An album cover has the ability to take a band's musical vision to the next level. Artwork alone can inspire anyone scrolling through CDs or vinyl to pick up an album without ever having heard the band just because the cover is so compelling. It holds the same power for bad artwork, which can cause great albums to slip under the radar. When a band releases a new album, the first taste fans typically get is the album cover and all sorts of opinions are cast without even having two seconds of music to hear.

This list is a salute to the 25 Best Hard Rock + Metal Album Covers of 2015. As you click through the gallery, you will notice some similar styles as multiple artists made more than one major contribution this year. Be sure to let us know which ones were your favorites and what you think should have been included!

20 Best Rock Albums of 2015

20 Best Metal Albums of 2015