On their third album, Black Sabbath come as close to metal perfection as any record is every likely to get.
The dreamy Solitude is all that stands in the way of the album striking gold from end to end. And maybe that little blemish is the way it should be, just for Black Sabbath to remain human and somewhat fallible.
Otherwise, a deal with the devil to sell their souls in return for endless access to stellar metal inspiration and world domination would have been confirmed.
Deep in the caves that contain metal's foundation rocks, Master Of Reality stands as a massive boulder. Full of powerful riffs emanating from Tony Iommi's guitar, the album clears it's throat literally then crashes into Sweet Leaf, starting out mid-groove where most other songs would be climaxing. There is no pause for breath: After Forever just picks up the pace with a challenging riff and an endless stream of questions that should be the basis for graduate-level religious psychology course curricula.
Children Of The Grave gallops in to usher in Ozzy's generation, charging to take over the world, and Lord Of This World points to who they need to overturn to start their rule. But all fades into insignificance when Into The Void explodes it's opening riff onto an unsuspecting planet earth. The world ends, a new beginning launches.
What happened before does not matter; what comes after will forever worship at the altar of the Masters of Metal.
Tony Iommi - Lead Guitar
Ozzy Osbourne - Vocals
Terry "Geezer" Butler - Bass Guitar
Bill Ward - Drums
Songlist (ratings out of 10):
1. Sweet Leaf - 10
2. After Forever - 10
3. Embryo - n/a (short instrumental)
4. Children Of The Grave - 10
5. Orchid - n/a (short instrumental)
6. Lord Of This World - 10
7. Solitude - 6
8. Into The Void - 10 *see below*
Produced by Rodger Bain.
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