As important as the music they illustrate, the best album covers hold a special place in the hearts of music fans, especially those whose formative years were spent digging through the bins at local stores. Flicking through sleeves, it was not unusual to head home clutching an unfamiliar album, convinced that nothing with such astonishing artwork could disappoint; many collectors own records purely because the sleeve captured their imagination. Heavy metal album covers, in particular, have an intimate connection with the music within, as exemplified by Iron Maiden’s extravagant artwork, which introduced the world to Eddie, the band’s beloved mascot.
Though, in the streaming era, artwork might seem less important than the music, any band who ignores the importance of a good album cover does so at their peril. This list of ten overlooked heavy metal album covers goes out to anyone who has spent hours staring at a sleeve in the hope of discovering the answer to some otherwise unfathomable mystery of the universe.