The fine print:“Def American Recordings is opposed to censorship. Our manufacturer and distributor, however, do not condone or endorse the content of this recording, which they find violent, sexist, racist and indecent.”
I got this LP on the strength of a 5K review in the pages of Kerrang! Magazine (where it was later voted the fifth best LP of 1989), but I didn’t actually “get it” until years later – if you catch my drift?
What I’m trying to say is that my then-teenaged ears and limited musical acumen simply couldn’t yet account for the incredible breadth of sonic expression displayed across the Masters of Reality’s eponymous debut.
When this 25-year-old album was still young and so was I and dwelling in Chicago circa 1994, I used to wonder if a ruined mausoleum in the cemetery near the corner of Irving Park Road and North Clark Street was the location of this album’s cover photo.
Indeed, I later waxed fanatic about Trouble’s Rick Rubin-produced magnum opus (even the band’s guitar TONE is a historical benchmark) in a review for the All-Music Guide review, so I won’t bother repeating my ravings here.
However, I will ask you to pay close attention to the album’s glorious final cut, “All is Forgiven,” which, after two minutes of energetic head-banging, suddenly unfurls one of the greatest doom riffs ever written (only fully revealed to me like a belated epiphany at a 2007 Trouble reunion gig) for the guitar team of Bruce Franklin Rick Wartell to adorn with heavenly melodies and mournful harmonies, like creeping vines over an old tombstone.