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  Universal (Japan) -
  Black Sabbath: Master of Reality
  "Master of Reality"

Black Sabbath
Track listing:
  Single Layer
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 6 show all

Reviews: 4 show all

Review by analogue September 6, 2011 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
After Universal Japan released Paranoid on Shm-Sacd I was hoping they would continue with the rest of the early Sabbath catalogue.

Paranoid is a stunner in the sonics department.....easilly one of the best Shm Sacd's to be released thus far. I was very spoiled and shocked by this release and I guess I am guilty of wanting or expecting it on all other Sabbath Sacd's.

Truth be told I prefer Paranoid musically to Master of Reality. There seems to be more menace, meaning and versatility of song content. Compared to Paranoid..the second release is not as diverse. A little simplistic for my tastes.

Master of Reality, while good does not seem to meet the same level of sonic quality as the first release either. It could be the actual recording process or it could be the transfer itself but in either case it just doesnt get to the very top of sonic bliss I'm afraid. I believe the original master tapes were used for the tape to dsd transfer.

Its not as if it sounds bad because it doesn' actually sounds very good. No compression, a solid mid-range and very non-fatigueing sound all the way through. The volume, like the first sacd needs to be turned up very high. There is absolutely no brightness or glare either.
Its just that there seems to be a stuffy quality inherent in the sound that makes me wonder if noise reduction was used. I cant prove this ofcourse.....and I dont think it was used as Universal Japan has a no tinkering policy in place. There is a quitness that I associate with noise reduction.
Perhaps thats just how the tapes sound. Who can say??

With Paranoid the upper range (FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DIGITAL HISTORY) was apparent and thus the disc had the breath of life to it. The sound expanded so expressively that it was a treat to hear.
Unfortunately this new disc does not have that quality present and its most unfortunate. There seems to be a sonic ceiling where the sound just doesnt expand beyond....a barrier if you will that seems to sound reserved and flat. The upper treble areas remain unexplored I'm afraid.

I still recommend this disc with no reservations as it is truly classic Sabbath but I gotta say I was most assuredly spolied with the Shm-Sacd release of Paranoid. I expected.........perhaps unfairly the same or close to the same quality of transfer as the first disc.

In my opinion this second shm sacd disc of Sabbath material belongs in the second tier of sonic quality.

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Review by michi September 18, 2011 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I'd have to agree with Analogue above. Paranoid was absoutely stunning and I was surprised. This album, sonically, doesn't hit its stride until Track 3 "Embryo" and 4 "Children Of The Grave", which is pretty well done if you turn up the volume a bit. (Read: Not overly compressed.) Track 5 "Orchid" is done VERY nicely indeed, with the guitar being very full, and well, let's not mince words. The instrumental sounds beautiful; am I allowed to say that about a Black Sabbath track? Will Ozzy find me and kick in my door? (well.... probably not, these days.)

I really hoped "Sweet Leaf" would have been cleaned up more, but it's one of the weaker tracks (sonically) on the disc. It's not bad at all, by the way. Just could be a bit more dynamic.

But in short, this is not a 'pop compressed' album, it is not harsh, it is very pleasant as Analogue said, and is actually very relaxing to listen to. (In fact, if you aren't into Black Sabbath, this may be one to give a try.) Wherever there is guitar (most of the album of course!) this is where it really shines. The guitar is very full and deep and substantial. The drums have character and, while not too much high end, still have a lot of 'snap',and are not just plosive white noise.

I have an odd theory about some of these which may be off: On a lot of these recordings, the most popular songs, which are towards the beginning, tend to have the most tape distortion, high end rolloff and warble on the transfer. Could that be because that part of the tape has been played more, in demonstration, than other sections of the tape? Just an idea...

In any case, I give this 4 out of 5 stars for sonics. The SHM-SACDs really are hit or miss; I would count this one in the "hit" category.

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Review by MacClaus October 24, 2012 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Soundwise... the best Black Sabbath SACD. Highly recommended!

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