That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - November
  • Underlying Issues
    Underlying Issues
    Scarlet records
Video of the Month - November
  • Second Flight: Live At The Z7 (2CD + Bluray)
    Second Flight: Live At The Z7 (2CD + Bluray)
    by Flying Colors
Most. Metal. Comic. Ever.
  • Black Metal: Omnibvs
    Black Metal: Omnibvs
    by Rick Spears, Chuck BB

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

Sahg - Delusions of Grandeur

I don't like to use the term eargasm, but if I did, this album would be the reason. Sahg is one of my new favorite bands because Oh. My. God.Holy shit, how I have I not heard of Sahg before now? This Norwegian quartet have become modern riff lords since their debut in 2006 with Sahg I and have been cranking out amazing product every couple of years since. While their sound is essentially stoner doom metal, they manage to carve out their own unique sound without sounding self-conscious or pretentious - something that's missing from the less successful bands of the retro ilk.

While the band has an obvious affinity for the works of early Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, they break the confines of such retro-inspired bands with modern progressive elements like that of Rush and Opeth to make a truly fantastic mix of the old and the new that sounds like it was always meant to be, man.  Tracks like Slip Off The Edge Of The Universe and Firechild are great examples of this sound, with big grooves punctuated by tasteful but impressive shredding throughout. Seriously, I love this band - and I only just heard them for the first time yesterday.

The band's fourth studio release, Delusions of Grandeur, is a concept album about a man whose psychotic break leads him to retreat into his own mind as a self-appointed god, gradually losing more and more touch with reality to the point of literally slipping into oblivion, a victim of his own delusions. I would love to see this album realized as a Heavy Metal style animated feature.

What really tips it in the net for me are the more laid-back passages, like Sleeper's Gate To The Galaxy, which lulls you with Beatles-esque Sun King harmonies and Led Zeppelin-style folk acoustic strumming that goes straight into another kick ass heavy groove (shit, now I have to put that back on right now as I'm writing this), providing a wonderful showcase of just how this band melds all of the greatest old school rock elements into an amazing amalgam of the best retro jam I've heard yet. 

The Bottom Line: I can only lament how long it's taken me to learn about Sahg and their refreshingly unique take on classic heavy metal. These guys seem to have the Midas touch when it comes to writing compelling and impressive modern metal with a clear reverence for the seminal sound of the genre's forefathers. Gentlemen, I salute you!

Tracks That Necessitate Listening To Under A Blacklight: The whole fucking album

- Genghis is still bowled over by these guys' awesome style...


Destrage - Are You Kidding Me? No.

There are more chops on display here than a butcher's window. Shredheads rejoice! Destrage is here to kick ass.You may remember a band I reviewed by the name of Freak Kitchen and their amazing brand of metal. Well, imagine them being heavier yet more melodic. This is what you're in for with the amazing Italian quintet Destrage. Having begun in 2005, they've been building their reputation amazing and delighting audiences all over Europe with music that's not only technically impressive but just plain fun to listen to. And that's exactly what they deliver with their third studio album, Are You Kidding Me? No.

The bedrock of Destrage's sound is essentially metalcore with elements of melodeath, but there's a frenetic energy that fails to come across when merely using labels to describe music of this kind. Now, don't be misled; there are some downright insane passages that get a little atonal or dissonant. But the vast majority of the album is a collection of such manic - but, more importantly, listenable - bombast you may find it hard to put down.

To look at posed pictures of these guys and just hear bits and pieces here and there from their album you may get the feeling that these dudes are perhaps not to be taken too seriously. But you would be wrong. There's a sincerity here that comes through in the music that can only be the result of a hard-working band playing together as a focused unit, even if they have a sense of humor about themselves. Personally, I love this stuff!

The Bottom Line: If you're a fan of metalcore or melodeath, but long for the unpredictable fretboard insanity of players like Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (who puts in a guest appearance on the title track) or Matthias Eklundh to be thrown into the mix, you need to check out Destrage. These guys simply aren't fucking around.

- Genghis really needs to get back to some regular guitar practice...


Birth of Joy - Prisoner

They may sound like Niacin meets The Doors, but Birth of Joy knows how to have fun.Another day, another retro band, amirite? But to dismiss Birth of Joy as just a trio of European hipsters cashing in on the sounds of the 70s would be a big mistake. Forming, portentously it would seem, at the Herman Brood Academy (its namesake, The Netherlands' biggest rock star ever, made it big in the 70s) in 2005, Birth of Joy has impressed many with their great mix of psychedelic 60s/70s era organ rock (a la The Doors) with the killer, bluesy, guitar/bass grooves of stoner rock.

And there's no shortage of jams on their latest effort, Prisoner. I'm all about the extended interludes found on tracks like The Sound, Three Day Road, and Holding On. But for the more White Stripes kind of crowd, there are some classic, good time, boogie cuts like Rock and Roll Show and Keep Your Eyes Shut to keep your party going. The rest of the album is filled out quite satisfyingly with enough great bluesy jams to keep you well entertained for just under an hour. What more could you need?

The Bottom Line: Like I've said before, retro is great when it's written by good musicians who respect the old music rather than just wanting to ride nostalgia to the bank. And Birth of Joy not only clearly loves that era of music, but has the talent to write some truly great, catchy rock and roll jams. And isn't that really what it's all about?

- Genghis may have dug this album, but just can't being himself to listen to the Stripes...


Exmortus - Slave To The Sword

Ancient bad-ass warriors? Check. Heavily stylized band logo? Check. Yup, everything seems to be in order here.I love to hear stories of young people (relatives especially) that jointly pursue their passion for metal music. Like Nick and Cody Souza (Hatriot), or Jasun and Troy Tipton (Zero Hour, Cynthesis). Now add to that exclusive list Conan and Mario Moreno, cousins who formed their band Exmortus when they were only teenagers, the style of which is basic power metal in all of its aggressive, thunderous, neo-classical shredding glory with a touch of death metal and thrash thrown into the mix. They spent many years self-producing their own demos and EPs enough to get signed and release a debut and subsequent follow-up, ultimately garnering a tour with the likes of Dark Tranquillity and Omnium Gatherum. Not too shabby, right?

That said, there's no doubt of the band's chops or motivations (I mean, the have a song called Metal Is King for Pete's sake) as attested by their latest release, Slave To The Sword. And while I like what I'm hearing, I can't honestly say I hear anything new in their sound that I haven't heard on countless other such albums in my youth. So even though it's great music for what it is, I'm not able to tell you this will blow your mind or that you need to drop everything and check them out. But I can say that this is straight ahead power metal that delivers the goods, and that ain't hay.

The Bottom Line: The Moreno boys deliver a power metal album that can stand up against any other out there in a pretty crowded genre, and that's saying something. Don't come looking for innovation or genre-twisting, but do come ready to bang your fucking head. Capische?

Tracks To Make Your Hands Reflexively Go HORNS UP: Slave To The Sword, Foe Hammer, Ancient Violence, and Metal Is King

- Genghis wouldn't even consider wearing a loincloth, no sir...


Tidal Arms (self-titled)

Now these Brooklyn boys know how to rock some heavy, psychedelic shit without devolving into primal scream sessions.Having answered an ad in Craigslist, guitarist Tom Tierney joined vocalist/drummer Francis Mark to tour with his band Warship. After touring, their writing sessions led to adding bassist Patrick Southern to the fold for what would become Tidal Arms, who self-released their critically-acclaimed debut, The Sun Exploding, about 3 years ago. So how is their eponymous follow-up? Pretty damned good.

I can't say I go in for most post-hardcore, especially the primal scream therapy vocals and muddled, distorted bass heavy music that drones on far too long to be enjoyed, unlike the stoner metal jams I like to crank every now and then. But what Tidal Arms does is keep things melodic and change up the tempo enough to remind you they are true musicians even when things get a little more frenetic. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of feedback and moments of punk rock abandon mixed in with this sludge metal stew. But at least you get to enjoy some genuinely interesting dare I say progressive moments like Mirror Box and Jelloshotgum, or the Nirvanaesque intro of Molasses that gives way to some sweet, shimmering chord-strumming before [they start] kicking over tables and chairs.

The Bottom Line: Tidal Arms plays a good hybrid of psychedelic rock and post-hardcore styles that does a far better job of engaging listeners than the narcissistic catharsis that most of the genre claims as its style. Moments of introspection are interwoven with the explosive outbursts in such a deft manner that it makes the music all the more powerful and interesting.

Tracks For When You Want To Rock AND Piss Off The Neighbors: Mirror Box, Molasses, On The Train, Jelloshotgum and I Am The Owl

- Genghis needs a really bad-ass stereo system at home...