there the most brutal and most ****ed up covers of all time!
    mrjack465
    Some of these aren't that creepy. So many other covers should be on here like Manson's Antichrist Svperstar.
    Warehouse
    Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but Sabbath's first album cover is creepily bad ass
    MasterOfCows
    Shinsen88 wrote: Opeth's Deliverance album has a pretty creepy cover.
    I was just going to say that. The face in the window almost made me sh*t bricks when I first noticed it.
    steevo92
    Where is Fear of the dark? i think it should be on the list... the cover of it is really frightnening
    Emsixteen 42
    UGh. Butchered at Birth isn't up here or Tomb of the Mutilated? And who can forget Eaten Back to Life(all Cannibal Corpse)? And Exhumed's Gore Metal. The Stench of Redemption(Deicide) should have made it or Symphonies of Sickness(Carcass). What about Christ Illusion, Reign In Blood, Show No Mercy, Hell Awaits(all Slayer), Altars of Madness(Morbid Angel). And what about Napalm Death's Leaders Not Followers? Just sayin. Good list though. Especially the Cattle Decapitation and Millie Jackson cover. lol.
    The Warmaster
    I think people are kind of missing the point here. People keep saying Cannibal Corpse should be on here, but it's actually the difference between a few moments of shock and things that will remain disturbing forever that got all these other covers on the list. After all, zombie cunnilingus and demons boring their way out of someone's vagina can only shock you for so long.