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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - March
  • Pictures
    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
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Props

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
Thursday
Mar052015

Brant Bjork And The Low Desert Punk Band - Black Flower Power

If you're wondering where these guys' heads are at just check out that album cover. I mean let's not be coy, shall we?You may remember the name Brant Bjork as founding member of stoner rock legends Kyuss. And now he's on his own with his Low Desert Punk Band looking to give genre junkies a fix of his blend of stoner rock, blues, and doom prescription with new album Black Flower Power.

I've stated many times that while intitially on the fence about it (leaning to shunning it), I've since come to really dig this stoner rock/metal revival business - and Bjork's band rocks the shit out of some tunes, man. There's the traditional Sabbathy plodding of songs like Controllers Destroyed, but things can sometimes pick up into fast grooving jams as on Stokely Up Now or even turn into ballsy blues riffage as on Buddha Time (Everything Fine). And during it all, Bjork's Gene Simmons-like growl becomes its own instrument, like a second lead guitar wailing through the din. In any case, if you just wanna get high and have your fave fuzzed off, this is the joint for you, my man. Just stock up on the munchies.

The Bottom Line: This is, like, classic stoner blues rock, man. So don't hassle it.*laughs*

Tracks To Jam To While Motherfucking Stoned To The Bone: Shit, all of 'em, man.

- Genghis knows that's a dog and that's a cat, but wonders where the potato chips are...

Wednesday
Mar042015

Revolution Saints (self-titled)

You ready for some classic melodic hard rock? Well, Revolution Saints has what the doctor ordered.Thirsty for that classic melodic hard rock sound? Well, so were the boys at Frontier records when they put together a dream team of rockers including the likes of drummer Deen Castronovo (Bad English, Journey), bassist Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) and bad-ass guitarist Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio and Burning Rain). The result is a pretty sweet release of ballads and rockers showcasing each artists road-honed talents, the self-titled debut album of Revolution Saints.

So in so far as that classic melodic hard rock sound, there's no great surprises here. But don't dismiss it as just another such album in a long line. What makes this music more impressive than usual are the tight, bouncy arrangements and notable guest stars (Arnel Pineda and Neal Schon, no less), but if pressed to identify the secret sauce, I'd have to hand it to Doug Aldrich whose solos are just nothing short of amazing.

The Bottom Line: Classic melodic hard rock is a unique genre all its own and these guys are some of its best practitioners, ably displaying all of its hallmarks from soulful ballads to upbeat rockers. The guest stars make a nice touch, but ultimately, this genre is all about the guitar work and there's few better than Doug Aldrich. 'Nuff said.

- Genghis will never play this well...

Wednesday
Mar042015

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...

Wednesday
Mar042015

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...

Monday
Mar022015

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.