Black Sabbath
Master of Reality


5.0
classic

Review

by PsychicChris USER (305 Reviews)
July 22nd, 2019 | 16 replies


Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A perfect album by every standard

As a millennial, I’ve had more than one friend question if 70s Black Sabbath is actually “metal” by modern standards. Such a concept is obvious heresy but makes some sense if you squint hard enough at it. Omnipresent radio rock staples aside, the band operated outside of heavy metal conventions as often as they were inventing them. Their first two albums are basically dark blues records, the run from Volume 4 to Sabotage might as well be prog rock, and their last two with Ozzy aren’t heavy by any stretch of the imagination. But all things considered, Master of Reality is enough proof that Black Sabbath was always at their core a heavy metal band.

Despite whatever protometal relic you can pull out of your ass, nothing was heavier than Master of Reality in 1971. Tony Iommi’s guitar tone was enough to set that distinction. Black Sabbath’s prior albums had a decidedly ominous atmosphere but his decision to downtune with Geezer’s bass following suit took that sense of impending doom to unprecedented levels. It’s organic enough to not sound out of place in the 70s rock climate but still has enough grime to be just as earthshaking as your modern stoner/sludge metal fare. Groups like MC5 may have been rowdier and more aggressive, but this album still sounds like the goddamned apocalypse.

The band also seemed to be tighter as a unit with a much more focused vision. The Sab Four always had fantastic chemistry but the structures on this album are more fully realized than anything that had come before. Nothing on Paranoid could’ve ever reached the speeds of the charging “Children of the Grave” and while the tempo shifts on songs like “Sweet Leaf” and “Into the Void” are nothing new, they were never this purposeful. The band was clearly done meandering around and not a single second is wasted, effectively bridging the gap from the psych blues jams of “Warning” and “N.I.B.” to the elaborate journeys of “Megalomania” and “Wheels of Confusion.”

Of course, the album’s stellar songwriting is what truly drives everybody and their father to imitate it so much. Whether you’re looking at the “Lord of this World” doom chugs, the proto-power metal “After Forever,” or the ambient “Solitude,” every song has a legendary status with influences heard in multiple demographics. But in contrast to Paranoid’s overplayed nature, these songs are actively sought out and seemingly spread in a much more organic fashion. Everybody in the underground knows “Sweet Leaf” and “Children of the Grave” but is anybody as sick of them as they are of “War Pigs” and “Iron Man"”

Master of Reality is a perfect album by every standard. It shows Sabbath at their best as musicians and songwriters while setting an insanely high bar for all other heavy metal acts to follow. Some could deem the album too short, especially with two of eight songs being short interludes, but anything more would just be superfluous. The individual songs are all complete and the short overall length feels like a challenge for anybody who would follow in their footsteps. I can only imagine how cataclysmic this thing sounded back in ’71 but with how timeless it sounds, you don’t have to come at it from that angle to fully appreciate it.

Highlights:
“Children of the Grave”
“Lord of This World”
“Solitude”
“Into the Void”

Originally published at http://psychicshorts.blogspot.com



Recent reviews by this author
Savatage Handful of RainDream Troll Second to None
Rosalie Cunningham Rosalie CunninghamSabaton The Great War
Saver They Came with SunlightBloody Hammers The Summoning
user ratings (3246)
Chart.
4.5
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
PsychicChris
July 22nd 2019


324 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album's 48th anniversary was yesterday and I figured I might as well publish this review that I wrote when I was bored three months ago. Enjoy my regurgitation of every point ever made about this album ever!

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2019


4833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just listened to this, still kicking so much ass. You can hear each song rewritten on dozens of contemporary stoner/psychedelic records

Digging: Cloudkicker - Unending

guitarded_chuck
July 22nd 2019


18020 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

dozens is the greatest understatement of all time



this might be the most influential rock album period

rockandmetaljunkie
July 22nd 2019


8227 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"Lord of this world" is sooo under rated

NeroCorleone80
July 22nd 2019


34588 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Vol 4 to Sabotage is hardly prog, more psychedelic if anything.

Digging: DJ Funk - Bootyology

StrikeOfTheBeast
July 22nd 2019


8382 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Menster of Reality

Digging: Gojira - The Way of All Flesh

someguest
July 22nd 2019


29931 Comments


this might be the most influential rock album period


Paranoid is more influential, but this is the better album.

Source
July 22nd 2019


12790 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Probably their best imo

samwise2000
July 22nd 2019


476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

s/t is my fav, but this is classic

Ambrosian
July 22nd 2019


127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Children of the Grave just might have the best riff of all time

Source
July 22nd 2019


12790 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's up there

StrikeOfTheBeast
July 22nd 2019


8382 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Certainly among the most iconic in heavy metal. Basically spawned speed metal.

Source
July 22nd 2019


12790 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Think my favorite riff on here is the one from Into the Void. Probably the best song on the album as well

StrikeOfTheBeast
July 22nd 2019


8382 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"Think my favorite riff on here is the one from Into the Void. Probably the best song on the album as well"



agreed one hunnet puhcent

TheNotrap
July 24th 2019


11607 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

It's been a while since I've heard this album, classic stuff

Digging: Humanity's Last Breath - Abyssal

fullautorpg
July 24th 2019


100 Comments


Now this album officially has enough reviews at a 4+ rating. Greatly needed. Go review Adramelch, Chemical Breath, or Slauter Xstroyes.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy