Black Sabbath - Master of Reality (1971)

Master of Reality is the third album by the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in 1971. The album's "darker" or "sludgier" sound was a significant influence on the heavy metal genre known as doom metal, and its derivatives. For the recording of this album, guitarist Tony Iommi, who had injured his fingers in a factory accident years earlier, decided to de-tune his guitar down three semi-tones (or one and a half steps to C-sharp). This reduced string tension, thus making the guitar easier for him to play. Geezer Butler also de-tuned his bass guitar to match Iommi. The result was a noticeably "darker" or "sludgier" sound.

Master of Reality was recorded at Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles, California between February and April 1971. This was the first time the band had recorded an album outside their home country of England. The album was produced by Rodger Bain, who had also produced their previous two albums. However, this would be his final collaboration with the band. The album cover reads Master of Reality coloured grey, underneath Black Sabbath coloured purple, against a black background. The words are written in a large font with a ripple effect like that of moving water or a waving flag. The first editions of the album came in an embossed 'envelope sleeve', which contained a poster of the band. This was the first Black Sabbath sleeve on which the lyrics were reproduced on the back of the sleeve. On the first North American editions of the album, several songs had subtitles given to segments, making it appear that there were more songs than there actually were. The outro of "Children of the Grave" was given the title "The Haunting", the intro of "Lord of This World" was titled "Step Up," and the intro of "Into the Void" was titled "Deathmask". This treatment had also been used on the North American editions of Black Sabbath's previous two albums. These pressings also incorrectly listed the album title as Masters of Reality. Subsequent editions corrected the album's title and removed the three subtitles.


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