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 #1 below.
#10: KING DIAMOND - "Abigail"
#9: MACHINE HEAD - "The Blackening"
#8: TYPE O NEGATIVE - "Slow, Deep And Hard"
#7: SEPULTURA - "Chaos A.D."
#6: KILLSWITCH ENGAGE - "The End Of Heartache"
#5: NAILBOMB - "Point Blank"
#4: FEAR FACTORY - "Demanufacture"
#3: SEPULTURA - "Roots"
#2: BRUJERIA - "Matando Güeros"
#1: TYPE O NEGATIVE - "Bloody Kisses"
Brooklyn goth act TYPE O NEGATIVE may have warned fans not to "mistake lack of talent for genius" on the back cover, but there is no denying that the band found their footing with this 1993 magnum opus — and first Roadrunner album to achieve gold status. Equally perverse and romantic, the album's message was a more refined version of the band's broken, beaten and scarred outlook, yet still brimming with thick sarcasm and self-deprecating of the goth scene they were associated. Sonically, the dark, moody tones met more streamlined melodicism, thus enhancing the band's accessibility to a wider audience as an added result.
Infectious singles like "Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)" and "Christian Woman" dominated the radio waves, and catapulted the band into the spotlight. And the iconic image representing their master work didn't hurt in the least: A photo of two women in a passionate embrace, the visual depiction of a bloody kiss on their lips, this was an album that piqued curiosities and beamed success.
In the extensive liner notes of the Top Shelf Edition of the album, frontman Peter Steele explains the cover shot, saying, "I suppose that was my idea. I'm not really sure how it came about, but there's nothing better than having two flowers in one place at one time, so that's what we did. I still complain that the color is off though."
Adds keyboardist Josh Silver, "I think Peter had a darker idea in mind, but he likes lesbians so it's okay."
Roadrunner Records Senior VP of A&R Monte Conner on TYPE O NEGATIVE's "Bloody Kisses":