My favorite Heavy Metal album cover, (of my entire Metalhead life), is… IRON MAIDEN’S debut from 1980 – IRON MAIDEN.Why? It’s Heavy Metal art, in all of it’s glorious Metal infancy. This was 1980 for Metal sakes, well before the multi-thousands of “other” Heavy Metal album covers came forth. Artist Derek Riggs made Eddie into this haunting and nightmarish creature of all things horrible. This mascot called Eddie symbolized an enormous turning point, in the way Heavy Metal was to be portrayed visually, for decades to come. The Metal of Iron Maiden on their debut album coincides with the album artwork with precision… melancholy and haunting are both. It’s probably best summed up this way… the Eddie artwork of Derek Riggs and the Metal of Iron Maiden, on this initial album, was always for me, a match made in Metal heaven.

Don’t get me wrong, the ensuing Iron Maiden album covers of Killers, The Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind and Live After Death are ultra legendary. I choose the debut Iron Maiden album cover for it is just thatthe first appearance of not just a mascot and symbol of Iron Maiden, arguably Eddie was then and still is now, a mascot and symbol for all of Heavy Metal as well. Back in 1980, who would have predicted the rise and Metal proliferation of Iron Maiden? With Eddie being a prominent and symbolic fixture of the band spanning four decades now? It all had to start somewhere, commercially, for Iron Maiden. It started with their influential debut 1980 album and this cover, with Eddie as the macabre centerpiece, with those demonic eyes, standing underneath a moonlit creepy sky, amongst eerie street lamps.

Back in 1980, (when my Mom forbid me to have this album for its “bad news” cover), I would still seek it out at the Caldor Department Store… and stare at it in sheer bewilderment, (when my Mom wasn’t looking). The shock and awe this cover instilled in me back then, still gets my shock and awe meter ticking now. Sometime around 1985, my Mom was much more schooled on Heavy Metal… she bought me the Iron Maiden debut album one day, on a whim!

It’s funny how times have changed over the years and decades. Back in 1980, I’m certain there were a ton load of nervous parents out there, who fixed their eyes upon this Iron Maiden debut album… only to be handing down parental mandates to their sons and daughters, stating that this was the second coming of the anti-christ. It’s weird now, looking back on 1980, as a much more “innocent” time. As a parent of ten-year old twin daughters in 2010, there are many times I want to “shield” them from seeing and/or hearing what I deem inappropriate. They are only ten years old after all!

I witness for myself, the over sexed and gory album covers of today, with the infinite number of television, print and movie media’s sexual and violence laced appeal. I guess, after all this time, I can sympathize with my Mom’s feelings back then, in 1980. Regardless, I am anti-censorship when it comes to artistic freedom, our freedom of speech and to assemble as well!!

Picking out one’s favorite Heavy Metal album cover of all time can be difficult, I found this to be quite easy. Sure, Judas Priest and KISS, (just to name a credible twosome), had some incredible album covers in the 1970’s… before this Iron Maiden album was released, yet the visual impact, that this Iron Maiden cover had on me since I was straight out of eighth grade has never wavered. Oh… and every song on this Iron Maiden album, made just as equal an impact on me too. What is your favorite Heavy Metal album cover?




* My favorite song on this Iron Maiden debut album is – Remember Tomorrow. This song seems to drift along in such a dreamscape and melancholy way. A true chameleon of a song, if there ever was one… the mellowness and somber mood, changes over to heaviness… and then repeats itself all over again.

I could go on and on about this Iron Maiden album cover… the pleasure I derive from looking at this artwork is worth its weight in Metal gold.



  1. elabryth Says:

    I had to give it a quick think, as it were. I have to say Judas Priest “Screaming for Vengence”. That was the first Heavy Metal album I can remember getting. I was 12-years-old and my Mom got it for me from TG&Y. She thought nothing of the album cover with the metallic eagle emblanzed in strike formation. My family is heavily military (My Father, Brother, Grandfather, etc.)… so as far as she was concerned, it was downright patriotic. That album cover is, now, so iconic. Also, that was the year Priest really broke in the United States. Mom thought “You’ve Got Another thing Comin'” was kind of “loud”, but since our local AM rock station played it, she thought it was O.K. I am so glad she didn’t see the video ’til years later. She would have never bought me the album, that featured the song, that had a video, of a buisness man’s head exploding. It sounds like we were both fortunate to have Mother’s who understood that muisc is harmless, and long as you’re raised by loving and caring parents. I know it’s sappy, but it’s the truth. Great Post!!

    • metalodyssey Says:

      We were a generation of kids, that were exposed to so much “change” in the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Music world back in the late 70’s – early/mid 80’s. My parents were groomed on Buddy Holly and Elvis, the Beatles , The Doors and Rolling Stones afterwards. “Our” Heavy Metal bands from back then were taking the world by storm… NWOBHM, Bay Area Thrash, Florida Death Metal, for examples,. For us to have parents that embraced Heavy Metal from the beginning, (or eventually learned it would not really harm us), is fun to gab about now.

      Connecting an album to a moment in time, a parent or anything that has to do with our lives is normalcy to me… and I’m convinced it’s that way with you too!

  2. For me it would be a tie between Black Sabbath’s debut and Maiden’s The number of the beast. Both were two of the first metal albums I heard and I was staring at the covers at the local Soundwave record store long before I actually heard them. Now my kids (4 and 6) stare at the covers too.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      You know, that Black Sabbath album cover is downright creepy. I actually drive past a house often, not far from where I live, that has that same “look” about that album cover. From the structure itself, to the landscape around it, this house screams Black Sabbath… each time I drive by. Weird stuff.

      It’s great to have our kids exposed to the greatest music that’s out there… that’s why Heavy Metal will carry on for generations to come.

  3. coverdale Says:

    Let me chime in here…My favorite Metal Album Cover of all time is…………Danger Danger “Screw it”!!

    • metalodyssey Says:

      What is it about this Danger Danger album cover that you REALLY like? Is it the gorilla, the scantily clad jungle chick or the banana? I myself, well, I like the shoes that the gorilla is wearing.

      A “fun” album cover… gee Metal whiz.

  4. KISS’ Rock and Roll Over is one of my all time faves, along with Powerslave.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      Those two album covers are legendary in their own right. I have the KISS “Rock And Roll Over” neon clock… I found it on the clearance shelf at Spencers Underground for $9.99 about two years ago. Those things usually sell for triple that.

      I have always revered the album cover for Nazareth “No Mean City” as well… only that album is Rock/Hard Rock, I can’t call it Heavy Metal.

  5. I have to disagree with Sean. I thought the Powerslave album cover is one of the Weakest Iron Maiden album covers. No offence I hope. The Kiss Album cover is very cool. I would have to say my favorite Metal Cover of all time without question has to be Helloween “Walls of Jericho”

    • metalodyssey Says:

      That is a creeped out cloaked monster, tearing down that wall, on that album cover. I love that Helloween album so damn much. I really love “Reptile”, with all of it’s raw-early Metal sound. “Ride The Sky” is a classic Metal song… a powerhouse of an album if there ever was one. Kai Hansen and Helloween are true pioneers of the Euro-Power Metal invasion.

      Long live HELLOWEEN!

  6. Well, back in the days before I-pods…when record stores had LPs, I too used to be memorized be so many classic heavy metal albums covers.

    They say “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover”…but I bought many albums just judging by the cover. And, quite often, the covers with the badass artwork had badass music inside!

    Such as…

    Ozzy Osbourne “Blizzard Of Ozz”, “Speak Of The Devil” and “Diary Of A Madman”
    Quiet Riot “Metal Health”
    Black Sabbath “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”
    Scorpions “Love At First Sting” and “Love Drive”
    Judas Priest “British Steel”
    Iron Maiden “Piece Of Mind”
    KISS “Destroyer”, “Love Gun”, and “Rock And Roll Over”

    et cetera, et cetera

    But if I’m meant to list only one…
    it’d have to be the album cover that made me the KISS fan I am today…
    When I was eight years old, I was awestruck by KISS “Alive II”.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      You know, I thought long and hard about that KISS “Alive II” cover… it definitely ranks up there for me as well. Back then, the image/photo of Gene Simmons with blood spewing from his mouth was total non-conformity!

      I actually still buy CD’s with eye catching artwork or imagery to this day, without knowing if it is a total dud musically. My latest was White Wizzard “Over The Top”… I first saw it over at Heavy Metal Addiction with praise attached to it, therefore, I figured – I’m in. The bonus is that the White Wizzard album of songs is pretty darn good too.

      “British Steel” is unreal great… the razor blade shown is actually a large cardboard cut-out… I read the artists story behind the cover in Revolver Magazine last year. I am not into the “new” “British Steel” album cover version at all… it’s ruined with the blood, it’s not what that whole image was about to begin with, IMO.

      I remember when the “Speak Of The Devil” album was actually “banned” in stores where I grew up! Anyone from my “old town” who had a copy then was a hero!

      I can’t dispute any titles on your list… all are Heavy Metal legends. I found a vinyl copy of “Metal Health” at a thrift store last year, in super excellent condition, for fifty cents!! I have it out on display just to stare at!

      Thanks for the visit/comment –


  7. I miss the 80s, it is a time when the greatest albums and songs are written. Songs today just cannot compare.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      It seems as if the “Old School” bands are the ones who have released the better albums in recent years too. Especially the Thrash “revival” of Testament, Death Angel, Forbidden, etc. Plus, it has been Megadeth, Overkill and Slayer who have never gone away for any length of time too. I listen to the “younger” bands and there are many that are terrific, with A7X, Gama Bomb, Bonded By Blood and Airbourne… then again, they have been effectively influenced by those bands from the 80’s or even late 70’s, which is a grand thing.

      When I stop to “think” about those “greatest” albums… yeah, you are very correct, it was the 80’s that bestows them.

      – Stone

  8. Josh Lopez Says:

    If I had to choose it would be Iron Maiden’s debut album or The Number of the Beast (the very 1st Iron Maiden album i saw). But i think their debut has the upper hand cause it was the 1st.

    I LOVE Iron Maiden, they are my most favorite band of all time and i listen to nothing but 60s-80s rock bands and some 90s grunge and metal. Im 15 so every1 my age and at school always listens to hip-hop and rap and other crap like that, which I HATE. I feel like im the only kid who loves and adores rock like I do. Most kids there dont no who Van Halen, Black Sabbath, or even the LEGENDARY Led Zeppelin are! Even the ones who listen to hard core death metal dont know who they are! Im just so disappointed in this generations taste of music. Im afraid a few generations later classic rock and heavy metal will just be forgotten or at best just barely known by any1. You guys are lucky, if i had 1 wish, it would to be born in the 60s so i could witness and live in the best time for music. Since my generation of kids dont know anything, I just love seeing things like this website, especially since its Iron Maiden related and i know EVERYTHING about them and a lot of other awesome bands (Judas Priest Metallica, AC/DC, Kiss, Megadeth, the ones listed above, and the list goes on and on). Thanks sooooo much for posting this page. UP THE IRONS!!!

  9. Live After Death, best metal cover ever!

  10. Piece of Mind is my favorite – simple, but effective.

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