|My original copy of Master of Reality. The title has black raised lettering which makes it almost impossible to read in this picture.|
In the fall of 1972 I started 7th grade which was the first year of middle school where I grew up. During art class one day a smart-ass kid trying to annoy the teacher who had given us permission to bring in records to play during class, put on a record which began with a strange echoing coughing sound. Some of the boys snickered (probably hoping for the teacher to be shocked and embarrassed or something to that effect) and I wondered what was going on when the most AWESOME guitar I had ever heard began to play and I don’t remember the other kids’ reactions. All I remember was a feeling of rapture and joy as I experienced a musical awakening I’d never known before. I was eleven without the benefit of older siblings to introduce me to these things. I hadn’t heard much more music than my mother’s Sinatra or my aunt’s Beach Boys. I didn’t know what Sweet Leaf referred to until a few years later. I was so excited about my new found favorite band I asked all the kids I knew if they liked them as well and was surprised at the negative reactions. In fact, I didn’t meet any girls who liked Black Sabbath until the 80s. Most people I asked responded by accusing me of listening to satanic music which really annoyed me because none of the lyrics on that album give any reference to being in league with Satan! Well, OK, “Lord of This World” has a single line (“The soul I took from you was not even missed”), so I suppose that could be interpreted as the speaker being Satan, but it could be any evil being! Come on! In fact, “After Forever” could be classified as Christian Rock.
I was thrilled to find that Master of Reality was their 3rd album giving me two other albums to behold and consume-or have them consume me. As unaware as I was what Sweet Leaf referred to, it, of course, didn’t occur to me that the song titles “Children of the Grave,” “After Forever,” and “Orchid,” are all gothic references. Even the band’s name, Black Sabbath, didn’t ring (or toll) a bell in my mind that this was anything but a gloriously superb new sound ravishing my virgin ears.
Black Sabbath remains my favorite band and Master of Reality is still my favorite album. What is your favorite gothic band, album and song?