I don't know what to do with myself now that RoL has ended. Word on the street is that Bret will be coming back for a second season. You mean to tell me it didn't work out with Jes? Awwww. I believed in love, but no more. Instead we are left with ugliness. Blah. And so now all we have is this new fun n' scary list in honor of all the ugly and the impending Halloween season. I've marked the ones that are the least work-friendly. Enjoy, puppets!
13. Sounds of the Animal Kingdom, Brutal Truth
It reminds me of the Ramona Quimby books (Ramona the Brave, I think?) where Ramona had a picture book on her shelf that had a scary picture of a gorilla in it that she threw out of her room each night so she could get to sleep. OK, THAT was a super-embarrassing reference. Anyone else remember this? Couldn't you imagine throwing this CD cover of a man/ape hybrid screaming at you out of your bedroom at night so you can sleep? If you can look at this without shuddering, you are a braver soul than I.
12. Penis Envy, Crass
Crass is one of those true anarchist dirty grindcore punk bands in the vein of early Anthrax and Bjork's first band Kukl. This cover, picturing a face-on shot of a wide-eyed blow-up doll's face in a box and behind plastic is an absolute perfect representation of what the genre is about: in-your-face, full-frontal disturbia. The text on the box "Teenage Doll, An amazingly life-like companion" adds to the funk.
11. ...And The Glass Handed Kites, Mew
It's not graphic and it's not blatant, but there's something about this picture—or should I say the layout and design of what appear to be headshots of the band—that is totally disconcerting. It's the visual representation of a bunch of church bells all ringing against your head. In fact, I think I'm getting a migraine...
10. Come To Daddy (EP), Aphex Twin
Last summer, I declared the video for this song to be one of the creepiest ever, so conversely, the cover for the album, which features a still shot from the video should also qualify as frightening. Once again, we have the chilling Aphex Twin guy's mug superimposed multiple times onto children's bodies and grinning hideously. Honestly, it was kind of hard to narrow down which Aphex Twin album had the scariest cover. One featured the dude's head on the body of a buxom, bikini-clad chick. I guess he's into Photoshop or something.
9. Family Man, Black Flag
Here we have one cartoon kid dead, another cartoon kid bleeding from the eye and a cartoon dad with a cartoon gun to his cartoon head. The lone cartoon teddy bear reminds me of the following lyrics, courtesy of Korn: Nursery rhymes are said/promises in my head/Into my childhood, they're spoonfed/Hidden violence revealed, darkness that seems real/Look at the pages that cause all this evil.
8. Klaus Nomi, Klaus Nomi
While not flagrantly disturbing like some of these other covers, this is one of the weirdest pictures I've ever seen. Klaus, who is a (surprise!) German electronic artist, is depicted as a sort of mannequin mime with ghostly face paint and a strangely elongated body and exaggerated bow tie. Maybe I'm just being a big wimp, but I hate it! It's so freakish! And I can just imagine the industra-pop synth music playing behind it with lyrics like "We will fix your robot/dance with the monkey/fly, fly, fly, little gnu! Raisins."
7. Electriclarryland, Butthole Surfers (NSFW)
This one is like one of those veiled threats you'd get from your mom come to life. "Don't stick that pencil in your ear, or it will bust your eardrum and get stuck in there forever!" It's one of my favorite albums, but just looking at the cover makes me want to clap my hands over my ears.
6. The Dwarves Must Die, The Dwarves (NSFW)
If there's anything that generates more controversy than crucifixion scenes and nudity, it's dwarf abuse. This cover flaunts all three. The Dwarves are no strangers to stirring the pot; the guitarist He Who Cannot Be Named once faked his own death by stabbing as a publicity stunt, and the singer Blag Dhalia recently got into a backstage brawl with QOTSA frontman Josh Homme. So it should come as no surprise that the band sticks it to the man through album covers, and incorporates the dwarf cover model in the most jarring of ways (as we'll see again in a moment).
5. Virgin Killer, Scorpions (NSFW)
Be careful: Chris Hansen might show up at your door just for looking at this one. As one of the most controversial album covers of the last 30 years, it not only got shocked response from audiences, but also from the band. Allegedly, upon seeing this picture of a nude, provocatively posed child with the illusion of broken glass over her crotch area, the lead singer was completely stunned and disgusted and actually claims that the record company wanted to release it, but the band didn't. So basically it's Smell the Glove in reverse. This link also shows you the horrible replacement cover with a really lame-o picture of the band—was that horrific pic really what the band wanted? God, the Scorpions are lamer than I thought...
4. Heavy Petting Zoo, NOFX (NSFW)
Two words: beastiality. Yikes.
3. Matando Güeros, Brujeria (NSFW)
Controversy saturates every inch and pore of this album, from the title (which is a deragatory slang term for white Americans), to the content (which includes 19 songs mainly about killing said Americans), to the shocking, graphic cover (which depicts a disembodied hand holding the severed, decomposing head of a man who was allegedly killed by a Mafia-like faction--by being tied down to train tracks. Um, ew. I'm officially scared. The band themselves are notorious for supposedly engaging in human sacrifice rituals. Guess we shouldn't be looking forward to their cover of "You Are My Sunshine.")
2. Blood, Guts & Pussy, The Dwarves (NSFW)
The Dwarves are back, and so is the strange little person that appeared crucified on the cover of The Dwarves Must Die. But this time, we get to see him engaging in some boom-boom! WITH A RABBIT! As we saw in #4, nothing spells controversy like a little beastiality, but when it involves a dwarf, I think we've stumbled into a whole new underground world of creepy kink. If that isn't enough, we also have naked chicks splattered in blood posing in modelesque fashion, as if they're on the runway showing off the latest in bodily fluid chic. I wouldn't expect any less from the band that also gave us "We Must Have Blood."
1. Dawn of the Black Hearts, Mayhem (super-hella NSFW)
Seriously, DON'T click on this link if you are faint of heart...it's intensely graphic. We all know the story behind this little gem, but it's always fun to recap: pictured here is Mayhem's singer, the aptly-named Dead, moments after he slashed his wrists and then blew his brains out with a shotgun. His caring roommate, Mayhem guitarist Euronymous, happened upon the grisly scene and took pics of the carnage for their album cover. Oh yeah, and he also saved some bits of Dead's brain to dine on later, and his skull to create some lovely keepsake jewelry. With all the other mayhem Mayhem has been involved in, we shouldn't be surprised that they would have been the one band to display a photo of their lead singer's sad demise, and on an EP no less. The poor guy's legacy is relegated to a 5-song ancillary disk! Not only that, but the band makes history thanks to his tragic death. It's the very definition of creepy.