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 ·
The Angry Scotsman
After releasing 2 epic albums, (including the genre defining "Paranoid") the fathers of metal release their third, "Master of Reality"

Here Black Sabbath don't add anything to their sound, in fact they just reinforced it. Tony Iommi who hurt his fingers long before detuned his guitar to relieve the tension, the result was an incredibly heavy sound unlike even the Sabbath albums previously. Bassist Geezer Butler followed suit.

Musically, "Master of Reality" is what we expect of early Sabbath: Heavy, mid tempo songs, bluesy guitar solos, complete with punchy bass and Ward's powerful drumming. Ozzy's powerful wail tops it all off.

There are some breaks: the almost classical sounding "Embryo", the acoustic ballad "Orchid" both of which are segues, and the full length song "Solitude". They are all nice, and "Solitude" is really a great song. Quiet, peaceful, and relaxing...filled with light guitar, flute, piano, and soft vocals. A nice change of pace and outright great song.

This is followed by the riff-tastic "Into the Void" which brings up a point that really doesn't even need to be mentioned, the riffing. While a true band effort, this album, (like any good metal album) is based on the riffs. Iommi's classic heavy metal riffing defines the album, some which are the best you'll hear.

Lyrically, things stay in the same general area, though note: "Sweat Leaf" is a powerful heavy metal love song about the plant that was obviously near the hearts of the band, while "After Forever" is actually Christian song, of sorts...posing various questions and portraying it in a way that is not in your face, and actually a bit ponderous. A nod to Butler's faith but perhaps also to help shake the notion of Sabbath being satanists.

"Children of the Grave" is another song about war, though unlike many metal bands of later, it's an anti-war piece. While "War Pigs" was more focused on politicians and those responsible, "Children of the Grave" is a bit more "hippieish".

"So Children of the world, listen to what I say, if you want a better place to live in spread the words today. Show the world that love is still alive you must be brave, or you children of today are children of the grave." OK, ends on a dark note but can't you see some long hairs with acoustics gently singing that? I can, except it's Ozzy and over a chugging riff!

An absolutely classic heavy metal album, this has it all. Awesome riffs, solos, powerful vocals, great songs. Not much else to say. Even for the band "Master of Reality" has a very heavy, sludgy, stoned sound, built around slow to mid tempo songs, which has influenced countless bands: Of course every heavy metal band, especially doom and sludge metal, stoner rock and even grunge. A truly important album that is as good as its legacy is huge.

Five Stars
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