After perfecting the formula for their lumbering heavy metal on Paranoid
, Black Sabbath
continued bludgeoning their audience into sweet, willing oblivion with Master of Reality
and its seemingly endless supply of crushingly heavy riffs. If the album is a showcase for anyone, it is Tony Iommi
, who keeps the album afloat with a series of slow, loud riffs, the best of which -- "Sweet Leaf" and "Children of the Grave" among them -- rank among his finest playing. There are a few stray necessary tracks scattered throughout the group's other early-'70s albums, but Master of Reality
is the last time they delivered a consistent album and its influence can be heard throughout the generations of heavy metal bands that followed.