On July 21, 1971, "Black Sabbath" released its third album "Master of Reality", which in a similar way to its name is no less than a "Master" Piece.
This is one of the most influential albums in metal, which is also considered as an album that led to the development of the subgenre Doom Metal, as well as of the Stoner Rock genre. Admittedly, Sabbath's two previous albums also laid the foundations for the development of the Doom subgenre, but "Master Of Reality" took it further and more radically than its two predecessors, and perhaps this is also why it is considered Sabbath's most successful album Commercially in the classical period.
But the impact of this mighty album does not end with the subgenre of metal and stoner rock. Twenty years after its release and nearly 5,000 miles from where it was created, this album also influenced another genre, grunge, and bands like "Soundgarden", "Smashing Pumpkins" and "Nirvana" who would seek to achieve a sound similar to the one invented and born on the album this. The impact of this album is so heavy that Billy Corgan of the "Pumpkins" was quoted as saying that this album spawned grunge.
The album was recorded in the spring of 1971 after "Black Sabbath" returned from its first U.S. tour, a tour that was intended to promote sales of their first two albums released four months apart in 1969.
The one who led the special sound of this album was Tony Iommi, who expanded the range of instruments on which he plays acoustic guitar, synthesizer, piano, and even flute. But the biggest impact on the album's sound came after Iommi loosened the guitar strings a bit so that their guitar tune was dropped by a few half tones. To adapt to Tony Iommi's scale, Geezer Butler also lowered his bass guitar tune in the same halftones, thus making the gloomy, dark sound that makes this album so unique. A unique and groundbreaking sound, which laid the foundations for the doom-metal sub-genre, stoner rock, and greatly influenced the heavy metal and grunge genres. Some say that the tuned-down guitar strings by Iommi are intended to make the strings less firm to relieve the fingers of Iommi, who was injured while working in a metal factory several years earlier. Others say the release of the guitar strings was intentional and meant to amplify the dark sound regardless of the accident, but what does it matter when the result is so innovative and perfect.
The album opens with Tony Iommi's famous cough choking on a joint that Ozzy Osbourne gave him between recordings, and we're already slowly diving into the heavy and creepy riff of "Sweet Leaf" - a "love song" for a piece of cannabis. Iommi will later confirm that the entire band was under the influence of the drug while recording the song which is also recognized as one of the foundations of the Stoner Rock genre.
"After Forever" is a bit more rhythmic and less Doomy than the opening track, including some synthesizers from Iommi. The lyrics were written by Geezer Butler and dealt with Christianity. The song was written as a counter to the harsh criticism of Sabbath, according to which they allegedly engaged in Satanism, and so Butler replies: "Could it be you're afraid of what your friends might say if they knew you believe in God above? They should realize before they criticize that God is the only way to love… ”
From there we move on to "Embryo" which immediately returns us to the position of the fetus in the womb. A less than half-minute instrumental piece with Scottish influences, which leads us to the epic track that ends the first side of the vinyl - "Children of the Grave", a song that Ozzy Osbourne has often quoted as Sabbath's most headbanging song. Just listen to Bill Ward's crazy drumming in this song, and we have not yet begun to talk about Butler's wild bass line that opens the song and Iommi's sawed-off guitar riff. The song continues with Geezer Butler's anti-war motif, which began with the songs "War Pigs" and "Electric Funeral" from the previous album.
The other side of the vinyl opens up with another instrumental track "Orchid". This is a repulsive and mesmerizing folk-acoustic section of Iommi, which undoubtedly adds maturity and character to the album.
"Lord of This World" returns to the Doomy style with Ward's very special drumming in the opening and touches of blues rock in Iommi's riffs.
"Solitude" puts us in a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere and introduces us to the abilities of Iommi playing acoustic guitar, flute, and piano, as well as Butler's very special bass pattern that once again proves his talent. Osborne's singing here is calm and gloomy with touches of folk.
The section that seals the album "Into The Void", is the icing on the cake, simply a metal classic and this is also probably why Iommi mentioned that it is his band's favorite song. The song tells the story of a group of astronauts who flew into space in search of a star so that the human race could settle there, after the Earth became a place where life could not exist. The song has won quite a few cover versions, the most interesting of which is that of "Soundgarden" who recorded it with a slightly different voice, as part of a bonus EP attached to a special edition of the album "Badmotorfinger", which was released in 1992.
In conclusion, "Master Of Reality" is a metal classic, a milestone, a "masterpiece", a must in any music library, period!