Led into battle by the captivating figure Henry Rollins, Black Flag earned a reputation for putting on a live show that was incomparable with any of their contemporaries. The ferocious swirling energy of the group and their audiences filled up every room they visited. Black Flag delivered from the first note until they left the stage with sweat dripping off every part of their body and their bruising performance finding an unstoppable spot in their audience’s hearts. It was a brand of rock that was heavily influenced by countless bands, including Black Sabbath.
Rollins has always been a man of his word. Whether that’s in his sincere intensity when fronting Black Flag or, later on, as both an actor on the silver screen and an anecdotal muso. So, when he picks out a record as one of his favourites, there’s a good chance that he won’t waiver from his selection anytime soon.
Most music lovers are happy to be swayed by the winds of fashion, but not so for Rollins. A steadfast singer, he’s equally as rigid in his devotion to specific artists. Of course, for his band, Black Flag, artists like Joy Division and The Clash are natural bedfellows. The same can also be said for Black Sabbath, a band that heavily influenced Rollins. The Black Flag man has picked out his favourite album from the heavy metal maestros on two separate occasions.
Black Sabbath’s pioneering third album Master of Reality is a record that holds a special place in Rollins’ impressive collection, and he had nothing but praise to say about the album when selecting his 20 favourite LPs some years ago: “Bill Ward and Geezer Butler are one of the greatest, if not undermentioned, rhythm sections in rock.
“This album not only has Tony Iommi capturing one of the greatest tones ever committed to tape but Ward and Butler swinging as hard as they’re crushing it. This is a perfectly balanced bit of playing. This is the record I evaluate other rhythm sections by.”
Picking out their album Master of Reality again in 2017 as part of an online vinyl promotion, the singer said: “Just my opinion, but the Black Sabbath catalogue is essential listening. One record from said catalogue really changed my mind on what arrangement meant in songs,” he continued, adding: “The Black Sabbath album that means the most to me is their third album Master of Reality.” He follows up the recommendation with a simple message: “It is the first Black Sabbath album to get, then go from there.”
With that ringing endorsement in your ears, why not dive into Henry Rollins favourite Black Sabbath album Master of Reality below.