It's a great way to make a first impression, and anyone who still trawls through record stores knows that sometimes a good cover is enough to convince you an album is good. It often works, too.
But some musicians have a bad instinct for visual art, and it can translate to some truly awful album covers.
On top of that, as the years go by and technology improves, old record covers can look even worse than they did in the first place.
Metal has several victims for bad album covers, and we've been digging through the archives to find some of the worst ever.
All we can say is this: please give our sanity back. Please!
Go ahead and browse this list of bad metal album covers, and vote for the worst one with the widget below.
Boned "Up At The Crack"
Raven "The Pack Is Back"
Battleaxe "Burn This Town"
Kevin DuBrow "In For The Kill"
Fastway "Trick Or Treat"
Stryken "First Strike"
Pat Boone "No More Mr Nice Guy"
Randy Coven "Funk Me Tender"
Metal Skool "Metal Skool"