Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums :
Artist : Black Sabbath
Album : Master Of Reality
Released : July 21, 1971
M.M. Album Rating : 5/5 (One Of The Holy Grails Of Heavy Metal & Grunge Music)
On their first record they had a “shock and awe” effect on the music community. On their second record they became famous. On their third record however they would become an immeasurable part of music history. Not that they or guitar player Tony Iommi knew that at the time when he would down tune his guitar three semi-tones to not only produce a bigger and heavier sound. He also did it to make the guitar easier to play for his partially severed fingers from a factory accident years earlier. Yes, in many ways it seems like fate is what caused Tony to create the dark and heavy sound that would become known as “Heavy Metal” music. Had he not had that accident who knows what would’ve become of his playing. In a way as fans of the genre, and the artists it would influence we are all selfishly thankful that happened to him.
The excellent third Black Sabbath album “Master Of Reality” would introduce this new sound to the world, where bass player Geezer Butler would also down tune his bass to match Iommi’s playing. It took some getting used to by both lead singer Ozzy Osbourne who had a very high voice at the time, and drummer Bill Ward who had issues with the time signatures with the darker music. In the end though it would all come together. The third album would once again be produced by Roger Bain who would bring out this darker/heavier sound perfectly on songs like Children Of The Grave, and Into The Void. This would also be when the band, especially Iommi would begin to see the studio in a different way,
The first two Sabbath records were recorded very quickly, but they took much longer with Master Of Reality, which would become a sign of things to come in the future. The song “Solitude” was the biggest change, which would have Iommi playing piano, and even flute. On their next album “Volume Four” the band would experiment with mellowed sounds ever more. One of the new effects the band would use was at the beginning of the song “Sweet Leaf” where you hear Tony (many think it’s Ozzy) coughing uncontrollably from puffing too much on a joint. Then there’s Bill Ward’s drumming which may be his very best ever on a Sabbath album, and prove why he was one of the best. Not that it was easy though. It took weeks for him to get the exact feel for “Into The Void” even recording in different studios.
When released in July of 1971 the record was a huge success. Going to the top ten on both sides of the Atlantic, and until the fake reunion album as a trio “13” (it was no legitimate reunion without drummer Bill Ward) was their only top 10 record in America. But the sales are only part of it as this record would influence so much to come in the future of music. Both heavy metal, and yes even many grunge acts point to this record and it’s sound as instrumental in those genres. As the years have passed it may not be as popular as the first two Sabbath records, but in many ways much more essential to own. This was one of the greatest bands of all time truly in their prime, and the music reflects that. Essential to ANY Metal fan.
Track Listing :
Children of the Grave
Lord of This World
Into the Void
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