Friday, January 2, 2009


Ed Repka and Dan Seagrave are two of the best-known Heavy Metal album cover artists of all time. Although both were in their heyday in the late 80's and early 90's, their styles were very different. Repka focused more on realistic figures and musculature set in shocking neons, while Seagrave's dark landscapes were seething with teeth, flesh, and blood. Below are several examples of what I consider to be their finest work, with brief profiles of each artist.

Right: Ed Repka

Born: New Jersey

Currently resides: New Jersey (possibly with parents)

Known for: Thrash Metal album covers in the late 80's to mid 90's, current "retro-thrash" stuff, also worked as a designer on the 'Hellraiser' series.

Themes: Mutation, War, Gore

Past clients: Death, Possessed, Atheist, Solstice, Merciless Death, 3 Inches Of Blood, Massacre (see previous post)

Repka has also worked outside the metal genre with bands like NOFX ("S&M Airlines") and drew (but didn't design) Megadeth's spokesman Vic Rattlehead.

Above: Attention to detail and flawless texturing are the name of Ed's game.
Below: See the line up the middle of this one? The LP was an awesome gatefold that opened up to expose even more Repka radness (couldn't find a picture online).

Above and below: Examples of his more recent work. "Advance And Vanquish" is one of my favorite album covers of the last 10 years, and the Merciless Death cover just flat-out RULES. The lady seems only mildly concerned that a large chunk has been bitten out of her wrist, though. Odd.

Above and below: Simple, straightforward imagery presented in classic Repka style.

Below: Some more recent stuff. Horrible band, great cover.

+20 Cool Points to Repka for painting the cover for Death's seminal classic, "Scream Bloody Gore".

Below: Dan Seagrave

Born: Ravenshead, Nottingham, UK, 1971

Currently resides: Toronto, Canada

Known for: Death Metal album covers in the late 80's to mid 90's, also works outside the 'album cover' genre. Self-taught.

Themes: Organic, abstract landscapes, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Past clients: Sepultura, Suffocation, Malevolent Creation, Entombed, Monstrosity, Lawnmower Deth, Carnage

Seagrave took home 3 out of 5 on my list of best Death Metal album covers ever and also provided us with the first-ever documented case of "mantlers" (see below). That's also one of his pieces at the bottom of the Illogical Contraption page.

Below: That's just some BADASS shit right there. Dan did some really great stuff for Malevolent Creation.

Seagrave, when working outside the album cover medium has a fantastical, almost Dr. Seuss-esque style. Observe the following two pieces:

Above: More killer M.C. artwork, this one seems to be some sort of rotting brain made out of bugs being flushed down a toilet. Rad.
Below: I love this one. I'm actually wearing this shirt right now.

Above: Seagrave flexes the Giger muscle a bit.
Below: Classic example of one of his dark, twisted landscapes.

In conclusion, I'm going to have to say it's a draw on artwork, but the edge goes to Seagrave for keeping better company.

Good stuff, guys.


Aesop said...

Vic Rattlehead was designed by Sean Smithson of Sacrilege BC and drawn by Ed Repka. Check the "Peace Sells" thanks list.

Oh, and fuck that Austrian Death Machine band for biting the might Arno Corps.

My vote is for Michael Whelan anyways.

I'm very grumpy this morning.

Shelby Cobras said...

Thanks for the correction, sir.
Sounds like you're in need of a Bomosa today (bong load + mimosa)... get on it.

Shelby Cobras said...

What else has Michael Whelan done besides Meat Loaf Bat Out Of/Back Into Hell? I want to check out more of his stuff.

Aesop said...

All those kick ass Eric of Melnibone' covers for Cirith Ungol.

Shelby Cobras said...

SWEET. that shit RULES. very frazetta-esque.

Icky said...

Seagrave ruined my life as far as notebook & folder art inspiration back in high school, and when I started tattooing many years ago (I dont anymore) that certainly played big on my mind too.

great post

Luis Diaz said...

Richard Corben was the artist behind Meatloaf's "Bat out of Hell." Whelan was the artist that did the follow up.