NME.COM

50 genuinely disturbing album sleeves

  • Tripping Daisy, 'I Am An Elastic Firecracker'. Tripping Daisy were actually pretty good – frontman Tim DeLaughter went on to form The Polyphonic Spree. Sadly, their psychedelic imagery took on a sinister edge after guitarist Wes Berggren was found dead in 1999, having ingested an enormous cocktail of drugs.

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  • Herbie Mann, 'Push Push'. You may laugh, but this jazz flautist's work was sampled on Jennifer Lopez's 'Jenny From The Block' – so he died a wealthy man.

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  • Butthole Surfers, 'Electric Larryland'. Listen to these alt-rockers for too long and invasive ear surgery with a pencil might seem a blessed relief.

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  • David Karsten Daniels, 'Sharp Teeth'. Amazingly, David Karsten Daniels is not a death metal berserker. He's a jazz-tinged singer-songwriter from Portland, Oregon. He's not bad, actually.

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  • Cradle Of Filth, 'The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh'. Pretty offensive – but then you'd expect nothing less from the band whose T-shirts bore the legend "Jesus is a c***".

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  • Nelson, 'Because They Can'. The one on the left is actually pretty hot.

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  • NOFX, 'Heavy Petting Zoo'. No, not a scene from this year's Latitude Festival, it's the cover of a punk record from 1996. 'Pet Sounds' it ain't.

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  • Cattle Decapitation, 'Humanure'. An 'affectionate' tribute to Pink Floyd's 'Atom Heart Mother' sleeve – if it's possible to be 'affectionate' while presenting a horrifying image of bovine prolapse.

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  • Eddie Mack, 'Recorded Live'. He was the Chris Martin of his day.

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  • Johnny Houston, 'Makin Bacon'. According to his website, Johnny Houston is currently available to play your "wedding reception, college event, corporate function or concert". We'll pass, thanks.

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  • Cannibal Corpse, 'Butchered At Birth'. Banned in Germany, these US death-metallers specialise in sickening imagery. Sample song titles include 'Meat Hook Sodomy' and 'I Cum Blood'.

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  • Attila, 'Atilla'. Embarrassingly, this was Billy Joel's band before he became famous as a middle-of-the-road balladeer. Actually, looking back, perhaps this was a career high.

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  • Soul Asylum, 'Clam Dip And Other Delights'. We've got a horrible feeling "clam dip" is a sexual reference. And you thought 'Runaway Train' was offensive.

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  • Most Precious Blood, 'Merciless'. These NYC hardcore types have been going since 2001. Perhaps it's time they grew up and stopped trying to shock mummy and daddy.

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  • Buffalo, 'Only Want You For Your Body'. Spinal Tap's 'Smell The Glove' had nothing on these Australian hard-rockers.

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  • Exhumed, 'Gore Metal'. Even in the days before Photoshop, this probably still looked rubbish.

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  • Royal Trux, 'Sweet Sixteen'. Rumours that this was shot round Pete Doherty's gaff after a heavy night were made up just now.

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  • The Beatles, 'Yesterday and Today'. God knows what convinced them this would be a suitable image for their 1966, US-only album. Unsurprisingly, it was pulled from sale and replaced with a less offensive picture.

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  • The Handsome Beasts, 'Beastiality'. According to their MySpace, Brummie rockers The Handsome Beasts are currently 'between' record deals. You don't say.

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  • Boned, 'Up At The Crack'. Billed as "the band AC/DC used to be" (erm, isn't that AC/DC?), these retro rockers are still gigging, and can be found at Myspace.com/bonedrock.

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  • Dismember, 'Indecent And Obscene'. Does what it says on the tin.

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  • Almafuerte, 'Del Entorno'. Almafuerte were a mid-90s, Argentinian heavy metal outfit whose music was only marginally less pungent than the dog turd featured here.

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  • Danielle Dax, 'Pop Eyes'. This meat-themed kiddie-frightener was replaced by a less unsettling cover soon after its release in 1982.

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  • Pungent Stench, 'Been Caught Buttering'. They're not real skulls – it's just a model of an old man's skull chopped in half. So that's alright then.

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  • Anthrax, 'Fistful Of Metal'. Despite the daft cover, this is probably the thrash metallers' best album, featuring frantic tracks such as 'Metal Thrashing Mad' and 'Panic'.

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  • Tiny Lynn, 'Little Lehman's Half-Fast Songs'. Why is it always fat blokes who name themselves Tiny?

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  • Malevolent Creation, 'Manifestation'. Not sure what is depicted here, but it's bound to be unpleasant.

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  • Cannibal Corpse, 'Gore Obsession'. Yep, those jokers again.

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  • Destruction, 'Release From Agony'. Not sure what's going on here, to be honest.

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  • The Heebee-Geebees, '20 Big Number 2's'. This a cappella comedy parody quartet featured a certain Angus Deayton (pictured, centre).

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  • Mike Terry, 'Live At The Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow'. Mum, is that you..?

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  • Dave Starr, 'The Nearer The Bone, The Sweeter The Meat'. We think there may be a double entendre in there somewhere.

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  • The Dwarves, 'Blood Guts And Pussy'. Featuring such introspective ballads as 'Let's Fuck' and 'Fuck You Up And Get High'.

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  • Trina, 'Da Baddest Bitch'. Something tells us Trina is not fully qualified to give CPR.

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  • Sodom, 'Get What You Deserve' . Rik Waller's nights out often ended in ignominy.

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  • Queen, 'The Miracle'. No doubt the technology to splice the band's faces together was cutting-edge at the time, but the end result is still deeply creepy. The real miracle is that this ever reached the shelves.

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  • The Mothers Of Invention, 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh'. Featuring such experimental wigouts as 'Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask', this album is the equivalent of someone poking you in the ribs and bellowing, "I'm mad, me!" in your face for 90 minutes.

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  • Pope Heathen Scum, 'Lady Killer'. No expense spent.

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  • Whitesnake, 'Lovehunter'. What are you trying to say with this sleeve, boys? We can't penetrate the complex layers of subtle allegory.

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  • Swamp Dogg, 'If I Ever Kiss It… He Can Kiss It Goodbye!' Snoop's dad, perhaps?

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  • Spike Milligan, 'Milligan Preserved'. Prince Charles was a massive Milligan fan. Enough said.

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  • The Kinks, 'Schoolboys In Disgrace'. No tittering at the back, please.

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  • Testament, 'Return To The Apocalyptic City'. That's no way to talk about Hull.

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  • Kreator, 'Live Kreation'. Things always sound heavier when you spell them with a K – a lesson nu-metal later took to heart (Korn, Linkin Park etc).

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  • Helloween, 'Walls Of Jericho'. The German power-metal band became progressively less serious from this point. In 1991, six years on from this debut effort, they were penning songs called things such as 'Heavy Metal Hamsters' and 'Shit And Lobster'.

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  • Millie Jackson, 'Back To The Shit'. This deeply unpleasant sleeve regularly crops up in 'worst album artwork ever' lists, with good cause.

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  • Cain, 'A Pound Of Flesh'. Fact: one member of this Minnesota rock band, Dave Elmeer, now works as an anesthesiologist in Minneapolis.

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  • John Bult, 'Julie's Sixteenth Birthday'. File under 'ill-advised'.

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  • Slayer, 'South Of Heaven'. Well, they were hardly going to illustrate this album with hollyhocks and gambolling lambs, were they?

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