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Three video game monsters that should be on a metal album cover

Author Arto Mäenpää - 22.2.2023

Metal music and monsters have had a long history together, and no self-respecting classic album cover is complete without its macabre imagery and ghoulish characters. Some of these, like Iron Maiden‘s Eddie, have become popular culture staples in their own right. Other bands like Slipknot have taken on the identities of the creatures they have created. 

Film and literature have often lent heavily to this aesthetic, but video games are now becoming just as much of an influence on metal culture and its artwork. Below, we discuss three video game characters that wouldn’t look out of place on a metal album cover.

Rat King

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There are probably more zombie apocalypse-themed video games than you can count. Yet when The Last of Us arrived, it was a breath of fresh air. Concentrating on the relationship between its characters, it also added a unique, new concept for the zombie’s origins that isn’t quite supernatural. This involved having humans overrun by a plague-like fungus that took over the brain.

The Rat King is a fusion of multiple bodies that have remained infected for several decades. According to ExpressVPN and their guide on the zombie types in the game, Rat King is the most fearsome and hard to kill. They have extreme strength, and the many victims have given them an appearance that has various contorted limbs and appendages. All of this works to create a definite grotesque unease when the character is viewed, similar to the atmosphere that metal music can thrive on. 

Pyramid Head

Pyramid Head is one of the most iconic gaming monsters ever created. An ambling, emaciated body with an industrial metallic head covering, he is often found wielding a supersized sword which he swings at assailants. His off-the-wall look and hybrid flesh and metal body would not look out of place on a Ghost vinyl.

The monster made its debut in the Konami video game, Silent Hill 2. As a character who embodied the lead’s subconscious guilt, it was important for the designers to have a character with a hidden face to make it more inhuman. Its role was to be a chaser character and fill a hole in the plot. Part of the design for the head covering was taken from the lower hull of a WWII tank called the King Tiger. This was then combined with imagery of medieval hangmen, who wore black coverings over their heads before an execution.

Since then, Pyramid Head has undergone very few physical redesigns. However, his backstory has often been changed to suit the narrative given, either in sequels or in live-action adaptations.


Laura is a character from The Evil Within by Bethesda Studios. She resembles a giant spider, taking cues from the god Anansi, yet she also borrows themes from other franchises. Bursting forth from corpses, she is not unlike the main villains in the Alien franchise, albeit with much more human characteristics.

The creature itself is a reincarnation of Laura Victoriano – a character in the game. After being burnt in a fire, her skin is now made up of tattered flesh. If her constant slow, creepy movement and chasing throughout the game don’t get you, her screams will. So popular a monster is she, Laura even made a brief return in the game’s sequel.

With new games arriving every day and becoming more realistic, horror gaming can only continue to influence the artwork in metal and its subgenres, and vice versa. You may see tomorrow’s gaming antagonist on the cover of your favorite metal band’s next album soon.