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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - August
  • Destrier
    Destrier
    Long Branch Records
Video of the Month - August
  • Metal Evolution (3 Discs)
    Metal Evolution (3 Discs)
    starring Sam Dunn
What's in the mind of Behemoth?
  • Confessions Of A Heretic: The Sacred And The Profane: Behemoth And Beyond
    Confessions Of A Heretic: The Sacred And The Profane: Behemoth And Beyond
    by Adam Nergal Darski, Mark Eglinton
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
Wednesday
Aug262015

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators - Live at the Roxy 9/25/14

When Slash teamed up with Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge), on his 2010 solo record, it was destiny, that these guys would end up, in a band together, one day.  To be honest, I have not been much of a fan, of Slash's music, post Guns N Roses.  Yeah, there were a few Velvet Revolver tunes, that were okay, but for the most part, there was nothing that stood out, until his solo release.  The solo release featured some of his strongest material, in years.  After that CD came out, he put a band together, with Myles Kennedy, to support it, and the rest is rock n roll history.

After releasing their second CD, World on Fire, Slash and the band, decided to hold an intimate show, at the Roxy, in Hollywood, to support their latest work, which has just been released on Blu-ray, DVD, and CD.  As with most Blu-rays, the picture on this thing is awesome.  It gives you a sense of being in the club, that night, in the front row, but without the hassles, that can come with a live show. 

I have wanted to see this band live, since the first album.  I'm a huge Myles Kennedy fan, and he does not disappoint, on this Blu-ray.  This guy can sing anything, and does, in this performance.  He takes on the Axel Rose and Scott Weiland material, and makes it his own.  The rest of the band are solid as well, and put on a great show.  I have to say, I haven't seen Slash perform live, since the first G n R tour, and was thoroughly impressed with his playing, during this performance.  All and all, a solid Blu-ray, which shows the band, on fire, no pun intended.  Go get it!

Bottom Line: Slash and the gang in fine form.  The band were on top of their game, and are proving to the masses, that this is the strongest line up that Slash has been involved with post G & R.  So if you're a Guns fan, then this is a must, because this band sounds so much better, than the touring entity, that calls themselves Guns N Roses, these days.

-Ragman was more impressed by this one, than he thought he'd be.  Solid live Blu-ray.

Tuesday
Aug252015

Steve'N'Seagulls - Farm Machine

Gosh dangit if'n these boys don't look like the pride of Finland o'er yonder. Damn fine musicians, too.Now here's something. When a group of Finnish countrymen jokingly shot a video of themselves playing a bluegrassed version of AC/DC's Thunderstruck, the dang thing went absolutely viral in the metal world, garnering praise (and 13 million views) from sites/mags like Guitar World, Revolver, Loudwire, Blabbermouth and Metal Sucks - and leading ultimately to (ahem) Steve'N'Seagulls signing with Spinefarm Records. Which brings us to their full-fledged debut, Farm Machine.

As a bluegrass fan (and a really crappy amateur mandolin, banjo, and fiddle player), I was intrigued to hear what I assumed would sound something like 2006's Strummin' with the Devil: The Southern Side of Van Halen. But I'm happy to say this is an even better execution in part because it involves more diverse source material from several different bands. Their faithful yet inventive interpretations of artists like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Dio and Pantera make you wonder why this doesn't happen more often. And despite the band's origins, there's not a trace of mockery in what they do. These guys are clearly big fans of heavy music. In fact it's often with the more serious subject matter (e.g. Nothing Else Matters and Cemetery Gates) that their performances (particularly lead singer, 'Remmel') seem to show more earnestness. I'm a already a huge fan, and I think multi-genre music fans will take to this pretty well - at least enough to get these guys touring America, dammit!

The Bottom Line: One of the tests of a song being truly great is that it can be performed in any number of different forms and still retain its essential appeal, possibly even gaining a new appreciation. Steve'N'Seasgulls may be just a few Finns goofing around, but this album is replete with some truly impressive interpretations (Holy Diver is fucking amazing) of hard rock/heavy metal standards, conveyed through air-tight playing and fearless fervor. Hallelujah!

Tracks To Whittle To In Your Rockin' Chair: Thunderstruck, The Trooper, Seek And Destroy, and Holy Diver

- Genghis needs to get back to the ol' woodshed...

Monday
Aug242015

Battlecross - Rise To Power

Those Michigan madmen have returned to finish what they started years ago - the utter destruction of your brain via metal.Damn, I love Battlecross. And, Rise To Power, the Michigan moshers' followup to 2013's CD of the Month, War Of Will, is nothing short of a metal manifesto that reads simply: "Thrash or die, motherfuckers".

Where to start? Suffice it to say everything you liked about the previous record still holds true, only more so as the aggression is ramped up without sacrificing the melodic elements that set it above the crowd. The interplay between the death metal tendencies of guitarist Hiran Deraniyagala and the melodic stylings of other guitarist Tony Asta as they come together in these tighter arrangements is quite impressive. And you can't discount the backbeat contribution of the amazing 22-year old newcomer Alex Bent on drums. This cat beats those skins like they stole something, dude. Fucking crazy rhythms man.

The Bottom Line: Listen, if you were a fan before, this new album will merely harden your resolve. But if you're a thrash fan and new to Battlecross, this may just cause spontaneous hair growth and crotch bulging. Side effects may include extreme headbanging and aggressive tendencies, so speak with your doctor.

- Genghis can't get enough of good thrash...

Monday
Aug242015

Kingcrow - Eidos

Kingcrow is back with more great Italian progmetal. Too bad this guy isn't having as good a day...Back when I reviewed Kingcrow's previous album In Crescendo, I mentioned that some may consider them a mere amalgamation of their influences, parroting back the highlights of their favorite 90s' era prog bands rather than making their own truly original modern prog metal. I disagreed then, and now I really - vehemently - oppose the claim as I listen to their latest effort, Eidos.

There's nothing wrong, obviously, with paying tribute to your influences. But where it all comes together is when you springboard to the next level and start making your own influential music. And I think Kingcrow is at that precipice with this album.

Adrift keeps the establishing acoustic riff as the driving force of the track à la Opeth, while Yes-style vocal harmonies lend a deceptively light feel to the song. Juxtaposed with that lighter side is the balls and chunk™ progmetal fans crave without giving over completely to the dark side, while sylistic embellishments like the saxophone accents on Slow Down provide a good example of how well these Roman rockers can blend instruments that add to, rather than distract from, the song's momentum. Ballads like Open Sky have a great old school prog feel to them in the vein of The Custodian or Spock's Beard that lets the solo section explode with a satisfying release that guides you into the more turbulent latter half. The mysteriously-named Fading Out Pt. IV transforms its opening Andalucían-flavored acoustic flurries into an energetic jam that hits the throttle and hardly lets up, refreshing the progmetal formula with various European elements. This is what makes the genre so amazing for me. These are some great jams, people.

The Bottom Line: With each release Kingcrow steps out further from under the shadow of their influences, which is no mean feat. Eidos is a fantastic progmetal album in a world where the subgenre has been around for almost 30 years, and every other band sounds like a bad Dream Theater wannabe. I already can't wait to hear the next one, boys.

- Genghis figures he'll never get to see this band live *sigh*...

Wednesday
Aug192015

Agent Fresco - Destrier

When you wondered where to find some killer new prog rock, you didn't think Iceland, did you? Big mistake.Holy shit I love to be amazed by bands I've never heard of. It's like hearing music in a new way even after all of my years listening. And such is the case with the incredible musicians known collectively as Iceland's Agent Fresco and their sophomore album Destrier.

Billed as a progressive art-rock band, their sound is an exhilarating mix of progressive rock, metal, alternative, post rock and even jazz. But the whole listening experience is far greater than the mere sum of its parts. What this band has put together is an album of universal emotional struggle as interpreted through their masterful use of different musical textures. Dark Water is an excellent example of how this is done with lead singer Arnór Dan Arnarson's voice laying a fragile narrative over an aggressive rhythym in a deft counterbalance that captures the complexity of human relationships good and bad. The rest of the album follows this basic template, but the sound is anything but basic.

This is some of the freshest music of the genre I've heard in a long while. Arnarson is fantastic and sings with the earnestness of a young Freddie Mercury. And the rhythms are complex without veering into that music-for-sound-engineers-and-calculators territory that prog can sometimes go. Drummer Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson has a wonderful light touch to his playing that reminds me of guys like the criminally underrated Stewart Copeland that I never get enough of. Proggers should dig this.

The Bottom Line: Agent Fresco is a band that deserves to have its name out there being heard. They have the uncanny knack for mixing seemingly disparate rhythyms and sounds as though they belong together in a way that's catchy without losing depth. Fans of Spock's Beard or The Custodian should really dig this.

Tracks I Wish I Could Listen To On My Old Beloved Sony Walkman WM-F20: The whole damned album

- Genghis really did own a lot of Sony Walkmans in his time...