THE MOST // Controversial Album Covers of All TIme

Death metal monsters Thy Art Is Murder, as detailed in our latest issue, give a massive fuck about not giving a fuck. Fittingly, they’ve placed a suicide bomber who’s just finished Kindergarten on the cover of their new album, Holy War. (See below:)


Odds are it pissed off a whole bunch of people; left and right, Christian and Muslim, Twitter whiner and Facebook complainer. In our age of clickbait, rage maketh the ultimate viral sensation. Hysteria loves riling y’all up and not giving a crap fuck, so we sat down and found the most controversial album covers of all time. OF ALL TIME! (Uncensored, naturally.)

The Amity Affliction – Chasing Ghosts


Well, this was a crazy amount of misunderstanding. When Amity decided to put an image of a man hanging from a tree on their third album Chasing Ghosts, this prompted backlash from fans who believed it to be glorifying the act of suicide. Lead singer Joel Birch – in a moment of personal retaliation – wrote on his Facebook page “Hey, I tried to kill myself. Then I wrote an album about it. Now we put a guy killing himself on the cover. Call me insensitive.” Obviously this kicked their fanbase into overdrive prompting a response from the singer who wrote “I just wanted to give you my apology for being insensitive and indignant with my initial comments that I aimed at those who were upset about the album image,” adding “I feel really awful about that. No one deserves to be berated about their emotions, and I feel I was far too offensive, and defensive.” However, this was notably before the album’s release (Thy Art’s Holy War anyone?) and when the fans realised the album served as a critique of the act of suicide, they were quick to subside. – Jonty Simmons

Death Grips – No Love Deep Web


Well there was no way this one was making it onto Target shelves. The band’s drummer Zach Hill’s impressive *ahem* erect ‘member’ featuring prominently on the cover. Death Grips were (are? who even knows anymore) no strangers to controversy, but it’s obvious that this was never going to get past censors. Not by a long shot. Due to its graphic content, Hills’ erection was understandably stifled by the incredibly creative overlaying of a black bar. The internet though, were having no part in the censorship of Death Grips’ art and promptly created hundreds of alternative covers ranging from female genitalia, bananas, and even Nyan Cat. In the end the internet won out as there’s now a slipcase cover option to suit everyone. – JS

Slayer – Christ Illusion


What better way for a metal band to follow up an album called God Hates Us All than an album called Christ Illusion, the cover depicting a mutilated Jesus Christ in a sea of blood, surrounded by severed heads. Slayer have never been a band to do anything half assed, but Christ Illusion definitely made a massive statement and took the bands distaste for religion to another level. Ironically enough, their most controversial album was also the one that garnered them a Grammy for Best Metal Performance. – Nicholas Simonsen

Korn – Self Titled


This one’s just creepy for a number of reasons: whether it be the dark figure looming in front of the innocent young girl, or the imagery of the girl’s shadow being hung from the logo in the background. There’s always been a lot of speculation about what the man is holding as well, some say it’s a horseshoe (why the fuck would he be holding a horseshoe?) but most assume it’s some sort of blade. One thing that everyone can agree on, this image is precursor to something pretty fucking horrid. – NS

Scorpions – Virgin Killer


This one is a big fucking deal. The year is 1976. The world is stirring from its hippie hangover. We’re staring down the barrels of two billion megatons worth of nukes. Uli Jon Roth and his merry Churrmans thought it super artsy slapping a nude ten year old girl on the cover of their fourth album, Virgin Killer. Don’t worry, it’s all tasteful. Mostly according to them. Nail impact leaves a window crack over her privates. “It’s about time stealing away the innocence of youth.” Yeah cool whatever. Recently as 2008, conservative Christians (remember when they were the go-to pearl clutchers? Those were the days) demanded the image pulled from Wikipedia in fear of promoting “perversion and pedophilia.” Christians, I see your kettle and it’s way too like my black pot over here. – Tom Valcanis

Marilyn Manson – Holywood

Marilyn Manson has copped a lot of shit throughout his career, whether it be for his image, his music or his lyrical themes. The Antichrist Superstar chose to fight back against censorship with the cover of his fourth album Holy Wood, showing his body strewn on a cross and his jawbone removed. Many retailers in the US refused to stock the album with the cover as is, so the label swiftly added a slipcase to the CD to cover the artist’s take on the Jesus Christ Pose. – NS

Megadeth – Youthanasia


Dave Mustaine can’t catch a break. He’s always lurking behind a Hetfield/Ulrich-silhouette, scheming and snarling. Look at his face, he can’t really help it. In 1994, Mustaine and his classic lineup of Megadeth (Nick Menza, Junior and the almighty Marty Friedman) hung babies up from clothing lines, dystopian Windows 95-style rolling hills behind in the distance. Oh, and we all screamed “Stop Grandma, NO!!!” Of course the title AND cover drew ire from wowsers and concerned parents both. Ironically, Mustaine was potshotting the unconcerned variety of ‘rentals, spending more on “shipping drugs and guns/than to educate our sons.” God Mom and Dad, why WON’T you buy me a Game Gear for Christmas? So LAME. – TV

United Nations – United Nations


So Geoff Rickly from Thursday and Daryl Palumbo from Glassjaw create a band named after the United Nations and get in a tonne of shit for the name. They then decide to take one of the most iconic album covers in rock history (Abbey Road by The Beatles), and engulf the band members in flames? Yeah, sweet. Eyeball Records issued out 1000 copies of the original Abbey Road cover before licensing issues caught up with them, and those copies are beyond impossible to track down now. – NS

Cattle Decapitation – Humanure


It’s literally a dude getting crapped out a cow’s asshole. If that doesn’t make you think twice about your next Maccas run, I salute your gut of steel. – TV

Sky Ferreira’ – Night Time, My Time


For all the fuss about Meghan Trainor’s (who? – ed.) faux feminism, Sky Ferreira actually took the mantle with both hands and did something for the cause with her album cover for Night Time, My Time. Depicting her topless in the shower with a crucifix around her neck, Ferreira attempted to convey her vulnerability throughout the record. According to the singer, the cover was altered because surprisingly, “[m]ost of the people who had a problem with [the cover art] were men.” Of course, old men had a problem with it and moved the frame up slightly to take her breasts out of the shot. Women shouldn’t be allowed to expose their bodies as they see fit right? – JS

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