Thursday, February 12, 2009


Have you heard of the 33 1/3 series of books? Each book is based, somehow, on a different (ostensibly) classic album. Oftentimes they are extended liner notes-type stuff, basically the making of the album. Other times they are more of a testimonial of the effect an album had on the author's life.  Still other times, they can be fiction inspired in some way by the album in question. 

The 33 1/3 book based on Black Sabbath's Master Of Reality falls into the latter category. It's about a metal fan whose parents send him to a mental institution, where they have him write a journal.  The first half of the book is the journal entries to the guy who runs the boy's ward, they are all basically pleading to let him listen to Master Of Reality. I don't want to give much away, but the second half are letters to the same guy, ten years later, from the boy (now a man) telling the guy how he was affected by the incidents described in the first half. (It also makes a good argument to check out Black Sabbath's Born Again, their single album with Ian Gillian.) 

Although I've never spent time in a mental home -- or maybe because I haven't -- I was a bit alarmed by how much I related to parts of this book, and how moved I was by it. It doesn't matter if you like Sabbath, you don't have to like them or really know much about them.  It's really about being that age, loving a certain band or form of music, and identifying so much with it, it seems like it means the world. If you've ever loved a band that much, no matter what kind of music they are, you should check this book out. 

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