BLACK SABBATH — Master Of Reality (review)

BLACK SABBATH — Master Of Reality album cover Album · 1971 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Most bands entering their second recording year are usually still a bit wet behind the ears, but Black Sabbath's first year saw them release two of the most legendary rock albums ever made. And it was only just the beginning. The hit-and-miss debut and the all-brilliant Paranoid have a worthy successor in Master of Reality.

Lasting only about 35 minutes, this album is at the same time very versatile and very focused. Usually when I think about the album I see it as a massive onslaught of heavy riff mastery, but when I take a second thought I remember the surprisingly lightly rocking After Forever with its equally surprising lyrics about a loving God, the two acoustic instrumentals preceding some of the heaviest tracks of the album, Embryo and Orchid, and the planetcaravanish ballad Solitude. That's four of the eight tracks on the album that deviate from my first and foremost picture of this album's nature. I don't know why exactly, but it happens every time still after years of listening.

The somewhat weird and twisted Embryo leads to a classic riff parade called Children of the Grave, which among other things shows that some extra percussion can add a great deal with little effort. Orchid is Tony Iommi at his most beautiful, whereas the next track, Lord of This World is as heavy as anything on any Sabbath album. As are the yay-for-drugs anthem Sweet Leaf and the album closing, thundering Into the Void. Great riff after great riff after an even better riff, all the time.

The band is on fire, the tracks are killer, classic Sabbath worth hearing. A lot of times.
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