Since forming in 1981, Metallica has become one of the world’s biggest selling bands, with over 50 million albums sold in the US alone. They’ve won 9 Grammy Awards and – from the battle over their first release through to the celebrated packaging for Death Magnetic – have created significant cover art as well.
Kill ‘Em All (1983)
This release was to be called Metal Up Your Ass and the cover was supposed to feature a toilet bowl with a hand clutching a dagger emerging from it. After significant pressure to reconsider, the band settled on Kill ‘Em All as an angry response and used the artwork for tour t-shirts instead.
Ride the Lightning (1984)
Master of Puppets (1986)
One of the most acclaimed metal albums of all time. Many prints of the 1986 release featured a parody of the PMRC “explicit lyrics” warning labels.
And Justice for All (1988)
The cover was made by Stephen Gorman based on a concept by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.
Also popularly known as the Black Album, this is the second best selling album of the Soundscan era. Read a previous Sleevage entry about it here.
The original artwork on the cover is entitled “Semen and Blood III” and is one of three photos by Andres Serrano, who mixed his own semen with bovine blood between two pieces of Plexiglass. The cover also features a new Metallica logo.
Garage Inc (1998)
St Anger (2003)
Brian Schroeder designed the album cover and artwork for St. Anger. Originally there was meant to be four different limited color variations but the plans were eventually canceled.
Death Magnetic (2008)
A special edition of this release was packages in a coffin box. Death Magnetic won Best Recording Package at the 51st Grammy Awards.