Since heavy metal was first pressed onto vinyl in the early 1970s, the music has been inextricably linked with its album art. Fans seeking for something heavy, brutal or a bit dangerous often relied on word of mouth, record reviews, and intuition to pick from the haystack of emerging metal bands. Just as significant was the image on the album cover.

Of course, there were key core art elements to good metal: blood, Satanic or occult content, violence, sci-fi themes, explosions, studs and leather, nudity and psychedelic themes. Before the dawn of the interweb, such criteria led many ‘80s headbangers to great albums by groups including Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica and countless others.

Along the way, however, fans occasionally got tripped up by records that looked totally “metal” but didn’t live up to their expectations. Either they weren’t as heavy as their cover art suggested, they were just bad or they were put out by bands from an entirely different genre. Below are the some of the most deceptive album covers that either left metal fans scratching their heads or were too ridiculous to be taken seriously.