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…
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music
This was my favourite SABBATH album when I was young. I suppose that was because it was so heavy and straightforward. I guess that's why it's not rated nearly as high as I think it should be on this site, because this is a Prog site. I still rate it as a masterpiece just like "Paranoid". I remember a number of years ago my brother in law (who has played lead guitar in some local bands, and is a huge IRON MAIDEN fan) being at a family Christmas get-together with at that time his new girl friend who was a Metal fan herself. He out of the blue says to me "Johnny ! What's SABBATH's best album ?" I said "Master Of Reality". He turns to his girfriend and says "See ! Everyone who knows SABBATH knows "Master Of Reality" is their best."
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.
When Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Terry “Geezer” Butler and Bill Ward formed Black Sabbath in 1969, they created a signature sound that set the blueprint for heavy music and influenced generations of disciples for years to come. Black Sabbath - Complete Studio Albums: 1970-1978, features the band’s collected studio works for Warner Bros. Records from the 1970’s, including their iconic eponymous debut, Black Sabbath (1970), the multi-platinum landmark Paranoid (1970), the platinum albums Master Of Reality (1971), Vol. 4 (1972), and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973), and the gold-certified Sabotage (1975), Technical Ecstasy (1976), and Never Say Die! (1978).