Author: Darnielle, John
Title: Master Of Reality
Date: May, 2018
There are not too many instances of buyers remorse, but this book certainly is one of them.
The 33 1/3 series is a long-running series of pocket-sized books that examine in detail a pop record. Once in a blue moon the company/editors will acknowledge the existence of genres outside of the generic rock stuff they mostly focus on and let someone write a book about Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. So far there have been about five books about albums by bands worthy of our interest for this site, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Slayer and Black Sabbath. Not exactly ambitious choices! There are currently 127 (as of time of writing) in the series and MASTER OF REALITY is number 56, first published a decade ago in 2008.
I came across it recently in a bookstore and although it was a bit expensive, I just bought it without looking at it, assuming it would be OK, like the other ones I review on this site (Slayer and AC/DC) and I wanted to complete the collection of five. My mistake.
The series usually provides an examination of the record in question but this is not the case for this book. Instead the author decided to write a fiction piece, (auto-biographical, semi-autobiographical or complete fantasy, we are never quite sure) about a young man who is put in an insane asylum by his family. Through a series of angry, violent letters to his therapist he discusses his obsession with the Black Sabbath album MASTER OF REALITY. That’s it. There is no insight to the creation of the album.
This book is really, really lame. I didn’t enjoy it at all. Don’t buy it unless you want to read a long, gushing, incoherent, rambling angry fan-boy letter(s) written by a pothead. The other books in this series weren’t great either but at least they tried. This one didn’t even try. Avoid this and spend your money buying a nice re-mastered version of the album instead.