Black Sabbath - Master Of Reality
21 July 1971

Disc I
01. Sweet Leaf
02. After Forever
03. Embryo
04. Children Of The Grave
05. Orchid
06. Lord Of This World
07. Solitude
08. Into The Void

Disc II [2009 Deluxe Edition Bonus CD]
01. Weevil Woman '71
02. Sweet Leaf [Studio Outtake - Alternate Lyrics]
03. After Forever [Studio Outtake - Instrumental]
04. Children of the Grave [Studio Outtake - Alternate Lyrics]
05. Children of the Grave [Studio Outtake - Instrumental]
06. Orchid [Studio Outtake]
07. Lord of this World [Studio Outtake]
08. Solitude [Studio Outtake - Alternate Version]
09. Spanish Sid [Early Version Of 'Into The Void'] [Studio Outtake - Alternate Version]

Master of Reality is another representative masterpiece of Black Sabbath's golden era. It's their third classic studio album and it was recorded back in 1971, a while after their previous successful release Paranoid.

Master of Reality finds Black Sabbath still at the beginning, experimenting with the same music formula they discovered through their two previous records. However, they display a variety of new ideas and it becomes very clear that the group had a lot more to give and a long way to go. So, using the same ingredients - a catchy main guitar riff followed by noticeable bass parts and powerful drumming - they composed their heaviest record so far (and one of the heaviest records ever). The songs are based on clear and well refined rhythmic patterns and stick to the mind after the first listening. In most of the times the tempos during the main riff are relatively slow but they fasten during the interludes. Personally, I think the main - and the only one - disadvantage has to do with the solo parts. This is because the bluesy solos are not as exciting as someone would like them to be. Of course this doesn't mean that there are not metallers who enjoy them. Soloing is a subjective matter.

Again there is a variety of song themes dealing with personal, social, religious and other matters. The lyrics can be pathetic, ironic or melodramatic and sometimes they give the themes a simplistic character. The rhyme is plain and the words fit perfectly in the music. My favorite quote is: "Is god just a thought within your head or is he a part of you / Was Christ just a name that you read in a book when you were at school".

The album consists of 8 songs. For essential listening I would pick four songs. The first one is called 'Sweet Leaf' and it has a weird coughing intro which gradually transforms into an extremely catchy riff. According to the booklet the song "a blue print for 90s grunge". Next, comes my favorite song 'After Forever' which was written exclusively by Tony Iommi. It has to do with religious matters and it is possible that you will find yourself whistling the theme for all day long after one listening. Next, we're moving onto the 'Children of the Grave', an amazing rhythmic creation which ends with guitar noise and Ozzy [I guess] whispering the song title. In the end, I have to mention the 6th track. It's called 'Lord of this World' and it's weird groovy song, the riff of which, however simple it is, will haunt you forever!

Additionally, I have to say that there are two short instrumental songs 'Embryo' and 'Orchid' which you'd better not skip. What is more, there's another song called 'Solitude' and it's the ballad of Master of Reality. It's similar to 'Sleeping Village' [from Black Sabbath] and 'Planet Caravan' [from Paranoid] and still get the feeling that something's missing or something is not working properly. Maybe this is because they don't sound like the Black Sabbath we know. Anyway, the closing track of Master of Reality is called 'Into the Void'. For some reason I always combine it with the closing track of Black Sabbath, 'Wicked World'. It's an ok song but I think its value it's overshadowed by the "classics" that are found in this album.

Master of Reality is another Black Sabbath album that every heavy metaller who respects him/herself should own. Trust me it's essential for collection although it has only 6 full songs [the two are instrumental]. It's the quality that counts not the quantity! Also don't forget that the album [1996 remasters] contains an informative booklet with a review, lyrics for all the songs and a few pictures.

Band profile: Black Sabbath
Album: Master Of Reality


written by HS | 02.09.2003

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


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Comments: 10  
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Talvi - 24.08.2006 at 17:25  
Maybe best Sabbath album. After forever is to me the best song of the album.
Dangerboner - 25.08.2006 at 03:07  
This is probably my third favorite Black Sabbath album, behind their S/T cd and Sabotage.

Great review, great rating.
Bankler - 16.11.2006 at 13:25  
their greatest album, children of the grave owns.
Doc Godin - 29.04.2007 at 23:36  
As much as it bothers me to see 9.9 ratings I really cant argue, pretty much flawless album.
K†ulu - 27.04.2008 at 16:09  
It's like MoP for Metallica. What a great album. When I heard Children of the Grave for the first time, I couldn't believe that such music could be played back in 1971.
Valentin B - 25.07.2008 at 08:23  
Written by K†ulu on 27.04.2008 at 16:09

It's like MoP for Metallica. What a great album. When I heard Children of the Grave for the first time, I couldn't believe that such music could be played back in 1971.

yeah, it's truly unbelievable, i mean this is just their third album?? really, there were no other metal bands around and these guys were already 'been there, done that' lol. i too couldn't believe Children of the Grave was written in 1971... but even more heavier and crushing is the song Lord of This World... i mean that main riff is unforgettable. it's a testimony to (mostly) Tony Iommi's genius, though Geezer and Bill are both awesome.
Valentin B - 28.11.2008 at 23:36  
Man, getting stoned with Into The Void and Sweet Leaf playing in the background is my life's ambition.. that opening riff from ITV is absolutely incredible.

also, this i only noticed just now but Children Of The Grave has some really good lyrics
Darkmember - 05.10.2009 at 00:46  
Solitude is my favorite song of the album
Claydden - 22.07.2011 at 05:43  
The opening riff of, Into the Void, reminds me of the classic Slayer riff, just slowed down a bit.
JohnDoe - 17.11.2012 at 16:57  
I've never understood why some people dislike the song Solitude. I've always thought it's a great, beautiful song!

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