The cover art to Slayer’s Reign in Blood is one of heavy metal’s most iconic images. Created by the late, great Larry Carroll (who was also responsible for the artwork for 1988’s South of Heaven1990s Seasons in the Abyss and 2006’s Christ Illusion), it features the central throned goat, of course, but also not one but two large erect penises, as Carroll revealed to us in 2010.
“You see the guy with the bishop’s hat? Right by his hand is his dick. No one ever caught that,” the artist pointed out gleefully. “Now look at the guy next to him – he’s got one sticking out, too.”
Adding to the image’s mystique, Kathryn Hanneman – Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman’s widow – recently shared an “original artwork prototype for the album cover” on the Official Jeff Hanneman Instagram account that she runs. The prototype looks very much like the final piece, except in striking black and white. According to her responses in the comments, she and Jeff also owned an “army greenish” version that went missing after it was photographed for the liner notes of Slayer’s Decade of Aggression live album. In addition, Kathryn noted that, according to “a reliable source,” the original artwork – which has been rumored to be lost – is actually owned by producer Rick Rubin.
Check out the artwork prototype below.