Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Black Sabbath - Master of Reality

Just 6 months after the release of Paranoid, the group put out their third album, Master of Reality. As all three records were recorded and released in less than a year and a half, there are plenty of musical similarities, not that any fan was complaining! This record continues with the heavy guitar riffs, ponderous rhythm section and stoner lyrics that made the first two albums hits with the rabble.

Their most obvious ode to marijuana, "Sweet Leaf", opens with Osbourne actually coughing after taking a hit before he starts the song! This is yet another Sabbath classic, with all of the appropriate entries - lot of licks and rhythm changes behind Ozzy's unique voice. Beginning with some studio tricks (they had a bigger budget by this time, after the success of the first two records), they burst into "After Forever", with Ozzy's most overtly Christian lyrics - especially ironic as they were thought to be devil-worshippers at the time! "Embryo" is a short interlude played on a cello that moves into another blisterer, "Children of the Grave", driven by rhythm section Ward & Butler, with a relentless groove that is guaranteed to get your head banging! Iommi's musical feedback ends the tune and brings us to a first - an acoustic number, "Orchid", sounding almost classical and showing off Tony's versatility.

But we immediately return to the heaviness in "Lord of the World", a song condemning the devil - hardly the fodder for Satanists! Returning to the mellow, the ballad "Solitude" is a quiet number with Tony giving some melodic leads and a flute making an appearance! But, of course, the lads couldn't leave the record at that and come back with "Into the Void", with its guitar/bass riffage that wouldn't sound out of place in any of today's heavy rock bands, showing just who created the template for the style. Iommi's down-tuned guitar just sounds viciously evil as Ozzy sings about a rocket ship trying to escape the end of the world.

One of their shorter outings, but as with all of their first four records, a must-have for any metal-head!