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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - January
  • Swing Of Death
    Swing Of Death
    by Dracula
Video of the Month - January
  • Stage Fright [Blu-ray]
    Stage Fright [Blu-ray]
    by Motorhead
Metalhead Gift Suggestion
  • The 1984 Metal Trivia Quiz and Game Book: 100 Questions to test your knowledge of metal music in 1984 (Trivia Quiz Games Series) (Volume 1)
    The 1984 Metal Trivia Quiz and Game Book: 100 Questions to test your knowledge of metal music in 1984 (Trivia Quiz Games Series) (Volume 1)
    by Dustin Gatchell
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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
May162013

Stratovarius - Nemesis

I always get geeked when Stratovarius comes out with a new studio album, but unfortunately over the last several years each release has become an instant disappointment. The band has not had a solid release since Infinite in 2000. I mean not every album has been a complete bust because there have been some good moments over the past 13 years, but for some reason it seemed like they'd lost the magic with every other album becoming a classic up until Visions, when the 2 succeeding albums were also winners; they'd hit the elusive trifecta with three solid records in a row, a feat reserved for truly great bands. Unfortunately, after Infinite it was sketchy from there on out. 

So after the departure of Timo Tolki in 2008 I thought the band was done. After all, how well can a band carry on when the guitarist - and primary songwriter - leaves? I believe the band suffered, but also probably felt a sense of relief with the departure of Tolki, and ultimately got back on track with the addition of guitarist Matias Kupiainen. Up to this point they've had trouble being able to re-capture the magic they once had as the band searched for their identity sans Tolki. There were signs on the last live release Under Flaming Winter Skies that the band was starting to develop a chemistry, but it wasn't until the latest studio release that we finally may have an heir apparent.  When Matias joined the band his playing was a bit erratic, but now he has settled down and become a more tasteful guitarist. Check out the solo on Castles in the Air and you'll hear what I mean.

Nemesis shows the band truly returning to form bringing us the solid Stratovarius music that we fans have been craving. The new CD embodies all of the best elements of the band, mixing the new with the old and it just kills. The songs are melodic and powerful and make you believe in this band again. This one is destined to be a classic. So, go get it!  

The Bottom Line: All killer, no filler.  Stratovarius are finally back with a vengeance, proving that they are still one of the best bands out there today. This is easily the best release from the band in 13 years.

Standout Tracks: Castles in the Air, Halcyon Days, Unbreakable and One Must Fall

- Ragman thinks *this* is the album that should have followed Infinite...

Tuesday
May142013

Judas Priest - Epitath

Well if you missed Judas Priest on their last our, never fear, because it is now available of DVD via Epitath.  That's right kiddies, the Priest are back, with a live performance from the Hammersmith Odeon in London, from the last date of their Epitath tour.  The set list is retro-spective which touches on every era of the band.  The band played at least one tune form every album they ever put out.  Pretty sweet!  The DVD is shot well, like a film.  The camera work can get a little erratic at times, but it isn't enough to take away from the show.  The band sound great and new comer Richie Faulkner fits in nicely.  To be honest I miss KK, but Richie does a nice job filling his shoes.   I think the best thing about the DVD is that the band genuinely look like they are enjoying themselves, especially Tipton.   The band look rejuvenated and give the fans the feeling they will forge ahead and continue rocking us.  A solid watch.  For all Priest and metal fans alike.  Go get this one.

Bottom Line: Halford and company delivering the goods, once again.  The band look and sound great and show no signs of slowing down.

-Ragman is still kicking himself for having too many ales, at this show.

Tuesday
May142013

Shakra - Powerplay

It is hard to believe that Shakra has just released their 9th album Powerplay, because it seems like just yesterday, when I was ordering their debut from an on-line import music shop.  Man, how time flies.  Shakra is one of the better hard rock bands out there, and are because they have consistently been putting out solid music since 1998.   There are a lot of AOR rock bands out there, that have that syrupy sound, but Shakra keep it heavy with solid production and crunchy guitars.  

Powerplay is not much different than past releases.  I get it, they have a formula and they don't want to stray too far away from that.  That is a respectable trait, but also could be a downfall for a lesser band.  The band still mix it up from time to time, but do not stray to far away from the formula.  As with most of their releases, Powerplay offers a nice variety of rockers and ballads.  Most of the songs are pretty straight forward, but they are their strongest, when they get in a good groove, like on the track Dear Enemy.  The CD is really strong, fromm start to finish, with only a few misteps.  Solid hard rock from with some crunch.  

Bottom Line:  Great melodic hard rock with crunch and melody.  One of those CD's that stick with you for a while.  The songs are memorable and catchy, which is the perfect formula for a hard rock band. 

Standout Tracks: The Mask, Save You From Yourself, Dear Enemy and Dream of Mankind

-Ragman is wondering what button turns on.

Tuesday
May142013

Craving - Craving

Craving are a new melodic Death/Black Metal band, looking to hit the scene, with their debut full length CD Craving, in a big way.  If you're a fan of high octane tunes ala early In Flames and Children of Bodom then this may be your band.  Though they are heavier than In Flames, they have that early sound.  As with many bands in this genre, the vocals are inaudible for the most part, and it doesn't help that the lyrics are a mix of English, Russian and German, but does it really matter?  The music is phenomenal and very catchy.  The songs offer a nice blend of melody and brutality, which will captivate the listener.  I have to say, it was the guitar solos that pushed me over the edge, with this band.  Guitarist Thorsten Flecken is melodic and very tasteful in his solos.   A solid release from start to finish, that will grow on you with each listen.

Bottom Line: A CD that may not grasp your ear buds, on the fist listen, but after a few spins, you'll be sold.  Solid melodic death with lots of twists.

Standout Tracks:  Ein Funken Abendrot, In the Forest, The Blowing Wind and The Nameless

-Ragman is craving pizza, but why?

Tuesday
May142013

I'm Now - The Story of Mudhoney

Many attribute the creation of grunge, to Nirvana (like yours truly), but the real forefathers of this movement was Mudhoney and I'm Now is there story.  Mudhoney started at the height of hair metal, in 88, and were determined to break away from that mold, with something different, and that they did.   I'm Now - The Story of Mudhoney is a well done documentary about a band, that was overshadowed by the scene that they helped create.  The documentary takes an in depth look into how the band came together, to where they are today.  As many of you know I'm not the biggest grunge fan, and still am not, but I really found this documentary intriguing.  The film shows the highs and low of the band and their label Sub Pop.  The most fascinating part of the film, was when the scene was dying, it showed how the band coped and how they survived.  A solid documentary from start to finish.

Bottom Line: Ever wonder where Grunge came from?  If so or if not, this documentary is worth checking out, because it shows the good times and hard times of a determined band.   

-Ragman was surprised how well he like this one, even though he didn't dig the music.