"Master of Reality" is in my personal opinion the best album of the 1970’s that Sabbath produced. I stand behind that statement with more than a few big hitting blows on this record. I feel that every band, well the successful ones anyhow, have a pinnacle, a peak, a summit, where their success reaches its highest point. "Master of Reality" is where I feel that Sabbath reached theirs. The songs are tight, well-constructed, but there is no theme running through this one, the songs are a jumble of previously raided subject matter; drugs, war and the supernatural as well as adding more theoretical subject matter to the mix. There’s a few instrumentals on this, with Iommi producing an acoustic marvel in the form of "Orchid" and the spooky, supernatural "Children of the Grave".
Favourites in this record are "Sweet Leaf", a hard hitting guitar driven song about the hold that tobacco has upon those that smoke it. The coughing intro is another example of the fun ways that Sabbath continue to use to introduce some of their tracks. "After Forever" is just as the title would suggest, being a song that talks about the afterlife and deals with the subject of religion and God. The almighty is dealt with here in terms of respect, which puts to shame the critics that accuse the band of being Satanists. There is also some good and clever use of cymbals in this song, which is thanks to the efforts of Ward, who proves time and time again that he is one of the finest musicians in the business and from what I’ve seen and heard, a man of great respect, dignity and courtesy to fans and fellow musicians alike. "Embryo", which has been mistaken for "Children of the Grave" by some fans, is an excellent song with a brilliant intro that I absolutely loved as a kid. It starts out with this lonesome electric guitar riff, that’s quiet and eery, and then there’s this building of instruments, like an approaching army, and then WHAM! Everything breaks loose into a typical blood fest of Sabbath heavy sounds! Absolutely amazing. The song is excellently done with a fantastic break towards the end of the song that works so well thanks to Ward going nuts with the cymbals. This is a song that talks mainly about how the children are the future and how their future is largely doomed. Not one of my favourites but I want to mention it anyway, "Solitude", which is a rolling, passive kinda song that is mainly about a man who is now on his own after a failed romantic endeavour. The song works well because of Ozzy’s abilities to portray the feelings of the doomed and lonely man of the song across to the listener. This would be something that Ozzy would do more in his solo career after Sabbath. "Into the Void" is my favourite on the album. It’s a cool song with a fast tempo rhythm and a lyric styling that mimics that rhythm.
Don’t have any secret stories about this particular album apart from the fact that it is probably the best constructed album of the Ozzy years. But I stand by the awesomeness of this record due to the fact that it got me through my formative years as a rock metal dude. I can remember listening to this before I even reached my teenage years. It holds a special place as it was probably the second album of Sabbath’s that I got into after "Paranoid".
Everyone puts in a good effort onto this record. I would be further remiss if I didn’t share a story from my youth that includes a song from this record, so I’ll tell it. Also, I’ve still got a bit of room in this review. It would seem that I have told the review a little too quickly so this story will fill some time in nicely!
One evening my brother, let’s call him 'Brutal', took control of my stereo system and played "Orchid" repeatedly. And when I say repeatedly, I mean just that! He played that damned song over and over, and over and over, and over and over again! I’m not sure how long the mayhem lasted but he nearly drove me insane with that song! I think I went to sleep that night with that song playing on the speakers! To this day I can’t hear that song without thinking of that crazy night when my sadistic brother out me though that hell.
Wow, haha that is kinda funny now I come to think about it. Glad I shared that with all you good folks out there. Well, I think that will do for this album, it’s been fun, but it’s time to put this beast to bed.
As always, check out all the other stuff we have for you here, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.