Black Sabbath - Master Of Reality
Warner Music
Early Heavy Metal
8 songs (34'24)
Release year: 1971
Black Sabbath, Warner Music
Reviewed by Marty
By the time Black Sabbath unleashed their third album Master Of Reality, they had already made quite a name for themselves. Their debut album and their second album Paranoid quickly vaulted them to the top of the "heavy rock" scene especially in the U.S. where they toured extensively in support of those albums. Tracks like War Pigs, Paranoid and Iron Man were enormous and still stand the test of time to this day as some of the best "heavy metal" tracks ever written. At the time, no band was heavier or as sinister sounding Black Sabbath. They provided such dark imagery with the subject matter of their songs and pounding, repetitive heaviness. Sure there were heavy bands around at the time like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep but Black Sabbath was something bigger and altogether different that anything we had ever heard before. They took the "heavy rock" sound to an extreme and Master Of Reality saw Black Sabbath getting even heavier still with Tony Iommi's huge and thick guitar sound, more prominent bass by Geezer Butler and lyrics that dealt with mysticism, religion and taking a somewhat darker look at life in the nuclear age of the late 60's to early 70's.

Gotta love the classic coughing sounds open the track Sweet Leaf; a track devoted to the love of the "wild weed". The monstrous guitar tone is evident right off the start as are the repetitive driving riffs and a huge sludgy and heavy sound. Toni Iommi's tone was a mix of extreme volume, fuzz pedals, multi-tracking as well as down-tuning his guitar. After Forever picks up the tempo a bit with a driving heavy number which questions various religious views and how they affect our lives. After a short octave voicing instrumental entitled Embryo; featuring Tony Iommi on guitar, the rumblings of Children Of The Grave build and then explode out of your speakers. Heavy and driving with a message of revolution and rebellion by the youth of today in hope of a better future, this is a genuine Black Sabbath classic. Tony Iommi gets the spotlight again with a wonderful little acoustic number entitled Orchid before the huge wall of guitars, drums and bass erupts once again for Lord Of This World. Geezer Bulter's lyrics once again tackle religion, damnation and eventually salvation of a lost soul. Solitude, much like Planet Caravan from Paranoid is a quiet whispery ballad like track with vocal effects on Ozzy's voice and some flute work by Tony Iommi. The last and final track, Into The Void is another all-time classic and is one of my personal favorite Sabbath tracks. With a post-apocalyptic view of our world, it uses driving, hypnotic and repetitive riffing to once again create a huge wall of sound.

The thicker and heavier sound with this album was born out of necessity in some ways. With the extensive touring that the band was doing, the tension on Tony Iommi's guitar strings sometimes would make his fingers sore. Don't forget that he wears little plastic caps on the ends of his fretting hand fingers due to the ends of them being chopped off in an industrial accident in his late teens. The down tuning not only made it easier on his fingers, but it also created this huge heavier and ominous tone that opened the doors for a whole new type of sound. Ask any stoner/doom metal band that ever existed if they've ever heard Master Of Reality. If they said no, they'd be lying. This my friends is the equivalent of the Doom Metal bible. The whole groundwork for that sludgy metal sound was put in place right here with this album.

On a more personal note, I was 11 years old when this album came out and it was the very first album that I ever owned. Up until then, I had 45's and my brother had some Led Zeppelin and Grand Funk Railroad albums but a friend of mine told me that his brother had bought this album by a band called Black Sabbath that he didn't like and wanted to sell it. He put it on the turntable and after hearing the opening chords of Sweet Leaf, I knew that I just had to have it. I ran back home, grabbed some change and cashed in some pop bottles along the way to scrape together $2.00 in change to buy the album from my friend's brother. This album started my lifelong passion for heavy music and will always have a very special place in my heart. Even if your collection consists of hundreds or even thousands of albums/CDs, you will always remember the very first one.

Killing Songs :
Sweet Leaf, Children Of The Grave, Lord Of This World and Into The Void
Marty quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Black Sabbath that we have reviewed:
Black Sabbath - 13 reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Black Sabbath - Classic Albums - Paranoid (DVD) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Black Sabbath - Headless Cross reviewed by Adam and quoted 81 / 100
Black Sabbath - Forbidden reviewed by Khelek and quoted 65 / 100
Black Sabbath - Mob Rules reviewed by Khelek and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 22 reviews click here
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