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on 9 March 2011
The first 2 albums may be seminal but quality-wise, Master of Reality is the band's first true classic. Whereas Black Sabbath was a heavy blues album and Paranoid was a psychedelic blues album, Master of Reality is the first real statement from the band that earned their coined 'heavy metal' tag. From the very onset, it's all chugging, down-tuned, fuzzy, big sounding riffs that are synonymous with what heavy metal is today. It is also really their only true heavy metal album, strangely as blues and rock and roll pervades most of their Ozzy catalogue. Later on Dehumanizer came close but not with the same bravado and simple genius that was found on this gem. Hearing it 25 years ago, in the midst of Metallica'a Black Album and the end of Iron Maiden's first triumphant reign, it did not seem out of place. In fact it towered over some of the greats that they influenced. In short, it is Metallica's Master of Puppets, Maiden's Number of the Beast and Slayer's Reign in Blood years before they had been written. That's how astounding it is.

'Sweet Leaf' explodes into life after the 'coughing' and displays one of the killerest riffs ever. From the very first note it is infectious. It's almost sexy it's that good. And the best part is that, as with the rest of the album, they do not mess with the formula. On later albums and even on the 2 preceding this tangents were gone off to and songs became lots of songs, which ruined the perfect innocence of just a simple, catchy riff. There are 2 riffs and that's it. And that's all you need. Classic. 'After Forever' is faster and not as perfect but is still an excellent, rumbling song that is 5 plus mins long but doesn't feel like it. A near perfect 2nd track. 'Embryo' lasts merely 20 seconds and is acoustic. It is slight but needed. Then 'Children of the Grave' does a 'Sweet Leaf'. It's a heavy metal, chug-festeroony, has a great title and is simple but better because of it.

'Orchid' is a nice minute and a half of acoustic niceties before 'Lord of this World' is unleashed. It is probably my least favourite of the bunch but it is still a presence to be reckoned with. It is slightly more tangential but is still true to the ethos of the album and chugs like a monster. 'Solitude' is a great song that, again, sticks to a melody and continues it. It's a ballad of sorts, has no crushing guitars, but it is sufficiently dark to be included. Not perfect but still great. 'Into the Void' is as classic as 'Sweet Leaf'. It's a storming way to end.

Possibly the best Sabbath album ever. Certainly my pick. It still sounds great today and would even hold its own against some of the metalcore that's so popular. Sabbath did it first. They veered off on a different course album by album, but their influence is felt in many of the now classic metal and heavy rock bands today; and this album is the reason.
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on 11 October 2003
I first heard this is in 1971 and must have played it 50,000 times since. The best Sabbath album and the best album ever made in my opinion.
The production is totally in tune with what Sabbath was trying to achieve on the album. It is heavy, haunting and doomy. Ozzy's vocals are at its best and the bass playing is unbelievable.
My favourite track is Into the Void but to be honest all the tracks are first class.
This is definatley the heaviest of all Sabbath albums. I never get tired of listing to the tracks and never will.
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on 4 December 2006
After the debut LP and the success they had with Paranoid, Sabbath were probably under pressure to come up with something new. Wouldn't surprise me if their record company wanted a more commercial approach and another hit single. Iommi and Butler had mastered the Heavy Metal Leviathan that they had single handedly created. They took the best moments from their previous releases, and came up with the most amazing riff filled album ever. Sweatleaf, After Forever, Children Of The Grave, Lord Of This World and Into The Void - 5 of the finest Heavy Metal songs ever written. Sure, they had to fill it out with some instrumental interludes and a (decent) ballad but if you want a place to start with Black Sabbath because you've heard the stories and you're not convinced with Paranoid, Master of Reality is for you. Osbourne's vocals are a marked improvement, the lyrics are great - it's just perfect. The band went on to make the excellent Vol 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage and the under rated Technical Ecstacy - All worth 5 stars. Keep coming back to Master of Reality - Children Of The Grave was one of the first Heavy Metal songs I ever heard and it changed my life. The Middle 8 section of Into The Void gives me goosebumps 30 years later! I review a lot of new stuff, I should be doing more of this!
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on 12 July 2009
Much like the remaster of black sabbath this is also a lesson in how to remaster music as this is just incredible.
Ive always enjoyed reality,its a very dark almost confused sounding album but with tracks like sweet leaf and children of the grave how can you go wrong,especially now when you have a cd that sounds this good!
Many people are dismissing these sabbath deluxe editions as most will think it's just the single cd bundled with a second disc of extra tracks with some fancy art work but this is simply not the case as this is one of the best versions of this i've ever heard.
Powerful rich smooth sounding you can really close your eyes and go back in time with ozzy and gang and nearly believe they are in the room with you,such is the quality of this release.
Cd two has some interesting tracks,the rather funky weevil woman and a rather strange sounding version of sweet leaf which has lyrics more suited to a love song...different indeed but very worthwhile to listen to.
And of course it has some instrumentals and different takes of songs as well which gives an insight into the recording sessions.
Is it worth getting if you have the cd already? bet,this ranks right up there in the best sounding cd pile and believe me these days that pile isn't very big!
An absolute joy for any ozzy or sabbath fan or indeed heavy rock.
This is exactly how a remaster should be!!!!!!!!
Fantastic and one of the best sounding cds i own.
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on 16 July 2009
All other reviewers have said it all this album is a hum dinger and my favourite Sabbath album.This review is just to let would be buyers know that the remastering is superb and the label here Sanctuary is a first class label,the Castle label is also part of this group.I own many CDs on both of these labels and can really say the sound quality and remastering is of highest quality,please note this album is also available in double De Luxe Cd on Sanctuary label with disc 2 containing outtakes and varied versions of the tracks on disc 1.
I will stick with my original version for the time being as Im happy with it.Amazon are selling the same version as ive got for under £4.oo its a great buy and I highly recommend it as a truly fantastic Sabbath album,mind you ive got all there albums but this is still my favourite and most played album from the band.
Hope review is of some help.
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VINE VOICEon 10 September 2007
"Master of Reality" is the epitome of Black Sabbath's monolithic riff-fuelled rock. If you want music with heavy, bluesy and infectious riffs, melodic vocals and breath-taking guitar solos, then look no further than "Master of Reality".

This is one of those special albums where every track has become a classic over the years. It all starts with the fantastic "Sweet Leaf", which was initially my favourite song on the album. "Sweet Leaf" kicks the album off in style and lays down the foundations perfectly. The opening cough/splutter sample gives meaning to the title, and sets up one of the most prominent themes and influences for the band - marijuana. This was truly the start of stoner rock. Please don't think that this stupefies the music in any way - an accusation I have heard many a time when listing stoner rock as one of my favourite genres. Yes, this album is a great experience when ripped, as are the best of the modern day stoner albums, but don't be put off thinking a sober state will forge no rewards. Bong or no bong, this is one of the best rock albums ever made.

The riffs. Let me talk about some of the timeless riffs on this album. Riffs that over the years have become massively influential and classic in every sense of the word. It is through no chance or overreaction that people nowadays refer to some guitar riffs and leads as "Sabbath-esque" or "Sabbathy". The grand onslaught of these riffs starts with the simplistic and contagious lead to "Sweet Leaf", one of my favourite riffs ever conceived. The glory to this riff, and with the majority of Tony Iommi's genius craft, is the simplicity - sacrificing complex timings, extra ghost notes and fancy finger work for simple motifs. The emphasis is put firmly on execution and groove. Take for example the riff changeups in the fine closer "Into The Void", going from the fine rolling and laid-back intro riff to some ferocious muted riffing, all complemented perfectly by Ozzy's high and melodic vocals. All of this combines to make one of the album's finest moments. Then there's "Children of the Grave" which stretches the simplicity to a basic rolling note, repeated in a galloping time signature, augmented by the occasional menacing chord progression. This song was really ahead of its time, paving the way for the galloping marches of the finest Iron Maiden. What makes these riffs even better is the structure of the songs, which are intelligent and keep the various riffs fresh. For example, the changeups in "After Forever" evolve around a repetitive lead riff which gives way to various themes and new riffs, but always returns to retain the original flow and groove. Call them stoners, but this is intelligent song writing, and something ensued throughout the album.

So the song writing is clever. It keeps the riffs fresh and interesting and manages to hold the fantastic groove. However, it is the overall writing and structuring of the album as a whole that I find most impressive. The balance of "Master of Reality" is perfect and superior to any of their other albums. There are no overly long songs, as all are between 5 and 7 minutes. The effect of this gives the album a special kind of flow that is often lacking in their other releases. "Embryo" and "Orchid" are short little pieces that act as introductions rather than fillers, and again retain the sense of flow as they are not too long or boring.

Mention should of course go to Ozzy Osbourne. In my opinion Sabbath simply isn't Sabbath without Ozzy on the vocals. His voice has become one of the most distinctive and acclaimed in rock history, and rightly so. He has what all the best rock singers have - the ability to hit the right notes, often quite high ones, and an idiosyncratic style that is instantly recognisable. The Black Sabbath sound is rounded off perfectly by this master vocalist, best highlighted by his inspired deliveries on "Children of the Grave" and "Into The Void".

Any fan of rock music should enjoy this album. It has every ingredient that makes rock so enjoyable - powerful and inspired vocals, stunning guitar solos and riffs, solid bass playing and some stellar drumming. Black Sabbath at the pinnacle of their career.
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The third album from rulers of the heavy Rock universe was their most consistent release so far. With typically mystically influenced lyrics tackling subjects from Drug Use (sweet leaf) to the band's views on Catholicism (After Forever), the sound is typically dark and heavy. Compared to the previous two releases there is a little less out and out heavy rock, more slower, dark numbers with an oppressive mood pervading. Ozzy's vocals are still on fine form varying from ethereally dancing over the backing to a full on heavy rock howl as required. Tommy Iommi has the low tuned guitar sound perfected and the rhythm section of Bill Ward and Geezer Butler lay down some suitable bass and drum lines. A classic, dark album from the best in the business.
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on 22 March 2016
Having seen Sabbath live in the 70`s and heard all of their albums, in my opinion, this is the very best of all. Ozzy's haunting vocals and the pure energy of the riffs and bass makes this a truly iconic album and a must-have for any lover of 70`s heavy rock. I 'm over 60 but still note-perfect playing air guitar listening to this! You just won' t want this album to end. Truly magnificent.
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on 21 October 2011
If ever there was an album that defined a complete musical revolution then this is it. Not only does it musically redefine the hip sound of the time to create a new and exciting style it smashes old ideals and brings a new atmosphere to modern performance. What I am saying is really very simple, this album is not the reproduction it is the prototype. Black Sabbath only ever did this once but in doing do they spawned a new religion, that of leather clad, distorted youth. The sound production is amazing for the time. Iommi's guitar sound is truly the farther of all metal bands to come, they all owe something to this album in some way or another.
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Having set out their stall with 2 raw metal/rock discs in 1970(Black Sabbath/Paranoid) the brummie boys consolidated their place as heaviest of them all with this superb album.

From the opening flem enhanced 'Sweet Leaf' to the gargantuan riffs of closing track 'Into The Void' this is a monster of an album and clearly inspired a whole generation of doom metal/stoner bands.

highlights? every track, not a weak moment here,drug influenced Sweet Leaf',the religion questioning 'After Forever'(my mothers face when she heard the ...pope on a rope.. lyric).the hammer house of horror satanic pretence of 'Children of the Grave/Lord of this World' to the light and shade 'Solitude' and the riff tastic 'Into The Void' Tony Iommi the riffmaster.In hindsight was it neccesary for 2 short instrumentals 'Embryo/Orchid? possibly a sign of ego's creeping in but at the time it matter not to the listener,as your ears rang from Sabbaths heaviest ever album.The remaster is excellent and copes with the original production pretty well. 5 stars well earned.
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