The Hildebrandt brothers are best-known for sculpting fanstastical otherworlds in their art, or they frequently utilize a calliope color scheme to their subjects, which are likewise drawn from the realms of fantasy and science fiction. From fairy tales to Star Wars, the Hildebrandts have left a sleek, colorful imprint upon their paintings, turning their Metropolis and German industrial spirited constructs into self-contained worlds of fabulous.
Lest we forget Greg Hildebrandt's chilling artwork for Black Sabbath's Mob Rules. As one of Sabbath's heaviest albums, it's appropriate the artwork is expressively brutal, much as many of the songs are inherently thus. The synth tone strikes on "5150" alone seem to activate the flogging horror depicted on the Mob Rules cover. Is it the bloody tarp, the brandished whips or the fact this peasant-garbed execution squad are faceless which makes Hildebrandt's mini-apocalypse the most fearsome?
For me, it's the unknown; what did their victims look like after receiving this brand of street justice by ghouls? Were they mauled to death or simply humiliated and brought down in spirit? Were they upper crust or commoners? Worse, is there a trail of carnage hinted by the mind's eye and were they left earthside to rot or given proper burial?
You be the judge. All I know is the first time I saw this album in a Kmart at age ten when Mob Rules was released, I was scared out of my mind, much like that frightening robot assassin on Queen's News of the World, which was actually depicted by Frank Kelly Freas as having child-like "What did I do wrong?" traits. Hard to receive the intent at a young age with Queen, and that image was actually tweaked from a similar painting Freas did for Astounding Science Fiction, but there's no question about it with Mob Rules. It's scary as shit and intended thus.