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Black Sabbath 1970

Rockumentary

This Fan-Made Documentary On BLACK SABBATH's Master Of Reality Is Fantastic

The documentary recaps a relentless period in the band's history.

Fan documentarians The Tapes Archive have released an new film that focuses on Black Sabbath during the making of their third album, Master of Reality.

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Per the Tapes Archive website: "The documentary follows Black Sabbath as they release their iconic album Paranoid through the recording and releasing of their album Master of Reality. Sharing many known and unknown facts about the band’s lives in 1971 and 1972… [It’s] 60 minutes well spent for any Black Sabbath fan."

Earlier this year, as reported by Metal Injection, the Tapes Archive released another Sabbath documentary, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of their 1975 magnum opus Sabotage. The Master of Reality documentary is twice the length of its predecessor, and shows the producers of the film growing in step technically with their fan-driven passion.

By most accounts, Master of Reality was finished 51-years ago this May. Singer Ozzy Osbourne told the press the album was going to be "the heaviest we’ve done. It’s going to be heavier than before because that’s what people want. I don’t know whether Led Zeppelin made a big mistake or not with their third album, but personally, I think a lot of people were disillusioned. If we ever decide to go acoustic with the band, we would do it gradually. But at the moment, people want heavy music; the heavier, the better.”

True to his word, Master of Reality is truly some of Sabbath's heaviest works (it is this silly scribe's favorite of the lot, with Vol. 4 and Sabotage the closest of runners-up). The band was finally unshackled from the raw post-blues production still hanging around from their early days as the pub act Earth—a sound and style typical of acts at the time such as Mountain—that lingered over onto the aesthetic of Black Sabbath and Paranoid. In contrast, Master of Reality foreshadows everything from stoner rock to nu-metal, while hinting at that gradual pull-away from heaviness in the beautifully haunting, "Solitude."

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Similar to other productions of this scale, The Tapes Archive production is understandably limited by some of the licensed content they can use—which is why you'll see cuts of Jack Nicholson famously smoking a joint in the classic film Easy Rider while discussing the album opener "Sweet Leaf," for example. But the producers should not be faulted for such inevitabilities. My bet is if they continue to produce documentaries of this quality, their production budget may be growing bigger sooner than they think.

One other item of quick note: The Tapes Archive geniusly includes transcripts of their documentaries, so if you don't have time to watch the whole 60 minutes, you can read the transcript in 20 minutes! There's also an audio-only version that you can listen to below.

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