You are here
Album Art Exploration Articles 

Meet Buffalo Springfield

1966 was an exciting year for rock music. New acts like Cream and The Mothers of Invention issued debut albums. The Beatles released Revolver while Bob Dylan unleashed the double-LP, Blonde on Blonde. Into this sea of creativity emerged an unknown band by the name of Buffalo Springfield. Exactly who was this new group that had taken over the airwaves with the hit song, “For What’s It’s Worth?” Curious record buyers needed only to peruse the rear sleeve. A short bio of each musician is printed beneath a group photo. Listeners…

Read More
Album Art Exploration Articles Observations and Musings 

Iron Maiden: The Legend of the Black Cat

Eddie has been the face of Iron Maiden since day one. From seedy underworlds of urban decay to Egyptian pyramids and hostile ice planets, creator Derek Riggs has famously buried jokes and messages in the landscapes that Eddie called home. One particularly murky legend is that a black cat is hidden in each Iron Maiden album. The black cat legend is rarely discussed. I wondered if the concept was some half-invented figment of my imagination. A Google search yielded no conclusive evidence. If not for fruitless inquires posed by random…

Read More
Album Art Exploration Articles 

Murray: A Short History of the Dio Mascot

If Ronnie James Dio had simply been the singer of Rainbow and Black Sabbath, his name would have been firmly etched in the annals of rock and roll. With Holy Diver, Dio escaped the shadow of his past and forged an identity that was truly his own. A carefully assembled band helped create the music. The image, however, can be attributed to a monstrous mascot named Murray. An evil creature with blood red eyes, our first glimpse of Murray shows this beast choking a drowning priest with iron chains. The…

Read More
Album Art Exploration Articles 

LEGACY OF BRUTALITY: THE MISFITS AND THE CRIMSON GHOST

The Crimson Ghost or The Fiend Skull. Call him what you will, the fiendish ghoul has been the face of The Misfits for decades. With the “original” Misfits reunion looming, the time is right to revisit the legacy of this iconic mascot. The Crimson Ghost first found life in the 1940’s. Starring in a serialized film, the masked villain went to murderous lengths in his attempts to steal an invention dubbed Cyclotrode X. Capable of deflecting atomic rays, the machine would be invaluable in preventing an atomic attack during the…

Read More
Album Art Exploration Articles Observations and Musings 

NOT OF THIS WORLD: THE DANZIG SKULL AND THE SAGA OF CRYSTAR

The artwork of the first Danzig record was perfect. A white skull occupied both panels of black gatefold. All was secondary to the skull. No track list was present. Even the actual logo was pushed to the bottom corner. Visually stimulating, the skull boldly ushered in the next chapter of Glenn Danzig’s storied career. Of course Glenn was using the skull long before his eponymous debut. It was unveiled with the birthing of Samhain. Unlike the Crimson Ghost, this new creation was not taken from Hollywood. It had no immediately…

Read More
Album Art Exploration Articles 

SARGENT D AND THE S.O.D. – STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH

The year was 1985. Anthrax was in the midst of recording Spreading the Disease and Scott Ian sat bored in the studio. With guitar tracking complete, Ian began drawing cartoons. From these doodles, the world’s most wretched pile of hate-mongering filth was born. Dubbed Sargent D, this fascist villain began his ascent to world domination. A living skull in an army helmet, Sargent D puffed on a cigar as he spewed words of hatred. Phrases like, “I’m not prejudice, I hate everyone equally” and “Don’t smoke, I’ll rip your lungs…

Read More
Album Art Exploration Articles Top Ten Lists 

The Mascots of Metal

When bands adopt an official mascot, the concept takes on a life of it’s own. The consistent presence of metal’s assorted creatures keeps the genre fun. The following list celebrates ten of the most beloved mascots in metal.   VIC RATTLEHEAD   Vic Rattlehead was the skeletal representative of Megadeth right from the start. Not only does Vic appear on the cover of Megadeth’s debut, but he was also immortalized with song. “Skull Beneath the Skin” recounts the creation of this metal icon. Prepare the patient’s scalp to peel away Metal…

Read More
Album Art Exploration Album Reviews Articles 

ROCKET TO RUSSIA: THE PUNK ROCK ART OF THE RAMONES

  The Ramones had high expectations for Rocket To Russia. Songs like “Rockaway Beach,” “Locket Love” and “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” were pure pop. When the album peaked at 49 on the billboard charts the band was bitterly disappointed. Many blamed the stalled momentum on a rival band from the U.K. The Sex Pistols had dirtied up the punk aesthetic with their nihilistic self-destruction. For better or worse, the genre was now viewed as confrontational and dangerous. Radio shunned all things punk. Any chance of Rocket to Russia yielding…

Read More
Album Art Exploration Articles Observations and Musings Top Ten Lists 

THE BEST/WORST ALBUM COVERS IN HEAVY METAL & HARD ROCK

HELLOWEEN – FUTURE WORLD Based on Judge Dredd, to me, this was just a badass pumpkin with a Mohawk strumming an electric guitar. After all, it’s HELLOWEEN. Of course there’s gonna be some chill pumpkin dude killing it on guitar. He’s kind of spacey and futuristic too. Well, that’s cause it’s the “Future World” single. The music is upbeat and happy. Seriously. It makes me want to dance a happy jig and hug people. OF COURSE the album cover is gonna have a lighthearted take on the band’s ongoing connection…

Read More
Album Art Exploration Articles 

TARKUS: VISIONS OF DOOM FROM EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER

It’s hard to be afraid of an armadillo. Yet, this is no ordinary creature. Rather, it is a mysterious, mechanical hybrid of doom. An armored tank of destruction, this unholy entity is designed to spread terror. It even has a name. Behold TARKUS! Behind Tarkus is an infinite trail of death. The carnage extends well beyond the line of vision. No sign of exhaustion is visible in his glaring red eyes. Tarkus pushes onward in his murderous rampage. Strange worlds come alive within the gatefold of this classic ELP record….

Read More