Monday, May 27, 2013

Album Review: Black Sabbath - Master of Reality

Black Sabbath's third album Master of Reality was released in 1971.  Due to an accident, guitarist Tony Iommi downtuned his guitar, giving the heavier tracks a darker feel than previous albums.  Sweet Leaf opens annoyingly with a looped cough before the driving, deliberate riff kicks in, pushing the song along till it speeds up for the flashy midsection.  It sounds like they had listened to Led Zeppelin II, which must have impressed them.
The driving riffs on this album are quite superb, After Forever and Children of the Grave are relatively brisk, yet still allow Ozzy Osbourne room to sing his doom-laden lyrics.  Many of the tracks have two or three separate parts within the one song, showing a fair degree of musical proficiency which they are not always credited for.
Apart from the very short acoustic interludes Embryo and Orchid, Solitude is a blissed-out slow track in a similar vein to Planet Caravan (from previous album Paranoid) with the merest of percussion, Iommi's gentle, electric strums and the odd bit of flute (it was the early seventies).  But two of the later tracks are the real 'meat' of this album.  Lord Of This World and Into The Void have dark, sludgy riffs which work really well as these two swaggering rockers lumber off into the night, rounding off an album that feels, if anything, a little short.