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Album artwork of the month: Mecha

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Top to bottom:

Vader – The Art of War (EP)
Jag Panzer – Mechanized Warfare
Pallas – XXV
Gloria Morti – Anthems of Annihilation
Luca Turilli – Prophet of the Last Eclipse
Dismember – Massive Killing Capacity
Nocturnus – The Key
Bolt Thrower – Realm of Chaos (2005 reissue)
Dio – Angry Machines
Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith

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A childhood fascination of mine – Voltron, Robotech, etc. – continues on in movies today like District 9 and Avatar. It’s always a great moment of pathos when the massive but wounded exoskeleton falls to the ground, and the puny human driver crawls out.

These metal album covers don’t cover that aspect; they’re unsurprisingly of the big-guns-blazing type. Some candidates didn’t make the cut due to nominal adherence to the definition of mecha – large, piloted walking vehicles. That eliminated Suffocation’s Effigy for the Forgotten (not piloted) and Bolt Thrower’s original Realm of Chaos cover (just guys in suits with weapons).

But there are definitely precedents for this stuff. Since Screaming for Vengeance, a “mechanized being” thread has run through Judas Priest’s album covers. Art-wise, Defenders of the Faith is kindred spirits with Motörhead’s Orgasmatron. On Iron Maiden’s Somewhere in Time, Eddie gets cyborg augmentation. Sooner than later, mecha will probably be reality, not science fiction.

I’m sure I’ve missed examples. If you know of them, leave links in the comments. I like nerding out about this stuff.

— Cosmo Lee

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