Meanwhile, the album opens with Sweet Leaf, a track that tossed aside thinly-veiled metaphors about drug use for a straight-up love song serenading weed itself. The track was, of course, written based on ample research. “While I was recording an acoustic guitar bit for one of the other songs, Ozzy brought me a bloody big joint,” recalls Tony in Iron Man. “...it bloody choked me. I coughed my head off, they taped that and we used it on the beginning of Sweet Leaf. How appropriate, coughing your way into a song about marijuana...and the finest vocal performance of my entire career!”
More than anything, Master Of Reality’s atmosphere is immersed in self-aware gloom. The band forsook references to Satan and literary fantasy this time around, and instead focused on an overwhelming sense of depressive dread. After Sweet Leaf’s heavy-riffing declaration of love, there’s Children Of The Grave, an ominous biker anthem warning of the mounting ills of humanity; Lord Of This World, which opens with a riff that sounds like a mushroom cloud erupting into the sky; and Into The Void, a creeping, droning epic about leaving the cursed earth for the vacuum of space. Even After Forever, the record’s ham-fisted attempt to clarify the claims of devil worshipped weighed against the band, has a malevolent riff at its core.