That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - October
  • Concepts of Math: Book One
    Concepts of Math: Book One
    by Watchtower
Video of the Month - October
  • Let Me Feel Your Power [Blu-ray]
    Let Me Feel Your Power [Blu-ray]
    by Saxon
  • Metallica: Back to the Front: A Fully Authorized Visual History of the Master of Puppets Album and Tour
    Metallica: Back to the Front: A Fully Authorized Visual History of the Master of Puppets Album and Tour
    by Matt Taylor

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

Thunderstone - Apocalypse Again

I was syked when I heard that Pasi Rantanen had re-united with Thunderstone.  I have been a fan of Thunderstone since the band's second record The Burning in 2004.  Pasi left in 2007, after the tour of the phenomenal record 4.0.  The band got a new singer and released Dirt Metal in 2009.  After Pasi left the band, it just wasn't the same for me.  Though Dirt Metal had some solid tracks, I just didn't dig it as much as I did the prior material with Pasi.  In 2013, the band re-joined forces with Rantanen, but it took another 3 years before they released a new album, which is titled Apocalypse Again.

It wasn't until the 3rd track, that I got hooked on this record.  The track Fire and Ice is an uptempo rocker with some solid melody's and a catchy chorus.  There is a sweet keyboard intro by Jukka Karinen, that starts the track, and prepares you for metal annihilation.  Killer tune.  The next track, is the type of track that I love from Thunderstone, because it is slow, heavy melodic metal, but with lots of power.  Check out the track Through the Pain, and you'll hear what I mean.  I love it when the band gets into these powerful grooves, that just embrace you, and don't let go.

Apocalypse Again is a solid offering, which contains a nice variety of up tempo and mid-tempo rockers.  The band seem to have regained the momentun, that they lost with Dirt Metal.  If I have one complaint, it would be that I think that the production is a little soft.  I was hoping to get the heavy sound/crunch of the previous material, especially with the return of Pasi.  Don't get me wrong, the CD sounds good, but I just wish it sounded a little heavier.  A solid CD.  Apocalypse Again has a nice variety, which will make any Thunderstone fan proud.

Bottom Line: With the return of Pasi Rantanen, it seems like the song writing has gotten stronger and the band is sounding better than they have in years.  Great melodic power metal.

Standout Tracks: Through the Pain, Higher, Fire and Ice and Days of Our Lives.

-Ragman must see Thunderstone live.



The Defiants

To say that I was excited, when I heard that Paul Laine and Bruno Ravel were doing a project together, would be the understatement of the year.  I have been a long time fan of Paul's early solo work as well as his work with Danger Danger.  I was really happy to see that the two had joined forces with current D2 guitarist Rob Marcello, to do a project called The Defiants.  The Defiants is basically D2 minus vocalist Ted Poley and drummer Steve West.  Though it is obvious why Poley was not involved, I was surprised not to see West involved.  It would have been a D2 reunion of sorts, but under a new name, which is justly so.  

The Defiants, is pretty much what you would expect.  It is a mix of early Paul Laine, mixed with his more melodic era of D2.  The songs are catchy, but lack some of the punch I was hoping for.  Don't get me wrong, I like this record, but was hoping for something a little heavier.  The is a nice variety on the CD, with a nice mix of up tempo and mid tempo rockers, with a few ballads thrown in for good measure.

There are some really strong tracks on the record like the When the Lights Go Down.  It starts off with a really catchy riff, and some nice rip-age from Marcello.  It is a mid-tempo rocker with one of those catchy choruses, that will stay in your head for days.  It is followed up by the killer Waiting on a Heartbreak, which is catchy as hell.  The next track to stick out was the ballad Save Me Tonight.  Laine sings his ass off on this one.  It may be my favorite ballad of the year so far.  It reminds me of Simply Out of Reach from James LaBrie's solo effort back in 2012 Elements of Persuasion.  Soft but powerful.

This album has really grown on me with each listen.  Not only are the songs strong, but the musicianship is strong as well.  I knew that Rob Marcello was a solid guitarist, but this guy friggin rips on this album.  Check out the solo on Take Me Back.  Solid performance.  As I said, this one is strong, but there are a few hiccups like the overly poppy Runaway and Lil' Miss Rock N Roll.  Runaway is so drenched in syrup, that I thought that it was either a Katy Perry or Taylor Swift cover.  Sorry boys, but not diggin this track.  All in all, this is a party rock album, that would be fun at any kegger or get together.  This will be a fun one to jam to this summer, go get it.

Bottom Line: Great 80's tinged melodic hard rock.  Even though it gets a little candy coated at times, but fortunately, the end result is solid enough to take away some of the sweetness.  You will need to give this one several spins before passing judgement, I'm glad I did.

Standout Tracks: Save Me Tonight, Waiting on a Heartbreak, We All Fall Down and Take Me Back.

-Ragman is hoping this isn't a one off.



New Studio Album Now Available For Pre-Order Via All Digital Retailers

(New York, NY - May 20th, 2016) - Grammy-nominated rockers Skillet will release Unleashed, their new studio album and follow up to their 2013 release Rise, which bowed at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart. The 12-track album, a year in the making, is currently available for pre-order via all digital retailers including iTunes and Amazon. Pre-orders will include an instant download of the debut single Feel Invincible, a lyric video for which can be seen on YouTube. Skillet can also be found on Google Play and streaming on Spotify.

From the bombastic opening riff of Feel Invincible to the memorable closing of the album finale The Resistance, it is clear the band has created an album that lets their music speak loudest, while still delivering some of their most personal and heartfelt collections of songs to date. "I wanted to make an album that could make people feel the music," said Skillet's John Cooper. "I always aim to write songs to which people can relate, but this time I wanted to see not only how the songs would connect lyrically, but also how they'd connect musically."

Songs like Back From The Dead, Stars, and Out Of Hell showcase the musicianship and songwriting that has garnered the band a rabid worldwide fan base, a platinum selling album and multiple Grammy nominations. Comprised of husband and wife John (lead vocals, bass) and Korey Cooper (rhythm guitar, keyboards, programming, backing vocals), Seth Morrison (lead guitar) and Jen Ledger (drums, vocals), the band wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the album. Once again they collaborated with Brian Howes, (Daughtry, Halestorm, Nickelback), as well as, Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne, Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch), Neal Avron (Twenty One Pilots, Walk The Moon, Fall Out Boy, Linkin Park) and Seth Mosley (Newsboys, TobyMac) to create Unleashed.

The track listing for Unleashed is:

  1. Feel Invincible
  2. Back From The Dead
  3. Stars
  4. I Want To Live
  5. Undefeated
  6. Famous
  7. Lions
  8. Out Of Hell
  9. Burn It Down
  10. Watching For Comets
  11. Saviors Of The World
  12. The Resistance

Skillet has cemented its place as one of the 21st century's most successful rock bands. Selling more than 11 million units worldwide, the Wisconsin quartet have received two GRAMMY® Award nominations and won a Billboard Music Award for the platinum-certified Awake. Their double-platinum single Monster is "the eighth most-streamed rock song of 2015" with a total of 57 million plays (and counting) on Spotify and would earn the distinction of becoming "the best-selling digital single in the history of Christian Music." 2013's Rise bowed at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 upon release and received resounding and eclectic acclaim from the likes of USA Today, New York Times, Revolver, Loudwire, and more.


Good Tiger - A Head Full Of Moonlight

Good Tiger is a fantastic new band with a unique satisfying sense of powerful songwriting.Straight out of the UK comes Good Tiger with their debut album A Head Full Of Moonlight. And man, their music is fucking lit. Forced to describe it, imagine a combination of the melodic intrigue of Scale The Summit with the rhythmic intensity and emotional depth of TesseracT. Now you're gettin' the idea of what amounts to a neo-progressive supergroup comprised of erstwhile members of TesseracT, Architects UK, The Safety Fire, The Faceless, and Conquering Dystopia.

Right out of the gate is the killer jam Where Are The Birds, all bottom heavy groove and the impassioned warbling of singer Elliot Coleman (formerly of TesseracT). Coleman's voice is perfect for this band, lending the softer sections of Good Tiger's music a delicate aspect that equates to a master chef's expert mingling of exotic ingredients in a recipe for deliberate effect. Snake Oil is the band's best evidence of the band being borne of the 21st century soundscape, with founding guitarists guitarists Derya "Dez" Nagle and Joaquin "Jo" Ardiles' post-hardcore riffage married to a nimble rhythmic sensibility that is instantly appealing. Understanding Silence, the album's most sedate track, gives Coleman a chance to play with vocal harmonies accompanied by only a single plaintive guitar. Follow that up with closer '67 Pontiac Firebird and its so-out-of-place-it's-perfect cookie monster chorus, and you've got one great debut, people.

The Bottom Line: If you dig the djenty side of metal, but yearn for more energetic, melodic fare, Good Tiger has your number, mate. 'Nuff said.

- Genghis is praying this band tours Texas someday...


Dynazty - Titanic Mass

These Swedish metalheads are firing on all cylinders like it's for a world's record. Check them out.Swedish melodic rockers Dynazty are back with a new studio album, Titanic Mass, which clearly tries to live up to its name through 11 tracks of fast and furious power metal tinged fury. This is some great stuff from a band that's been tearing through Europe for nearly a decade culminating a couple of years ago with their album Renatus and an evolution in their more traditional hard rock sound to something more akin to the current state of metal. Works for me!

The best part of Dynazty is their sense of melodicism, something that never goes away no matter how heavy the riffage on Titanic Mass becomes throughout this 47 minute headbanger's ball. The framework of which is supported by the twin powers of vocalist Nils Molin and guitarist Rob Love Magnusson. Nils has vibrato and power for days as he belts out anthemic chorus after chorus while Rob's fluid, melodic leads weave about like lit fuse that burns through the solo sections with an urgent energy. But the meaty rhythms being laid down by the rest of the crew (George Egg on drums, Jonathan Olsson on bass, and Mike Lavér on guitar) are still a bedrock upon which any metal band would do well to stand. This is top quality melodic power metal, people, and no mistake. It's pretty hard for me to hone in any one song as they're all pretty well balanced throughout the album. I plan to be cranking this in my car for a while, so would-be passengers be warned.

The Bottom Line: This is grade A prime melodic power metal from a seasoned band that knows how to write a killer jam. Dynazty has made a classic of the genre that should be played loud and long. Kudos, guys.

- Genghis hasn't liked music like this since Nation...