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Ten Controversial Album Covers

Andrew Kelham
Andrew Kelham 22 April 2009 at 00.28

Rock Sound takes a look at ten album covers that stirred up controversy. This is probably not safe for work or those who are easily offended.

Rock Sound takes a look at some of the most dubious, disturbing, disgusting and distressing album art to ever be released. Why are we doing it? Well, we don’t know, but we’re not sickos, honest…

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P.O.D. ‘Payable On Death’
Christian retailers boycotted this album after the cover depicted a naked lady bound with rope, sporting butterfly wings. The band? Christian. The artist behind the cover? Christian. The result? Bad PR for the faithful.

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Jimmy Eat World ‘Bleed American’
A picture of a bunch of trophies, no cause for concern, right? Wrong. The album was titled ‘Bleed American’ and while that made sense in July 01 it suddenly felt wrong in September 01, thus the band redid the artwork and subtly changed the album to a self-titled release.

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AC/DC ‘If You Want Blood You’ve Got It’
Everyone was outraged after Angus Young was depicted as being impaled on a guitar onstage. Bemusingly, Bon Scott singing, “Any virgins in Glasgow?” during ‘The Jack’ was met with much less clamour.

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Iron Monkey ‘Our Problem’
The band used John Wayne Gacy to provide the album art. The problem was that Gacy was a serial killer and his re-emergence as an artist was not universally accepted. In fact, people bought his paintings at auction just to destroy them.

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Carcass ‘Reek Of Putrefaction’
This album cover was banned because it was a patchwork of autopsy images taken from medical journals. Most controversial, in Rock Sound’s opinion, was that the entire band were strict vegans. Man meat is still meat.

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Dead Kennedys ‘Frankenchrist’
The band were taken to court over the H.R. Giger poster inserted in the release called ‘Penis Landscape’. It doesn’t take much imagination now, does it?

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Rage Against The Machine ‘Rage Against The Machine’
You’d think that a bloke setting himself on fire as a protest of a regime’s oppression of his religious freedoms would cause a proper stink. Strangely enough, this album never tops controversial album art lists because the image is a depiction of real life and not a drawn or rendered image. How weird is that?

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Manowar ‘Anthology’
Controversial? Absolutely. How can four oiled-up dudes with permed hair and leather accessories sell over nine million records. Who buys it? Slightly obscure.

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Genital Deformities ‘Shag Nasty Oi!’
A terribly drawn album cover by the Brum crustcore band, featuring – yep, you guessed it – a boatload of deformed genitals. One for Mother’s Day.

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Metallica ‘Metallica’
Everyone laughed when Spinal Tap released a black album, everyone took Metallica seriously when they did the same thing. Surely the most controversial album cover of all time?

For another 10 pick up a copy of the latest Rock Sound magazine.

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