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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - March
  • Bite!
    Bite!
    by Animal Drive
Video of the Month - March
  • Made In Milan [Blu-ray]
    Made In Milan [Blu-ray]
    starring L.A. Guns
#DefineMetal
  • Metal: The Definitive Guide
    Metal: The Definitive Guide
    by Garry Sharpe-Young
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
Thursday
Jul232015

Meytal - Alchemy

YouTube drumming sensation Meytal Cohen's long-awaited debut album is finally here. No, that is not her on the cover.Say what you want about YouTube, but it has made it possible for talented amatuer musicians of all stripes to show the world what they can do. And while the world may regret showing Justin Bieber some people its attention, there are those musicians that turn out to be genuine and grateful professional artists, such as drummer Meytal Cohen. Her debut album Alchemy comes to the world two years after a successful Kickstarter campaign that funded the Israeli metal fan's dream of becoming a bona fide working musician in America. Followers of Cohen's drum covers (including Mike Portnoy) know she's a huge metal fan, particularly of progressive-leaning bands like Tool and Dream Theater, and it shows in her music.

The whole affair starts out modestly but strong on Breathe with vocalist Eric Emery's lush vocal harmonies providing a contrast to the exotic backing rhytym and a nice wild drum break at around the 3:00 mark. Everybody Hates You Now is one of the more aggressive, fast tempo tracks, featuring some of Meytal's heaviest drumming on the album as well as some nice solo work from lead guitarist Travis Montgomery. This sets the stage nicely for Shadow In Disguise, with its Sevendust meets Scar Symmetry vibe, as things go up a notch right before the introspective Behind These Walls, which makes use of an interesting mix of The Beatles' sugary harmonies and Opeth's dark rhythmic beauty. Dark Side Down is easily my favorite tune and makes me think of a lost track from James LaBrie's latest album Impermanent Resonance (like Slight Of Hand or Amnesia, maybe?) with some really good vocal work from Emery. And Tear Me Apart is a great way to end things on a nice heavy, balls-out note.

Overall, progmetal fans should dig this album as a solid entry in the genre. And though the influences may be too on the nose for some to merit descriptions of "fresh" or "innovative", it would be a huge mistake to dismiss this band as some numetal holdover. But now it's all about the touring (ProgPower USA or even the Warped tour would be a great opportunity) and getting the name out there. In any case, this is a promising start for a young [relatively] unknown with a dream, and that's what this business was always about.

The Bottom Line: Your appreciation for Meytal's debut album may be greatly tied to whether you've been a long time fan of her popular drum cover videos, giving you a sense of shepherding her career through likes and donations over the years. But ignoring all of that, this is an impressively polished and mature songwriting debut from a hardworking newcomer that improves with repeated listenings and gives you a sense of anticipation for what's next in a burgeoning career.

Tracks Probably Soon-To-Be-Covered On YouTube: Shadow In Disguise, Torn In Two, Dark Side Down, and Tear Me Apart

- Genghis hopes to see this band tour through Houston soon...

Wednesday
Jul222015

The Answer - Raise a Little Hell

The Answer, are one of those bands, that just kinda crept out of nowhere for me.  Keep an ear out for these guys, because I think they are going to make a big splash over hear in the U.S., very soon  The band hails from N. Ireland, and has been going strong since 2000, but they just hit my radar, with their latest release Raise a Little Hell.  I know, if you hear a band is from Ireland, you instantly think Thin Lizzy, but though they have a classic vibe about them, they do not sound much like their fellow countrymen.  The Answer is a nice blend of Led Zeppelin and AC/DC, with a fresh sound.  These guys put a fresh twist on the classic sounds of yesteryear.

Raise a Little Hell, starts off in fine form, with the opener Long Live the Renegade.  It is an upbeat track, that oozes with melody and attitude.  If that ain't enough, Paul Mahon'ssolo, in this tune, is one of my faves, of the year so far.  The CD shines from start to finish, but with the latest single Gone Too Long, I think these guys might just put themselves, on the U.S. map.  This has been my favorite song, for the past 2 months, and I still can't get it out of my head.  It is a mid-tempo rocker with one of those infectious choruses that will not leave your brain.

The CD is full of rockers, and just one ballad, called Strange Kinda Nothing, which is another one, that will not be easy, to get out of you head.  That is the thing about this band, the songs are so well structured and melodic, that they get in your head, and don't let go.  The band are all so talented and I'm such a fan of vocalist Cormac Neeson'svocals, because he can wail with he best of them.  I have to say, The Answer has just became my favorite new band.  You must check these guys out!

Bottom LineHard rock with a classic vibe.  Well written songs that grow on you, with each listen.  Watch out for these guys, because their about to get big.

Standout Tracks: Gone Too Long, Strange Kinda Nothing, The Other Side and Cigarettes and Regret.

-Ragman was so blown away, by this release, that he went out and bought their whole back catalog.  That's saying something.

Wednesday
Jul222015

Black Veil Brides - Alive and Burning (Bluray)

From the first note of Knives and Pens, just a short 6 years ago, I knew that Black Veil Brides was going to be a force to be reckoned with.  These guys came out of nowhere and kicked my ass, six ways to Sunday.  They brought the look and attitude of early 80's Motley Crue, and mixed it with the force of Bullet for My Valentine.  It was a sound, that I instantly fell in love with.  The band have now been going on strong for the past 9 years and have just released their first ever live DVD, Alive and Burning.  Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to see the band live, so I jumped at the opportunity to check out this Bluray.

Alive and Burning is a very well shot show, and in Bluray, it gives you that feeling of being in the front row.  The video and audio are stellar, in this one, which give you the feeling of true concert experience.  As Genghis and I have discussed many times on the show, these type of bluray's are the next best thing to actually going to the show.  As far as the performance goes, the band is on fire.  The band comes out, all guns blazing, with the more melodic Hearts of Fire, before ripping into a set of power, melody and brutality.  BVB really deliver the goods, and prove to their fans, as well as the naysayers, that they are band that is going to be around for awhile.  If your a fan of big shows, from the 80's, and like your music loud, then this DVD is for you.  Go get it.

Bottom Line: BVD showing that they rock as hard live, if not harder, than they do in the studio.  The band display what great musicina they are, whilst putting on a killer show.

-Ragman can't believe he has still not seen these guys live.

Friday
Jul172015

Podcast #191: Tarakian

Somebody's gotta keep things solid on the low-end in UFO. That man, ladies and gentlemen, is Rob De Luca.Fans of the legendary 1981 animated masterpiece, Heavy Metal, no doubt remember the classic rock tunes from the soundtrack. Well, it's on and poppin' as Genghis & Ragman put together their musical picks for the impending Heavy Metal reboot. Join the lads as they play Hollywood producers, offering their ideas for stories, voice actors and, most importantly of all, killer tunes.

Then the lads chew the rag with journeyman bassist Rob De Luca (UFO) as he talks about his time in the legendary hard rock band as well as his work in his own notable band Spread Eagle and his work with Sebastian Bach. It's gonna be good, so grab a cold one, settle in, and get those horns up!

Video Of The Show: Thin Lizzy - Live In Concert 1983

Beer of the Show: Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout (Big Sky Brewing)
 
Appearance: 3.5
Aroma: 3.0
Palate: 3.5
Taste: 3.5
Overall: 3.5
"A pretty straightforward - but delicious - imperial stout (read: strong) with smoky, bitter chocolate notes. Na sdarovie!"
 

Featured Tracks: Frankenstein Rooster - Walking Shred; Thin Lizzy - Bad Reputation; Don Felder - Takin' A Ride (Heavy Metal); Dare - Runaway; Riggs - Radar Rider; Cheap Trick - Reach Out And Take It; Metallica - Trapped Under Ice

Ragman's Classic Of The Show: Diving For Pearls - Gimme Your Good Lovin'

Genghis' Classic Of The Show: Queensrÿche - I Don't Believe In Love

Ragman's Pick Of The Show: Eclipse - Stand On Your Feet

Genghis' Pick Of The Show: Cyrax - Cockroach

- Genghis does realize he's had the same pick of the show twice in a row...

Podcast #191: Tarakian

Friday
Jun262015

Opul - Levels

Man, Matt Lupo (East Of The Wall) writes some tasty stoner metal. Let's hope he keeps up with this.As impressive as the music of East Of The Wall is, it's beginning to impress me more how fertile a training ground it seems to be for new talent. In fact, names from acclaimed outfit's roster seem to be popping up all over the place these days, like El Drugstore and now Opul, and its solo EP Levels, from guitarist/vocalist Matt Lupo.

Now this is some grade A stoner jams with a nice crunch that I could leave on repeat all weekend. This record is plain bad-ass, kids. The sound's reminiscient of the off-kilter, meaty, rhythymically progressive jams of a band like the criminally underrated Eniac Requiem crossed with the melodic sensibility of King's X. Indeed From the mellow jam of opener Presence, through Velocity & Saturation's hypnotic drone, to closer Clarity's chimey shimmer and glassy strumming, the melodic glue that holds it together is enhanced by the ethereal vocals of mastermind Lupo himself. While this effort doesn't sound like East Of The Wall or El Drugstore, the connection between these bands may be the incredible diversity and creativity amongst its shared members.

The Bottom Line: Whether you're a stoner metal fan or just looking for something new that sounds fresh-but-different than most of the music on the heavier side of 21st century rock and roll spectrum, this is your jam.

- Genghis will be cranking this album quite a bit in his new car...