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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - September
  • Will To Power [Explicit]
    Will To Power [Explicit]
    Century Media
Video of the Month - September
  • Welcome To My Nightmare Special Edition DVD
    Welcome To My Nightmare Special Edition DVD
    starring Alice Cooper
#UltimateCoffeeTableBook
  • Hellraisers: A Complete Visual History of Heavy Metal Mayhem
    Hellraisers: A Complete Visual History of Heavy Metal Mayhem
    by Axl Rosenberg, Christopher Krovatin
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
Jun192017

Mr. Big plays The Scout Bar

Mr. Big playing "Undertow" at The Scout BarSitting down before the show to interview Eric Martin, lead singer for Mr. Big since its inception in the late 80s, it's easy to see why this band is still alive and kicking (ahem). There's a palpable sense of communion between the members of this band that I saw in a small club in San Antonio way back when they toured in support of their debut album nearly 30 years ago. This band likes being this band. And I love that Pat Torpey is still able to tour using a cocktail drum kit while veteran drummer Matt Starr does the heavy lifting, because his voice would be missed.

(clockwise from top left) Billy Sheehan, Eric Martin, Ragman, GenghisKicking things off, Eric ceremoniously pulled out the electric drill, and handed it off to Paul Gilbert for his tongue in cheek showmanship on Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy, which got the crowd going. Following this up with a couple of songs from their comeback album What If... provided a nice juxtaposition between "old" and "new" Mr. Big showing that this band hasn't lost any of their songwriting skills. A mix of tunes from their impressive catalog led to the first inevitable, highly anticipated solo spot from Paul, who unsurprisingly caused jaws to drop at his neo-classical bag of tricks. Fans of his solo work have enjoyed watching Paul's career as he's definitely matured as a [highly prolific] songwriter and musician.

Another few songs, with a well-thought mix of older and newer material that the band banged out like a well-oiled machine, brought us to the mighty Billy Sheehan's bass solo spot. Billy's fretboard mastery is no secret, but it's always awe-inspiring to watch him do his thing like not a day has passed since I first saw him do it decades ago. Taking that solo right into Addicted To That Rush made for a fine finish to the main set, and the crowd didn't show any sign of tiring. To call this band a party band would be an obvious disservice, but I think people just don't know what else to call it when you experience the musical vibe these guys provide. It's the best mix of different eras and aspects of rock and roll: 70s swagger, 80s technical prowess, 90s introspection, and 21st century veteran maturity. Take all of that, stir it in a pot, garnish with familial love, and serve. That's the Mr. Big recipe.

- Genghis has his doubts that Eric will respond in future to "E-Rex"...

Thursday
Jun082017

Podcast #218: Care

For the record, it was an absolute pleasure to speak with Marios Iliopoulos of Nightrage.The boys are bringing the heavy on this super-sized edition of the Genghis & Ragman Show. Join the fellas as they discuss some recent hard rock and metal news; is it a good thing that Zakk has rejoined Ozzy, and do we care that Ratt and LA Guns have reunited? Tune in to find out. If that weren't enough, G&R give their thoughts on some iconic drummers.

Last, but certainly not least, Nightrage guitarist Marios Iliopoulos joins the boys for a one on one, discussing Nightrage's latest album The Venomous as well as their upcoming tour plans. So grab a case o' brew, and a fine stogie, and lock in because it's going to be a long night.

DVD of the show: Killswitch Engage - Set the World Ablaze

Beer of the Show: Black Currant Saison (Clown Shoes Brewery)
 
Appearance: 4.0
Aroma: 3.0
Palate: 3.0
Taste: 3.0
Overall: 3.5
"You don't often run across a fruity saison like this, but Clown Shoes added black currants to a farmhouse brew for some fine results."
 

Featured Tracks: Kobra And The Lotus - You Don't Know; Killswitch Engage - In Due Time; Noise Pollution - Hole Inside Me; The Devil Wears Prada - To The Key Of Evergreen; LA Guns - Never Enough; Steel Panther - Pussy Ain't Free; Nightrage - Wrapped In Deceitful Dreams, Disturbia, Affliction, In Abhorrence, Trail of Ghosts, and The Puritan

Ragman's Classic of the Show: Roxanne - Nothin' to Lose

Genghis' Classic of the Show: Lynch Mob - Tie Your Mother Down

Ragman's Pick of the Show: Zodiac - Down

Genghis' Pick of the Show: Fallujah - The Void Alone

- Ragman is exhausted after this endeavor...

Podcast #218 - Care

Tuesday
Jun062017

Harem Scarem - United

The Hog Town heroes are back with another amazing album of killer melodic hard rock. Beauty!If you're not a fan of Harem Scarem, you're just not a fan of world-class, melodic hard rock. Cuz that's what the Canadian band has been putting out for closing in on 30 years now. Their 14th (discounting the Mood Swings 20th anniversary remake) studio album, United, is out now and it is everything fans could want.

One of the knocks you hear about melodic hard rock is that it's basically pop music with distortion. But there's an art to crafting songs with catchy riffs and lush choruses that don't all sound the same. And right out of the gate the dynamic duo of singer Harry Hess and guitarist Pete Lesperance (I'm betting they prefer not to be called "Hessperance") give a master class in such discipline with the anthemic title track. This is the stuff. From there it's what you expect from the genre vets: flashy guitar solos and fills, lush harmonized vocals, all within exhilarating melodies that just plain rock. This kind of music is made for live settings, where the energy a huge crowd bolsters the feeling of a rousing musical event to remember. Here's hoping for a US tour in the near future. If you get the chance, go. You will not be disappointed.

The Bottom Line: Melodic hard rock is an evergreen subgenre. There's always a faction of music fans that like their catchy pop songs to have some crunchy bite to them, especially with a heaping helping of melodic shred thrown in for the fretheads. Harem Scarem has been crushing that formula for decades and their latest album is both mature and outright fun at the same time. Score!

Tracks To Sing Out Loud In Your Car: United, Here Today Gone Tomorrow, One of Life's Mysteries, Bite The Bullet

- Genghis would do terrible things to see this amazing group live...

Friday
May262017

Miss May I - Shadows Inside

Miss May I is back to inspire the nation. DO NOT touch the lion!Ever since I heard Miss May I's Relentless Chaos off of their sophomore album Monument I've been a fan of their melodic metalcore sound. And their progress continues its positive trajectory with their latest offering, Shadows Inside. Having started when the Ohio quintet's members were still in high school, their connection has evolved considerably, making it possible to compose songs that touch on sophisticated subject matter while also thrashing hard. And the latest effort is a testament to that relationship.

Right off the bat, the title track kicks in the door with a thrashy attack that gives way to an anthemic chorus that's sure to light up live audiences on tour. My Desctruction surprises with a nice Metallica-style, nylon-stringed, quasi-classical intro that segues nicely into a melodeath riff reminiscient of classic In Flames - though I have to say it ends just as things really get going. But songs like this make for a good example of how Miss May I blends different subgenres into a compelling hybrid sound that lifts it above the traditional metalcore sound to highly listenable results. Swallow Your Teeth is another great anthemic tune sure to get fists pumping and crowds moving, particularly considering its self-assertive ("I won't be your prey!") lyrics and the current cultural climate. Such thematic content is par for the course with Miss May I, but it's a testament to their artistic sophistication that the aggression comes out in the music rather than with violent imagery, as aptly demonstrated on Lost In The Grey's monster riffing underneath a chorus of "We are greater than this / We are stronger than before / There's no locking us in / We're not hopeless anymore". Horns up to that.

The Bottom Line: Miss May I continues to transcend their categorization as a mere metalcore band by incorporating other styles into a more compelling, satisfyingly heavy sound to support their lyrical themes of rising above the mire of today's human condition through hope and perserverance rather than blind rage. Turns out optimism is a helluva drug.

- Genghis is feeling pretty good right about now...

Thursday
May252017

Nova Collective - The Further Side

Okay, one could argue that this album cover is rather 90s-era Magna Carta or Laser's Edge, but that's cool.When you're basically a Trioscapes/Haken supergroup, how can I not go full on jam mode? Cuz that's the case with Nova Collective, who's debut album The Further Side showcases the enormous skills each individual posseses while also blending together into a sublime prog/jazz stew I can't ever get enough of. Dig, if you will, a picture...

The opening track Dancing Machines sets the mood early on by presenting each instrumentalist as they come in one at a time to add to the beat. This is when you know what kind of band you're dealing with. As in "Holy shit, this is one of those killer jazzmetal groups" like the aforementioned Trioscapes. And the second track Cascades is a fantastic example of the deft touch this caliber of musicians can bring to a frenetic groove with Pete Jones' shimmering keys contrasted against some sweet fuzzy phrasing. This is the kind of stuff I sometimes forget I love until I hear that sweet drum/bass groove from Matt Lynch and Dan Briggs, respectively. It's a visceral reaction that is impossible for my neck and feet to ignore as I get into the groove, air guitaring my silly ass off. Math majors will appreciate the call and response riffing of Ripped Apart And Reassembled, while the more heavy-minded will find their chunk in the closer The Further Side. It's all here, man - including some beautiful shredding from guitarist Richard Henshall on State Of Flux. This band has more talent going on in 48 minutes than most performances you'll come across.

The Bottom Line: Nova Collective is your run-of-the-mill bad-ass jazzmetal prog band that performs as a fluid, cohesive musical unit in order to blow your mind. Fans of this subgenre know what they're in for and will love it. 'Nuff said.

Tracks To Make You Look At Your Guitar In Shame: Cascades, State Of Flux, The Further Side

- Genghis will now begin waiting on his porch for this band to come to town...