Hello, loyal readers and music fans!! Today is the start of something new for Chimera Magazine album reviews. Derek and I were talking over Facebook Messenger, and he proposed the idea for Throwback Thursday. So starting this week, I will be reviewing music from a bygone era, be it the 70’s, 60’s, 50’s, 80’s or whenever I choose the era to be. The review you are reading now is the debut of this section. From here on out, I will be reviewing these albums as if they are brand new, and we are in the era. I am also going to attempt to use the vernacular from the time, we shall see how long that lasts hahahahahaha. Anyway, off we go with Master of Reality by Black Sabbath, which is my all-time favorite album; and was already 3 years old when I was born; time frame is August of 1971.
Heavy metal pioneers, Black Sabbath, just put out their 3rd album; and it’s called Master of Reality, and it’s far out, man. Like, I see Ozzy, Geezer, Bill, and Tony having a career that could last well into the future, maybe even into 80’s or further. Personally, I was unprepared for the onslaught of sound they put onto vinyl. It’s something that goes against the Deadheads, and their spaced-out trip, and hits your head like a ton of lead. I recently discovered that they tune their instruments down over 2 full steps, that’s way below standard tuning, and serves to make this even more heavy.
Side A starts off with a song called “Sweet Leaf”, and the first sound heard is someone coughing like they took a big hit of reefer. That makes sense, because the song is about that sweet, sweet leaf, man. The name of the song came from a pack of Irish cigarettes that said, “It’s the sweet leaf”, and the band thought it made a good reference to smoking reefer. While looking at the music, it is clear that Sabbath was looking for a thick, wall of sound. The guitars are unlike anything we’ve ever heard from anyone else. The bass is fairly dominant, and adds to the layers of heavy tones. Geezer is a very talented bass player; he and drummer Bill Ward hold the songs together during the lead guitars. There is no second guitar player, so when there is a solo section, it’s just that guitar. There are 2 instrumental songs on here that show off Sabbath’s prettier (?) side. “Embryo”, and “Orchid”, both show off some really nice guitar playing. “Embryo” sounds like Tony Iommi is fingerpicking the guitar part. “Orchid” sounds like it could be from the 60’s era, and is almost folk music sounding; but not at the same time. Both of these tracks are really good, and will satisfy the burn-out’s need for lighter tones, more atmospheric tones. My favorite song here closes out Side B with “Into the Void”. This whole song is groovy, and makes the listener move along with the pulse of the song. It’s probably got the best guitar playing, lyrics, and vocals on the entire record. Just a great recording.
So there you have it, my take on the new Black Sabbath album, Master of Reality. While I loved, I am also sure that many will hate it, maybe call it satanic, that it’s juts noise made by utter buffoons. To the naysayers I say, “Open your minds, open your ears, and accept that the times are changing, and with them so is art, music, and society”.
– Tom Hanno