One of my favorite albums as a wee beast hesher was none other than "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath," by Black Sabbath. I loved all of their albums (with the exception of Technical Ecstasy, a real stinker), but Sabbath Bloody Sabbath expanded their brown-out dirge into more of a prog opium dream orchestral vortex. Gratuitous? Sure, but really where do you go from simple power chords and drum fills?
One of the coolest things about this album is the cover art, created by Oregon artist Drew Struzan. I wasn't familiar with Struzan's work, but the dude was super prolific. He was a George Lucas go-to illustrator, doing many of the Star Wars film posters. He also handled Indiana Jones and Back to The Future. So he's basically the dude responsible for every fantasy I had when I was 6 years old. Struzan worked with Creative Director Ernie Cefalu (appointed by the band) to create the artwork.
The Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album cover depicts a man in the grips of a demonic fever dream on the front, surrounded by various evil figures and an ominous skull figure reaching towards him with the foreboding "666" carved into the bed post. On the back of the album, a peaceful scene is depicted of a man on the verge of death surrounded by his family. Creative Director Ernie Cefalu describes the inspiration he gave Struzan for the artwork:
My concept for this album was based on two color illustrations that were given to me on my confirmation day in 1955, that I still have to this day. They are from the 1700’s and depict an evil man and a good man both at the split second of their death. When I showed them to Drew and explained the idea - well these pieces speak for themselves. - Ernie Cefalu / Creative Director