Livereview © Kerrang! 1989

 von Steffan Chirazi

“The Reality Thing”
Masters of Reality - The Stone, San Francisco - 1989


Already deep in the vortex, your head gets immersed in a riff so thick, rich, voluptuous and orgasmic you grit your teeth and screw your eyes shut to take the full charge that's being thrown into your body with such natural beauty and genuine emotion that you can do nothing but shake gently.

Open lids reveal the figure of Chris Goss, silhouetted by dry ice, maliciously chipping off the riff with Harrington happy to add decoration to that malice. Googe stands resolutely, thrusting the woomph behind the dread, whilst Vinnie Ludovico kicks the drums at the right accents. The images flash through the mind, red hell, blue hell, green sticky hell, Faust and all share that common denomintor. Hell.

This has officially become a filthy satanic word when used in connection with any band which employs guitars, drums and decides to turn up past five, but Masters of Reality are too seasoned to use hell imagery. Their hell is painted with the masterstrokes that only superb and passionate performance can create. Their instruments are the only props or tools in this creation, and they do a job so convincing that you shiver once it's over, you feel the need to hear the songs over and over again. This is only a piece of the masterwork, a three song unrecorded tie-in titled 'Death Serenade/The Ghostrain/The Metal Entity'.

Masters of Reality are an amazing live band, oozing the sort of class that it takes some a lifetime to get close to. I only hope this band aren't ahead of their time and that people can plug into their brand of genius today, not in three or five years' time.

Their show is painted with such moods and movements that Masters of Reality will bring you convincingly to wherever it is they wanna go. Just as hell is put in front of you, the soul and dust of 'Lookin' To Get Rite' leaves you on an old wooden porch, straw hat, scraggy check shirt, chewing gum and strumming the sun down.

The ethereal swirls and twists of 'Blue Garden' lead into the thudding strength of oil lamps and tie-dye, Masters slowly turning it higher and higher, peaking with Harrington's sharpened toothpick precise solo. The rhythms are so thick and full that you scratch your head wondering just when the last time was that you got hit so goddamn hard and true by such wonderful sounds.

Goss in particular has such a brutally evil tone that many a 'death' band would shrivel in embarrassment at being made to sound so lame in comparison. His playing is slow and hard, when supported by a tone of such warped and mindbening distortions you are looking at maybe the dirtiest sound in the field.

It is the assurance and class that shines through the whole experience. I cannot lie, the attendance was bad, which isn't too surprising when you consider the show had only been booked a fortnight before, but every single person there saw something to talk about. You see a show like this and you could get passionate to the extreme, wonder just how half of the abysmal shit that is allowed support slots in the larger halls actually get them when there is music like this to be accessed. There are platinum sellers in pop rockland who could give themselves a bloody good education by seeing a real band sweating real sweat and playing real music.

'Domino' is a crushing thumper that lowers your head and forces the air guitar, whilst 'John Brown' brings you to a medieval fair, an intriguing guitar meandering over the main rhythm. Melancholy keyboard/piano and gentle guitar lay the pathway with light leaves before a huge galeforce vacuum of sound sucks them up roughly, crudely.

There is indeed a '70s swing in much of the Masters' music, the twist and shake variety, but dusted down with the heavyweight that these times produce.

Compared to some of the snivelling cheapshot half-wit crapshooters I see and hear in venues all over the place, Masters of Reality are a God Of Music to be revered. Much has been made of their being a little older, and... errhem, wiser than most bands in their considered genre. Yes, it's all true because if ability can be measured in age then Masters could be 106 each.

This is the sort of band that don't just play a gig, they give you a full experience. No shit, I was physically moved by their show, me and maybe 100 others were totally drawn into their genius. We must now hope that they don't get lost in their own abilities, that they don't become victims of their own talent. Too many bands are misunderstood or ignored or pushed badly. Should Phonogram get their act together and you get the chance to visit a Masters of Reality show, grab the privilege and take their superb road to enlightenment.