This album shouldn't really need an introduction but just in case, it’s Black Sabbath’s eponymous debut. Released in 1970 this is THE formative metal record that inspired bands from all walks of the metal sphere be it doom, death or sludge. The album housed such classic tracks as ‘N.I.B’, ‘Behind the Wall of Sleep’, ‘The Wizard’ and least I forget, perhaps the most influential track of all, ‘Black Sabbath’. I could go on and on about this album's content (I really could), but today I want to focus on the often overlooked cover art.
Unfortunately, information about this cover (who did the art, ect.) is sparse at best -- and I don’t have the hard copy in front of me to check such information; but due to the fact that there is little to nothing about it on the internet, I doubt I would find it within the record. What I do know though, is the cover features a depiction of the famed 15th century Mapledurham Watermill in Oxfordshire. Standing in front of the mill is a haunting figure clad in all black. The colors are distorted adding to the eerie atmosphere and complimenting the controversy stirring material within perfectly.
The Mapledurham Mill may mean something else to cinema fans as being the site of the great mishap at the end of the 1976 war film, The Eagle Has Landed, where a German paratrooper sacrifices a raid of the village to rescue a local girl from the rushing waters and crushing mill wheel. You can check out the trailer for the film after the jump.
The cover of Black Sabbath to some like me is as iconic as the music found within -- a reminder of where heavy music and accompanying grim visuals were birthed. At the time at the time of its release this record, visuals included, was panned by critics and the general population alike only to be embraced and lauded later -- an all too familiar story for metal fans the world over.