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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…

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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…

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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…

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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….

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DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH: THE METAL MONSTERS OF JUDAS PRIEST

In 1982, Judas Priest found themselves at a crossroads. Point of Entry had brought criticism from fans who thought the record suffered from commercial leanings. For their next record, the band could either continue to court radio or proudly return to their characteristic heavy sound. With Screaming for Vengeance, Judas Priest chose the latter path and created one of the strongest statements of their career. To reassure fans that the new album was a return to form, the cover needed to make a bold visual statement. The result was The…

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Rush vs. Rainbow: The Great Rock and Roll Swindle

In 1978, Rainbow was a veritable super group carefully assembled by Ritchie Blackmore. The gatefold photo inside Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll perfectly captures the excitement of seeing these giants perform live. A festive crowd eagerly waits for the curtain to drop. A few fans even hold a banner to greet Blackmore and company as they hit the stage.   This sign has always struck me as problematic. Who makes a banner to hold up at a rock concert and decides NOT to include the name of the band? One…

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TASTING IN TOKYO: SUBLIMINAL HOMOEROTIC ALBUM ART OF THE SCORPIONS

Most of us are familiar with the eighties version of the Scorpions. In the decade before MTV and “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” the band steadily released well-received albums to an international fan base. Although these records arguably represent the band’s best work, the music is often overshadowed by their outrageous cover art. Some images were humorous while others were done in bad taste. They could also be strange. Very strange. LONESOME CROW It all started innocently. Lonesome Crow, their debut album, features a human hand towering over a scorpion. Seems…

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