Hard Reviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Lost Horizon - Awakening The World
(Music For Nations/Koch)

Taking a page from In Extremo, Crimson Glory and lost '80s yuksters Warrior (the Canadian/Yugoslav one), Lost Horizon don the warpaint and flowing finery of power metal fromage in creation of an image that should garner the band a few larfing barfing reviews. Lost Horizon are one branch of the Highlander tree (or should I say, mighty oak, gathering place of The Ancient Order Of Druids, down by the stream, heather and dale), a band that also begat Hammerfall, and they are very thankful for being perched and poised to fight for true metal along with 70 or 80 other dead-identical bands, so thankful in fact, the CD booklet features six pages of Thank You's. And it's a cogent and frothful enough gallop, the band taking forever in the studio to get everything just right, save for any semblance of identity. So, er, the band back up the visuals with solid power goo; it's just that the whole genre is a joke, and by the way - something that has to be said - not as "heavy metal" as all that nu-metal we seem to gleefully trash, by many characteristic measures.
Rating 6

Masters Of Reality - Welcome To The Western Lodge

Chris Goss is one of those defiant, quiet, highly respected true artist types who has managed to make only three wildly different Masters Of Reality albums (plus a live one) in thirteen years. This one finds him perhaps less enigmatic than Sunrise On The Sufferbus, but more so than the self-titled, Goss writing a variety of snide, jaded, beautiful, innovate songs that aren't all that heavy, even if they are uneasily leaden. O'er top is Goss' gorgeous, ennui-unique vocals, instantly stamping this as his (check out the sinister death shroud of Baby Mae and similarly languished and elegant folk track Why The Fly?)). Goss says he listened to a lot of Bowie's Diamond Dogs album when crafting Western Lodge and that sense of chaotic whimsy shines through. A strange record, hot and sparsely populated like Chris' Joshua Tree, California home, muddy, snarly, yet punctuated with brilliant lyrics and an uncanny atmosphere that speaks to the space between New York glam and New York punk in 1975. Hey, and you just gotta get the lyrics, which are available at www.mastersofreality.com, Chris opting to let his and John Leamy's goofy "Masonic spaceship" art (John painted the cover for the classic debut album, drummed on this one, and cooked up the silly graphics) speak blankly for itself.
Rating 8

Hard Reviews Page 4