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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
Friday
Mar142014

Hammercult - Steelcrusher

Now this is a cover. You can only assume Taarna is on the back flying into the fray on her weird battle bird.You don't often hear about metal bands from Israel. But newcomers Hammercult have a certain something that can't be denied. Having won the Wacken Open Air event a couple of years ago - only a year or so after even forming the band, they've been building their army of fans ever since by doing nothing less than playing balls-to-the-wall metal everywhere they go. And now they've released their long-awaited follow up to their debut, Anthems of the Damned. Let's get the skinny.

Steelcrusher starts out right, with artwork by the infamous Andreas Marschall, who's done work for In Flames, Hammerfall and Blind Guardian. The image says it all; some guy dressed kind of like the Barbarian Leader from Heavy Metal and brandishing a giant, blood-stained hammer gives the finger to a formidable looking monster chick on a dragon who must be really hard to shop for at Christmas.

But the proof is in the pudding, and Hammercult makes a mean pudding, man. After the obligatory introductory theme, the boys kick into the title track that sounds like nothing less than a blitzkrieg of thrashy goodness with a nice anthemic feel to its spacious mix. And shit don't let up from there, from the kick ass moshing riot of Metal Rules Tonight to the final track In The Name of the Fallen you will be at risk of headbanging your teeth right out of your head. These guys are the real deal.

The Bottom Line: Yes, Virginia, there are still bands that come to rock the fuck out of a joint. And this band's name is Hammercult. If you're in the mood for drinking, headbanging and generally tearing some shit up, this band's got your number, mate.

Tracks To Play If You Hate Your Neighbors: Burning The Road, Into Hell, Heading For War

- Genghis wonders if this album comes with a loincloth...

Wednesday
Mar122014

Nervosa - Victim of Yourself

Everything about this album is classic thrash metal. I mean look at this album cover. Fucking awesome it is.Everybody knows that South America is a hotbed of metal mania. So, it should come as little surprise to anyone that a trio of Brazilian youths who grew up listening to heavy music should form their own metal band. And so Nervosa was born, culminating in their anticipated debut album, Victim Of Yourself.

Honestly, this is one really great thrash album in the truest sense of the genre; it's raw as hell, has powerful riffs, classic death metal-style snarling vocals, and an energy that can't be manufactured in a mixing board. Everyone is firing on all cylinders, and there's an authenticity that comes out in every track that affirms this as a band of like-minded musicians that just wants to destroy you with its music. There's a clear influence of the early works of Slayer and Metallica, and I would love to see this band perform live - assuming, of course, I survive the experience.

The Bottom Line: This is simply one of the most honest and raw classic thrash metal albums I've heard in a long time. Nervosa is yet another great band that proves Brazil is a growing and powerful force in the realm of heavy metal. Bom trabalho!

Tracks That Will Make You Dig Out Your Old Denim Jacket: Twisted Values, Envious, Into Mosh Pit, and Deep Misery

- Genghis has a new crush (Por favor, me chame, Fernanda!)...

Wednesday
Mar122014

Riotgod - Driven Rise

Now this is an appropriately trippy album cover for a retro-style band. Everything's so greeeen!Drummer Bob Pantella (Monster Magnet) decided that he wanted another outlet, giving rise to the formation of Riotgod back in 2007. And with the band's third release, Driven Rise, you can see where his passion and vision have carried him.

Recorded at Bob's New Jersey studio, there's a great live feel to the whole thing. I really like that this is one of the few retro-style bands that isn't afraid to embrace modern technology when it comes to their sound. Most bands of this ilk are card carrying members of the Cult of the Analog, and it's starting to make the music sound too cookie cutter and, ironically, processed. And while I call it retro, don't necessarily assume that means a straight 70s sound. This is really more of a classic 90s grunge sound, itself a progression of the 70s sound but with a modern, heavier sensibility. There's also more of a positive feel to the music rather than the post-modern, nihilism that pervades most such music. Part of what stands out is the voice of lead singer, Sunshine, whose throaty, controlled wails remind me of Freddie Mercury. Now this is a great way to do retro.

The Bottom Line: Imagine yourself at a mixing board, hands poised over the sliders as Soundgarden jams in the booth. Turn up the Led Zeppelin 25%, then ease up the psychedelic Beatles about 15%, fade out Cornell while raising up Freddie Mercury. There, now you have Riotgod.

Tracks To Make You Stand Around All Supersexy Like A Young Robert Plant: Driven Rise, They Don't Know, and Sidewinder

- Genghis could never have gone shirtless on his best day...

Tuesday
Mar112014

Helen Money - Arriving Angels

Helen Money is mad. Mad call I it, for to define true madness, what is't but to be nothing else but mad?Mad cellist Helen Money (AKA Alison Chesley) is one of the few crossover musicians that, like the lads of Apocalyptica, dare to transgress the boundaries of classical and heavy music. Her collaborations, including gigs with the likes of Disturbed and Anthrax, are not the typical thing you'd expect from a female musician with a masters degree in cello performance. Which brings us to her third solo album, Arriving Angels, now being re-issued in a limited vinyl edition.

Money's approach to composition is spartan, making the notes that do get played all the more prominent against the space surrounding them. And thanks to the copious amounts of signal processing (you ought to see the pedal boards laid out around her feet onstage), her tone has the variability of any guitarist, expanding the timbre of the instrument handily to fill the space left by the absence of a traditional backing band.

Now, for the most part this is your basic minimalist stuff - Money being joined only by Neurosis drummer/percussionist Jason Roeder on all tracks - with an unpredictability (including Bernard Herrmann-esque Psycho attack interludes) that makes the whole album seem completely spontaneous. If you favor traditional music at all, you may have a hard time getting into this stuff. But if you're the more open-minded type that likes to veer off the beaten path musically, this may be your new jam. Personally, I have a hard time connecting to this, but I salute Chesley's bold musical presence.

The Bottom Line: Every now and then someone comes along to remind us jaded rock fans that ours is the music of rebellion and the pushing of envelopes, great and small. Alison Chesley's Helen Money persona, armed with her processed cello, marches forward in the avant-garde field of "ambient doom", leading her followers like a deranged pied piper to the precipice of tradition - and leaning out over it menacingly.

- Genghis is actually looking to learn to play the cello...

Monday
Mar102014

Terrorway - Blackwaters

Damn, Italy, what you feedin' them kids? Cuz there's some serious metal chops in their eggs and bakey...Man, it's crazy how many, and varied, metal bands are coming out of Italy. Case in point, extreme metal technicians Terrorway have just dropped their debut, Blackwaters, on an unsuspecting public and I'mma give you the lowdown.

The Sardinian quartet formed only a few years ago, releasing an EP very quickly and playing shows across the land, giving you a hint as to their level of acceptance before even a debut album has come out. But now it's here, and I can honestly say this is some pretty full-bodied metal. I tend to fly a little flag for extreme metal sometimes, if only out of appreciation for the sheer technical ability on display. But the downfall of such bands is the all-too-often tendency to overdo it, causing everything to devolve into a muddy wall of sound with little nuance or listenability. But what Terrorway bring to the table is a desire to stay back and let the music speak for itself, and they do that by invoking a fair amount of melody and heavy grooves. In fact, the songs get more brutal while also getting more groove to them as the album goes on.

The Bottom Line: Fans of Meshuggah or other extreme groove metal bands may need to look into this one. If they keep up this trajectory, they could be a major player in the genre. 'Nuff said.

Tracks To Play The Next Time The Neighbors Start Getting Uppity: Chained, Renewal, and A Cursed Race

- Genghis would like to hear show tunes done death metal style...