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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - September
  • Hymns For The Broken (ltd. 2CD digipak edition)
    Hymns For The Broken (ltd. 2CD digipak edition)
    by Evergrey
Video of the Month - September
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall [Blu-ray]
    Breaking the Fourth Wall [Blu-ray]
    by Dream Theater
Good Reading
  • The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade
    The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade
    by Martin Popoff
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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
Tuesday
Sep092014

Saga - Sagacity

Saga is back with a great album that sounds old and new at the same time and in the best way. Now about that album cover...Ever since I first heard Saga's 1982 classic On The Loose on MTV back in the day (apparently they used to play music videos, like a lot), I've been a fan of their progressive sound - even when I didn't know what the hell progressive rock even was. My interest was no doubt due in no small part to Michael Sadler's distinctive voice which was - and, thankfully, still is - truly one of a kind and an integral part of Saga's sound. Equally important though was Jim Crichton's songwriting abilities as the band had elements of fellow proggers Rush, Yes, Genesis and Kansas in a very radio-friendly package.

Admittedly, I haven't kept up with them since Worlds Apart, so I was quite thrilled to hear their latest studio album Sagacity (their 22nd album, by the way) and that it was a double CD release with new material as well as live material from their recent performance at the SWR1 Rockarena festival last year. Bonus!

First off, the new stuff sounds fantastic, as the opening track Let It Slide kicks in (0:39) with a heavy riff that has a slight Celtic lilt to it that's echoed in the chorus. There's so much energy in this music, and Sadler's voice hasn't lost a note in the nearly forty(!) years of his career. It's a great preview of the first disc of all new material, letting fans know this is their Saga and they've still got it. Oh, and for a nice bit of guitar work, you have to check out Ian Crichton's [Ed. note - Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I couldn't find any info regarding any guest artists on this album, so I assume it's Ian] amazing solo on It Doesn't Matter Who You Are (2:16) which sounds like a tantalizing cross between Reeves Gabrels and Adrian Belew. I just couldn't be more pleased with this band, man, I mean it. Bravo!

The Bottom Line: One of the unsung bands of the golden age of prog rock, Saga has come back in fine form with a double CD that sounds relevant while echoing the beloved past. This album is just fantastic - and there's live stuff from their vast catalog to boot!

- Genghis would LOVE to see these guys rock the House of Blues here this year...

Tuesday
Sep092014

Xerath - III

Wow, lady, you're sure gonna have a hard time getting that dress clean again.Holy crap, Xerath. I've confessed before that I often will stop and check out a new metal band based solely on its album cover. And UK metallers Xerath's latest album III has a classic apocalyptic theme going for it with fiery reds on one side and icy blues on the other, and a lone woman standing amongst (or, perhaps more accurately, submitting to) all hell breaking loose. After listening to this album I feel like this is exactly what's happening sonically here.

Taking their metal assault on the senses (à la Meshuggah) in a new direction with a bonafide string quartet in the mix, Xerath lays down grooves like it's been personally put in charge of writing Armageddon's soundtrack (the biblical event, not the movie, kids). But there's a great sense of melodicism to be found here that many extreme metal bands lack, for my tastes. I'm also impressed with Irish newcomer Conor McGouran (replacing exiting Owen Williams) and his guitar solo work. Nicely done, lad. It's all pretty epic sounding, even if some of the songs seem to blend into each other after a while, but you won't lack for heavy, monster grooves here. Count on it.

The Bottom Line: Xerath's latest studio effort accomplishes the rare feat of laying down heavy as shit, complex rhythyms while still sounding melodic and...well, musical. Good on ya, boys.

- Genghis is itchin' for some serious new live heavy metal action...

Thursday
Sep042014

Evergrey - Hymns For The Broken

Them Swedes are at it again making great metal with a message, after a near break up. Whew!I will be happy to admit, right off the bat, that Rags is the bigger, long-standing fan of Swedish power metallers Evergrey. I've heard him extoll the band's virtues for years, in fact, tirelessly carrying their torch in the face of my obliviousness. And true fans no doubt know that after their previous studio album, Glorious Collision, was released the band's future was actually in jeopardy despite some pretty good reviews. So insert "darkest before the dawn" metaphor here as we delve into their latest effort, Hymns For The Broken.

In 2011, singer/guitarist Tom Englund was apparently disenchanted enough with the band - after the much publicized (albeit friendly) departure of guitarist Henrik Danhage, drummer Jonas Ekdahl, and bassist Jari Kainulainen - to consider throwing in the towel altogether. But an unplanned collaboration saw Henrik and Jonas playing with the band once again and realizing that they still enjoyed making music together enough to want to write and record Hymns For The Broken replete with the band's trademark mix of traditional power metal with progressive elements. Balls and Chunk saves the day again!

And it shows on tracks like A New Dawn, with its bouncy piano interlude (2:37), giving way to a powerful solo section. Meanwhile, Archaic Rage amply illustrates Evergrey's ability to bring the heavy (1:15) amidst pensive, more quiet moments, as heard in Black Undertow's powerful (1:40) rhythyms. But for me, it's all about the proggy underbelly that shows itself like a snake slithering behind the grass, revealing just enough of itself to assure you of its presence as in The Grand Collapse's (3:08) Dream Theater-esque time signature interlude. Masterful.

The Bottom Line: Having now reviewed my first Evergrey album, I can see why people get excited for this band. These guys know their metal, and conjure up some melodic, proggy, and just plain bad-ass sounding music for the teeming throngs of metalheads all over the world. Hail Evergrey!

Tracks To Fish Out Your Best All Black Clothes For: A New Dawn, Archaic Rage, Black Undertow and The Grand Collapse

- Genghis is Googling for any possible Evergrey tour dates in Texas...

Wednesday
Aug272014

Podcast #177: Eight

Fresh off the boat, having done battle with Sedna, Johnny La Bomba of Gloryful drops by to chew the fat.Hey, it's that time of year again: The Revolver Golden Gods Award Show. Sure, it's been a few months since this thing took place, but in Right to Rock time, it's just like yesterday. So, join Genghis & Ragman as they discuss the winners, and the performances of some of their favorite artists. Next, the boys discuss the inclusion of metal tunage in cartoons and video games. And don't miss it as the boys check in with Gloryful singer Johnny La Bomba who discusses his band's latest release, Ocean Blade.

Video of the Show: Revolver Golden Gods Awards Show

Beer of the Show: Tradewinds (The Bruery)
 
Appearance: 4.0
Aroma: 3.0
Palate: 2.5
Taste: 2.5
Overall: 2.5
"Our first experience with The Bruery brings a beautiful, light, and unusual summer beer whose peppery finish seems a bit out of place."
 

Featured Tracks: Jeremy Irons and Ratgang Malibus - Fog By the Steep; Chelsea Grin - Don't Ask Don't Tell; Slayer - South of Heaven; Black Label Society - My Dying Time; Lion - Transformers; Kiss - Raise Your Glasses; Tenacious D - Roadie; Gloryful - E Mare, E Libertad and All Men to the Arms

Ragman's Classic of the Show: Fifth Angel - Time Will Tell

Genghis' Classic of the Show: The Cult - Love Removal Machine

Ragman's Pick of the Show: Black Stone Cherry - Me and Mary Jane

Genghis' Pick of the Show: The Relapse Symphony - We Are the Broken

- Ragman can't believe he and Genghis are celebrating 8 years at The Right to Rock. Horns fucking UP!

Podcast #177: Eight

Wednesday
Aug272014

John Garcia (self-titled)

Next time you and Mr. Goat are itchin' to ride, you'll want to take this album with you, yessir.Erstwhile Kyuss and current Vista Chino singer John Garcia has come out of the desert like a rock and roll shaman to groove you with tales of obsession and danger on his debut solo album. Need I say more?

Yeah, okay. Those of you (myself included) not familiar with his genre pedigree may be unaware of Garcia's ability to craft genuine down and dirty hard rocking tunes, covered in dust and sweat, and brimming with effortless swagger and attitude. And that's just what his eponymous debut delivers in spades, due in part to assistance from folks such as The Doors' guitarist, Robby Krieger (His Bullets Energy), and Kyuss co-hort, [bassist] Nick Oliveri to name just a couple. This is the jam to crank on your next cross-country drive, top down and cigarette (or whatever you may prefer to smoke) dangling from your mouth.

The Bottom Line: Stoner metal fans who like a little more bluesy rocking than psychedelic tripping to their tunes should enjoy the hell out of this solo album. You dig?

Tunes To Never Take Your Sunglasses Off While Listening To: Rolling Stoned, The Blvd, His Bullets Energy and Saddleback

- Genghis wonders if it's really so bad to legalize it...