Top 10 Judas Priest Album Covers

Judas Priest Album Covers

Feature Photo: Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

Our Top 10 Judas Priest Album Covers list will look at a legendary heavy metal band that has been around since the late 60s. They have sold over 50 million albums throughout their career. They have been considered one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time. Their album British Steel defined heavy metal music. They have won numerous awards throughout their career. They are considered metal gods in music. They are one of the most influential heavy metal bands in the history of music. Their albums reflect their style. Their songs are considered poetic. Judas Priest is anything but ordinary. Their music is dynamic. Other bands were heavily influenced by their musical style. Judas Priest album covers were just as dynamic as the band’s music.

Judas Priest’s album covers are colorful, intense, and highly original. Like their music, Judas Priest’s album covers are diverse. Most of their covers look like they would belong in comic books. The artists behind the artwork definitely know how to be original. Fans love their artwork just as much as the music. When it comes to their music and album covers, they know how to push the envelope. They stray away from the ordinary covers and strive for jaw dropping covers.

Judas Priest isn’t featured on their album covers. They utilize various designs and artwork to represent their music. Most of their album covers feature bright and vibrant colors. The artwork will give you something to admire while you are looking at the covers. Judas Priest have so many original album covers that narrowing it down was a challenge. All the album covers could have made our list. We proved we were up for the challenge with our Top 10 Judas Priest Album Covers list.

# 10 – Ram It Down

The first pick on our Top 10 Judas Priest Album Covers list is Ram It Down. Ram It Down is Judas Priest’s 11th studio album. The band went back to the basics for this album. They strayed away from their signature sound for their previous album. They wanted to listen to the fans and do hardcore heavy metal. The futuristic album cover features a hand pounding down on the world. The arm looks very muscular. The hand used so much force pounding on the world that you can see flames underneath it. This may represent Judas Priest’s frustration with the world. It may also represent the fan’s frustration with the band for changing their musical style in the past. They wanted to give their fans something to talk about and they didn’t disappoint.

The color of the world is a mix of blue and orange. There are blue clouds behind the arm. The picture is animated and psychedelic. Mark Wilkinson, the artist behind the picture, used dark colors. The bright color of the flame gives the picture some light. Mark Wilkinson is an artist. He does airbrush and psychedelic styles with his artwork. Judas Priest was so impressed with his artwork that they wanted to keep working with him. He has worked with Judas Priest, Marillion, Scorpions, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd, as well as other artists. He has also designed comic book covers. Rm It Down was released in May 1988. The album peaked at number 31 on Billboard 200. Ram It Down features the singles “Johnny B. Goode,” “Ram It Down,” “Love Zone” and “Love You to Death.” Ram It Down sold over 500,000 copies.

# 9 – Rocka Rolla

The next pick on our Top 10 Judas Priest Album Covers is Rocka Rolla. Rocka Rolla is Judas Priest’s first album. This is the album that introduced the world to the legendary band. The mysterious album cover features a picture of a bottle top. The bottle top has condensation on top. There is a puddle of water underneath the top. The bottle top is gray and features the album title in red cursive letters. The background is black. The band wanted to pay homage to Coca Cola by using the metal top as the cover art. The top may not describe their sound, but it will surprise you.

Artist John Pasche designed the album cover. He wanted to do a pun with the concept. He wanted to make the top a logo for the band. Unfortunately, the band wasn’t happy with the choice. They wanted a different cover. He has worked with Judas Priest, Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, The Who, The Stranglers, Dr. Feelgood, as well as others. He is best known for creating Rolling Stones’ tongue and lips logo. Rocka Rolla was released in September 1974. The album features the singles “Rocka Rolla,” “Winter,” “Deep Freeze” and “One of the Mill.”

# 8 – Angel of Retribution

Angel of Retribution is Judas Priest’s 15th studio album. This album was an homage to their past albums. The mythical album cover features a cyborg dressed as an angel with wings. The cyborg is raising its arms in the air. It has spikes on top of its head. It has flames on its feet. If you look at the outfit closely, you can see a man’s face in the outfit. The man is wearing sunglasses and has a mustache. There is a shot of the sun behind the cyborg. You can see two rings around the sun. There are rays reflecting off the sun. The picture is mainly dark. There is light that illuminates the sun and flames. The picture looks like something from a Marvel comic book.

Judas Priest came up with the idea of the album cover while Mark Wilkinson designed it. Judas Priest got the idea from a sculpture. Mark Wilkinson took the pose from that sculpture and gave it a metallic chrome look. He brought the statue to light. He was inspired by his son to create the head. Mark Wilkinson wanted to make the cyborg as mysterious as Darth Vader. We are not surprised that the album was voted for best album cover because it is unique. Angel of Retribution was released in February 2005. It peaked at number 13 on Billboard 200. The album features the singles “Revolution,” “Judas Rising,” “Deal with the Devil,” “Worth Fighting For” and “Demonizer.”

# 7 – Killing Machine

Killing Machine is Judas Priest’s fifth studio album. The band has become fans of leather and studs. They wanted it to reflect in the artwork of their album. The fantasy-themed album cover features a man wearing a leather hat. He is wearing dark sunglasses. There are flames reflecting in his sunglasses. The background is dark. The only light in the picture comes from his skin tone and the flames reflecting from the sunglasses. The man has an angry swagger about him. He looks like a killing machine. The picture gives off Terminator vibes. This album cover coincides with the change of style in their music as well as their fashion.

Art director and designer Roslaw Szaybo designed the cover of the album. Bob Elsdale did the photography for the album cover. They did an amazing job creating the right look for the album cover. The man on the cover is menacing enough that he could be a killing machine. Roslav Szaybo has worked with Santana, Judas Priest, The Jazz Rockers, as well as others. Bob Elsdale is a photographer who has worked with Judas Priest, The Barron Knights, Vangelis, John Williams, Spirit, After the Fire, as well as others. Killing Machine was released in October 1978. The album peaked at number 128 on Billboard 200. Killing Machine features the singles “Before the Dawn,” “Take On the World,” “Evening Star” and “The Green Manalishi.” The album sold over 500,000 copies.

# 6 – Defenders of the Faith

Defenders of the Faith is Judas Priest’s ninth studio album. This album features up-tempo heavy metal anthems. The unique album cover features a horned tiger muscular creature. The creature has a tank and Gatling guns attached to it. The creature is ready to pounce on someone or something. It has beady eyes, and its mouth is open. The creature is supposed to invoke violence towards its prey. Judas Priest’s songs are a reflection of the cover art. Fans will be drawn to the scary look on the creature’s face. The face looks like it can tear someone apart. There is an excellent use of red, blue, yellow and white in the picture. The background is black and complements the colors in the picture.

Judas Priest came up with the concept of the album cover. Illustrator and graphic artist Doug Johnson designed the album. This album cover was a response to Judas Priest’s Screaming for Vengeance album. He does album covers, posters, magazines and advertisements. He has worked with Judas Priest, Ike & Tina Turner, The Velvet Underground, The Stylistics, Living Strings, The Pointer Sisters, Cole Porter, as well as others. Defenders of the Faith was released in January 1984. The album peaked at number 18 on Billboard 200. It features the singles “Freewheel Burning,” “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” and “Love Bites.” Defenders of the Faith sold over one million copies.

# 5 – Jugulator

The next pick on our Top 10 Judas Priest Album Covers list is Jugulator. Jugulator is Judas Priest’s 13th studio album. This album features darker themes from their previous albums. The sinister album cover features a cyborg with spikes coming out of it. The cyborg has fangs hanging out of its mouth. It is wearing a dark metal costume. Flames are at the bottom of the creature’s legs. Dark clouds are looming over him in the picture. He is standing over what appears to be a volcano with lava coming out of it. The lettering is red. There are dark colors displayed throughout the picture. The sky and rays give the picture some light. It keeps it from being completely dark and scary. This is another cover that could have been featured in a comic book.

Mark Wilkinson came up with the perfect design for the album cover. Since the theme of the songs is dark, he made the right decision to come up with this cyborg to represent the album cover. He created an intimidating character to represent Judas Priest. This unforgettable album cover will keep people talking. Jugulator was released in October 1997. It peaked at number 82 on Billboard 200. Jugulator features the singles “Bullet Train,” “Death Row,” “Brain Dead” and “Jugulator.”

# 4 – Sin After Sin

Sin After Sin is Judas Priest’s third album. The band was getting tired of not being supported by their label. They wanted to move to a different label who would appreciate what they had to give. The album cover features a picture of a mausoleum. There is a picture of a woman on the right sitting in front of the mausoleum with her legs up. There is a shadow of a man to left. He looks as if he is trying to approach the woman in the picture. There is a shot of the moon. The lights above the mausoleum are made of a skull. The water in the picture looks peaceful. The picture has an even blend of light and dark colors. This is different from Judas Priest’s other album covers because it doesn’t feature cyborgs.

Roslaw Szaybo and Bob Carlos Clarke designed the album cover. They did a great job creating a spooky atmosphere. They didn’t use cyborgs, but they still managed to create a bone-chilling feeling with this album cover. No one wants to be trapped in a mausoleum, especially at night. Bob Carlos Clarke was a graphic designer and photographer. He has worked with Judas Priest, Bonnie Tyler, Streetwalkers, Band of Joy, Annette Peacock, The Doll, Grace Kennedy, Billy Ocean, as well as others. Sin After Sin was released in April 1977. The album features the singles “Diamonds & Rust,” “Raw Deal,” “Here Comes the Tears” and “Sinner.” The album sold over 500,000 copies.

# 3 – Turbo

Turbo is Judas Priest’s 10th studio album. Judas Priest changed their style so they could be more commercial. They wanted to record music with pop elements. The modern album cover features a female cyborg’s hand grabbing a cyclone. The cyborg has long red fingernails in the picture. It represents something moving forward. The rays behind the hand create the illusion that the hand is charging forward quickly. This is a softer album cover compared to their other covers. It coincides with the theme of Turbo. Judas Priest changed their style of music so it made sense that they would want a softer look for the album cover. The album represents a broken soul who wants to move on with life.

This is a departure from Doug Johnson’s other artwork for the band. This cover has a feminine side to it while the other covers have a menacing look. His use of color is represented in the photo, but the style is different. He uses multiple colors in the picture. The colors manage not to clash with each other. This might not be a cover that fans would associate with Judas Priest, but it is original. Turbo was released in April 1986. It peaked at number 17 on Billboard 200. The album features the singles “Turbo Lover,” “Locked In,” “Reckless” and “Parental Guidance.” The album sold over one million copies.

# 2 – British Steel

British Steel is Judas Priest’s sixth album. The band changed their lyrical style. They didn’t want to use dark themes anymore. The album cover features a male hand holding a big razor blade. The hand has a leather band around his wrist. The razor blade features the band’s name and album title. The man is holding it tightly as if he never wants to let it go. It is odd that the hand would hold the razor on the sharp end. It looks as if the razor is cutting his hand. People were scared because they thought he was getting cut. We will explain what is going on with the razor later. The picture has a dark background. The light from the hand and razor blade adds brightness to the picture.

Bob Elsdale and Roslaw Szaybo designed the album cover. Roslaw Szaybo’s hand is the one holding the razor blade. Bob Elsdale is the one taking the photograph. Bob Elsdale and Roslaw Szaybo created the illusion that the razor blade was sharp. It is a cutout piece of aluminum. The hand appears tough holding what looks to be a sharp razor. British Steel was released in April 1980. It peaked at number 34 on Billboard 200. British Steel features the singles “Living After Midnight,” “Breaking the Law,” “United” and “Metal Gods.” The album sold over one million copies.

# 1 – Screaming for Vengeance

The number one pick on our Top 10 Judas Priest Album Covers list is Screaming for Vengeance. Screaming for Vengeance is Judas Priest’s eighth album. This is the band’s biggest hit album. The album produced one of their biggest hits. The psychedelic album cover features a metallic eagle. It looks as if it is attacking its prey. There are colorful rays behind the eagle as if its racing to its prey at lightning speed. The vibrant colors represent the songs on the album. The background is yellow with a red circle in the middle. It is a great contrast to the black eagle.

This is the first album cover Doug Johnson created for the band. He made sure every intricate line and curve was executed properly. It is easy to forget that it’s a cyborg eagle because it looks intimidating. His use of rays gives the picture momentum. The hues of the eagle give a sense of intensity and intimidation. The eagle looks intense as it is soaring to attack its prey. Screaming for Vengeance was released in July 1982. It peaked at number 17 on Billboard 200. Screaming for Vengeance features the singles “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” “(Take These) Chains,” “Riding on the Wind,” “Fever” and “Pain and Pleasure.” The album sold over two million copies.

 

Top 10 Judas Priest Album Covers article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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