Throughout the genre’s history, there have been many heavy metal album covers deemed shocking and offensive, some even getting slapped with censorship.
But what are the most jaw-dropping, disturbing, and offensive covers to ever be made? Well, much like our grossest metal album covers of all time feature, we pulled up a number of discographies and searched for those covers that have the power to unnerve even the most veteran of metalheads who are used to graphic imagery.
Please keep in mind that this feature comes with a strong content warning regarding the following subject matter: mutilation, sexual violence, blasphemous imagery, violence involving animals, violence involving children, suicide, and genitalia.
Without further ado, here are the 10 most offensive metal album covers of all time.
Repentless – Slayer
Slayer has never been shy when it comes to writing lyrics that explore blasphemous subject matter, and for their last album, the band went with an album cover that captures the extremity of their music. The Repentless cover is by far the most forwardly shocking and graphic artwork Slayer has used for a record.
Butchered at Birth – Cannibal Corpse
Any Cannibal Corpse cover could have made this list, but among the band’s discography, Butchered at Birth has caught a lot of attention from people. Of course, it goes without saying, the prominent featuring of dead babies has upset a lot of folks.
Ritual of Gore – Lunacy
When it comes to other metal album covers involving kids, Lunacy’s Ritual of Gore features a striking image of a man biting into a child. However, here’s an interesting note about this one, this is actually a reference to the famous painting known as “Saturn Devouring His Son.”
Surpassing the Boundaries of Human Suffering – Ingested
When it comes to the world of brutal slam, there is a plethora of upsetting and offensive imagery to be found. Among the album covers we’ve seen that have shocked us, there’s Ingested’s Surpassing the Boundaries of Human Suffering.
Dawn of the Black Hearts – Mayhem
Throughout the years there has been a variety of cartoonish dead bodies drawn on metal album covers… but to show an actual dead body? And specifically, an image of someone who has committed suicide. Well, Mayhem did just that with their live record Dawn of the Black Hearts.
I – Dead Peasants
Animals being injured or mutilated is a big trigger for a lot of folks, which is why it’s shocking to see Dead Peasants prominently feature a dog on their cover of I with its intensities falling out.
In Grisly Rapture – Revolting
Besides the graphic mutilation shown on the cover of Revolting’s In Grisly Rapture, what is also likely to rile some folks up is the imagery of genitalia featured just below each respective decapitated head.
Holy War – Thy Art Is Murder
So what you actually see here is the uncensored cover for Thy Art Is Murder’s Holy War; the censored version shows only the kid’s face. Attempting to feature a child suicide bomber on your cover is a hell of a move, but of course, there are a lot of folks very opposed to that idea.
Terrifyer – Pig Destroyer
Featuring nudity on any album cover has always drawn criticism, but in Pig Destroyer’s case, they really decided to swing for the fences, using artwork for Terrifyer that is both unnerving and unapologetic.
Endarkment – Anaal Nathrak
Below is the uncensored cover for Anaal Nathrak’s 2020 album Endarkment; the original cover features just the band and album’s name, whereas this cover is more…. artistic.