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Review: Black Sabbath - Master of Reality
Black Sabbath
Master of Reality

Label: Warner Bros. Records
Year released: 1971
Duration: 34:27
Tracks: 8
Genre: Doom Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: July 26, 2011
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Master of Reality

Rated 4.74/5 (94.78%) (92 Votes)

Master of Reality is the third full-length album in less than two years for the legendary Black Sabbath. It features the classics "Sweet Leaf" and "Children of the Grave" along with Sabbath fan favorites "After Forever" and "Into the Void." Master of Reality is much like its immediate predecessor, Paranoid, in that it continues to focus mainly on the Doom Metal sound that was to be Black Sabbath's legacy and moves further away from the psychedelic sounds of the debut. There is little or no drop in songwriting quality from Paranoid to Master of Reality and while the former may have the bigger hits, Master of Reality may actually be more consistent.

Guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler really come in to their own as musicians this time around. As with previous albums, much of Master of Reality was recorded "live" in the studio so with only one guitar, Butler had to carry the songs with his bass during the solos and he does a fantastic job. Like other great rock bass players, Butler actually plays melody lines, and is not content to just keep time with root notes. The songs on Master of Reality are some of the best early Doom Metal you're likely to hear. "Lord of This World" is thick and sludgy and the guitars make your ribcage vibrate. "After Forever" has a riff that likely launched many a NWOBHM band. "Children of the Grave" and "Sweet Leaf" map out the definitive Black Sabbath song structure with their slow, crushing grooves and faster middle parts. And again, like Paranoid, there is one song that's a bit different. The Bill Ward-sung "Solitude" is musically like a Jethro Tull or Moody Blues song with flutes and bells, but the depressive lyrics help it fit in with the rest of the album.

Master of Reality finds Black Sabbath at the peak of their Doom Metal prowess and stands at the top of their discography alongside Paranoid and just above the debut. It is another essential album for any Heavy Metal fan's collection.

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