Music

The Mark Of The Beasts: We Ranked Iron Maiden’s Albums By How Terrifying The Artwork Is

With Iron Maiden’s 16th studio album, The Book Of Souls out Friday, this seems like a good time to look back on the band’s many incredible album covers. Few bands ever have been more dedicated to creating iconic cover art. Maiden’s covers, featuring their immortal mascot Eddie, have been frightening eighth-grade metalheads for decades. With that in mind, we’re ranking every Maiden studio album cover from worst to best. Before we get started, let’s remember two key things:

  1. We’re strictly talking about the cover, not the quality of the album.
  2. I argued with myself a ton about these rankings, and will probably re-arrange them in my head several times after this.

Okay, now that’s settled, let’s begin sorting this out.

16. Virtual XI (1998)

This one is just way too messy. First off, the logo looks super awkward with the way they try to fit it into the color scheme. More importantly, Eddie looks too silly to be genuinely frightening here. It’s like he’s Krusty The Klown’s skeleton. In an amusing coincidence, Iron Maiden’s worst studio album also featured their worst cover art.

15. Fear Of The Dark (1992)

WHY IS THE LOGO SIDEWAYS

WHY IS THE LOGO SIDEWAYS

WHY IS THE LOGO SIDEWAYS

WHY IS THE LOGO SIDEWAYS

WHY IS THE LOGO SIDEWAYS

14. The Book Of Souls (2015)

The case for the cover art of Maiden’s latest release is that Eddie looks more frightening (and more detailed) than he has in quite some time. The case against it? It’s just him against a black background, so it’s not as vibrant or eye-catching as Maiden’s most memorable covers.

13. The X Factor (1995)

The title of this one was supposed to be a play on words, because it was their 10th album (Roman numerals, get it), but little do they know that this album would share a title with a singing reality show that stood for everything heavy metal doesn’t stand for. As for the actual cover, I prefer Cartoon Eddie over Realistic Eddie any day. Plus, it kind of looks like a still from a cut scene in a game from the original PlayStation; impressive for its time, nothing special now.

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