Featuring The Beatles, Bily Joel and a host of death metal bands...

12:19 19th March 2009

A collection of hideous record sleeves from over the decades, ranging from huge names like The Beatles and Billy Joel to obscure Scandinavian Death Metal bands. Please note some of the images are definitely NSFW (and probably not advisable to look at just before eating lunch)...

  • Cain: 'A Pound Of Flesh' – The Minnesota rockers' 1975 album does everything it says on the tin – that is, a tin surrounded by grotesque slabs of slimy flesh. Definitely not one for the squeamish.

  • Malevolent Creation: 'Manifestation' – Exactly what the New York death metal band's 2000 compilation album depicts is hard to tell. All we can make out is blue fingers and writhing arms popping out of some kind of a flesh coloured mass. Vile.

  • Danielle Dax: 'Pop Eyes' – Basically a montage of different facial parts, somehow when collaged together the individual images make for something horrifically disturbing. Enough to give children nightmares, it's no wonder this 'Meat Harvest' image was soon replaced by a tamer cover soon after its release in 1982.

  • Pungent Stench: 'Been Caught Buttering' – As their name suggests, Austrian rockers Pungent Stench were a horrendously disgusting band. Lyrically they touched upon such pleasant subjects as coprophagia (i.e. eating shit) and rape, and to soundtrack these songs they released artwork like this. What looks like two decapitated heads kissing was actually just one model of an old man's skull chopped in half. Lovely.

  • David Karsten Daniels: 'Sharp Teeth' – On first glance this album cover is relatively tame compared to many on the list due to its child-like dawdle quality. Yet when you consider it's actually a picture of cannibalism - a man cutting out and eating a woman's intestines - it's actually very grim.

  • Millie Jackson: 'Back To The Shit' – A benchmark disgusting album cover (which also features eminently in both our worst and controversial album cover countdowns), the site of Ms Mildred Jackson gurning with her pants around her ankles while presumably squeezing out a shit is rancid, yet strangely bemusing.

  • Attila: 'Attila' – An embarrassing footnote to Billy Joel's career, the piano man was once in this shockingly turgid rock band. On Attila's eponymous album from 1970, they tried to get noticed by using a photo of the band members in an abattoir for the cover. Incredibly, the mildly unpleasant sleeve is nowhere near as awful as the music the record contains.

  • Almafuerte: 'Del entorno' – This actually made Gigwise wretch slightly when we first saw it. The Argentinian heavy metal outfit's second album from 1996 would serve well as an advert against dog fouling in public. Disgusting is an understatement.

  • NOFX: 'Heavy Petting Zoo' – How NOFX got away with this album cover – basically a man (presumably) touching up a sheep – when it was released in 1996 is beyond us. Worse, the LP version of the album, entitled 'Eating Lamb', features a man in the 69 position with the poor animal. Very wrong indeed.

  • Most Precious Blood: 'Merciless' – The New York hardcore band's third album from 2005 is adorned with an astonishingly realistic picture of a mutilated green zombie. Despite its sickening, macabre quality, it's nowhere near as controversial as the band's previous album cover for 'Our Lady Of Annihilation', which featured a woman dressed as the virgin Mary with a suicide bomb strapped to her body. Crikey.

  • The Beatles: 'Yesterday and Today' – The sleeve to the 1966 US only release was dubbed 'The Butcher Cover' for pretty obvious reasons. Photographer Robert Whitaker took the photo of the band sounded by meat and decapitated baby dolls for a conceptual art project called 'A Somnambulant Adventure'. It was John Lennon who pushed for the photo to be used, but when promo copies were issued outrage duly ensued. Eventually, the cover was pulled for a much tamer image.

  • Cattle Decapitation: 'Humanure' – A twisted parody of Pink Floyd's seminal seventies record 'Atom Heart Mother', the beast on this 2004 album cover is instead situated in a bleak, toxic landscape and is excreting foul human remains. From a deathgrind band called Cattle Decapitation though what did we expect?!

  • Royal Trux: 'Sweet Sixteen' – Easily the worst record of their career, it's perhaps fitting that Royal Trux's 1997 release featured a shite encrusted toilet bowl on the cover. Rumour has it that the photo was taken of a toilet in student accommodation.

  • Cradle Of Filth: 'The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh' – Their 1994 debut album was very much a statement of intent for the Suffolk extreme metallers. Lyrically, it is a very anti-religious work that nods to paganism, vampires, witches and a host of other macabre subjects. The grisly cover, which was deemed too offensive by some stores, syncs up with the music perfectly.

  • Michael Bolton: 'Everybody's Crazy' – Easily the most disgusting on the countdown. An abomination.

  • Cannibal Corpse: 'Butchered At Birth' – Pretty much all of the controversial American death metal outfit's 11 record feature vile artwork, but this, their second album from 1991, is a benchmark of hideousness. Really there's no need for us to describe the horrific drawing.

  • Buffalo: 'Only Want You For Your Body' – The Australian heavy metal band excelled themselves in the macabre stakes with this 1974 album. Featuring a semi-naked, overweight woman tied to a torture rack, the cover stoked up some serious controversy its release. Coupled with the apparent misogynistic lyrical content – one song 'Kings Cross Ladies' refers to London's infamous prostitute area – the band attracted yet more criticism.

  • The Handsome Beasts: 'Beastiality' – Another sleeve that has become infamous in the blogosphere, despite the 1996 release itself selling barely any copies. We're just hoping the glutinous band member on the cover didn't have his wicked way with the poor pig.

  • Dismember: 'Indecent and Obscene' – Like most record covers on this collection, the imagery here matches the album title perfectly. Unsurprisingly, the Swedish Death Metal band were forced to issue an alternate sleeve in some countries when the record was released back in 1993. Song names include 'Fleshless', 'Reborn In Blasphemy' and 'Skinfather'. Lovely.

  • Exhumed: 'Gore Metal' – If the chopped up human remains here weren't so fake, this cover would be genuinely shocking and controversial rather than just plain disgusting.