Crap 80s Metal Art is our new favourite thing

The 1980s was The Golden Age Of Metal. Iron Maiden, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Slayer, Mötley Crüe, Celtic Frost, Winger… pound for pound, it threw up more great bands than any other decade in the history of this beautiful planet we call Earth.

But it was a fantastic time to be alive for another reason. The 1980s was the era of really bad album art – and nothing did bad album art like metal.

We’re not talking about the 5th Grade demon that adorns the sleeve of Slayer’s Show No Mercy, or even the physics-and-biology defying cover of Anthrax’s Fistful Of Metal (just how do you punch somebody’s lights out from inside their mouth?).

No, this is next-level insanity. The kind that is usually cooked up by people who don’t usually get to play with anything sharper than crayons. The kind that makes Pantera’s heroically awful Metal Magic cover look like Pablo Picasso’s Guernica (actually, now we mention it…)

Handily for lazy journalists everywhere, the Facebook group Crap 80s Metal Art has pulled together a gloriously grotesque gallery of album sleeves that range from the hilariously wrongheaded to the who-in-the-name-of-a-badly-scribbled-Beelzebub-thought-this-would-be-a-good-idea?  

You’ll find all manner of wrongness there. Woefully rendered barbarian hastily plooped by people who have clearly never seen an actual human before. Snarilng monkey-wolves with 17 eyes and 12 teeth and tongues that would make Gene Simmons weep. Topless demons riding unicorns. Topless unicorns riding demons. And lots and lots of album covers from Italy. Ye gods! Have we forgotten the Rennaissance?  

We’ve cherry-picked some of the best for your delectation here – and by ‘best’ we obviously mean ‘worst’. But we can't take any credit here – that goes to the mighty warriors who dedicate their lives to digging through crates to unearth these masterpieces. Or at least spend a couple of minutes googling them.

There’s plenty more where these came from. Some might say too much more. But not us. So head over to Facebook to feast your eyes, fill your boots and drink in the full glory of Crap 80s Metal Art. You’ll thank us for it.

Battleaxe – Burn This Town (1983)

Axes? Motorbikes? Furry boots? This should be hanging in the Louvre

Various – No Substitute For Steel (1985)

It’s the HMV logo. Only with a demon instead of a dog. See what they’re doing there? You guys kill us.

Creepin’ Death – Errare Humanum Est...Perseverare Diabolicum

“Look, Keith, you told me to turn it off and turn it on again.”

Various – Metal Attack (1987)

Because nothing says '80s heavy metal' like a topless unicorn playing a skull guitar in front of a Pride flag.

Various Artists – Metal Storm (1985)

Another comp, another rainbow colour scheme. Is there something you want to talk about, 80s metal?

Rod Sacred – Rod Sacred (1989)

“Do ya think I'm sexy?” Oh, wait, that was Rod Stewart.

Rose Bayonet ‎– Leather And Chains (1984)

Skeletor: The KK Downing Years.

Angeles del Infierno – Todo Lo Que Quiero

Nom, nom, TWANG!

Drysill – Welcome To The Show

Er, we'll give your show a miss if it's all the same.

M.T. Eyes – Thunder In My Ears b/w Walk On The Road (1985)

Beware of the… dog? Snake? Finger? Fingersnakedog?

Sphinx – Here We Are (1981)

Suck on this, Powerslave!

We genuinely have no idea who this is…

Larpa? Earpx? Help us out, will you.

Or this…

Seriously, we give up.

Dave Everley

Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock, Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw, not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo, the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill. He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.