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April 18, 2024

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Westworld (Spitfire Records)

By: Jeb Branin

The very first heavy metal band I ever got to see live was New York's RIOT featuring Mark Reale. Years later I was able to interview Mark and it remains a highlight interview for me in spite of the fact it never really turned out the way I wanted it to and it never got published, that I am aware of. So it was with great interest that I slapped on this WESTWORLD disc, a side project for Reale that finds him teamed up with Bruno Ravel, Tony Harnell and John O'Reilly. I am oddly disappointed in many aspects of the project. First of all the band's moniker sounds like it is some new Hollywood bust from Kevin Costner or something and the logo looks like it could be for an airline company. Yuck. Musically all the pieces are in place for a really good progressive metal CD... Solid song writing, great production, tight and polished delivery but I can't help but shake the feeling this is really nothing more than a new, and for that matter run of the mill, RIOT album. The music is perfectly in line with recent offerings from Reale's real band and consequently as a fan I am somewhat frustrated that he didn't stretch more with this side project, that he didn't do something more unique and innovative with WESTWORLD. I guess I am saying I am disappointed not so much in what the album is but in what it is not.
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