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Album of the Month - April
  • Horizons
    Horizons
    by Anubis Gate
Video of the Month - April
  • Led Zeppelin - Good Times, Bad Times
    Led Zeppelin - Good Times, Bad Times
    starring Led Zeppelin
Good Reading
  • The Art of Metal: Five Decades of Heavy Metal Album Covers, Posters, T-Shirts, and More
    The Art of Metal: Five Decades of Heavy Metal Album Covers, Posters, T-Shirts, and More
    Voyageur Press
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CD of the Month
  • Mudvayne
    Mudvayne
    by Mudvayne
Inspiration
  • 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
    Retribution
    by Shadows Fall
  • Brutal Legend
    Brutal Legend
    Electronic Arts
Monday
Apr142014

Gun Barrel - Damage Dancer

You might be tempted to say "this band is just a G&R ripoff", but when's the last time G&R sounded this good?It's been nearly 30 years since Guns and Roses hit the scene and very few bands have managed to capture that kind of raw, hard rock power with any sort of sincerity, much less efficacy. But then you run across a band like Gun Barrel, brandishing their latest studio album Damage Dancer, to try to change your mind. These German boys get pretty damn close to evoking the ballsy, bluesy feel of a bar band that's ready to explode onto the audience as much as rock them.

Formed back in 1998, this quartet has been slowly, quietly making a big name for themselves by the tried and true practice of paying their dues, and it shows on album with no fancy studio gimmicks, just classic sweat and swagger captured in 12 high energy tracks.

Guitarist Rolf Tanzius does a nice job of delivering dirty but tight riffs over the solid backbeat of Tomcat Kintgen (bass) and Toni Pinciroli (drums) while singer Patrick Sühl's alley cat wail wraps it all up with a bow for a potent package of heavy rock and roll right off the Sunset Strip. If only Axl and Slash still had this kind of rocket sauce.

The Bottom Line: Gun Barrel do an amazing job of delivering the feel of being at the Whisky A Go Go circa the mid 80s, and while that time may be past, it's great to know that someone can still rock like that when the originators of the style couldn't do it anymore if they tried.

- Genghis would love to see these dudes tear up a joint live...

Sunday
Apr132014

Podcast #172: Metalvision

Freeze, don't move! Varga's back and we talk shop with drummer Dan Fila.What would you do if you had access to a 24-hour metal channel? Would you lock in 24/7 or would it even matter? There's a serious lack of real metal on TV, so do you think a cable channel purely dedicated to music we love non-stop would succeed or fail? Join Genghis & Ragman as they discuss the viability of a channel that puts the M back in MTV. Next, the boys round up Varga drummer Dan Fila for a heart to heart as he discusses the return of Varga as well as their latest release, Enter the Metal.

DVD of the Show: Dio - Live in Bulgaria

Beer of the Show: Pretzel, Rapsberry, and Chocolate Ale (Rogue Brewery/Voodoo Doughtnut)
 
Appearance: 3.5
Aroma: 3.0
Palate: 2.5
Taste: 3.5
Overall: 3.5
"A surprisingly balanced blend of chocolate, buttery pretzels, and tart but sweet raspberries make for a really nice dessert beer."
 

Featured Tracks: Brainstorm - Entering Solitude; Dio - Jesus, Mary and the Holy Ghost; Tracy G - Red House; Steel Panther - The Shocker; The Dudes of Wrath - Shocker; Varga - Freeze, Don't Move, Plane Crash, Gamera, and Words

Ragman's Classic of the Show: Gypsy Rose - Love Me or Leave Me

Genghis' Classic of the Show: Faith No More - Epic

Genghis' Pick of the Show: Sahg - Blizzardborne

Ragman's Pick of the Show: Red Dragon Cartel - Fall From the Sky

Ragman has some catching up to do...

Podcast #172: Metalvision

Wednesday
Apr092014

North - Metanoia (EP)

Tired of all the other atmospheric post-sludge bands out there? Well, check out North! Seriously, they're good.Okay, you know how I go on about how cool it is that metal has so many varied subgenres, but it's a little daunting on the review end of things when you have to try to keep all of them straight, let me tell you. Don't get me wrong, I love discovering so much new amazing music, but there are genres out there based on evolutions of other genres I've never even heard of.

Billed as "atmospheric, post-sludge [me - see what I mean?] metal sorcerers", Arizona-based trio North have put out an EP, Metanoia, as something of a breather after their critically-acclaimed full-length The Great Silence. Having not heard The Great Silence, I hope it's more like this latest effort as being indicative of their sound because I love their masterful blending of shoe-gazing guitar ambience, the cathartic wailings of metalcore, and the rumbling psychedelic doom metal I've come to appreciate; what could easily devolve into a screaming wall of sound is tempered nicely with melodicism - something that all too often goes out the window in the subgenre.

The Bottom Line: North is one of the latest bands to mix slow, atmospheric textures with booming, heavy riffs for something that's just greateer than the sum of its parts. Don't ask how or why they do it, just dig it already.

- Genghis seriously can't handle these subgenres growing at a geometric rate...

Thursday
Apr032014

Anette Olzon - Shine

After having worked on it in the last few years since leaving Nightwish, Anette Olzon's debut album, Shine, is finally here.Though there's been much contention over the details of Anette Olzon's leaving Nightwish back in 2012, there's never been any doubt in most people's minds that the woman's got a great voice. And on her debut album, Shine, she puts that asset at the forefront of her sound.

This is truly a solo album, in that there are no big name guest artists or musical pyrotechnics from virtuosos in the field. Instead are ten starkly non-metal songs that showcase Anette's clear and powerful voice. That's not to say there's no good music to be found here, just not necessarily what Nightwish fans - or those who like metal with a female lead singer - may be looking for. The closest we get to anything with a heavy beat is the title track, which has more of a nu-metal feel and evokes early Evanescense on more than one occasion.

Still, there's plenty of good, listenable moments on this debut and, with any luck, Olzon can explore a heavier side of her talent with her follow up maybe? Here's hoping so.

The Bottom Line: Anette Olzon fans will likely be happy with this mature debut, but Nightwish fans may want to go back to their catalogs and enjoy those tunes while Anette indulges her catharsis.


- Genghis was really hoping for some powerful Lacuna Coil-esque jamming here...

Monday
Mar312014

Pet Slimmers of the Year - Fragments of Uniforms

Band names are usually a little odd, but this one is reaching for the title. What's a Pet Slimmer?Say what you want about their name, but Pet Slimmers of the Year are making a reputation for themselves in the underground music circles as an up and comer in the stoner/doom metal continuum. Starting out by building a buzz with two well-received EPs, they've hit it big by blending the chimey, textured, reverby guitars of alternative music of the late 20th century with a metal grunge and atmospheric noise to make a truly otherworldly sound.

Their full-length debut Fragments of Uniforms presents you with eight songs, averaging six and a half minutes in length each, and it makes for a pretty great moody soundtrack to a weekend driving excursion, with the windows rolled down, a certain burning smell in the air, and a cool breeze on your face. Typical of this kind of music the vocals are sparse, serving only to accent the melodies over the rhythms that plod along like elephants in a caravan. So while it's heavy, it never really breaks through that threshold into headbanging territory, instead percolating steadily giving a sense of impending release that doesn't quite come.

The Bottom Line: If you dig stuff like East Of The Wall but want it a little more reigned in with a little bit of a 90s Brit-pop feel, Pet Slimmers of the Year may be your new jam. No foolin'.

- Genghis really dug this a lot...