Master of Reality is the third album by the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in July 1971. It is noted as laying the foundations of doomstoner, and sludge metal. IMaster of Reality was certified double platinum after having sold over 2 million copies.


For the recording of this album, guitarist Tony Iommi, who had injured his fingers in a factory accident years earlier, decided to downtune his guitar down three semi-tones (or one and a halfsteps to C-sharp). This reduced string tension, thus making the guitar easier for him to play. Geezer Butler also downtuned his bass guitar to match Iommi. The result was a noticeably "darker" or "sludgier" sound.

Master of Reality was recorded at Island Studios in London between February and April 1971. 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.

Track listingEdit

Original LPEdit

All songs written and composed by Black Sabbath (Geezer Butler/Tony Iommi/Ozzy Osbourne/Bill Ward), except where noted; all lyrics by Geezer Butler

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Sweet Leaf"   5:05
2. "After Forever"   5:27
3. "Embryo" (Instrumental) 0:28
4. "Children of the Grave"   5:18
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Orchid"   1:31
2. "Lord of This World"   5:27
3. "Solitude"   5:02
4. "Into the Void"   6:13

[edit]Original US LP PressingEdit

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Sweet Leaf"   5:02
2. "After Forever (including The Elegy)"   5:25
3. "Embryo" (Tony Iommi) 0:29
4. "Children of the Grave"   4:30
5. "The Haunting"   0:45
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Orchid" (Iommi) 1:30
2. "Step Up"   0:30
3. "Lord of This World"   4:55
4. "Solitude"   5:02
5. "Deathmask"   3:08
6. "Into the Void"   3:08

Note that, while the overall timing of "Deathmask/Into the Void" is approximately correct, the apportioning of time of "Deathmask" to "Into the Void" may be arbitrary, as the 3:08 mark of the song falls during "Into the Void"'s middle-8 vocal ("Freedom fighters sent off to the sun ..."). The revised US pressing timings, shown below, compound this likely error.

[edit]Revised US LP Pressing, with Subtitles RemovedEdit

No. Title Length
1. "Sweet Leaf"   5:02
2. "After Forever (Including The Elegy)"   5:25
3. "Embryo" (Tony Iommi) 0:30
4. "Children of the Grave"   5:15
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Orchid" (Iommi) 2:00
2. "Lord of this World"   4:55
3. "Solitude"   8:08
4. "Into the Void"   3:08

Note that the timing of "Orchid" on revised US pressings is incorrect, as it includes the "Step Up" introductory section of "Lord of This World." The timing of "Solitude" on these pressings is similarly incorrect, as it includes the first half of "Into the Void"; the timings of "Deathmask" and "Into the Void" should have been grouped instead.

US-made compact disc pressings of Master of Reality continue to list the incorrect timings of the Revised US LP pressing on the CD booklet.[26] The songs are not indexed on the CD using those timings, however, with breaks between songs properly placed.

[edit]2009 Deluxe EditionEdit

A two-disc deluxe edition was released in the UK on 29 June 2009 and in the US on 14 July 2009 as an import. This deluxe edition was remastered by Andy Pearce who also did the deluxe editions of Black Sabbath and Paranoid.

All songs written and composed by Black Sabbath except where noted; all lyrics by Geezer Butler. 

Disc one
No. Title Length
1. "Sweet Leaf"   5:05
2. "After Forever"   5:27
3. "Embryo" (Tony Iommi) 0:28
4. "Children of the Grave"   5:18
5. "Orchid" (Iommi) 1:31
6. "Lord of This World"   5:27
7. "Solitude"   5:02
8. "Into the Void"   6:13
Disc two (Bonus tracks)
No. Title Length
1. "Weevil Woman '71"   3:00
2. "Sweet Leaf (studio outtake featuring alternative lyrics)"   5:04
3. "After Forever (studio outtake - instrumental)"   5:20
4. "Children of the Grave (studio outtake featuring alternative lyrics)"   4:36
5. "Children of the Grave (studio outtake - instrumental)"   6:01
6. "Orchid (studio outtake - with Tony count-in)" (Iommi) 1:41
7. "Lord of this World (studio outtake featuring piano & slide guitar)"   5:38
8. "Solitude (studio outtake - intro with alternative guitar tuning)"   3:35
9. "Spanish Sid (Early Version Of 'Into The Void') (studio outtake - alternative version)"   6:24
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