How Important is Album Art?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about albums I purchased solely because the cover looked awesome, and to be honest, the list is pretty long. In fact, not long before writing this, I asked some friends about albums they’ve purchased based on cover art and we had quite a few in common. To start, I’ll post a few that jumped out at me from the submissions I took. These were submitted by Brian Pattison, Jesse Benker, Christina Pagan, Vince Mayer, Greg DiPasquale and Brian Hulin:

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But good album art doesn’t always mean a “busy” cover with tons of detail and/or gore. Take this classic for example:

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It’s a perfect example of how the mystery of what a cover could be can also provoke impulse buys from listeners. Then, of course, there’s an obvious one here that most metalheads think of immediately when asked about their favorite album art or iconic metal art in general. In every conversation I’ve ever had about metal album art, “Eddie the Head” by, Derek Riggs always reigns supreme. Riggs had dominion over Iron Maiden’s discography from 1980-1992. Here are my favorite Maiden covers:

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As for me, some more recent albums I’ve purchased after viewing the cover, before a single listen, have been:

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I’d also like to add that I’ve never been disappointed with an impulse album buy, based on cover art. Granted, I can’t speak for everyone, I’d like to think that album art is a lot more important than some people think. There are too many metalheads out there, who I feel are too consumed by the race to find the most extreme, underground acts to ever grace the internet. “I know way more bands than you, bro. I know every established death metal band in the world!” Well, for those of you who are human metal archives, I commend your dedication and I respect the integrity of your memory banks. But for me personally, I can’t do it. I can’t remember all these band names, song titles, riffs, lyrics, etc. Whether it’s on Bandcamp or in a record store, 8 times out of 10, it’s the cover art that grabs me first. So, how important IS album art? In my opinion, it’s pretty fucking important. I also can’t help but feel sorry for all the great artists out there, who get little to no recognition for the kick ass albums that THEY are in fact are selling to people. Mark Riddick is another favorite of mine. His work with The Black Dahlia Murder and Arsis is legendary to me. Here are some of my favorite Riddick pieces. You may recognize some of these:

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I just can’t get enough! Well, farewell for now, Metallers. As always, stay tuned for more and keep the feedback coming! What topics should we tackle? What bands should we mention? Who are WE not listening to and should be?

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