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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - February
  • Buried In Violence
    Buried In Violence
    Napalm Records
Video of the Month - December
  • Live at the Phoenix [Blu-ray]
    Live at the Phoenix [Blu-ray]
    by Harem Scarem
Tales Of Thin Lizzy
  • The Emerald Rebels: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of Philip Lynott and Thin Lizzy
    The Emerald Rebels: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of Philip Lynott and Thin Lizzy
    by Xaviant Haze
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
Monday
Dec142015

Concert Review: Dragonforce/Kamelot

Ragman and I have long been fans of Kamelot, but I had yet to see them live. So when we heard about them playing in town recently - with Dragonforce opening no less, we knew we had to check them out for a night of some serious shredding and fist pumping. Needless to say we were not disappointed. Let's get down to brass tacks.

Dragonforce

Performances - I've noticed many people divided on their opinions of Dragonforce's live shows, but I think they put on a great performance. There's no shortage of energy from the band, especially guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman, whose playful back and forth displays a youthful exuberance while simultaneously making it look like their musical feats of derring-do are no big deal. I swear these guys must mainline coffee, cuz they seem to have no shortage of energy from the beginning of the show through to the end. Kudos to them. Meanwhile lead singer Marc Hudson kept the crowd going like a good frontman should. Adding to the playful chaos, bassist Frédéric Leclercq had a stuffed dog that wanted to crowd surf, and the audience complied gleefully as the giant toy flew around the venue with quite a bit of force. Basically, the vibe was all about fun and self-deprecating humor, something the band does quite well.

Sound & Lights - Live shows can often be problematic when it comes to sound and light setup for opening acts, but you wouldn't have known it with Dragonforce. The guitars were sometimes a bit hard to hear in the mix, but it have been attributed to my earplugs, or the fact that Herman uses that whammy pedal for those crazy high notes (possibly controlled by his Hot Hand controller ring?), which can sometimes get lost in the thundering rhythm section's onslaught. But no complaints.

Setlist - The guys played a little something from every album in their catalog, save for Ultra Beatdown, with half the set relying on their last two releases as expected. I especially enjoyed hearing their cover of Johnny Cash's Ring Of Fire off of Maximum Overload. The crowd seemed to dig that flow of the set as well with a little mosh action during their last song, naturally, Through The Fire And Flames. After opening with 2004's Fury Of The Storm they even managed to throw in the title track of their first album, Valley Of The Damned. before the final couple of songs, for fans of their earlier stuff. For a quick set, it was a nice spread of their catalog that flowed well and got the crowd suitably pumped for Kamelot, so all in all mission accomplished. Kudos to Dragonforce, nice work, lads.

Kamelot

Performances - Kamelot took the stage with a strong presence from the get-go. It's clear this band knows what they're doing and have a great respect for the audience. Tommy Karevik is a prefect frontman for the group, interacting with the audience with the right mix of cheerleading and rockstar appeal, garnering fans of both sexes while delivering the goods from a pure singing perspective. His duets with Kobra Paige (Kobra and the Lotus) were nicely choreographed as well, the two weaving about each other at times like a pair of dancers surrounded by smoke and wind. Guitarist Thomas Youngblood, playing against a rock-solid rhythm section, was the confident veteran who shared freely with the crowd, from picks to bottled waters, in between effortless solos.

Sound & Lights - A decent mix all around - though I would've liked the guitars up more, and it was a little difficult to discern the bass amidst the rhythm section. It may be kind of unimportant to some, but I was pretty impressed that the band had some powerful fog machines used for dramatic visual effect, (a proportionately-sized stadium experience in a small venue) which was a nice touch - especially when Tommy took the photo opportunity to pose menacingly through a column of it like the Wizard of Oz during one song.

Setlist - As expected, a third of the show was devoted to songs from their recently released Haven album, which played very well live, along with a couple of songs each from Silverthorn, The Black Halo, and Karma. I especially like that the first few songs were each from different albums in their catalog, skipping back and forth in time to provide a nice appetizer. But more importantly, with a half of the entire setlist being Roy Khan fronted songs, I was impressed that Tommy performed the whole show like he was born to do this. He played to the crowd while making the songs his own.

The Bottom Line

Fans of Kamelot would surely enjoy this year's tour. Dragonforce did a good job of getting the crowd ready with a good mix of six-string pyrotechnics and self-deprecating, good-natured tomfoolery. And Kamelot came in like total pros to finish out the evening with some kick-ass American power metal. And end of the tour dates scored a concert shirt for half price, so fuck yeah. Great evening!

- Genghis can scratch another great band off his concert bucket list...

Sunday
Dec132015

Podcast #201: Nolos

We chat with Andreas Lill from one of our favorite progmetal bands, Vanden Plas. Ausgezeichnet!Join G&R as they tackle the solo once more and how its importance has changed from the 50s to now. Is it right for bands known for not playing solos to suddenly start, and vice versa? Genghis offers his take on the ages-old argument and Ragman counters in his inimitable way. It's a philosophical monkey knife fight!

Then lend us your ears as the lads chew the fat with drummer Andreas Lill of Vanden Plas on the challenges of writing, performing, and recording an epic metal musical - namely, the band's recent two-part masterpiece, Chronicles Of The Immortals. So, pour a beer and get those HORNS UP!

Featured Tracks: Hell In The Club - Enjoy The Ride; Journey - Chain Reaction; Bleeding Through - Wicked Bitch; Blessthefall - To Those Left Behind; Sevendust - Bitch; Disturbed - The Vengeful One; In Flames - Cloud Connected; Tremonti - Fall Again; Vanden Plas - Godmaker, Stone Roses Edge, Monster and New Vampyre

Genghis' Classic of the Show: Chris Poland - Row Of Crows

Ragman's Classic of the Show: Quiet Riot - Condition Critical

Genghis' Pick of the Show: Sevendust - Death Dance

Ragman's Pick of the Show: Lynch Mob - Sanctuary

- Genghis is making his [Kicks And Kisses] list and checking it twice...

Podcast #201: Nolos

Thursday
Dec102015

Podcast Interview: Marco Wriedt

Ragman talked with 21 Octayne's Marco Wriedt and coveted the shit out of his rich, luxurious hair.Ragman has a tête-à-tête with guitarist Marco Wriedt of 21 Octayne, who lays out the making of the band's latest album and where they're headed in 2016.

If you dig the sound of 21 Octayne, their latest release, 2.0, is available now through AFM Records, so be sure to pick it up if you haven't already.  HORNS UP!

Featured Tracks: 21 Octayne - Turn the World, Tale of a Broken Child, When You Go, Lost, Devil in Disguise, and The Heart (Save Me)

Marco Wriedt Interview

Monday
Dec072015

The Hell - Brutopia

"Straight Outta Watford" just doesn't have that gangsta feel, but The Hell knows how to make some jamsI don't know where Watford is, but apparently this "nowhere town" has at least one thing going for it: hardcore nutjobs The Hell, who've just released their latest middle finger to the world, Brutopia. This is some serious groove metal with a strong punk/thrash edge that I totally dig. And they fully understand that the key to music like their's is never ever take yourself (or anything, really) seriously. This shit is straight-up fun times.

Yeah, living la vida loca like you're perpetually 18 may seem stupid and childish, but it kinda feels like the world could use a little humor and groove right about now. And the lads in The Hell bring you social commentary in fucking spades, mate!

The Bottom Line: Look, let's not kid ourselves. This isn't Dream Theater. This is raw, in-your-gob, punk rock shenanigans. If you need to let off a little steam at The Man, or society in general, this is your jam. Now CRANK IT UP, FOOL!

- Genghis is sick and tired of working for the man...

Thursday
Dec032015

Wake Up and Kill

To keep my retro film hunger fed, I recently caught the Italian action/drama Wake Up and Kill.  Unlike most of the retro films, that I've been reviewing lately, Wake Up and Kill is more of a straight forward action flick.  The film was shot back in the late 60's and is based on the crime spree of Luciano Lutring.  Lutring carried out many robberies in Italy and France in the 60'.  The movie chronicles Lutring's petty thefts, as well as full blown shoot outs.  The drama portion of the movie, focuses on Lutring's relationship with his wife, and how she is always trying to shield him from harm and the law.  This was a very entertaining flick.  Word of warning, this film is subtitled, so get out your reading glasses.

Bottom Line: An action packed film, with a nice little love story attached.  An Italian gem, that has recently just seen the light of day in the new millennium.

- Ragman is wondering how this guy got away with stealing so much jewelry, with just a sling shot.