Black Sabbath
Master of Reality



by temporary USER (14 Reviews)
June 18th, 2006 | 9 replies

Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist

To say Sabbath were at the top of their game in '71 would be quite the understatement. They'd just released arguably the single most influential album in the history of metal, which took them from a cult phenomenon garnered from their bluesy self titled release, to outright stars. Though Paranoid didn't receive an ounce of radio airplay, it became a word of mouth success, propelling itself into the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. And yet that very same year, Sabbath wrote and recorded another album. In most cases, that would be a recipe for disaster, probably putting forth a rushed re-hack of their previous album, capitalizing on commercial success, but not critical. Instead, Black Sabbath made arguably the single greatest album of their illustrious career.

Spread across the albums tracklist are six tracks of utter heavy metal bliss, and two instrumental intros (one necessary, the other utterly pointless, but thats a forgivable flaw.) The band rarely sounded as tight as they did here. Tony Iommi's crushing downtuned riffs, highlighted by Geezer Butler's thunderous bass and Bill Wards jazzy chops provided the perfect palette for Ozzy's tuneless wail. Though none of the players brake out of the formula they created on Paranoid their performance's sound rich and fresh, even if they're not as groundbreaking.

The album itself kicks off with the odd sound of Tony Iommi choking on a joint (yes thats what that cough is,) before the guitarist launches into the Sweet Leaf giving us one of the most memorable riffs ever recorded. Ozzy sings the song as only he can (giving us a quite vivid account of the band's love of Marijuana.) About half way through the song the tempo speeds up with a galloping bassline form Geezer and crashing drums from Bill letting Tony spread his wings and play some lead before the original riff takes over again (and Ozzy tells us to 'try it out' not advice I'd take from the Ozz man.)

After Forever kicks in next, with a brief appearance from the Moog Synthesizer, before yet another classic Iommi/Geezer riff takes off. Ozzy sings about his familiar apocalyptic topics. Iommi's also tracks between the speakers (or ears if you're using headphones) which gives it a cool sound.

The next track. Embryo is rather pointless, as its a thirty second instrumental which really should have just been part of the next track. However, it does introduce a medieval theme, something Sabbath explore on two other tracks on the album. But the song following it, Children of the Grave is another bona-fide classic, one of their best known songs. Iommi starts the song with a little palm muted bit, before the classic riff takes over. Ozzy once again gives proves that not only hippies wanted peace with his lyrics.

Next up is the second instrumental (this time clocking in at about a minute and a half) and its much more worthwhile than its predecessor. Orchid is the second medieval tinged pieces, with a calm, very well written acoustic part form Tony, before one of his most evil riffs comes in to give us Lord of this World. Once again exhibiting the snails crawl sludge that Sabbath innovated.

Probably the biggest surprise on the album is found in Solitude, one of Sabbath's most forgotten tunes, but one of my very favorites. Based around a medieval chord progression that was associated with satanism, Tony and Geezer paint a perfect smooth picture, while Ozzy's depressive vocals are augmented by a flute and later a rhythmic piano. Bill never makes his entrance, letting this fantastic song remain mellow the whole way through.

But the band certainly go out with a bang with another heavy metal standard Into the Void. Tony and Geezer's riffs are at their best and Ozzy's wail was rarely so affective. And so it is that as the album draws to a close with a wailing solo from Tony it has certainly been an effective listen. Though never as famous as Paranoid, Masters of Reality is easily my favorite Sabbath album (only their Self Titled and portions of Heaven and Hell come close to it for me.) Its dark, its metallic, its grinding, and its Black Sabbath at their finest.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Storm In A Teacup
June 18th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I personally think this was groundbreaking for them. Their debut was amazing, but I find "Paranoid" lackluster in areas. This was different then both of their releases and actually was something new. I personally find this to be their best album.

The Door Mouse
June 18th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

the only track i no from this is sweet leaf so i cant say much

sabbath is awsome thugh

i ordered we sold our soul for rock n' roll so i should be hearing more of them

June 18th 2006


best sabbath album

June 18th 2006


i like paranoid better tho..alot better...but black sabbath influenced the best bands

June 18th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Definitely the best Sabbath album. Every song on here is great.

June 18th 2006


Pretty good review, got my vote. Love the album

June 21st 2006


Good review, I need to get a proper Sabbath record, only got a greatest hits at the moment.

July 10th 2008


digging this a lot

lord of this world is probably my favorite song on this album

sweet leaf is probably the best song everThis Message Edited On 07.10.08

July 10th 2008


Anyone who is a fan of this particular, spectacular moment in time for Black Sabbath must also get Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger. Admittedly, the Soundgarden masterpiece was built using the Sabbath recording as a template. The band also recorded a version of 'Into The Void' during these 1991 sessions, although the cover didn't appear on the album. There is a very rare version of the Badmotorfinger circulating which is a double disc. The second CD has the Sabbath cover, amongst four or five other Soundgarden rarities from the period. Amazing stuff. It could probably be found as a torrent.

This Message Edited On 07.10.08

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