Page 1 of 21

The 20 best H.R. Giger record sleeves

Originally posted on The Vinyl Factory.

To mark the passing of Swiss artist and record cover designer H.R. Giger, The Vinyl Factory looks at 20 of his most iconic sleeves.

Immortalised in in Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi epic Alien for which he and his team won an academy award, Hans Rudolf Giger’s robo-organic (or as he called them, ‘biomechanical’) hybrids have placed him among the most instantly recognisable artists of his generation.

Yet in his extensive work as a cover artist for psych, prog and metal bands with whom his thrilling aesthetic fitted like a spiky metal face mask, there can be few artists whose sleeve designs have so polarised reaction from the establishment. On the one hand, his best known works – the humanoid Debby Harry adorning her 1981 breakaway album KooKoo and Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery – both appear in Rolling Stones magazine’s top 100 album covers list, while on the other, perhaps his most infamous – the heavily censored poster insert to The Dead Kennedys’ Frankenchrist – landed Jello Biafra in court and all but bankrupted his Alternative Tentacles imprint in the process.

‘Penis Landscape’ (as the poster was playfully titled) aside, H.R. Giger was a firm favourite in prog and metal circles, penning covers for the likes of Carcass, Magma, Danzig and Celtic Frost, alongside hoards of bands with album titles like Corpse GrinderRecesses For The Deceased and Preapocalyptic Visions. And it’s not hard to see why. His were intricately detailed visions of nightmarish futures in which the organic and the mechanical were destined to be fused in violent, often absurd ways. Speaking to Starlog magazine in 1979, he was typically candid about his biggest fans: “My paintings seem to make the strongest impression on people who are, well, who are crazy. A good many people think as I do. If they like my work they are creative… or they are crazy.”

Treading the thin line between the creative and the crazy, turn the page to see our pick of H.R. Giger’s 20 best record sleeves.


The Shiver
(Maris Musik, 1969)

emerson lake and palmer_brain salad surgery

Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Brain Salad Surgery
(Manticore Records, 1973)


(Round Records, 1977)


(Arabella, 1978)

biomechanoid_joel Vandroogenbroeck

Joel Vandroogenbroeck
(Coloursound Library, 1980)

Debby Harrt_kooKoo

Debbie Harry
(Chrysalis, 1981)


The Dead Kennedys
Frankenchrist (poster)
(Alternative Tentacles, 1985)

celtic frost - to mega therion

Celtic Frost
To Mega Therion
(Noise, 1985)


Freiheit Für Die Sklaven
(Contempo Records, 1987)


(Nuclear Blast, 1990)

big satan inc_jezegrind

Big Satan, Inc.
Jezegrind 7″
(Over and Out, 1991)

Danzig_Dirty Black Summer

Dirty Black Summer
(Def American Recordings, 1992)

danzig iii_how the gods kill

Danzig III: How The Gods Kill
(Def American Recordings, 1992)


(Earache Records, 1993)

sacred sin_darkside

Sacred Sin
(Musica Alternativa, 1993)

hide your face_hide

Hide Your Face
(MCA Records, 1994)

drowning room_the divinity syndrome

Drowning Room
The Divinity Syndrome 7″
(Trip Machine Laboratories, 1996)

hardmakz_striking wave

Striking Wave Vol. 2
(Striking Wave Records, 2000)

biomechanik iii

Various Artists
Biomechanik III: The Final Chapter (LP Volume 2)
(46 Records, 2005)

triptykon_eparistera daimondes

Eparistera Daimones
(Century Media, 2010)

Page 1 of 21
Latest Stories


Share Tweet

Privacy Preference Center

Required Cookies & Technologies

Some of the technologies we use are necessary for critical functions like security and site integrity, account authentication, security and privacy preferences, internal site usage and maintenance data, and to make the site work correctly for browsing and transactions.

gdpr, woocommerce_cart_hash, woocommerce_items_in_cart, _wp_wocommerce_session, sucuri_cloudproxy_uuid_*

Site Customisation

Cookies and similar technologies are used to improve your experience, to do things like:

- remember your login, general, and regional preferences
- personalize content, search, recommendations, and offers

Without these technologies, things like personalised recommendations, your account preferences, or localisation may not work correctly.


Personalised Advertising

These technologies are used for things like:

- personalised ads
- to limit how many times you see an ad
- to understand usage via Google Analytics
- to understand how you got to our web properties
- to ensure that we understand the audience and can provide relevant ads

We do this with social media, marketing, and analytics partners (who may have their own information they’ve collected). Saying no will not stop you from seeing our ads, but it may make them less relevant or more repetitive.

_ga, _gid, gat,_gads,_fbp