Black Sabbath
 Master Of Reality

Black Sabbath — Master Of Reality (July 21, 1971)

   Black Sabbath — Master Of Reality (July 21, 1971)
¬   “Bůh je jediný způsob, jak milovat”. “Chtěli byste vidět papeže na konci provazu?” ¬   Black Sabbath měli koule napsat písně oslavující všechno to, co jiní se báli vyslovit. ¬   Album je přímočaré. Kapela dodává další mistrovské dílo, které navždy změnilo způsob, jakým svět poslouchal hudbu. Iommi měl bezbariérové ruce. Zvuk alba je tedy Velkým upgrade od svých předchůdců, ano, je svědectvím velkých změn v psaní písní.
Ξ   Sound:  9.8
Ξ   Lyrics:  9.2
Ξ   Overall Impression: 9.8
¬   Album získalo Gold za 500.000 prodaných kópií 27. září 1971, tedy přesně 2 měsíce po realizaci. Vývoj ukázal, že k prodanému milionu kapela potřebovala dalších 15 let (13. říjen 1986) a to byla Platina. Přesně za dalších 15 let album dosáhlo MultiPlatiny za 2 miliony prodaných výlisků. (26. července 2001). Dále, 2354 fanoušků na celém světě dává albu plné hodnocení 5/5 (Allmusic). Není se čemu divit, toto album má dvě silné roviny: ukazuje silnější mravní smysl a pohnutky, než předchozí dvě alba, protože mezitím fanoušci nepochopili některé symboly a začali je považovat za satanisty. Moje vlastní zkušenost je, že právě toto album zobrazuje osamělost, samotu, dualitu mezi tím, co jsme od světových systémů očekávali jako děti a co nám z těchto představ zbylo. Druhou významnou rovinou alba je experimentování Tony Iommiho s nastavením strunníku: ladil svou kytaru dolů o tři poloviční kroky k C #, tím vyprodukoval temnější, hlubší a sludgier zvuk než cokoli, co bylo do té doby ve světě rocku známé. Kapela experimentováním a instrumentálními mezihrami vytvořila subžánry uvnitř vlastního společenství kapel. Považuji se za šťastného, že jsem vlastnil úplně první vydání alba s vypouklými písmeny a plakátem uvnitř. Mezitím album vyšlo ve 194 verzích.                                © Tony Iommi's signature Gibson SG guitar / TONY IOMMI
Birth name: Anthony Frank Iommi
Born: 19 February 1948, Handsworth, Birmingham, England
Notable instruments: Gibson SG
♦ On 19 November 2013, Iommi received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts degree from Coventry University. The honorary degree came “in recognition of his contribution to the world of popular music", and recognised "his role as one of the founding fathers of heavy metal music and his status as one of the industry's most influential figures”, the university said.

Location: Birmingham, UK
Album release: 21 July 1971
Recorded: February — April 1971 at Island Studios in London, England
Record Label: Vertigo / Teichiku Reacords Co., Ltd. Japan
Duration:      34:31  
01. Sweet Leaf      5:06
02. After Forever      5:27
03. Embryo      0:28
04. Children Of The Grave      5:17
05. Orchid      1:31
06. Lord Of This World      5:27
07. Solitude      5:02
08. Into The Void      6:13
♦   Vocals: Ozzy Osbourne
♦   Guitars: Tomy Iommi
♦   Bass: Geezer Butler
♦   Drums: Bill Ward
Ξ   Produced by Rodger Bain for Tony Hall Enterprises.
Ξ   Art Direction: Mike Stanford. Design: Bloomsbury Group.
Ξ   27 September 1971 Gold 500,000
Ξ   13 October 1986 Platinum 1,000,000
Ξ   26 July 2001 2x Multi–Platinum 2,000,000
Billboard Albums
♦   1971 Master Of Reality The Billboard 200 #8
♦   Rodger Bain Producer
♦   Tony Bain Producer
♦   Geezer Butler Bass, Composer
♦   Hugh Gilmour Liner Notes, Original Sleeve Design, Reissue Design
♦   Ross Halfin Photography
♦   Tony Iommi Composer, Guitar
♦   Keef Photography, Poster Design
♦   Ozzy Osbourne Composer, Harmonica, Vocals
♦   Ray Staff Remastering
♦   Mike Stanfod Art Direction
♦   Chris Walter Photography
♦   Bill Ward Composer, Drums, Vocals
♠   During the album's recording sessions, Osbourne brought Iommi a large joint which caused the guitarist to cough uncontrollably. Iommi was recording acoustic guitar parts at the time, and his coughing fit was captured on tape: a fragment of Iommi's coughing was later added by producer Bain as the intro to 'Sweet Leaf', a song which was admittedly an ode to marijuana use. Iommi recalls "We all played "Sweet Leaf" while stoned." In an interview with Guitar World in 2001 Butler recalled, "I do remember writing 'Sweet Leaf' in the studio. I'd just come back from Dublin, and they'd had these cigarettes called Sweet Afton, which you could only get in Ireland. We were going, 'What could we write about?' I took out this cigarette packet, and as you opened it, it's got on the lid, 'The Sweetest Leaf You Can Buy!' I was like, 'Ah, Sweet Leaf!'" Writing in Mojo in 2013, Phil Alexander observed, "To most it is the quintessential stoner anthem, a point borne out by Sabbath's own Olympian consumption of hashish during their early days." In the Black Sabbath concert film The Last Supper, Ward ruminates, "Did it enhance the music? Well, you know, we wrote 'Sweet Leaf' ... 'When I first met you/didn't realize', that's about meeting marijuana, having a relationship with marijuana ... That was part of our lifestyle at that time."
Although the album jacket credits Iommi alone as the composer of "After Forever", Iommi admits that the song's lyrics were in fact composed by Butler. Butler was (and remains) a Catholic and the song focuses entirely on Christian themes. At the time, Black Sabbath were suspected by some observers of being Satanists due to their dark sound, image, and lyrics. "After Forever" was released as a single along with "Fairies Wear Boots" in 1971.
♠   The first editions of Master of Reality came in an 'envelope sleeve' containing a poster of the band, and with the album's title embossed in black lettering, visible in relief. Later editions lacking the embossed printing would render the album title in grey. This was the first Black Sabbath sleeve on which the lyrics were reproduced on the back of the sleeve. In his autobiography Iommi describes the cover as "Slightly Spinal Tap–ish, only well before Spinal Tap."
♠   On the first North American editions of the album, several songs had subtitles given to segments, making it appear that there were more songs than there actually were. The intro of "After Forever" was given the title "The Elegy", the outro of "Children of the Grave" was called "The Haunting", the intro of "Lord of This World" was titled "Step Up", and the intro of "Into the Void" called "Deathmask". This treatment had also been used on the North American editions of Black Sabbath's previous two albums. These pressings also incorrectly listed the album title as Masters of Reality. Subsequent editions corrected the album's title and removed three of the four subtitles (all but "The Elegy").
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey;  Score: *****
♣   The shortest album of Black Sabbath's glory years, Master of Reality is also their most sonically influential work. Here Tony Iommi began to experiment with tuning his guitar down three half–steps to C#, producing a sound that was darker, deeper, and sludgier than anything they'd yet committed to record. (This trick was still being copied 25 years later by every metal band looking to push the limits of heaviness, from trendy nu–metallers to Swedish deathsters.) Much more than that, Master of Reality essentially created multiple metal subgenres all by itself, laying the sonic foundations for doom, stoner and sludge metal, all in the space of just over half an hour. Classic opener "Sweet Leaf" certainly ranks as a defining stoner metal song, making its drug references far more overt (and adoring) than the preceding album's "Fairies Wear Boots." The album's other signature song, "Children of the Grave," is driven by a galloping rhythm that would later pop up on a slew of Iron Maiden tunes, among many others. Aside from "Sweet Leaf," much of Master of Reality finds the band displaying a stronger moral sense, in part an attempt to counteract the growing perception that they were Satanists. "Children of the Grave" posits a stark choice between love and nuclear annihilation, while "After Forever" philosophizes about death and the afterlife in an openly religious (but, of course, superficially morbid) fashion that offered a blueprint for the career of Christian doom band Trouble. And although the alternately sinister and jaunty "Lord of This World" is sung from Satan's point of view, he clearly doesn't think much of his own followers (and neither, by extension, does the band). It's all handled much like a horror movie with a clear moral message, for example The Exorcist. Past those four tracks, listeners get sharply contrasting tempos in the rumbling sci–fi tale "Into the Void," which shortens the distances between the multiple sections of the band's previous epics. And there's the core of the album — all that's left is a couple of brief instrumental interludes, plus the quiet, brooding loneliness of "Solitude," a mostly textural piece that frames Osbourne's phased vocals with acoustic guitars and flutes. But, if a core of five songs seems slight for a classic album, it's also important to note that those five songs represent a nearly bottomless bag of tricks, many of which are still being imitated and explored decades later. If Paranoid has more widely known songs, the suffocating and oppressive Master of Reality was the Sabbath record that die–hard metalheads took most closely to heart. ♣
BY LESTER BANGS November 25, 1971
♠   The second–generation rock audience (that is, those who went steady to "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and got serious with Highway 62 Revisited) suffer mightily wrestling with the phenomenon represented by Grank Funk and Black Sabbath. If nothing else, though, both Funk and Sabbath are for all their monotony at least supremely consistent — as opposed to schtick collectors with no personal vision like Deep Purple. ♠   And since when is monotony so taboo in rock & roll, anyway? Rock has been — some of the best of it too in large part monotonous from the beginning, hypnotically so, as rightwingers would say. As far apart as they are, Black Sabbath is only slightly more monotonous than James Taylor or Joni Mitchell, and any Stooges or MC5 fan who disdains Black Sabbath is just bigoted.
♠   The thing is that, like all the best rock & rollers since the Pleistocene era, Black Sabbath (and Grand Funk) have a vision that informs their music with unity and direction and makes their simple structures more than they might seem. Grand Funk's vision is one of universal brotherhood (as when they have spoken of taking their millions to the White House with a list of demands), but Black Sabbath's, until Master of Reality anyway, has concentrated relentlessly on the self–immolating underside of all the beatific Let's Get Together platitudes of the counter culture.
♠   Their first album found them still locked lyrically into the initial Spiritualist–Satanic hype and was filled out mostly with jamming, while Paranoid reflected that theme only, in the great line in "War Pigs": "Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses." The rest of the album dealt mostly with social anomie in general, from the title track's picture of total disjuncture (rendered with authentic power too) to "Iron Man's" picture of an unloved Golem in a hostile world, the stark picture of ultimate needle–freak breakdown painted in the philippic "Hand of Doom," and finally the unique "Fairies Wear Boots": "I went walkin' late last night Suddenly I got a fright/I looked in the window, was surprised what I saw/Fairies in boots dancin' with the broads!"
♠   Not all of this, incidentally, was rendered in La Brea sinks of lugubrious bass blasts — several of the songs had high wailing solos and interesting changes of tempo, and "Paranoid" really moved. If you took the trouble to listen to the album all the way through.
♠   Master of Reality both extends and modifies the trends on Paranoid. It has fewer songs, if you discount the two short instrumental interludes, but it is not that the songs are longer than the first record — the album is shorter. The sound, with a couple of exceptions, has evolved little if at all. The thick, plodding, almost arrhythmic steel wool curtains of sound the group is celebrated and reviled for only appear in their classical state of excruciating slowness on two tracks, "Sweet Leaf" and "Lord of This World," and both break into driving jams that are well worth the wait. Which itself is no problem once you stop thinking about how bored you are and just let it filter down your innards like a good bottle of Romilar. Rock & roll has always been noise, and Black Sabbath have boiled that noise to its resinous essence. Did you expect bones to be anything else but rigid?
♠   The rest of the songs, while not exactly lilting, have all the drive and frenzy you could wish for in this day and age. Thematically the group has mellowed a bit, and although the morbidity still shines rankly in almost every song, the group seems to have taken its popularity and position seriously enough to begin offering some answers to the dark cul–de–sacs of Paranoid. "Sweet Leaf," for instance, shows that Black Sabbath have the balls to write a song celebrating grass this late date, and the double entendre, if you can even call it that, is much less tortuous than it would have been in 1966, with an added touch of salvation from grosser potions: "My life was empty forever on a down/Until you took me, showed me around ... Straight people don't know what you're about..."
♠   Unfortunately, the religious virus also rears its zealot head, in "After Forever," which is a great Yardbirds–type arrangement nevertheless and despite its drubbing us over the head with "God is the only way to love" it does have the great line "Would you like to see the Pope on the end of a rope?"
♠   And besides, isn't all this Christian folderol just the flip side of the Luciferian creed they commenced with and look back on balefully in "Lord of This World"? And for those of us, like me, who prefer the secular side of Black Sabbath, there's "Solitude," a ballad as lovely as any out of England in the last year (with flute yet), and "Children of the Grave": with "Revolution in their minds the children start to march Against the world they have to live in Oh! The hate that's in their hearts They're tired of being pushed around and told just what to do. They'll fight the world until they've won and love comes flowing through."
♠   I'm not saying that either that or the arrangement it's set in is the new "My Generation," but it is a rocking, churning addition to the long line of defiant, self–affirmative and certainly a little defensive songs that goes right back to the earliest whap and wail of rock 'n' roll. It's naive, simplistic, repetitive, absolute doggerel — but in the tradition. Chuck Berry sang in more repressed times. "Don't bother us, leave us 'lone/Anyway we almost grown." The Who stuttered "hope I die before I get old," but the MC5 wanted to "Kick Out the Jams" or at least escape on a "Starship," and Black Sabbath have picked up the addled, quasi-politicized desperation of growing up in these times exactly where they left off: "Freedom fighters sent out to the sun Escape from brainwashed minds and pollution/Leave the earth to all its sin and hate/Find another world where freedom waits."
♠   The question now is not whether we can accept lines as obvious and juvenile as that from a rock & roll record. They should be as palatable to anyone with a memory as the stereotypic two–and three–chord structures of the songs. The only criterion is excitement, and Black Sabbath's got it. The real question is whether Black Sabbath can grow and evolve, as a band like the MC5 has, so that there is a bit more variation in their sound from album to album. And that's a question this group hasn't answered yet.
♠   With Paranoid, Black Sabbath perfected the formula for their lumbering heavy metal. On its follow–up, Master of Reality, the group merely repeated the formula, setting the stage for a career of recycling the same sounds and riffs. But on Master of Reality Sabbath still were fresh and had a seemingly endless supply of crushingly heavy riffs to bludgeon their audiences into sweet, willing oblivion. If the album is a showcase for anyone, it is Tony Iommi, who keeps the album afloat with a series of slow, loud riffs, the best of which — "Sweet Leaf" and "Children of the Grave" among them — rank among his finest playing. Taken in tandem with the more consistent Paranoid, Master of Reality forms the core of Sabbath's canon. There are a few stray necessary tracks scattered throughout the group's other early–'70s albums, but Master of Reality is the last time they delivered a consistent album and its influence can be heard throughout the generations of heavy metal bands that followed.
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