Since 1910 musicians have associated visual arts with their sonic output in the form of the almighty album cover. And since 1987, Roadrunner Records has been a source of some visually stunning and visually disturbing images in the wide world of album art, nevertheless honoring the tradition. Whether using an image to set the tone for what's to follow on your speakers, or as a means of branding in forever associating a picture with a title, there is no question as to the power of the album cover — which is why the label took a look at every album released on Roadrunner Records U.S. to find the greatest covers in its celebrated history.
Voted on by the Roadrunner worldwide staff, showcasing the iconic vs. the blasphemous, the painted vs. the photographed, as well as the found art vs. the commissioned art, we give you the "Ten Greatest Album Covers in Roadrunner History" — one at a time.
Feast your eyes on #8 below, and check back at RoadrunnerRecords.com every day as the label counts down to number one.
#10: KING DIAMOND - "Abigail"
#9: MACHINE HEAD - "The Blackening"
#8: TYPE O NEGATIVE - Slow, Deep And Hard
For Brooklyn-born goth-metal contingent TYPE O NEGATIVE, their 1991 debut album showcased the sound of "jackhammerrape — but that's not the only controversial part about it. Recorded in 1989, featuring seven dark-humored and sexually-charged angst-ridden songs of relationship betrayal, the band's sarcastic message was largely taken out of context by the public — and the cover did not help. Featuring an extreme close-up of actual sexual penetration, an image ripped right out of a porno mag, the band's entrance into the music world started with a, uh, bang — and was met with a lot of resistance. But despite its sordid reception, TYPE O NEGATIVE laid the groundwork for their gloomy doom with raw, ubridled aggression, and later went on to channel it into worldwide success.
In the liner notes of the 2009 reissue of this album, keyboardist Josh Silver looks back on using this "found art", saying, "It's not an original photograph... But I'm kind of ashamed of taking it now — it's kind of like downloading. But we didn't know better at the time. And it probably would've been easy to get the rights to use it, actually."
But despite the way it was obtained, there's no denying the now-legendary image as our #8 album cover.
To give more insight into Roadrunner's selection, Senior VP of A&R Monte Conner offers his take in the YouTube clip below.