An iconic image of “Vic Rattlehead” created by artist Ed Repka for the cover of Megadeth’s 1986 album, ‘Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?’
Although artist Ed Repka‘s artwork has graced the covers of at least 100 metal and thrash metal records, the man himself isn’t such a huge fan of the genre and much prefers the angst of classic punk rock when it comes to his listening habits. Repka started making waves in the realm of thrash back in the 80s with artwork he created for bands like Venom, Nuclear Assault, and Megadeth. In fact, Repka’s second commissioned work appeared on the cover of Megadeth’s 1986 album, Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? which featured an image of “Vic Rattlehead,” the band’s notorious apocalyptic mascot that Repka created and owns the copyright for. Repka would collaborate with the band again in 1989 for the cover of No More Mr. Nice Guy, and later in 1990 for Rust In Peace. Unfortunately, since Megadeth vocalist Dave Mustaine is a giant dick, he continued to utilize Vic without Repka’s okay and the artist dissolved his relationship with the band that had brought him well deserved, worldwide acclaim. For many thrash and metal fans, Repka’s artwork is as important and influential as the music of their beloved headbanging, mosh pit-loving bands.
Repka starting drawing things like monsters and horror-themed comics as a child, unaware that his youthful obsession would one day be viewed by millions of metalheads around the globe. After he graduated from high school, Repka enrolled in the prestigious Parsons School of Design in lower Manhattan where he received his BFA in Illustration. According to Repka, he was also one of the first artists to use computer-generated images for album covers—specifically the 1989 album by New York thrash band Napalm and their second full-length Zero to Black. These days Repka says he uses all kind of mediums for his gory, often politically-charged artwork including airbrushing, classic painting techniques as well as digital illustration. In addition to his album art, Repka also worked as an art director for toy/action figure giant NECA and had a hand in the character design for the horror film series Hellraiser. Repka celebrated his 57th birthday yesterday, and I can’t think of a better way to acknowledge that milestone than taking a look at his groundbreakingly savage artwork below, some of which is sort of NSFW.
Bow down to the King of Thrash Metal Art, baby.
Artwork by Repka for the cover of Florida-based death metal band Death and their 1990 album, ‘Spiritual Healing.’
The cover of ‘Visual Violence’ the 2008 album by English metal band, Pitiful Reign.
Repka’s cover for ‘Thrashin’ Blues,’ the 1988 record by Florida band Violent Playground.
The cover of ‘Barbed Wire Metal,’ the 2011 album by Australian thrash metal band Elm Street.
The cover of the 2012 album by French thrash metal band Infinite Translation, ‘Masked Reality.’
Repka’s artwork for the 2006 compiliation ‘Butchering The Beatles.’
Artwork from 2016 by Repka for Brazilian band Zumbis do Espaço (Zombies from Outer Space).
The cover of the 2013 album ‘Beneath the Mask’ by Mexico City thrash band ANCESTHOR.
The artwork for Megadeth’s 1990 album, ‘Rust in Peace.’
Artwork for ‘Annihilation Of Civilization’ the 1989 debut album by LA thrash band Evildead
The cover for the 2009 EP ‘Improper Burial’ from Holy Grail.
The cover of Athens, Greece thrash band Suicidal Angels 2013 album ‘Divide And Conquer.’
Since it’s nearly Halloween, here’s a cool piece by Repka of fictional slasher Michael Myers.
The cover of the 2010 album by Winnipeg, Manitoba thrash/death metal band Besieged ‘Victims Beyond All Help.’
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Artists pay homage to the legendary artwork of Heavy Metal magazine
Delightful photos of heavy metal fans, captured in mid-headbang
Terrible, awful, no good, really bad heavy metal album covers from all over the world
The heavy metal cowboys of Botswana
The Scorpions: Heavy metal gods bring the funky grooves, 1978