Progarchives.com Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > Other music related lounges > Proto-Prog and Prog-Related Lounge
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed: Thoughts on Master of Reality
  FAQ FAQ  Forum SearchSearch  Calendar   Register Register  Login Login

Thoughts on Master of Reality

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
Author
Message
thellama73 View Drop Down
Collaborator
Collaborator
Avatar
Eclectic Prog Team

Joined: May 29 2006
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 8329
Post Options Post Options   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Thoughts on Master of Reality
    Posted: October 21 2012 at 14:56
I just bought Black Sabbath's Vol. 4 and have been sufficiently impressed by it to revisit their earlier work, listening to all of it heavily over the weekend.

I know that many people consider Master  of Reality their master(ofreality)piece but have never really understood why. I actually much prefer Vol. 4 to it. Listening to it again, I realized that my main problem with Master of Reality is side one.

Side two is rock solid, but apart from Children of the Grave,which is an absolute monster, I don't find that much to like about the first side. That impression is probably what turned me off about the record initially and prevented me from giving side two a fair hearing.

Sweet Leaf is too overt in its celebration of marijuana (I much prefer metaphor like in Snowblind) and always struck me as pretty dumb. After Forever feels really out of place to me with its very unsubtle Christian lyrics.

I'd love to get other people's thoughts on the record and Black Sabbath's early work in general.
Back to Top
Snow Dog View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Errors & Omissions Team

Joined: March 23 2005
Location: Caerdydd
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 32925
Post Options Post Options   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2012 at 14:59
For me Sweet Leaf is the best song, so........
Coldness doth get away with the badness.
Back to Top
Pekka View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: August 03 2006
Location: Espoo, Finland
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 6261
Post Options Post Options   Quote Pekka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2012 at 15:34
Here's what I wrote in my MMA review of the album. 


Most bands entering their second recording year are usually still a bit wet behind the ears, but Black Sabbath's first year saw them release two of the most legendary rock albums ever made. And it was only just the beginning. The hit-and-miss debut and the all-brilliant Paranoid have a worthy successor in Master of Reality.

Lasting only about 35 minutes, this album is at the same time very versatile and very focused. Usually when I think about the album I see it as a massive onslaught of heavy riff mastery, but when I take a second thought I remember the surprisingly lightly rocking After Forever with its equally surprising lyrics about a loving God, the two acoustic instrumentals preceding some of the heaviest tracks of the album, Embryo and Orchid, and the planetcaravanish ballad Solitude. That's four of the eight tracks on the album that deviate from my first and foremost picture of this album's nature. I don't know why exactly, but it happens every time still after years of listening.

The somewhat weird and twisted Embryo leads to a classic riff parade called Children of the Grave, which among other things shows that some extra percussion can add a great deal with little effort. Orchid is Tony Iommi at his most beautiful, whereas the next track, Lord of This World is as heavy as anything on any Sabbath album. As are the yay-for-drugs anthem Sweet Leaf and the album closing, thundering Into the Void. Great riff after great riff after an even better riff, all the time.

The band is on fire, the tracks are killer, classic Sabbath worth hearing. A lot of times.

Five stars, which is also the rating I gave Paranoid. The somehow unfocused and thinner Vol 4, while still great classic Sabbath for the most part, was a slight dip before return to brilliance on the next two albums.
Back to Top
thellama73 View Drop Down
Collaborator
Collaborator
Avatar
Eclectic Prog Team

Joined: May 29 2006
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 8329
Post Options Post Options   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2012 at 15:42
Allmusic says Sweet Leaf has "one of the greatest guitar riffs ever committed to record." That seems to be the general consensus, but I have never liked that riff. There are three or four others on the album I like a lot better.
Back to Top
Eria Tarka View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: December 17 2011
Location: BC, Canada
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 5804
Post Options Post Options   Quote Eria Tarka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2012 at 16:41
Vol. 4 is my favorite Sabbath album, and I too have never really understood the hype around Master.
Back to Top
HarbouringTheSoul View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member


Joined: May 21 2010
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 1199
Post Options Post Options   Quote HarbouringTheSoul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2012 at 17:09
Like you, thellama73, I much prefer Vol. 4, which I think contains many of their best songs ("Wheels of Confusion", "Tomorrow's Dream", "Supernaut", "Snowblind", "Laguna Sunrise", "Under the Sun"). Master of Reality, I think, has two classics: "Children of the Grave" with its ultimate chugging riff and quasi-tribal percussion and Into the Void, which might the heaviest song ever recorded. As for the rest of the record: "Solitude", albeit overlong and monotonous, is quite lovely and may contain the only good vocal performance by Ozzy Osbourne ever ("Planet Caravan" doesn't count because his voice is unrecognizable). "After Forever" is rather strong, but the lyrics are incredibly awful even by this band's standards (I don't object to Christian themes, but Butler's effort to put forth a convincing argument for Christianity backfires immensely) and that upbeat, almost boogie-ish section doesn't gel too well with the 'urgent' main riff. The riff to "Sweet Leaf" is so dumb that it's almost cool again and the fast interlude towards the middle is quite entertaining. Plus, Ozzy contributes maybe his most unintentionally brilliant moment in the way he screams out "my life is freeeeeeeeeeeeee now". "Lord of This World" is one of three by-the-numbers Sabbath songs (the others are "Cornucopia" and "St. Vitus' Dance") that I always think are totally lame but nevertheless entertain me a bit when they're on.The two short tracks are completely dispensable.

So in the end that's two great songs, four okay ones and two minutes of filler. That makes a solid three stars. By contrast, Vol. 4 has six great songs, three okay ones and also two minutes of filler ("Changes" barely makes the "okay" category for similar reasons as "Sweet Leaf": It's so dumb that it's kinda cool.)

My ranking of Sabbath's first six albums looks like this:
1. Vol. 4
2. Paranoid
3. Black Sabbath
4. Sabotage
5. Master of Reality
6. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath


Edited by HarbouringTheSoul - October 21 2012 at 17:14
Back to Top
Aussie-Byrd-Brother View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

Joined: October 12 2011
Location: Melb, Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 3889
Post Options Post Options   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2012 at 17:50
I really like `Master Of Reality', plenty of killer tracks, even though I find `Sweet Leaf' a little plodding and repetitive, my least favourite song on the album. Still good, though!

Some poeple seem to have a problem with the production of some of `Master', I noticed some tracks are almost like demos, others have a much fuller sound. I've argued endlessly with a friend about this over the years, saying he can't stand the album because of the sound quality, I say the rougher stuff gives the album it's identity and more of a `stoner rock' sound?

But to be honest, you can't go wrong with the majority of the Ozzie Sabbath albums, especially the first 6 or so. The bluesy self-titled debut is one of my favourites!
Back to Top
HolyMoly View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams

Joined: April 01 2009
Location: Atlanta
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 20076
Post Options Post Options   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2012 at 17:56
I've always been a little lukewarm towards Master of Reality too.  It's my least favorite of their first six albums.  But I still like it a good deal.  I always skip Sweet Leaf, thought I do love After Forever and Children of the Grave.

Edited by HolyMoly - October 21 2012 at 17:56
My other avatar is a Porsche / RARE GOAT bandcamp page

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle if it is lightly greased.
-Kehlog Albran
Back to Top
Dean View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Retired Admin and Amateur Layabout

Joined: May 13 2007
Location: Albion
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 32984
Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2012 at 18:07
I prefer Paranoid to Master of Reality and always have. No reason, just do. Children of the Grave and Into The Void are stonkingly good and do stand out though.


If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise and then just behave like they would - Neil Gaiman
Back to Top
The Doctor View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Honorary Collaborator

Joined: June 23 2005
Location: The Tardis
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 8409
Post Options Post Options   Quote The Doctor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2012 at 18:24
I'm a pretty big fan of myself.  Ohhhhhhhhhh...you mean the other Master of Reality.  Wink

Of their first four, MoR is actually my least favorite.  I think their debut, Paranoid and 4 are much better.  And I agree with the OP, After Forever seems very out of place on a Black Sabbath record.  That song would seem more appropriate on a Neal Morse solo album. 
I can understand your anger at me, but what did the horse I rode in on ever do to you?
Back to Top
The Quiet One View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: January 16 2008
Location: Argentina
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 15735
Post Options Post Options   Quote The Quiet One Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2012 at 18:27
I do prefer the rawness of their debut, with the more bluesy and jam feel, even if the guitar solos get kind of repetitive. I just like the whole feel of it, the riffs, the BASS, Ozzy's vocals. It's just awesome and unique for the time.

Paranoid was a step forward in composition skills, War Pigs is brilliant. However I'm not too big on Iron Man nor title track. Maybe I prefer other type of riffs.

When it comes to Master of Reality, it's not my favourite but with time I began to hear its brilliance. Again, they progress and change, wayyy heavier and darker in tone (I've read somewhere that Tony and Geezer lowered the tuning or something). Bomb riffs, simply that; probably the reason why its held so high for metal fans and rock fans in general. Truly one of the first metal-sounding albums of the time, while Paranoid and the debut still relied on more blues. 

Anyway, I think that one of Sabbath's best in compositional terms is Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, very elaborated album and its done greatly. Got to admit though that Ozzy's vocals are very whiny here and can turn off listeners. But for me it's up there with the previous three. Vol. 4 is good but wouldn't call it brilliant, it continues the vein of its antecessor and doesn't offer much new.
Back to Top
Vibrationbaby View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member


Joined: February 13 2004
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 6898
Post Options Post Options   Quote Vibrationbaby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 22 2012 at 10:32
Into The Void evokes the Cold War. Fortunately we came to our senses. I wonder if Master Of Reality was played in the Kremlin or Pentagon. Sabbath saved the world with that one. if they didn' get the message with Warpigs then this one must have sunk in.
              
Back to Top
thellama73 View Drop Down
Collaborator
Collaborator
Avatar
Eclectic Prog Team

Joined: May 29 2006
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 8329
Post Options Post Options   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 22 2012 at 10:33
Originally posted by Vibrationbaby

Into The Void evokes the Cold War. Fortunately we came to our senses. I wonder if Master Of Reality was played in the Kremlin or Pentagon. Sabbath saved the world with that one. if they didn' get the message with Warpigs then this one must have sunk in.


Yes, because as we all know, war is a thing of the past and never happens anymore.
Back to Top
JJLehto View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: April 05 2006
Location: New Jersey, US
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 33123
Post Options Post Options   Quote JJLehto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 22 2012 at 17:59
Great album, and the third  consecutive 5 star album Sabbath has from me.
I don't like it quite as much as the first 2, which really speaks to their greatness.

Not much to say, it's everything you want from Sabbath and done well.
Vol 4 is where they start to lose it IMO, though it's a good album. The excessive touring, recording and drug use started to take its toll by that point.


Edited by JJLehto - October 22 2012 at 17:59
"It's fine, luckily we're all English so no one will ask any questions. Thank you centuries of emotional repression."
Back to Top
KingCrInuYasha View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: September 26 2010
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 676
Post Options Post Options   Quote KingCrInuYasha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 22 2012 at 18:24
Probably their most revolutionary in terms of sound.  Along with Raw Power (Iggy & The Stooges) and Red (King Crimson), it sounds like it could have been made recently.

It also happens to be my second favorite of the "Classic six" (right behind Paranoid).

On a related note, here's a review of the album from everyone's favorite hack critic, Robert Christgau:

As an increasingly regretful spearhead of the great Grand Funk switch, in which critics redefined GFR as a 1971 good old-fashioned rock and roll band even though I've never met a critic (myself included) who actually played the records, I feel entitled to put this in its place. Grand Funk is like an American white blues band of three years ago--dull. Black Sabbath is English--dull and decadent. I don't care how many rebels and incipient groovies are buying. I don't even care if the band members believe in their own Christian/satanist/liberal murk. This is a dim-witted, amoral exploitation.
Rating: C-

He looks at this world and wants it all... so he strikes, like Thunderball!
Back to Top
Tapfret View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: August 12 2007
Location: Arlington, Wash
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 2899
Post Options Post Options   Quote Tapfret Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 22 2012 at 18:39
I would say Vol 4 is my, well, 4th favorite. Master of Reality is not up there at all on my list. I'm a much bigger fan of their b-side stuff than the staples. My Ozzy years' BS (make of that what you will)  ranking:

1  Sabbotage
2. Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath
3. Never Say Die
4. Vol. 4
5. S/T
6. Paranoid
7. Master of Reality
8. Technical Ecstasy

I would say the gulf in class between 7 and 8 is much bigger than between 1 and 7.

Back to Top
rogerthat View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member

VIP Member

Joined: September 03 2006
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 5529
Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 23 2012 at 23:10
Love this album but I definitely like Sabotage a lot more than this.  
Back to Top
Jim Garten View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Retired Admin & Razor Guru

Joined: February 02 2004
Location: South England
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 14541
Post Options Post Options   Quote Jim Garten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 25 2012 at 03:16
I see MoR as the band progressing beyond their first 2 huge albums; fairly short even by vinyl standards, it contains to me some of Iommi's best work. Sweet Leaf is to me the weakest track on the album & I loved Solitude as soon as I heard it (still do).

Volume 4 built on the foundations set by MoR & in my opinion, still stands up as their masterpiece.

Jon Lord 1941 - 2012
Back to Top
Federico95 View Drop Down
Forum Groupie
Forum Groupie
Avatar

Joined: September 05 2012
Location: Taranto, Italy
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 87
Post Options Post Options   Quote Federico95 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 25 2012 at 04:47
Master of Reality is my favourite album from the Ozzy era (along with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath which is a bit more proggy and melodic), but the best overall is Heaven and Hell
Back to Top
Prog Sothoth View Drop Down
Collaborator
Collaborator
Avatar
Prog Metal Team

Joined: May 03 2011
Location: MA
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 697
Post Options Post Options   Quote Prog Sothoth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 25 2012 at 11:47
Master of Reality is probably their heaviest soundwise concerning the classics. Quite the guitar tone for its time, and the downtuning added an extra doom factor to the overall vibe. Granted, it's short, but still one of the most played out of their albums I own.
Love the speedy break during "Into The Void", like proto-thrash in a way.
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Bulletin Board Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 9.69
Copyright ©2001-2010 Web Wiz

This page was generated in 0.156 seconds.