Album Covers That Deserve Death

The internet is littered with lists that chronicle the worst album covers in the history of music, but most of them are the same.  We’re all aware of how ridiculous the cover is for Whitesnake’s Lovehunter, and if there’s any album artwork on the planet that actively hates women, it’s the thankfully deleted cover for Ted Nugent’s Love Grenade.  But there’s a lot of dumb album covers that don’t get the ridicule they deserve, and since I’m nice and loaded, that’s what’s about to happen.

  • Korn – See You on the Other Side

If I were to get a hold of a time machine, travel back to 1832, and dropkick baby Lewis Carroll into a pit of ravenous wolves, I would be saving modern age from 90% of its shitty art.  I have no idea what in David Lynch’s name is going on here, but I’m guessing it’s Lewis Carroll’s fault, so I choose to blame him.

  • Danzig – 777: I Luciferi

“GRRRR I’M GLENN DANZIG AND I’M GONNA MAKE YOU SMELL MY CLAW GLOVE THING WHILE MY BANDMATES PLAY WITH THEMSELVES.  BUY MY RECORD!”  When Danzig was doing stuff like The Misfits and Samhain, the art he put together for his albums had a really neat DIY feel to them.  Around when his self-titled act took off, his Napoleon complex took over and he started filling his albums with photos of him with his shirt off, often times while he seemed to be molesting a trashy porn star.  To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, please draw your attention to the back of this record:

“Mmmm that’s right lick the glove girl, just like in Spinal Tap, oh yeah, DON’T LOOK AT ME, that’s right, oh yeah!”

Danzig definitely got his head shoved in one too many toilets in high school, possibly by Jerry Only and his friends.  I imagine the only girls who talked to him were his teachers, and even they openly hated him.  Instead of seeking therapy, he became a rock star with a seriously warped idea of what he looks cool doing, and a view of females that screams “I don’t fucking respect you people.”  But speaking of Jerry Only…

  • The Misfits – American Psycho

Hey kids!  Check out the latest Misfits record!  You know, the family-friendly band that sang about getting a messy blowjob from Jackie Kennedy, and aliens impregnating teenagers?  No?  Well you will now, because THERE’S A POSTER INSIDE! WOO-HOO!  We’ll also list some track’s you’ve never heard of on the cover, cuz they have the same names as horror movies and we gotta sell this shit somehow.

The Misfits were actually pretty good with Michale Graves fronting them, but this portrait of the Crimson Ghost is just plain wrongheaded.  Danzig co-opted that image from the 1946 serial and turned it into a punk rock icon.  Here, in his resurrected state, he looks like he’s trying to sell you a used car.

  • Madonna – Hard Candy

Ladies, let this be a shining example of the difference between aging gracefully, and trying desperately to cling to youth.  Faith No More summed up Madonna’s obnoxious need to reinvent herself ad nauseum in their classic tune “Midlife Crisis”, and that was back in 1992.  Hard Candy was released in 2008.

Madonna’s never been truly sexy, because she always tries way too hard.  Her attempts at sexuality usually comes off as forced like they do here, with the trashy spread eagle stance and dime-store dominatrix facial expression.  It doesn’t help that she looks like someone took her as a baby, loaded her into of one of those T-shirt guns, and fired her headfirst into a pole.  If Madge went away forever, I probably wouldn’t notice.

Hey, I just brought up Faith No More!  Segue!

  • Faith No More – The Real Thing

What the fuck am I even looking at?  A flaming raindrop over a dry lake bed?  Who comes up with this boring shit?  Whatever.  Usually with Faith No More, the better the album cover was, the worse the music was inside. This means that The Real Thing is one sweet record.  A sweet record with a dumb, nonsense jacket to house it.

  • Anthrax – The Sound of White Noise

Looks like The Grimace got diarrhea again.  Before this, Anthrax had some pretty kick-ass album covers.  Then they fired Joey Belladonna, hired John Bush, and tried to act like a grunge band, which apparently means having a bullshit abstract album cover, and filling the liner notes with photos of them looking aloof in diners.  The Sound of White Noise is actually a solid record, and “Only” is one of the best tracks Anthrax ever laid down.  But they entered the woods as a band after this album for obvious reasons, and the symptoms of the disease are on display above.

  • Slayer – God Hates Us All

While we’re picking on the Big Four of thrash, let’s look at one of the dumbest covers for a metal album, ever.  I can practically hear the meeting of dipshit marketing minds coming together and getting paid the big bucks to come up with bankrupt crap like this.  It would be easy to verbally destroy this affront to art, but Slayer’s own guitarist, Kerry King, already has.  When asked what the album’s art concept represented, he said the following:

“It represents a record company with absolutely no idea what the fuck they were going to do. If we would have had more time it could have been better. It looks like some seventh-grader defaced a Bible – cartoonish.”

There you have it, even the band thought it was terrible.  This is one of those instances in which in-store censorship yielded positive results, as the alternative cover was much better.

  • Metallica – …And Justice For All

Heresy!  But seriously, why don’t you just punch me in the face and tell me the justice system is corrupt?  It would have the same effect.  There’s a scene in the documentary Paradise Lost, in which then-teenager Damien Echols, who is falsely accused of killing children, explains the meaning behind this album cover/song in court.  In the film’s context, it illustrates a tragic irony, because Damien will eventually be falsely convicted of murdering kids.  Out of context, it simply illustrates how incredibly stupid and shallow this otherwise “iconic” cover art is.

  • Black Flag – Family Man

Oh Henry, get over yourself.  A “spoken word/instrumental” record?  Did you put that on there out of artistic pretension, or did you put it as a warning so fans wouldn’t crucify you after they paid money for this piece of shit?  Please do music and “spoken word” a favor and let life imitate your (cover) art, poser.

  • Limp Bizkit – Gold Cobra

Just look at the women here.  This is proof that listening to Limp Bizkit makes you stupid.

  • Mastodon – The Hunter

Mastodon has a great track record when it comes to killer album covers, so why they decided to go with an image that looks like a bull suddenly realizing it’s been shot in the ass on their latest record is beyond me.  Part of me thinks it was a marketing ploy to make people shell out a few extra bucks for the special edition, which sported decidedly less-stupid artwork.

That’s all…for now.

Monday Mosh / Dream Theater / “Breaking All Illusions”

This here’s my favorite cut off of the new Dream Theater record (which I reviewed a few weeks back).  The departure of virtuoso skinsman Mike Portnoy was cause for alarm, but as this song shows, Mike Mangini gels with the band nicely.  Glad to see they haven’t missed a beat.

Monday Mosh / Lou Reed and Metallica / “The View”

  • Artist: Lou Reed & Metallica
  • Song: “The View”
  • Album: Lulu
  • Genre: WTF

I got really excited when I heard Lou Reed and Metallica were going to do an album together.  Reed has proven to be absolutely fearless as an artist over his long career, and Metallica is a solid band that needs a shot in the arm.  I had high hopes for this record, as this seemed like an inspired collaboration. 

Then, last week, a sample was released of a song off the album called “The View”.  My excitement quickly turned to dread.  One can’t properly judge a song based on a snippet, but what I heard wasn’t encouraging.  Then they released the entire song (which they should’ve done in the first place), and guess what?  It’s amazing!  It changes the face of metal as we know it, Lou Reed has chisled his face into the Mount Rushmore of Metal with the help of the Four Horsemen.  Astounding stuff.

I’m kidding, it still blows rhino ass.  Listen below and judge for yourself. 

Anthrax Returns to “Worship Music”

I’m going to start writing album reviews for Parcbench more regularly, with a primary focus on metal releases, since that’s obviously my forte.  I’ve been talking a bit on this site about Anthrax’s heavily anticipated new album, Worship Music, and I finally have it reviewed, so go take a look.

Belated Mosh / Anthrax / “The Devil You Know”

Things are running late this week, I took an impromptu road trip over the Labor Day holiday and inevitably fell behind schedule.  HomeVideodrome is up over at Parcbench, I’m waiting for it to go up at Big Hollywood to do a post but you can follow the link if you want your fix right now.

This tune is the latest single from Anthrax, off of their long-awaited, much-anticipated album Worship Music, which hits shelves next week.  This is ‘thrax’s first album with Joey Belladonna since 1992’s Persistence of Time, and it honestly sounds like he never left.  His voice is what made Anthrax stand out from the other thrash metal acts of their day (Metallica, Slayer, et al), the band seemed to lose their sense of humor after he was booted in the early nineties.

Being an Anthrax fan has been a bit irritating over the years with their inability to keep a steady line-up.  Worship Music was originally recorded with a brand new singer, Dan Nelson, who came in to replace John Bush.  For whatever reason unbeknownst to us, Nelson was fired and Joey was brought in to re-record the vocal tracks and is back as a full-time member of the band.  So somewhere out there, on some hard drive in Charlie Benante’s office, is a copy of this album with a different singer.  I wouldn’t replace Joey for anyone, but color me curious.  Leak baby, LEAK!

Monday Mosh / Alice Cooper / “I’ll Bite Your Face Off”

I’m of two minds about Alice Cooper’s upcoming album, Welcome 2 My Nightmare, a “sequel” to his classic solo debut album that harkens back to his earlier sound.  Let me say the positive stuff first: I’m glad Alice is getting away from the industrial Rob Zombie Jr. sound that’s dominated his output lately.  Like a lot of great artists, Alice helped define a genre of music with an original sound and a bold live act, however once the genre moved on, he started chasing the trends like everyone else in an effort to stay relevant.  That’s not to say he sucks or anything negative like that, it’s a trap indisputably great musicians have fallen into, just take a look at the career of The Rolling Stones.  Granted, he does do a track with Ke$ha (gawd I hate hitting the “$” when typing her name) on this new record, but at least he’s not trying to sound like the younger talent he’s inspired, doing a song with Ke$ha seems less predictable than what he’s been doing in the past two decades.  It’s also good to see he’s paired up with producer Bob Ezrin again, the two have made some incredible records over the years.

But here’s the thing, it always strikes me as creatively bankrupt to retreat to the territory of whatever it is that made you so successful in the first place, and it’s even more bankrupt to put a fucking number 2 in lieu of the word “to.”  Let’s put that stupid trend to bed, shall we?   Artists returning to their roots when their new stuff hasn’t been connecting with audiences always seems like they’re playing it safe.  The difference here is that Alice gets a pass because he’s been at it for so long, and he’s earned his status as one of the most beloved figures in metal.  This is going to be his twenty-sixth studio record, so if he wants to do a throwback, he’s earned it, I don’t expect him to redefine himself at this stage in his career.  But doing a play on one of his greatest records seems cheap, and “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” sounds like one of the more generic tunes off an old Alice record, but I guess it beats sounding like one of the more generic tunes off a new Alice record like Along Came a Spider.  We’ll see how it turns out.

I should also note that this cover makes me sad

Tuesday? Mosh / In Flames / “Goliaths Disarm Their Davids”

I’m seeing In Flames as part of the line-up at MayhemFest in Dallas, TX tomorrow (yeah, I’m on vacation, hence the belated TUESDAY in the title of this post).  I’ll also be seeing bands like Megadeth, Suicide Silence, Machine Head, and more…so it should be a pretty metal day, provided I stay hydrated and the heat doesn’t get me!

This right here is one of my favorite In Flames tracks.  It’s off the Black-Ash Inheritance EP, but you can also get it on the current version of their classic album, The Jester Race.

Monday Mosh / Faith No More / “Last Cup of Sorrow”

Faith No More wasn’t quite the same without Big Jim Martin on guitar, but this single off their final record, Album of the Year, proves that Jon Hudson was no slouch when it came to churning out a mean & memorable riff.

The music video for this song is a hilariously dead-on parody/homage to Hitchcock’s Vertigo (I’m a fan, did the theme of this site give it away?).  Vocalist Mike Patton stands in for Jimmy Stewart, while actress Jennifer Jason Leigh fills the shoes of Kim Novak.  The bit where she wakes up to find Patton awkwardly hiding a porno mag is a hilarious observation on the perversions of Hitchcock’s characters, something Brian De Palma unironically ran with in movies like Dressed to Kill and Body Double.