Masters of Reality

Welcome to the Western Lodge

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Spitfire Records would have you believe that Welcome to the Western Lodge is the brand new album by the ubiquitous Chris Goss and his rambling, intermittent project Masters of Reality. It is the latest offering by this "band" of one and whomever he gets to play with him. But it was originally released in the U.K. and Europe in 1999. In this case the Masters are a two-piece with John Leamy playing drums, keyboards, and bass, while Goss plays guitar, "sings," and does everything below except play drums. Welcome to the Western World has all the trappings of being a concept album except the lyrics to line it up. It's a kind of slow, plodding, thud-thud-thud hard rock with terrible vocals and big guitar riffs. There are also some "psychedelic" keyboards thrown in for measure and electronically altered sci-fi vocals. Ugh! Once upon a time, about 15 years before this album, the Masters of Reality were a badass rock band with the audacity to do Cream covers. Hell, they even had Ginger Baker join them for a time. But that was long before this tired, moronic, sleep-inducing yawn that passes for rock & roll. One of the biggest problems is production -- which is weird. Goss, who has produced three Kyuss records, Queens of the Stone Age, Ian Astbury, and more, knows what he's doing. He also understands self-indulgence. Given that this is so, these tried -- and tried, and tried -- heavy rock riffs with this muddy sound don't get it at all. It's not worth singling out any track for praise because, in truth, they're all pretentious and, basically, they all suck. What a huge disappointment.

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