That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - January
  • No Cross No Crown
    No Cross No Crown
    by Corrosion Of Conformity
Video of the Month - January
  • Return To Live (Blu-Ray)
    Return To Live (Blu-Ray)
    by Labyrinth
  • Metal: The Definitive Guide
    Metal: The Definitive Guide
    by Garry Sharpe-Young

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

Lucifer - Lucifer I

Johanna Sadonis rocks the shit out of some classic Sabbathy tuneage like she stepped out of a bitchin' Stargate. Let's do this!You may recall that when I reviewed The Oath's debut album I was quite impressed with the authentic old school feel of it all. I mean this was some really great tuneage regardless of musical era or influences and such. Sadly, that project never continued past the debut, but luckily vocalist/guitarist Johanna Sadonis began Lucifer, and their first album continues more of that fantastic occult-tinged sound she seems to conjure up so easily - and satisfyingly.

I don't want to say this is just basically The Oath in another form, though the sound is understandably similar. Johanna Sadonis' ethereal voice goes with the music perfectly, giving the whole affair a kind of Heart-goes-proto-metal groove that I couldn't be more into. Helping out with songwriting and guitar work is Garry Jennings (ex-Cathedral/Death Penalty), who gives some tasteful riffing throughout. This thing is classy from the get-go, let me tell you, from the energetic opener Abracadabra to the trippy Morning Star (with a sweet galloping break at 2:46). It's great music that happens to sound like a different era (seriously, it's like someone unearthed an old musical recording vault from the early 70s), rather than just some band aping the sound for a retro cash grab. Authentic and exhilarating from beginning to end.

The Bottom Line: The Oath may have been broken, but Sadonis and company keep the dream alive in her latest outfit Lucifer. Thankfully, with all of the occult-soaked, gothic, protometal vibe intact. Fantastic old school rocking to be had here, folks.

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


District 97 - In Vaults

Great googly-moogly, prog wunderkinds District 97 have finally released a new album. To the stereo!Oh, frabjous day, District 97's latest album In Vaults has come to brighten up my summer lethargy. I've been all about this Chicago quintet since I heard their sophomore effort Trouble With Machines nearly three years ago. Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly and amazingly caught off guard with some of the best sounding progressive tuneage I've heard in a long time with no small amount of credit going to vocalist Leslie Hunt's brilliant voice. Don't get me wrong, even without Hunt in the equation this is some stellar progressive jamming and no mistake.

The opening track, Snow Country, sets the stage for proving my case with a sinuous riff that sounds like an amazing cross between Genesis and Black Sabbath. Death By A Thousand Cuts escalates things nicely with more chunky rhythyms - I can't get enough of jams like the verse line. Handlebars keeps the proggy train rolling with a tasty keyboard solo (3:27) and some Leslie rotating outro vocal jittering that blends into the bassy beat of A Lottery. The second half of the album, heralded by All's Well That Ends Well's mellow noodling, is where the band turns up the knobs on that old school progressive feel (save for the grungy Takeover that exemplifies the District 97 signature sound). And the coda of On Paper (2:25) is the closest the album gets to its more Liquid Tension Experiment groove many have mentioned before. I think Leslie's voice shines on the wistful opening to the most diverse tune of the album, Learn From Danny, kicking into a Spock's Beard-style guitar solo, then winding its way into some chunk before progging out hard for a bit, finishing with some trippy call-and-response vocal riffing (4:16). Lastly, you'll float away on the high of an eleven and a half minute jam session as Blinding Vision closes out the proceedings. All in all, this is another home run for prog fans with more of what they loved about the previous album. I'm loving it.

The Bottom Line: District 97 is absolutely one of my favorite new progressive bands and their latest album, In Vaults, is a perfect example why: Fearless musical invention executed with flawless ability. If you're a progressive music fan, you've got to be a District 97 fan. 'Nuff said.

- Genghis is sitting by the window awaiting a sign that this band is coming to town...


City of Ships - Ultraluminal

Spaced between Brooklyn and Austin, this trio knows how to blast some alt-rock.City of Ships is a three-piece outfit with members that aren't even living in the same town together. Not that it stops them from making some pretty bitching alternative, post-rock jams on their third studio album, Ultraluminal. And while you'd be tempted to fear a 90s retread, you'd be selling them short. This is pretty good stuff along the lines of a punkier Smithereens.

I only occasionally dabble in noise rock, but while the wall-o'-sound™ thing can sometimes be a turn-off, it's the melodic substructure of this band's music I dig (and it's not . There's a definite almost pop sensibility to the music, as if The Fray or John Mayer were playing their tunes while Mudhoney were also jamming on stage? Somehow it all works, though I am tempted to wonder if turning up the mix to favor the pop side a little more would make those tracks music more rewarding. Still, don't think I'm panning this. Songs like Metadata Blues or Illawarra Escarpment make you realize how good this band is, and that the noise rock stuff is merely one side of their style. Alternative rock may get a lot of shade thrown at it these days, though it's perhaps the fault of writers (Doh! That includes me doesn't it?) who can't seem to properly quantify some bands' sound, but good music is where you find it rather than what you call it.

The Bottom Line: City of Ships is an alternative band with a lean towards a grungier time in music, but there's plenty of good to be heard on Ultraluminal that might be missed if you approach it with a limited musical view.

- Genghis is wondering if these cats might be on to something...


Kamelot - Haven

Them metalheads are at it again with their riffin' and their singin'. Nice to see Kamelot getting better and better.Kamelot's one of those bands that's so good at the particular sound they're doing, you naturally confuse them with other bands. And by that I mean their symphonic metal sound is so European-sounding (a very good thing), I was genuinely surprised to find out they're from Tampa. And yet, I've been listening to them since Siége Perilous back in 1998.

Now that they have Swedish vocalist Tommy Karevik, who joined them back before Silverthorn, German keyboardist Oliver Palotai (who's been with the band since 2005), and guest vocalists from Nightwish and Delain, the European connection is stronger than ever.

And things start off nicely with Fallen Star, as the band's expert technique gives a taste of what to expect: moody keyboard-driven backdrops to songs about restlessness, oppression and subsequent rebellion sharpened with the aggressive metal edge of Thomas Youngblood's meaty riffing. This carries throughout the album with slower ballads like Under Grey Skies and Here's To The Fall to provide dynamics. I'm really digging the power of Liar Liar(Wasteland Monarchy) with Arch Enemy's Alissa White-Gluz providing some of her bad-ass growl. All in all, things are falling in to place with Karevik after the loss of erstwhile vocalist Roy Khan, who was with them for a really great run. Haven isn't perfect by any means, but it's clear Kamelot is on a comeback trail, and I couldn't be happier about it.

The Bottom Line: Haven shows a steady improvement of the band's symphonic power metal sound since the loss of Khan as new vocalist Karevik explores the soundscape a bit more over the band's world-class rhythym section. I'm looking forward to future albums from one of my favorite old school bands.

- Genghis missed seeing these guys thanks to Rush's R40 tour (not complaining)...


Turbowolf - Two Hands

Bristol rockers Turbowolf know how to fuck your brain up with some killer grooves. Puff, puff, pass.If you haven’t had enough of that sweet, sweet psychedelic punk rock that’s been floating around for the last few years, you’re gonna be happy with the Turbowolf’s latest album, Two Hands, yessir. And that the British rockers know how to lay down a seriously hip groove, there is little doubt. But let’s get to the particulars of this sophomore outing.

What gives Turbowolf its power is the unstoppable energy of its music. And while raging tracks like Rabbit’s Foot and Nine Lives can keep a crowd jumping, the counterpoint of mellow trips such as the Ennio Morricone-meets-Alice Cooper shimmer of MK Ultra prove this band isn’t a one trick pony. There’s even the interesting diversion of what seems like a lost Nintendo soundtrack in the 44 second Toy Memaha to cleanse the palate for the second half of this surreal feast. This is trippy stuff in the best way.

The Bottom Line: For every given sub-genre of rock music, there’re countless bands jumping on the bandwagon hoping to cash in on the popularity. Turbowolf is NOT one of those bands. These cats epitomize cool with every bad-ass bass line and fuzzy guitar riff that cook behind frontman Chris Georgiadis’ manic mojo. Check ‘em out.

- Genghis can’t even imagine how crazy this band is live…