Tuesday, June 21, 2011

298 Master of Reality- Not so Black Sabbath.

Album: Master of Reality
Artist: Black sabbath
Year: 1971
Genre: Heavy Metal


  1. Sweet Leaf
  2. After Forever
  3. Embryo
  4. Children Of The Grave
  5. Orchid
  6. Lord Of This World
  7. Solitude
  8. Into The Void

Ah... Black Sabbath, that most satanic of Heavy Metal bands. The bad boys of hard rock whose onstage antics, black motifs and doom-laden lyrics have made them poster boys for devil worshippers who like to air-guitar. A dark and despicable band whose songs include unspeakable evil such as...

“Perhaps you'll think before you say that God is dead and gone
Open your eyes, just realize that he's the one
The only one who can save you now from all this sin and hate
Or will you jeer at all you hear? Yes! I think it's too late.”

Hang on. Hold just a minute. Are we sure that’s correct? Where’s the declaration of dedication to the dark lord? What the hell has got into Ozzy Osbourne?

The lyrics in question are from After Forever which is as Christian a song as you’re going to find anywhere in mainstream rock and roll. The members of Sabbath make it clear that “God is the only way to love.” Apparently the sentiment comes from band lyricist Geezer Butler, a practicing catholic, and it was sung by Ozzy Osbourne who was so stoned he didn’t know that he was actually singing, let alone what words he was using at the time.

Black Sabbath are one of a trio of bands (along with Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple) who are usually credited (or blamed) with the creation of Heavy Metal. All three groups were loud, heavy on the guitar and featured thumping drums and screaming vocals. But while the other two could best be described as flamboyant, Sabbath were the ones who created the established image: black clothes, lots of leather and religious iconography. It’s ironic Sabbath have the reputation for Satanism when they were 25% catholic and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page was the only member of the three bands who was genuinely interested in the occult.

Personally I have a soft spot for Zeppelin who were my first real musical love. I went through a Deep Purple phase for a few years when I discovered they were more than just Smoke on the Water, but Sabbath’s appeal always eluded me. I think it’s the doom-laden dirge of their music. It feels like every tune makes a concerted effort to bump against your head repeatedly. The tempo seems permanently set at plod with the mood dial locked on doom. If there is a metal-heads progressive soundtrack to life then Deep Purple is what you listen to when you're an excitable teen, late Led Zeppelin is for your mystical early adulthood and early Zeppelin is for when your woman runs off with another man. Black Sabbath is for playing at your funeral.

Influenced by: The Beatles (apparently) drugs and catholocism.
Influenced: Everyone out there wearing black and playing earnest heavy metal.

Highlight: Sweet Leaf. It sounds like it should be light and breezy but it's actually a heavy slice of melancholy.
Lowlight: Solitude. If you're going to play music at a plod then don't bother trying to make it beautiful.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Pretty good"

-That's it, that's the entire review. You have to love people who can be so succinct.

So do you remember the Sabbath and keep it holy or are you a non-believer? Let me know below.

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