The Best Heavy Metal Music CDs Covers

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A great collection of the best heavy metal music CD covers.

Best Heavy Metal CDs

It’s no secret that metalheads love their music. But what’s even more impressive is the lengths that some fans will go to show their love of metal. Take, for example, the artwork that adorns many metal albums. Whether it’s a band’s logo, a portrait of the musicians, or an illustration that reflects the album’s concept, the artwork on a metal album can be as important as the music itself.

Metallica- Ride the Lightning

Formed in Los Angeles, CA, in 1981 by drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield, Metallica’s initial approach was one of speed and fury, epitomized by such early songs as “Hit the Lights,” “The Four Horsemen,” and “Jump in the Fire.” With bassist Cliff Burton replacing original bassist Ron McGovney in 1982, the band released its debut album, Kill ‘Em All, in 1983. Although the album was not a commercial success at first — it only reached number 106 on Billboard’s pop albums chart — it was hailed as an underground metal classic and went on to sell more than three million copies worldwide.

Slayer- Reign in Blood

Slayer’s Reign in Blood is perhaps the definitive speed metal album, and one of the most influential metal albums ever made. It’s an unrelenting assault of fast riffs and double bass drumming, with singer/bassist Tom Araya spitting out vocals that are downright evil. Musically, it’s a major step forward for the band, as they perfect their approach to writing short, punchy songs that pack a lot of punch. The production is top-notch, ensuring that every note is perfectly audible. It’s an essential album for any metal fan.

Megadeth- Rust in Peace

One of the most popular and enduring thrash metal bands of all time, Megadeth rose to international fame in the 1980s and early 1990s on the strength of their revolutionary guitar work, their controversial lyrics, and frontman Dave Mustaine’s charismatic delivery. After a turbulent first decade that saw the group achieve platinum-selling status on the back of such classics as 1985’s Killing Is My Business…and Business Is Good! and 1990’s Rust in Peace, Megadeth continued to evolve and change throughout the ’90s and 2000s, weathering lineup changes, shifts in style, and the occasional hiatus along the way. The group maintained a devoted worldwide following despite these challenges, selling more than 38 million albums worldwide by the end of the 2010s.

Best Heavy Metal Cover Art

A lot of people might think that the music is the only important thing when it comes to CDs, but the cover art is also a huge factor. The cover art is the first thing that someone sees when they look at a CD, and it can make or break their decision to buy it. Here are some of the best heavy metal CD covers out there.

Metallica- Ride the Lightning

Metallica’s second album Ride the Lightning was released on July 27, 1984. The album artwork was once again created by Pushead and features a man being electrocuted while riding a roller coaster. The artwork is meant to be a commentary on society’s fascination with violence.

Slayer- Reign in Blood

Slayer’s Reign in Blood is one of the most influential and important heavy metal albums of all time. It is also one of the best-selling metal albums of all time, with over three million copies sold in the United States alone. The album was released on October 7, 1986, by Def Jam Recordings.

The album’s artwork was designed by artist Larry Carroll, who would go on to do album covers for several other metal bands, including Megadeth and Testament. The cover features a bloody and mangled body being crushed by a giant set of teeth. The artwork caused controversy when it was first released, with many people finding it too graphic and offensive. However, it has since become one of the most iconic and recognizable images in heavy metal music.

Megadeth- Rust in Peace

The album that Megadeth released in 1990 was a turning point not only for the band but for metal in general, and part of the reason was Dave Mustaine’s excellent cover art. While the ‘80s were full of bad metal album covers, Rust in Peace proved that metal could be taken seriously as an art form.

The artwork, which features a skeleton riding a missile while holding a guitar, is both ridiculous and sinister, perfectly capturing the spirit of Megadeth’s music. It’s also an homage to the Mad Max movies, which were big influences on Mustaine. The whole package comes together to create one of the best heavy metal album covers of all time.

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