If there's one thing we can agree on, it's that metalheads love horror. Metal has embraced the dark imagery and themes ever since Black Sabbath summoned the devil with their tri-tones back in 1969. Even when bands don't necessarily take on a "horror" inspired persona (see White Zombie or King Diamond), they still adapt the idea into their artwork because the two subcultures have something very much in common: Evil.
Metal fans can tell you that they often face an absurd generalization that being a headbanger automatically labels them as a satanist or a "sinner" which has left the community as a whole feeling like outsiders or outcasts, but we've learned to embrace the darkness. The music, lyrics and especially the artwork reflect our love for the weird and the wicked.
Today we're going to be looking at my favourite album artworks that are clearly inspired by old school B-horror films.
Cannibal Corpse is known for their grotesque imagery but nothing screams Lucio Fulci like this zombie devouring his own guts.
This Mortician album always gives me Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibes.
Death consistently had the coolest album artwork but Scream Bloody Gore has always been my favourite. I can hear the Cryptkeeper cackling as I look at this.
Gotta love the composition of this one. It's got the campiness of a slasher movie but with hints of torture and the undead.
Nothing screams old school horror like a bunch of rotting corpses attacking a final girl in the middle of a secluded swamp.
I grew up on Friday the 13th and slasher films which is why Frightmare's Midnight Murder Mania holds a special place here.
Anyone else get serious Dario Argento vibes from this one?
Ghost is a controversial band in terms of 'sound' but you can't deny that their name, look and artwork perfectly embody the horror motifs. Sue me, I love Ghost.
Here's a band that we can agree are a little too poppy and generic for my taste. That being said, this has got to be one of the coolest album covers I've seen. This is something right out of the Scream anthology. RIP Wes Craven.
This reminds me of one of those old Vault of Horror comics. You know, before the Comics Code Authority put an end to the horror comics industry in the 50s for being too violent. Little did they know...
Not the biggest fan of Acid Witch but if this were a movie... I'd watch it.
I love me some Exmortus, especially this artwork based on the Evil Dead movies. This track friggin' RIPS.
Admittedly, I'm not too familiar with this band but the undead rising in a nightmarish hellscape? Count me in.
I was wondering when Lovecraft would make his way into this list. The Necronomicon is just a bonus.
Did you really think I would make a list of the best horror album covers without including Abigail? It's like not including Halloween on your list of essential horror movies.
This is one of my favourite albums of all the time. The artwork gives me really chilling boogeyman vibes. Let alone the 80s/90s craze of doll terror.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, because it is. There's nothing campier than a werewolf movie with practical effects. Ozzy channels The Howling and an American Werewolf in London with this timeless album cover.
Everything about this screams 80s horror goodness. The band name, the album title, the book of the dead, the axe wielding madman... And the music is good too!
Havok's Time is Up is another great example that plays off the old EC comics artwork like Tales From The Crypt, which later got it's own TV adaptation that ran for 7 questionable but undoubtedly fun seasons. Can you even be a horror metalhead and not love Tales From The Crypt?
This alternate cover of Autopsy's Severed Survival may be the most important on the list. Chris Reifert started this band after having played on Death's Scream Bloody Gore (also on this list) and they're known for their horror and gore album covers, predating bands like Cannibal Corpse and Mortician.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and check out our website for more horror content. You also may know me as "Jhoff" from my Youtube channel Jhofffilms . We do metal based comedy videos but I try to throw in something horror inspired here and there. Follow our social media @screechernet for updates on new articles and other cool stuff. There may just be a part two to this article.