Black Sabbath
Master of Reality


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
November 13th, 2006 | 2002 replies


Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist


1970 was a great year for Black Sabbath, the controversial metal band hailing from Birmingham, UK. The band had released two albums that year, Black Sabbath and Paranoid, and both albums were very successful. Remarkably, Paranoid hit #1 in the charts with virtually no radio support. The next year, the band recorded the highly anticipated (by fans anyway) Master of Reality. Again, the album was very successful, earning #5 in the UK and #8 in the US. With Master of Reality, Tony Iommi decided to down tune his guitar 1 ½ steps to ease the tension on two of his ailing fingertips, (which had been injured in an industrial accident years before). Bassist Geezer Butler followed suit, lowing his bass tunings to match Iommi's. Though this was likely unintentional, it changed the band's sound more than they likely expected.

The down tuning of the guitars and bass brought about an even heavier sound than what was heard in earlier records. The heavy, down-tuned sound also helped take Sabbath's slow, sludgy sound a step further. Master of Reality's opener, Sweet Leaf, showcases the updated element in the band's arsenal exceedingly well, and has been very influential in the likes of Stoner metal. Listening to Master of Reality, becomes obvious through songs like Sweet Leaf, Children of the Grave, and Lord of this World present a riffier side to Black Sabbath. This progression is welcomed, and shows that Black Sabbath can slightly change their formula, yet still succeed at the same time. The most enjoyable song spawned by this riffy variation of Black Sabbath is easily Children of the Grave. Driven constantly by a mid-paced (yet pretty fast for Sabbath's standards) rhythm, it employs every trick that the British metallers had learned within the last year. A classic early metal song, it features a solid performance from every member of the band. Yes, even Ozzy, whose delivers one of his finest vocal deliveries. Musically, Black Sabbath remains enjoyable, despite bringing in some change.

Satanic and evil were two adjectives that the media used to berate the young Birmingham metal band. The media must have ignored the lyrics and themes of several of Master of Reality's songs when making this assumption. For several of Master Reality's six full length songs contain messages that protest war, promote love of fellow man and God. Yeah believe it or not, the second track, After Forever, is most definitely a Christian song with a positive message about God. Other tracks, such as Children of the Grave and Into the Void are obviously in response to, as I mentioned, war. Children of the Grave contains a particularly effective message, depicting a generation which fights against the evils of the nuclear age. Ozzy's wails of "Must the world live in the shadow of atomic fear / Can they win the fight for peace or will they disappear" or "Show the world that love is still alive you must be brave. / Or you children of today will be children of the grave!" Pretty haunting, no? The song Into the Void has a similar subject to that of Children of the Grave. Again, it ominously depicts a world which has been torn apart by war. Really, this anti-war stance isn't new, as Black Sabbath had opted for similar sentiments in older songs like Electric Funeral and War Pigs. However, the lyrics in 1971's Master of Reality showcase an optimism that was not present in past anthems.

Master of Reality was Black Sabbath's third album in just over one year. Despite this relative lack of time off, Black Sabbath displays no signs of letting up. The album contains several of Black Sabbath's classic tracks, with songs such as Children of the Grave and Sweet Leaf being favourites among the band's celebrated catalogue. It's through these classic songs that Black Sabbath introduced yet another change in their music. Despite not radically switching up their formula, the newly down tuned guitars and bass guitars opened new possibilities for the band. Their heavy, sludgy sound proved to once again be a hit with fans, and support for the band remained as strong as ever. Master of Reality is an excellent album, essential for fans of metal, and probably my favourite Ozzy-era Sabbath album.

Recommended Tracks:
Children of the Grave
Sweet Leaf
Into the Void



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user ratings (2190)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Angmar
November 13th 2006


2689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review too bad no ones reading or responding to it.

/votes

Mikesn
Emeritus
November 14th 2006


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well I posted it at 10:30 last night, or something, so it's not really surprising that it has few comments.

Thor
November 14th 2006


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Killer album. Probably Sabbath's 3rd best album.

Digging: Black Crown Initiate - The Wreckage of Stars

MrKite
November 14th 2006


5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well I posted it at 10:30 last night, or something, so it's not really surprising that it has few comments

I usually submit mine late because I find they get more comments that way.
Great review. I see this a lot and wonder whether I should get this or their s/t. So I just get something else.

Mikesn
Emeritus
November 14th 2006


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Go for this over the s/t. It's better, imo.This Message Edited On 11.14.06

Bfhurricane
November 14th 2006


6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is the only Sabbath album that I truly, thoroughly enjoy. Better than their s/t if u ask me

Jondur
November 15th 2006


92 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really? Have you tried the Dio stuff?

Find it hard to believe that if you like Master of Reality, you wouldn't enjoy Vol 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath etc.

Mikesn
Emeritus
November 15th 2006


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really like the stuff with Dio. Vol 4, not so much...

MrKite
November 15th 2006


5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is now on my list of thing to get. the only reason I figured their s/t was better was because I hear a lot about it but not as much about this, plus the s/t has Black Sabbath on it.

Altmer
March 21st 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Paranoid owns this too.

Mikesn
Emeritus
September 23rd 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^^^ Indeed.

hard_rocker89
September 23rd 2007


278 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review. This is one of my favs.

MrKite
September 23rd 2007


5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Their s/t is garbage in my opinion and if I don't really like this when I get it (I'm hoping that's soon) I probably won't really go on with them.

Bfhurricane
September 23rd 2007


6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^You should really like this album, it beats their s/t. This album is loaded with killer tracks.

Really? Have you tried the Dio stuff?

Alright, I admit that I never tried Dio's stuff. Out of all of Ozzy's albums with the band, I like this one the best, even better than Paranoid, which I think is a far shot from a classic. And I realize Im responding to that question almost a year after it was asked.


kygermo
September 18th 2008


996 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Master of Reality without a doubt owns Paranoid.

Does Master of Reality own S/T? Thats hard to say, REALLY hard to say.

Either or, I think nothing beats Sabbath Bloody. Sabatoge as well. I love Volume 4, I cant believe the 1.5 rating it got on here.

myhigherpie
October 13th 2008


3027 Comments


children of the grave is my favorite sabbath song

great album

ConorMichaelJoseph
January 18th 2009


1870 Comments


Their fourth-best album.

Paranoid > Heaven and Hell > Sabbath Bloody Sabbath > Master of Reality >Black Sabbath.
Those are my Top 5

kygermo
February 16th 2009


996 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Why does everybody love Paranoid so much? Maybe if Side A wasnt so played out by everyone and their mother Id enjoy it a bit much more. Not taking anything away from it of course, but youde have a difficult time convincing me Paranoid is Sabbath's best. I think Side B is far better on Paranoid. Master of Reality is all killer, no filler. As well as S/T, goofy lyrics aside.

ConorMichaelJoseph
March 14th 2009


1870 Comments


^ Paranoid only has one 'filler' track on it, and that's the title track. They wrote it there in the studio to make up some time, and ended up with a classic. The most overrated song on the album but still a good one.
On this album ,I don't see the point in Embryo and Solitude bores me.

Simsalabim462
September 2nd 2009


159 Comments


Sweet Leaf influenced modern Stoner Rock...Lord of This World brought life to modern Doom/Sludge...Into the Void is a timeless masterpiece! Due to the fact that this album inspired the creation of an entirely new genre of rock, I will always reserve a special place in my heart for Sabbath's Master of Reality. In all honesty, I can't stand ANY of their OTHER material....production, musicianship, song writing, atmosphere...all lacking comparatively.



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