These days most of us are acquiring our music digitally through either legal or illegal channels. I think it is great that music is more widely available than ever before, at much lower costs and that catalog once thought hopelessly impossible to find is now just a few keystrokes away, but one thing I do miss is the experience of going to the record store and looking at album artwork. I can't recollect how many albums I bought growing up without ever hearing a single note just because the album cover looked awesome. On the one hand, it is great that we can sample anything before we purchase it, but on the other, there was a great deal of fun involved in diving into the unknown based purely on the visuals accompanying the packaged music.
When I was a teenager growing up in the suburbs of Washington DC, one of my favorite Saturday activities was to go to Tower Records and dig through the CD racks (and cassette racks for a while) and listening booths to find new albums to buy. Much to my delight, 0ne of the Tower Records locations I frequented had a section dedicated to metal. I was never the biggest death metal guy in the world and only listened to a handful of bands (who I still love and listen to today), but I did get a huge kick out of looking at the album covers while sifting through all those metal CDs. I recently ordered a copy of Death's Leprosy online. That is one of the death metal album covers from my youth that really sticks out in my memory and it got me thinking about what other covers really grabbed my eye back in the day. Not all of the bands below are considered death metal, but they were at a minimum considered part of the extreme metal scene at the time.