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Album of the Month - April
  • Electric Tentacles
    Electric Tentacles
    by Damian Murdoch Trio
Video of the Month - April
  • Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A. (2 DVD)
    Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A. (2 DVD)
    by Steve Vai
Wanna Be A Metal Chef?
  • Mosh Potatoes: Recipes, Anecdotes, and Mayhem from the Heavyweights of Heavy Metal
    Mosh Potatoes: Recipes, Anecdotes, and Mayhem from the Heavyweights of Heavy Metal
    by Steve Seabury
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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
Friday
Apr032015

Damian Murdoch Trio - Electric Tentacles

Aussie ex-pat Damian Murdoch hooked up with some Austrian musicians to form a kick ass power trio. Das klingt gut, nicht wahr?If you know me, you know I love instrumental music, and having it in the form of the power trio is always a treat. From Rush to The Winery Dogs, you just can't beat the infectious vibe of three talented musicians cranking out some amazing music, and the Damian Murdoch Trio is no exception on their

Things kick off aptly with The Opener, a down-and-dirty, bluesy number that prepares you for the album's vibe. The chickin' pickin' attack style of Funky Desert Rider is reminiscent of classic Michael Lee Firkins. And I love the Dennis Chambers-esque intro to the moody Visceral Circles Of The Cosmos. I could describe each tune on the album, but fans of the genre get the idea; this is a classic power trio exercise, where no one instrumentalist outshines the other because the groove is king. Words aren't necessary because the instruments do the talking in a sweet blend of rock, blues, and jazz (and a touch of latin rhythym) that will make it nearly impossible not to air jam along.

The Bottom Line: Australian guitarist Damian Murdoch has joined with two Austrian session musicians, drummer Michael Posch and bassist Harry Stöckl, to make a groove-heavy album that satisfies that power trio jones that never really goes away for long. 'Nuff said!

- Genghis wishes he was in a bad-ass power trio...

Wednesday
Apr012015

Frankenstein Rooster - The Nerdvrotic Sound's Escape

Frankenstein Rooster is some great Freak Kitchen-style musical insanity. And check out all the Easter eggs in this cover art.You may recall my review of Matthias Eklundh's Freak Kitchen (Land of the Freaks) a while back. Their expert blending of different genres into a metallic soup of virtuosity was mind-blowing. Well, thankfully, they aren't the only ones who have such inclinations. Case in point, Frankenstein Rooster and their sophomore release, The Nerdvrotic Sound's Escape.

The band was founded in 2008 by guitarist Raffaello "Rafahel" Indri (Elvenking, Harduo), who was later joined by drummer Camillo Colleluori (Hollow Haze), with their 2009 debut album receiving critical acclaim. Fans of this sort of thing - like myself - know the drill: this is a genre-bending guitar-based free-for-all that, because of its practitioners' level of musical acumen, keeps from becoming a convoluted mess. Instead you get a brilliant aural intersection of rock, funk, jazz, and good old heavy metal interspersed with enough pop culture soundbites to remind you these guys don't take themselves too seriously. If you dig the sound of that, this is your new jam, kids.

The Bottom Line: Fans of bands like Freak Kitchen, who crave this 21st century version of jazz fusion, should look into Frankenstein Rooster. It's a great way to unwind after, say, some extreme technical metal. Soup's on!

- Genghis really digs this kind of stuff...

Wednesday
Apr012015

At The Hollow - What I Hold Most Dear

Finnish trio At The Hollow know how to make some moody post-rock. On that you can rely.What do you get when you cross a guitarist, a percussionist, and a contra-bassist in Helsinki? At The Hollow, of course (where did you come up with that other answer?). And the Finnish trio's latest album, What I Hold Most Dear, is some impressive stuff.

Now while the trio's music isn't particularly heavy, they do often get a bit raucous in their post-rock musings, with guitarist/vocalist Kalle Koo's earnest voice drifting above the din like the orisons of the forlorn rising to heaven. But what really sets this music apart from other similar acts is the synergistic effect of Juho Martikainen's pensive, bowed contrabass and Risto Järvelin's masterfully delicate percussion. Together these elements blend into a deceptively soothing flow that juxtaposes the gloomy lyrical content of this album.

The Bottom Line: In the hands of lesser musicians, What I Hold Most Dear could devolve into a mess of angst, lost amongst the emo bands that crowd the soundscape these days. But At The Hollow has a deft touch that belies a greater musical appreciation.

- Genghis is going to miss the cold weather...

Sunday
Mar222015

Podcast #188: Fantasy

Over 40 years in the metal business and Udo is STILL rocking the shit out of us. Sehr gut, Herr Dirkschneider!Ever thought about actually going to one of those Rock and Roll Fantasy Camps? You know, the ones where you get to meet famous rock stars and hang out with them like they're old pals of yours? Well, that's just what the boys discuss in this episode, including their idea of what the ideal fantasy camp situation would entail.

Then the boys sit down for a tête-à-tête with the one and only Udo Dirkschneider as he talks aboutthe making of U.D.O.'s latest album, Decadent, and what it was like to sit in the producer's chair this time around.

Video Of The Show: U.D.O. - Live In Sofia

Beer of the Show: Date Night Saison (Clown Shoes Brewery)
 
Appearance: 3.5
Aroma: 3.5
Palate: 3.0
Taste: 3.0
Overall: 3.5
"The lads think one of their favorite breweries has done it again with Clown Shoes' first foray into the Saison arena."
 

Featured Tracks: At The Gates - At War With Reality; Sweet and Lynch - Dying Rose; Ten - Alone In The Dark Tonight; Thin Lizzy - Hollywood (Down On Your Luck); Kane Roberts - Dance Little Sister; U.D.O. - Like a Lion, Speeder, Untouchable, Words in Flame, Pain and Black Widow

Ragman's Classic Of The Show: Warrior - The Rush

Genghis' Classic Of The Show: Skid Row - Quicksand Jesus

Ragman's Pick Of The Show: Sonic Syndicate - The Long Road Home

Genghis' Pick Of The Show: Level 10 - Soul Of A Warrior

- Genghis is amazed at the number of live shows next month...

Podcast #188: Fantasy

Friday
Mar202015

Sylvan - Home

Prog rock fans will find lots to like in Sylvan's latest, impressive, concept album.It's not always the heavy music that attracts us here. And when the mellow comes in the form of European art rock, we're down with it. North German band Sylvan tends to fit the progressive end of the spectrum in terms of lyrical and compositional sophistication, weaving an emotional concept album with their latest, Home.

There's a great dichotomy to this album, at once sprawling and majestic, but also intimate and humbling in its treatment of the album's protagonist who journeys through life's brutalities to find the titular place of safety and belonging that she desires. The music here, like a lot of progressive music, ranges from soft and mellow (Not Far From The Sky) to heavier and aggressive (In Between), and interestingly, it sounds more German in the latter moments, with a definite European sound a la Rammstein or even Vanden Plas. Ultimately, it's that sense of dynamics that elevates this music, and I would love to see a full video presentation of this album should it ever come to fruition.

The Bottom Line: European progressive music is some of the best of the genre, with Germany's Sylvan ably demonstrating some of the most sophisticated composition to be found without threatening to bring the house down around themselves with the weight of excess. Wunderbar!

- Genghis always get nostalgiac when he hears Ronald Reagan soundbites...