Master Of Reality CD (1989)

Artist: Black Sabbath

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Product Overview


Label Wea/warner Bros.
SKU 60147055
UPC 075992725323
UPC 14 00075992725323
Format CD
Release Date 3/9/1989
Author Black Sabbath
Associated Artist/Work Czech String Quartet (The)
Associated Artist/Work Iommi, Tony
Associated Artist/Work Iron Horse (Bluegrass)
Associated Artist/Work Lounge Brigade (The)
Associated Artist/Work Osbourne, Ozzy
Associated Artist/Work Rockabye Baby!
Artist Influence Blue Cheer
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Technical Info
Producer Rodger Bain; Tony Bain; Rodger Bain
CatalogID 2-2562
Lable Name Warner Bros.
Released 06/12/1990
Original Release 1971
Number of Discs 1
SPARE Code n/a
Length 34m : 23s
Mono/Stereo Stereo
Studio/Live Studio
UPC 00075992725323
Album Notes and Credits
Black Sabbath: Geezer Butler (bass instrument); Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward .
Personnel: Ozzy Osbourne (vocals, harmonica); Bill Ward (vocals, drums); Tony Iommi (guitar).
Audio Remasterer: Ray Staff.
Liner Note Author: Hugh Gilmour.
Photographers: Ross Halfin; Chris Walter; Keef.
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. ~ Steve Huey
Artist Overview
Known worldwide as the embodiment of heavy metal, England's Black Sabbath enveloped the 1970s in a dense fog of apocalyptic imagery, monolithic guitar riffs, and horror-movie lyrics. When frontman Ozzy Osbourne left the band in 1979 for a highly successful solo career, the band soldiered on with a number of replacements, including Rainbow's Ronnie James Dio. In 1997, Ozzy and his former bandmates staged a much-publicized reunion. In the 2000s, when Ozzy got busy with solo recordings, Ozzfest, and his reality show THE OSBOURNES, Dio stepped in once again to front another incarnation of the band.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (1/20/00, p.59) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...the definitive studio relic of Sabbath's golden-hellfire era (1970-74)...Ozzy preached a gospel of light: dignity, redemption and, in the heaving stoner's hymn 'Sweet Leaf,' peace through weed..."
Q (7/01, p.86) - Included in Q's "50 Heaviest Albums of All Time" - "...Malevolent....casting Black Sabbath as a Titanic-style house band on the eve of Armageddon, cranking it as the bomb drops..."
Q (1/01, p.122) - 5 out of 5 stars - "...The most cohesive record of [their] first 3 albums..."
Disc 1
1 Sweet Leaf
2 After Forever
3 Embryo
4 Children Of The Grave
5 Orchid
6 Lord Of This World
7 Solitude
8 Into The Void

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