That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - February
  • Beyond the Red Mirror
    Beyond the Red Mirror
    Nuclear Blast
Video of the Month - February
  • Live at Koko [Blu-ray]
    Live at Koko [Blu-ray]
    starring Not Available
Great Metal Reading
  • Power Chord: One Man's Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes
    Power Chord: One Man's Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes
    by Thomas Scott McKenzie


CD of the Month
  • Mudvayne
    by Mudvayne
  • 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
    by Shadows Fall
  • Brutal Legend
    Brutal Legend
    Electronic Arts

Empyrios - Zion

If this is the kind of stuff you can produce with home studios and where no one has to be in the same room, I'm sold.The band Empyrios has only been around a few years but has managed to garner no small amount of accolades for their music. Formed by DGM guitarist Simone Mularoni, every one of its talented members have been touring relentlessly with other bands in between albums, leaving no downtime in those years. Amazingly, they've still managed to craft a fantastic new studio album in Zion, via long distance relationship, that feels as cohesive, melodic, and heavy as anything out there in the metal scene today.

The best way I can describe them is a mix of Symphony X, Ark and Angra. But while the lead guitar work stands out most for me, don't believe for a second that the rest of the band is riding anyone's coat tails. This is an outfit of tight, professional musicians from the drummer to the singer, and everyone is an integral part of Empyrios' huge sound.

The Bottom Line: This is more great, heavy, bad-ass progressive power metal from Italy in the vein of DGM (who shares guitarists with Empyrios). If you dig powerful melodic music like Ark or Jorn Lande, check these dudes out. Sbrigati!

Tracks To Make Your Head Fear Its Inevitable, Furious Banging: Nescience, Reverie, Renovation, Zion, and Wormhole

- Genghis is having a serious case of guitar hero worship lately...


Ethan Brosh - Live The Dream

Ethan Brosh is an amazing new guitar talent that is more than the sum of his parts - or should I say shrapnel?The heyday of instrumental guitar rock in the late 80s, burned into the popular consciousness by Joe Satriani's Surfing With The Alien, saw its best and brightest over at Mike Varney's Shrapnel Records. Like all things, the passage of time has dulled the edge a bit as the public's musical tastes wandered, but thankfully there are artists that carry the torch of the venerable virtuoso musician bringing his skill and prowess to audiences looking to be dazzled. I happen to be one of those people always on the lookout for a new instrumental thrill, which leads me to the latest from Ethan Brosh.

Growing up in Israel, Ethan began learning guitar - his parents insisting on classical music at first - at an early age, developing enough skill and technique that it earned him a scholarship at Berklee. Since then, he's released his debut on Varney's Magna Carta Records and has now finished his follow-up Live The Dream. Ethan's latest disc is chock full of the things us guitar lovers crave: incredible speed and dexterity wrapped up with flashy technique that never loses sight of a good melody or the overall sense of the song. And speaking of technique, Ethan's playing shows a great diversity of influences that spans the years of great instrumental guitar rock that's come before.

As for the album's highlights, it all begins with the grand, energetic Shawn Lane-style phrasing of the fusiony title track.  I was then really impressed with the Malmsteenish baroque shred that broke into something like Darren Householder's swing-meets-metal groove on Bottomless Pit.  Knock On Wood is a great tapping extravaganza all played with the guitar on Ethan's lap. Space Invaders is a straight ahead pedal to the metal track that rocks along into another of those wonderful, sophisticated bits of fusiony phrasing (1:15-1:27) I really enjoy. The impressive Suspicious Exchange reminded me of Eric Johnson's contemplative, flamenco-tinged Desert Song but ups the game by skillfully blending nylon-stringed acoustic guitar with some distorted electric soloing (something like Marc Bonilla's American Matador). And mention must be made of Ethan's great take on Led Zeppelin, Up the Stairway, an impressive homage to Stanley Jordan's amazing reinventions of classic songs like Eleanor Rigby. Lastly, When Picks Fly is a fun chicken-pickin'-meets-hard-rock style piece that recalls the work of Michael Lee Firkins or Zakk Wylde's Farm Fiddlin'. All in all, this is a great album full of diversity and character and I can't recommend it enough. By the way, if you get a chance to see him and his band Burning Heat, check them out.

The Bottom Line: Ethan Brosh is an impressive guitarist that skillfully blends the best of the amazing techniques heard from the instrumental guitar gods that have come before him into his own unique style. I really look forward to hearing more from this guy. Shredheads, go get this album.

Tracks to Make You Feel Guilty About Not Practicing: Live The Dream, Space Invaders, Suspicious Exchange, and Up The Stairway

- Genghis really does want to brush up on his guitar playing...


Doro - Raise Your Fist

Doro has been one of those artists, that you can depend on, from release to release.  Doro album's are dependable, and you pretty much know what you are going to get, from release to release, just like AC/DC and Motorhead, which is not a bad thing.  She went through an experimental phase, in the 90's, but has really settled in, on her sound, over the past 3 to 4 releases.  As one would expect her latest release Raise Your Fist picks up where Fear No Evil left off.  The CD is packed with 13 songs of unadulterated heavy metal.  

The songs are melodic, as one would expect, but they also seem a bit more intense and pissed off.  Doro sings, on this CD, with more aggression, which gives the record a heavier feel.  Songs like Take No Prisoner and Revenge are prime examples of Doro expressing her heavier side.  There are also some great anthems on the CD, like Rock Till Death and Grab the Bull (Last Man Standing).  Lots of variety on this disk; ballads, rockers and anthems, what else do you need?

Bottom Line:  Doro, once again delivering a solid release and proving why she is the queen of metal.  A great selection of well written catchy tunes.

Standout Tracks: Coldhearted Lover, Rock Till Death, Freiheit (Human Rights) and Hero

-Ragman is raising his fist.


Scale The Summit - The Migration

Holy smokes, these hometown heroes can play instrumental prog like nobody's damn business. This album is fucking amazing.It's hard enough to start a band these days in a town that's not known for having a thriving music scene, but that's exactly what Scale The Summit did in my home town of Houston, Texas back in the mid 2000s, putting out their debut album in 2007 on their own.  Since then, they've released three sucessive albums through Prosthetic Records bringing us to their latest work, The Migration.  And it's a progressive instrumental lover's sweet, melodic dream.

Far from the wankery of their brilliant-but-way-too-esoteric musical predecessors like Watchtower (another Texas band), Scale The Summit's strength is its firm foundation in melody; more Gordian Knot than Messhugah.  And no matter how intricate Chris [Letchford] and Travis [Levrier]'s complimentary guitar passages get, there's always a strong sense of direction from beginning to end like a boat floating down a river.  Indeed even when things go from pensive to energetic as on Evergreen, you never get the feeling of disorientation that some bands do; you need a melodic anchor in an instrumental piece when the vocals aren't there to tie it all together emotionally. Think Animals As Leaders meets...Eric Johnson? However you want to describe what they're doing, I just hope they keep doing [in Houston] it for a long time to come.

The Bottom Line: These hometown boys have done it again! They've put out an amazing catalog of music in the short time they've been around and they show no signs of stopping with each new album sounding better than the last. If you get a chance to see them live, DO IT!

Tracks To Make Your Guitar Playing Irrelevant: The whole damn album

- Genghis sometimes just looks at his guitars and asks "who am I kidding?"...


Dio - Finding the Sacred Heart - Live in Philly 1986

It has been 3 long years since the passing of metal legend Ronnie James Dio, but his legacy lives on, with all of the vintage releases that have followed, since his passing.  The latest release, is actually a re-release of his 1986 concert film Sacred Heart (The Video).  The show was filmed in Philadelphia during the second leg of the Sacred Heart tour.  The original release was an edited version of the full show, but the re-release, now features the full concert, which is definitely a good thing.  If you were a fan of the original line up, then you will be happy, because they are all there, with the exception of original guitarist Vivian Campbell.  At the start of the second leg of this tour, Campbell had been replaced by Craig Goldy (Ex-Giuffria).  Goldy joined the band, after Campbell left to join Whitesnake.

Finding the Sacred Heart, has finally been released, the way it should have been, several years ago.  It baffles the mind, to think some exec., back in the day, thought it was a good idea to edit this thing down. The set list relies heavily on the Sacred Heart album, but many of the classics are present as well. The great thing about the re-release is that you now get to see the performances of songs like Don't Talk to Strangers and We Rock, which were left off of the original release.  

If that ain't enough, make sure to check out the bonus features.  There is a vintage interview with Ronnie, at the time of the release of Sacred Heart as well as a more recent interview with Ronnie and Craig, that features them reminiscing of the the Sacred Heart tour.  Cool stuff.  A must for Dio fans.

Bottom Line: This is a solid performance from the Dio band, in which they were firing on all cylinders.   If you own the previous version, I would suggest you box it up and grab this one because this release trumps it by a mile.  

Ragman is biting his nails for the re-release of the Hear N' Aid...Release it already!!