Here are 30 of the most iconic hard rock + metal album covers and, also, 50 of the absolute worst.

There's a saying that one cannot know darkness without the existence of light and vice versa. The same goes for good and bad, but when it comes to album artwork you don't always need context to know when something is truly abysmal. When paired next to all-time greatness — artwork that has become synonymous with rock and metal, so much so that non-fans are eager to wear T-shirts depicting said artwork — it stands out even more.

The greats are the greats, without question. It's a quality most people have an innate sense for and universally agree on. Albums with outstanding artwork and subpar music are generally forgotten with time, but, much like a campy horror movie, sometimes some cheeky aesthetics accompany solid work. And, of course, there will always be a marriage of bad art, visually and musically, which is the case with a handful of records highlighted below.

READ MORE: 12 Stories Behind the People on Iconic Rock + Metal Album Covers

Artwork will often dictate our desire to check out something we've never heard before, or, consequentially, steer us far, far away. Come get a taste of both!

30 of the Most Iconic Hard Rock + Metal Album Covers

Album covers have come to define an entire generation of music, lasting longer than the bands themselves at times and are etched into rock and metal history. Here, the artwork hits on a wide spectrum of emotions like a disturbing, gory Cannibal Corpse cover, to politically-charged as seen on Bad Brains' eponymous release, to quirky and lighthearted like the DescendentsMilo Goes to College.

Scroll through the gallery at the top of the page to see 30 Iconic Hard Rock + Metal Album Covers!

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