The Real World
posted on 1/2010 By:
Note: This album sounds older than Wilford Brimley ordering up at a Beef Coral drive-through in Tampa, so let that be a warning to those not interested in delving into the history of our beloved genre.
Back in the late 70's, a young Paul Trowbridge and Richard Kueht left Pentagram and started Reactor with bassist, Steve Angel. Despite having very progressive, socially aware lyrics, the troupe's intention was never all that serious beyond blowing off steam on stage in and around the Maryland area. The band eventually changed their name to The Real World (extinguish the Puck & Pedro jokes, please) after Kueht left and was replaced by Mike Reid, but the only true recording to date remained one small 6-song EP that never actually saw the light of day. It's essentially the ideal setup for a label like Shadowkingdom Records; who better to scoop up the ol' ball and run 99-yards than our loving pal, Tim?
The Real World compiles one live show from '85 in Virginia (tracks 7-14) and the long-lost EP into a comprehensive portrayal of this short-lived, formerly hidden band. As one might expect based on the early Pentagram pedigree, Reactor's sound puts an emphasis on belting out shimmery guitar work solidified by a heavy bottom end -- a fact that's actually best represented through the live portion of this record. "Death By Electrocution" has the sort of slow, swaggering heaviness that would make any fan of mid-80's era Pent take notice. And "Fight or Be Killed" definitely shows the band wasn't afraid to go for the throat at times on stage with its aggressive, double-kicked headbangability. But the real real star of the show, particularly on the studio tracks, are the bright, infectious leads painting all the corners of these tunes. The EP portion admittedly loses a bit of the "weightiness" displayed on the live tracks, but rippin' six-strings fire all over "Meltdown" (one of the more energetic cuts), "Terrorist" and the slow starting barn-burner, "(When your) Number's Up," so those with a penchant for fiery fretwork should move to the head of the line.
Again, probably not something I'd flippantly recommend to all our readers, but for those of you interested in the roots of heavy metal, particularly the wonderful Maryland scene, The Real World stands as a fun listen you'll likely get a lot of miles out of. And as always, Shadowkingdom does an excellent job with the entire presentation.
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