One of the 10 best rock albums, ever!
J.J. Kilroy | Dallas, TX USA | 05/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The dynamics, variation, musicianship, and continuity of this album are far above the curve. Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) said this is his favorite album. There's nothing by any other heavy band that can compete with this album. The song "Solitude" is a slow sorrowful bluesy chant, "Orchid" is a beautiful instrumental with cellos, "Children of the Grave" is a head-banging metal masterpiece, "Sweet Leaf" is a powerful jubilation-alleluiah chorus to our favorite green sweet leaf, and there's so much more on this album. My personal favorite is "Into The Void". A heavy, doomy piece in an odd-time signature that tells a story of mankind's exodus from a polluted earth, Soundgarden "attempted" to cover the song, but gave up!
The arrangement and sequence of songs on the album is perfect! Forget Tool, forget Limp Biskit, forget Stone Temple Pilots, forget Soundgarden, and forget Alice In Chains, Sabbath were truly the Original Masters of heavy rock-n-roll. Cranium-expanding production for 1972!"
Black Sabbath perfect their own sound
howzat | 05/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Master of Reality (1971.), Black Sabbath's third studio album
Black Sabbath in the early 1970's were a completely unique entity, as no-one sounded quite like them. Sadly, at first this meant that they gained little praise from the critics, even if they did gain quite a large following of fans. The band's first two albums were nothing short of excellent, with their second effort 'Paranoid' being a classic which is still hailed by many to this day. Eager fans in early 1971 were promised by lead-guitarist Toni Iommi himself that Black Sabbath's next release would be their heaviest and darkest yet. 'Master of Reality', Black Sabbath's third studio album, released in July 1971 was exactly what the band had promised; an album heavier, stronger and darker than any of their previous work.
When I bought this album I wondered how the Ozzy-era Sabbath could ever top 'Paranoid', for the album was so good. However, 'Master of Reality' does exactly this and I personally think it is an even better album. Sadly, this album is a criminally underrated record, often overlooked in favour of its predecessor and the band's self-titled debut. The truth is though, that 'Master of Reality' has the best sense of completeness to it of the first three Black Sabbath albums. The songs are completely refined and any transitions within them are done perfectly. Furthermore, the album contains some of Ozzy Osbournes best vocal performances ever and some of Toni Iommis's heaviest, nastiest and most foreboding guitar playing is on the album. The album may well have the most uninspirational of all of Black Sabbath's album covers but don't let that put you off the album. The fact that five of the eight tracks on this album were covered on the 1994 Black Sabbath tribute album show how great this album is. 'Master of Reality' has also been one of the band's more influencial works, with tracks like 'Sweet Leaf' being a huge influence on 90's grunge bands, especially Soundgarden. The album itself has recently undergone a remaster. The album soundquality is now excellent but sadly no bonus tracks have been added to the release which would have been a great extra to pad out the CD.
'Sweet Leaf' is one of the band's great opening tracks. From the coughing start, this powerful song about drugs has been a real influence for plenty of bands. 'After Forever' is typical Sabbath, this song being critical of religious beliefs in the lyrics. That aside it has some excellent guitar play and strong bass play from Geezer Butler. 'Embryo' is a short instrumental which paves the way for one of the band's most revered tracks in 'Children of the Grave'. I think at the time, there will have been no song as heavy as this one, its a classic - the whispering, spooky finish is great as well. What was side 2 of the album, begins with 'Orchid', another good instrumental, this one being acoustic. 'Lord of this World' is another strong heavy tune but is then contrasted by 'Solitude'. This is the quiet, melancholy track on the album but it is also one of the best tracks on the album too. Do not skip this track, Black Sabbath were masters of the heavy sound but their slower, quieter stuff is fantastic as well. 'Into the Void' is a return to the heavy sound, were Ozzy sings about doom and pollution. The guitar work is so diverse on this track, from high to low in sound. Its a perfect finish.
'Master of Reality' is an unbelievable album. With this album, Black Sabbath mastered the heavy metal sound which they had done so much to pioneer. Whilst not nearly as popular as 'Paranoid', I personally think this is the better album, with its even heavier and darker style than its predecessor. This is one of Black Sabbath's best, along with 'Heaven and Hell'. Recommended for any fan of heavy metal, this is a must have."
Another 5-Star Classic!
D. Haralson | Jackson, MS USA | 03/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How do you top "Paranoid?" That had to be the question that was often hurled at the members of Black Sabbath in 1971. For me, the answer must have been, you don't. So let's not try to top it and do what we want to do. That is what Sabbath continued to do up through "Sabotage." While "Paranoid" might have been the closest to perfection, all of these albums are 5 star quality and "Master of Reality" holds up right along side them all, although it was the shortest and probably the least known.
1. Sweet Leaf-5/5. One of the bands most beloved songs. The lyrics are about marijuana opening up the mind to a heightened sense of awareness. The riff is alow and chugging, and this was an early hint at the psychedelic sounds that the band would later experiment with.
2. After Forever-5/5. The best song on the album by far. This one is an upbeat rocker. The lyrics are great with an attack on atheism. The music is superb with constant changes going in several different directions. Perfect!
3. Embryo-4/5. An interesting but rather pointless guitar instrumental track. It's about 35 seconds long and segues right into the next track. Not bad.
4. Children of the Grave-5/5. One of Sabbath's heaviest ever. Tribal drums add to an already heavy percussive song. The lyrics are great and the vocals are perfect.
5. Orchid-4/5. An acoustic finger picking guitar instrumental. Pretty, like "Embryo," its a bit unnecessary, but not bad.
6. Lord Of This World-5/5. Another great super heavy riff with more great vocals. Slow and gloomy with some weird lyrics. Excellent!
7. Solitude-5/5. Similar to "Planet Caravan," this one is an underrated gem. Slow and soft with some of the most beautiful guitar work this side of Pink Floyd. Perfect.
8. Into the Void-5/5. Another great riff. Heavy and driving, this is an excellent way to close the album. Excellent lyrics and vocals.
As I stated previously, you can't go wrong with any of the first 6 Black Sabbath albums. They are all unique in their own way. My only complaint about this one is the two short, but useless instrumentals and the fact that it is considerably shorter than the rest. It is still just as good as the rest of the albums. Highly recommended."