That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - March
  • Pictures
    by Cyrax
Video of the Month - March
  • Heavy Metal Parking Lot
    Heavy Metal Parking Lot
    starring n/a
Great Metal Reading
  • Power Chord: One Man's Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes
    Power Chord: One Man's Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes
    by Thomas Scott McKenzie


CD of the Month
  • Mudvayne
    by Mudvayne
  • Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground New Edition
    Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground New Edition
    by Michael Moynihan, Didrik Soderlind
  • Retribution
    by Shadows Fall
  • Brutal Legend
    Brutal Legend
    Electronic Arts

U.D.O. - Decadent

U.D.O. are back, and they may have just released their strongest CD, of their career.  There were some questions, about the band, with the departure of longtime bandmate Stefan Kaufman back in 2011.  Their first release, post Kaufman, Steelhammer signaled the return of the classic U.D.O. sound.  Questions answred!  It was a solid release, but not as strong as this new platter. Decadent is chock full of instant classics, that will keep you wanting more. 

Decadent starts off strong, with the opener, Speeder, which is an in your face, up tempo rocker, that is sure to be a big hit live.  It is melodic and full of killer riffs.  The band sound crisp and Udo's vocals sound stronger than ever.  It is hard to believe that Udo Dirkschneider has now been fronting his namesake, for almost 30 years.  From the opening track, to the final track, Words in Flame, this one is solid.  The best thing about this record, is how it blends all facets of Udo's career.  From the crushing mid-tempo rocker Untouchable to the more melodic Pain (ala Accept - Metal Heart era) this one gives you the whole enchilada, and more. 

Bottom Line: U.D.O. may have stumbled, a bit, over the past few releases, but they have re-established themselves, as a force to be recknoded with.  Solid form start to finish.  Ok, there's a ballad and ya know.

Standout Tracks: Speeder, Untouchable, Words of Flame, Pain

-Ragman is shaving his head, and getting out his fatigues.


Attack of the Morningside Monster

Looking for a slasher flick, with a pretty solid story line?  Well look no further, because that is exactly what you get with Attack of the Morningside Monster.  Attack isn't your typical B-Flick, because it contains some somewhat known actors and a solid story line.  The movie is about, a small town in New Jersey, that has recently been sticken with a number of murders.  The murderer wears a tribal mask, and seems to have a thing for drug dealers.  Not only does the killer kill, but he also performs tri-ballistic rituals. 

This was a pretty solid movie, which kept me guessing until the end.  The story follows a cop, as he tries to unsolve the mystery, of whom the killer is.  It is as much of a drama as it is a horror flick.  The murder scenes weren't too graphic, until the killer has his way with them post mortem.  All in all a fun flick, which kept my interest for its entirety.

Bottom Line: A B-Flick that breaks the mold.  Good acting with a good story.  A murder mystery that will keep you guessing.

-Ragman thought this one was a bit cheesey until the plot unraveled before his eyes. 


Battleaxe - Power From The Universe

If you never heard of Battleaxe, this is your chance to hear some bonafide old school NWOBHM, my friend.There are few metal genres more lauded than the fabled New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Sadly, amongst the Iron Maidens and Motörheads, you have bands no less crucial to the movement that tend to get forgotten in the tide of time. Thankfully, notable NWOBHM band Battleaxe's sophomore release Power From The Universe is enjoying a 30th anniversary re-release.

Everything you'd expect from an English band of the late 70s and early 80s is here in spades: Gruff, working man vocals, blues-tinged licks, stories of bravado and celebration and - most importantly - chugging grooves over seismic drums abound. I'm happy to say this music holds up pretty well for the most part. After 30 years of all sorts of metal evolution it's natural to be waiting for some real distortion to kick things into high gear, but to be fair, it's bands like the former that paved the way for the latter.

The Bottom Line: If you missed the train the first time it left the station, Battleaxe is worthy of attention if only for its place in NWOBHM history. You can easily hear elements of later bands like Quiet Riot or Mötley Crüe in their rhythmic explorations. Good stuff.

Tracks To Rock Out To While Trimming Your Handlebar Moustache: Metal Rock and Radio Thunder

- Genghis thinks he maybe needs a leather vest...


Cyrax - Pictures

Tell you what: if you're looking for the new home of original metal, it's gotta be Italy. What can I say?With bands like Destrage out there, it's hard to ignore the fact that there are bands eschew the trappings of musical categorization and just write what appeals to them as musicians - even if it may make it hard for people in the industry to explain them. This brings us to Cyrax. Like fellow Italian (seriously, where are all of these bands coming from?!) rockers Destrage, the boys in Cyrax like to let their musical ideas run wherever the fuck they want, but the results are undeniably compelling.

Their sophomore effort Pictures amply demonstrates this strange blend of classical, progressive, and heavy metal music with a fascinating mélange that never goes completely off the rails even if it damn well goes up on two wheels quite a bit in the turns. But for all of this seemingly barely managed chaos, listeners can easily make out individual influences should they pay attention. The 7th Seal is a good example, with Queen-like multi-layered choral moments accenting the rhythmic bombast of Symphony X or Dream Theater. The rest of the album has wonderful sense of dynamics, interspersing contemplative piano phrasing amongst the satisfying chug of guitar. And the three-part Shine Through Darkness piece should convince you of Cyrax's eclectic genius over its nearly 15 minute length as it juxtaposes the sounds of harpsichords and Hammond organs over a nice layer of balls and chunk. If I had to find one niggling factor in all of this, it's got to be the tendency of the quasi-operatic vocal stylings to get out of hand, almost sounding like someone's idea of a joke. Johnny Carson would likely have called it "weird, wild stuff", but I must say I really like it. 

The Bottom Line: Cyrax create an intriguing mix of progressive metal, classical music, and plain old heavy metal in typical Italian fearless fashion. The vocals can get a little overblown, but all in all this is some impressive sophomore release.

- Genghis is really tripping on all of this amazing Italian metal...


Looking for Johnny - The Legend of Johnny Thunders

The New York Dolls, are one of those early bands, that broke out of the NY punk scene.  Honestly, I never got into em, but my wife loves them.  That being said, I always wondered why she was so into them.  Musically, I couldn't name a song that they were famous for, you know, that big hit.  I still can't, however there has always been a mystique about the band, that I was curious about, especially since Kiss has referenced them, several times, over the decades.  

Recently, a documentary about the guitarist of the Dolls, Johnny Thunders, came across my desk.  I have to say I was intrigued.  Having heard the name for years, I always wondered what kind of guitarist he was.  Also, it was a way for me to find out a little more about the New Your Dolls. 

Looking for Johnny is a fascinating new documentary, which focuses on the life of Johnny Thunders.  The doc. is mostly made up of archival footage as well as interviews, from those who knew him best.  The documentary is very well done, chronicling Johhny's time in the New York Dolls and The Heartbreakers, as well as his solo career.  It is a story about a guy that was always on the brink of success, but unfortunately let the excesses in life, take him down. Even if you're not a NYD fan, this one is worth a watch.  It is captivating from beginning to end.

Bottom Line: A fallen hero.  A talent that could have been a lot more successful, had he not let drugs take over.  A very well done doc, one of the best I've seen in a while.

-Ragman is going to buy a Monte Carlo for David Johanssen.