Master of Reality (Deluxe Expanded Edition)
The influence of Sabbath and of this album in particular on anyone professing to be ‘heavy’ is undeniable.
The opening track alone can be said to have spawned an entire genre. There was always more to the band than simply primordial riffs, of course (despite what idio-critics of the time said) and Master of Reality exemplifies this. After Forever and Orchid display the oft-forgotten jazz leanings of the band, Solitude the oft-ignored restraint, such that the body-crushing power of Lord of this World and Into the Void are increased by the bit of relief beforehand - to say nothing of the unstoppable juggernaut that is Children of the Grave.
Disc two shows us some rough notes; Weevil Woman ’71 has the band still messing around with clunky boogie as they did on their debut’s Evil Woman. Thankfully, the track didn’t make the cut, although Ritchie Blackmore may have been listening. . . Solitude’s out-take is probably the most interesting, with the sparse production giving the track a more intimate feel and a better idea of Ozzy’s vocal skill, as he’s neither belting it out nor smothered in blankets of reverb.
Overall, the remastering is, again, a triumph and makes for that most rare of beasts - a re-issue well worth buying.