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In Review: Black Sabbath

Discussion in 'Album Reviews' started by Z-Man, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. Southern Comfort

    Southern Comfort Long Hair Tribe

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    Dec 11, 2018
    Deep South
    Watch a documentary about how Sabbath started out. Mostly they had used old equipment and were broke.
    Then dig into their debut.. Consider the other groups who were topping the charts at the time.
    I heard from the doc I watched. that the british critics had a hay day with Sabbath and really put them through some shit. But thanks to the American listeners they took off and gained a huge following fan club.
    I consider their first to be one of the best studio albums they produced.
  2. Z-Man

    Z-Man Junior Member

    Likes Received:
    Jan 28, 2019
    New Jersey

    Following the commercial success of Paranoid, Black Sabbath sired another kind of animal. They had more time to work in the studio on what would be the genesis of doom and sludge metal. Iommi and Butler began downtuning their guitars for an even more oppressive sound, thick as a brick. Unlike the energized riffs of the last album, these stomp on you with their dense wall of distortion.

    Coughed out is “Sweet Leaf”, an ode to cannabis. The riff is savagely simple. You already see just how heavy the rhythm section is too, let alone Iommi. First-class cut. This is followed by the romper “After Forever”, hobbled only by a poor vocal melody. Ozzy isn’t assertive enough to keep up with the guitar. “Embryo” is a medieval interval, embryonic as the name suggests. Nuclear holocaust is again the topic with “Children of The Grave”, as it was with Paranoid’s “Electric Funeral”. Its dire anti-war sentiment is expressed in one of the Tommy’s most bulldozing riffs, as if it’s plowing through dirt in anticipation for a surplus of graves. Bill Ward also delivers percussive fills. “Orchid” is a tender acoustic recess. Moving on, “Lord of This World” pummels you again with a cold-blooded riff. The song addresses the outcome of a materialistic world, Satan being the harbinger. “Solitude” showcases the band’s psych capability like the prior year’s “Planet Caravan”. Iommi plays flute to give this breakup song a relaxing yet poignant mood. Batting last is perhaps my favorite. “Into The Void” has the most baleful riff of them all. Another trite set of lyrics discusses apocalyptic conditions. Turmoil seems to be a leitmotif of Black Sabbath.

    Sweet Leaf: A
    After Forever: A-
    Embryo: B-
    Children of the Grave: A
    Orchid: B
    Lord of this World: A-
    Solitude: B+
    Into The Void: A

    To date, Master of Reality is Black Sabbath’s most unrelenting, invidious album. The riffage is mechanical and brute. It’s simpler, gloomier, and heavier than what came before. The only real shortcomings, if you want to see them that way too, are “Embryo” and “Orchid”. These two sound more like rehearsals than finished product, and can easily be discarded. Moreover, they’re not good lead-ins. I suppose their purpose is to let some light into the room, like breathers. After all, you take a serious bludgeoning from those metal riffs, which people have accused of being toneless trudge, seeing the album as merely an assemblage of power chords. It is. It’s also badass.
    Fabio, Riff Raff and Lynch like this.
  3. E-Z

    E-Z Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    Sep 4, 2011
    "Born to rock!!."
    I had a rock dude friend once who claimed that not only was MASTER OF REALITY his favourite 'Sabbath album' but he also claimed it was the bands heaviest as well.

    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  4. Lynch

    Lynch Rockin' Out

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    Jan 5, 2010
    The Land of Sky Blue Waters
    All around, another good write up. I completely agree with the A-rating on both of these tracks. Easily my two favorites on this classic album! :bow:

  5. Riff Raff

    Riff Raff The Kevin Owens Show Staff Member

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    Dec 8, 2010
    The List of Jericho and the KO Show
    Gotta be honest I enjoy the self titled debut more than Paranoid. In my top 5 or so Sabbath albums.
    Arkie Malija likes this.
  6. Fabio

    Fabio Senior Member

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    Jul 23, 2014
    Naples, Italy
    Very very interesting and well done. I wait for the review of my fav Sabbath’s album: Sabotage. Often cosidered a “second division” album at the time but so damn good imho !

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