That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - July
  • Underworld
    Nuclear Blast
Video of the Month - July
  • Like It Is-Yes Live At The Mesa Arts Center (BR) [Blu-ray]
    Like It Is-Yes Live At The Mesa Arts Center (BR) [Blu-ray]
    starring Yes
What's in the mind of Behemoth?
  • Confessions Of A Heretic: The Sacred And The Profane: Behemoth And Beyond
    Confessions Of A Heretic: The Sacred And The Profane: Behemoth And Beyond
    by Adam Nergal Darski, Mark Eglinton

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

thehappymask - Ruines

thehappymask is a pretty good example of the shoegaze metal movement that's recently enjoyed a resurgence.You don't often come across a genuine mystery in the music biz these days - especially in the Internet age. But thehappymask seems to be one of those. Reportedly, Ruines, is the debut effort of a one man band, "Constantine Horizon", who may or may not be Russian in origin. Constantine claims to have come by the inspiration for this album "in a town that doesn't exist". Such is the mystery of thehappymask. But if you're into the shoegaze movement, you should enjoy this "modest musical project".

Ruines is your basic aforementioned shoegaze metal, the subgenre having emerged in the 80s and taken a backseat to grunge in the 90s, but currently enjoying a resurge in popularity these last few years. There's no shredding, but there's no shortage of distortion either. It's something like the wall of sound you get from your basic doom metal bands, but mashed together with the mellow britpop meanderings of acts like The Cocteau Twins - minus the vocals.

The Bottom Line: If you prefer your mellow music on the crunchy side, than the shoegaze stylings of thehappymask might be what you're looking for. Just think instrumental doom britpop metal.

- Genghis just finds this genre a little depressing even without corroborating lyrical content...


Martyrd - The Mortal Coil

New Yorkers Martyrd seem to have a pretty good handle on the whole progressive metal thing. Nice work, guys.I had never heard of New York City band Martyrd until I attended a recent concert here in Houston. They were one of the opening acts. We talked with the band and they were amiable and enthusiastic to chat about their ambitions. When I listened to their latest CD, which they generously provided, I was impressed with the maturity of the songs and the overall musicianship. The Mortal Coil is a good representation of the progressive metal genre I know and love - one that began probably just before these guys were born.

A quick look at their Facebook page and website reveals their influences to be a nice mix of the progressive metallers (Symphony X, Angra, Dream Theater, et al) and old school thrashers (Megadeth, Testament, Metallica, Overkill, et al), and I'm happy to say that these influences and the band's hard work have resulted in a fine sophomore effort. Even the mix was good, which can often be where an otherwise great sounding band can be degraded in the transition from live performance to recorded mediums.

On a side note, I came across a review written years ago for their debut CD that was unusually harsh. I won't mention names, but it was bad enough to seem like the guy had a vendetta against the band or something. If there's any truth to his accusations, then it serves as a real statement to bootstrapping for a band to come from the album that reviewer described to this new one I heard. Kudos to the guys in Martyrd for slogging it out and making a progressive metal album that can stand amongst others in the genre.

The Bottom Line: The Mortal Coil is a worthy CD of progressive metal songs from a band that sounds quite serious about making good music, and I'm very interested to hear where they go on future efforts. Check 'em out.

- Genghis was really shocked at that guy's vitriolic review...


Eternal Tears of Sorrow - Saivon Lapsi

If the national music of Finland isn't heavy metal then I just don't understand the world anymore...If you haven't heard of Eternal Tears of Sorrow before now, their latest album Saivon Lapsi is actually a good jumping on point for this band that's been around about 20 years. After breaking up for a short time, they staged a comeback in 2005 and have been steadily gaining popularity in their native country of Finland with their brand of symphonic/power metal.

Their latest effort, Saivon Lapsi, is a good example of their particular style, which blends the airy keyboard orchestrations of the genre with death metal growls and solos, and equal parts gothic brooding and martial flourish. The addition of female vocals and full on choral sections add to the gothic feel in a very natural sounding way, providing an ethereal framework for the satisfying heavy crunch within to make an impressive package.

My only complaint is that the mix was somewhat muddled. Guitars - solos in particular - tended to get lost in the fray, prompting multiple equalization tweaks for a good listening experience (or maybe I just need to get my headphones replaced). But on the whole, this is pretty damn good album.

The Bottom Line: Them Scandanavians know their metal, and Eternal Tears of Sorrow have been going full force since their comeback. Their latest, Saivon Lapsi, is a great album for anyone looking to enjoy some refined symphonic/power metal.

Tracks To Make You Consider Buying A Cape: Dark Alliance, The Day, Sound of Silence, and Blood Stained Sea

- Genghis thinks the cape might just make a comeback (crazier things have happened)...


Beyond The Shore - Ghostwatcher

Kinda hard to believe that these guys are only in their early 20s, but they know how to rock some metal.I love finding out about new bands comprised of young kids who actually make decent music beyond the usual stuff out there that's little more than a trumped up garage band. This is the age of YouTube, people. Like it or not, if you're in a "metal" band there's really no excuse not to be tight and heavy, even of you are in your teens. And that's what you get with Beyond The Shore and their first full-length album, Ghostwatcher.

Formed while the Kentucky metalcore quintet was still in high school, Beyond The Shore has crafted a cogent musical identity enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with other popular metal acts like Veil of Maya and Born of Osiris. There's not a lot of area to cover in terms of their sound, it's pretty straightforward as far as the genre goes, but the standout performances here are clearly Andrew Loucks' go for broke vocals and Jonathan Pugh's jackhammer double bass drumwork. This is some pretty tight shit here, setting the bar pretty high for any youngbloods that try to come on the scene from this point forward.

Now I'll be honest, like a lot of metalcore, the songs all kind of run together for me. But there's no denying the impressive degree of talent these guys are bringing to the table, and it's hard to imagine they won't be putting out better and better music as time goes on. I can only imagine what they'll be making when they reach their thirties.

The Bottom Line: In the YouTube age the expectations for a group of guys in their early twenties with a metalcore band are high, but Beyond The Shore meet and exceed them ably. Nice work, guys.

- Genghis is more than a little bit humbled realizing he's twice these guys' age... Ugh!


Podcast #161: Kobra

It's another An Evening With... show with the legendary King Kobra! Annnnd a meatball hoagie.What do you do if you're a classic hard rock band and you want to re-unite but your lead singer ain't down? Well, if the drive is strong enough and you're convinced you can move on without him/her you find a new guy that can hold his own and get out there and rock. Which is exactly what hard rockers King Kobra recently did for their 2nd record, II - though, to be honest, they've been re-united since 2010. Join the lads in their latest An Evening With... series as they welcome legendary members from the Kobra: Carmine Appice, David Michael Phillips and Paul Shortino.  All members weigh in on their new record and give their thoughts on the future of the band, as well as some of the other things they're up to.

Featured Tracks: Tough Guys, Ready to Strike, Deep River, Hell on Wheels, Live Forever, Hunger, The Ballad of Johnny Rod, Take Me Back, Running Wild, Turn Up the Good Times, Midnight Woman, Turn Up the Good Times, The Crunch, Got it Coming, Got it Coming and Don't Keep Me Waiting

- Ragman is pretty damned certain Carmine was eating a meatball hoagie during the interview...

Podcast #161: Kobra