That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - February
  • Beyond the Red Mirror
    Beyond the Red Mirror
    Nuclear Blast
Video of the Month - February
  • Live at Koko [Blu-ray]
    Live at Koko [Blu-ray]
    starring Not Available
Great Metal Reading
  • Power Chord: One Man's Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes
    Power Chord: One Man's Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes
    by Thomas Scott McKenzie


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

Podcast #153: Owner

Geoff Thorpe is an old school guy, and a class act to boot - and Vicious Rumors sounds amazing these days!Is there really a need for two incarnations of the same band? That is, when bands split up into two (or more) separate factions to carry on shouldn't only one of them get the name? Join Genghis & Ragman as they discuss how it's not only confusing when you go to see these bands live, but equally so when they're releasing new product under the same name (this practice has been more prevalent over the last 10 years, but Queensryche's taken it to a new level). Next, the boys welcome Vicious Rumors guitarist Geoff Thorpe for a one-on-one as Geoff discusses the band's latest release Electric Punishment as well as their current tour plans.

DVD of the Show:  Judas Priest - Epitath

Beer of the Show: Préaris Quadrupel (Vliegende Paard Brouwers)
Appearance: 3.0
Aroma: 3.0
Palate: 3.0
Taste: 3.5
Overall: 3.0
"What starts out with as a great sipping beer becomes really strong on the alcohol taste when it warms up."

Featured Music: Jolly - Firewell; Judas Priest - Metal Gods; Dio - Night Music; Queensryche - Rhythm of Hope; The Winery Dogs - Elevate; Adler - Just Don’t Ask; Vicious Rumors - Don’t Wait for Me, Thirst for a Kill, Together We Unite, Escape (From Hell), This Sign of the Southern Cross (Black Sabbath Tribute), Electric Punishment, and Children

Classic of the Show: Crimson Glory - Painted Skies

2nd Classic of the Show: Sevendust - T.O.A.B.

Genghis' Pick of the Show: Soen - Oscillation

Ragman's Pick of the Show: Jettblack - Sweet and the Brave

- Ragman is ready for a throwdown between the Queensryches...

Podcast #153: Owner


TesseracT - Altered State

The addition of Ashe O'Hara has really put this band at the top of their prog metal game - and they do it all without guitar solos! WTF?I have said it before, but it bears repeating that the key to good progmetal isn't just killer musical chops; there are loads of talented people all over the world - just check out YouTube some time. But there has to be a good listenable quality to it in the vocals and in the melodies. Luckily, UK-based TesseracT displays not only a good sense of that melodicism but also possess an extraordinary intensity in their music that makes for an exhilarating sense of momentum.

Despite a seemingly ever-changing [vocalist] lineup over the last several years, as heard on their debut CD and follow up EP, the band's drive to make a name for themselves clearly remains undaunted, and their sophomore effort, Altered State, attempts to reflect that sense of the dynamic nature of our existence. Based on the scientific Law of the Conservation of Energy, the album muses on the law's four stages of change. But, while there are deeper levels of thought involved lyrically, the music of Altered State is what hits you with the most impact. It is classic progmetal all the way, though thankfully light on the esoteric noodling that often permeates the genre today.

For a band that's apparently gone through as much inner turbulence as this one, the music has a remarkable focus and intensity - perhaps due to the creative energy brought to the table with the addition of vocalist Ashe O'Hara. His amazing voice injects the rest of the lads' incredible music with an organic presence that connects emotionally in a way too few fellow proggers do these days.

The Bottom Line: Let's hope that this lineup stays together for a good long while. This is progmetal at its finest, and I can't wait to hear more from this band!

Tracks To Make You A Believer: Of Matter - Proxy, Of Mind - Nocturne, and Of Reality - Palingenesis

- Genghis got through most of the album before he even realized: no guitar solos...


The Custodian - Necessary Wasted Time

For a custodian, this guy sure has a hell of a mess lying around his office. Seriously though, this is some damn fine 70s era prog, so check it out!For some reason no prog is better than old school, English progressive music. Bands like Genesis, Marillion, Yes or the Flower Kings always put a smile on my face during those times when I want to mellow out to unique and sophisticated compositions without the heaviness of distorted guitars and machine gun double bass beats. And now I have new material to enjoy in The Custodian's debut album, Necessary Wasted Time.

The brainchild of lead singer and keyboardist, Richard Thomson (vocalist for progmetal band Xerath), The Custodian indulges his love of 70s era prog, and quite effectively recalls the sounds of the aforementioned bands that set the template for the genre. I'm not familiar with his metal band, but Thomson's voice is perfectly suited to The Custodian's sound, much like Neal Morse in Spock's Beard.

Those who prefer a heavier flavor of prog can still enjoy a mild crunch at times, as heard on Other People's Lives, but most of the tunes on this excellent debut fall squarely in the realm of the aforementioned 70s era progressive sound - particularly in the extended jam sessions that such music tends to become during its longer-than-radio-prefers run times. For me, it's the interaction of crystalline acoustic noodling with the warm thickness of a Hammond organ's chording and rich, syncopated percussion that really makes 70s prog such a good jam. And it's all here in spades.

The Bottom Line: Old school prog fans can indulge their musical proclivities with The Custodian's debut album - which may be considered necessary, but certainly not wasted time.

Tracks To Play On A Cool Sunday Morning With The Windows Open: The Man Out Of Time, Other People's Lives, Persona and The Sun Is God

- Genghis wishes it was cool enough to have the windows open these days...


Zed - Desperation Blues

"Oh no, it's another retro bar bad" I hear you saying, but give these guys a chance and you find a new favorite drinking soundtrack.In keeping with the trend of retro bands of all sorts, Bay Area rockers Zed are coming at you with their brand of bluesy rock music in the vein of venerable icons Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, or AC/DC. Not to place them on that level, but Zed's sophomore effort Desperation Blues is a damn fine way to pass the time if you're in the mood for some old school rocking.

Interestingly, Zed defies expectations by turning out more than just butt rock dressed up in yesterday's rock recording technology. Tracks like Please (a ZZ Top meets Led Zepplin romp) and Killing Machine (sporting a monster main riff) belie a sincere respect and admiration for their influences without sounding like straight rip-off artists.  Pete Sattari and Greg Lopez handle guitar duties ably, with Pete providing lead vocals that effectively incorporate Robert Plant's warble, Kevin DuBrow's wail and Brian Johnson's meaty growl. But the highlight of the album is the title track which sounds like magic, from the killer main wah-kissed unison riff, to Pete's mournful lyrics (Hey, what would you say/if all you love's sinkin' away?/Say, say it ain't so/I plant my seeds, but they won't grow), to the heavy bridge at 2:30 where things get dirty. It's classic rock and roll; steeped in beer, wreathed in smoke, and drowning in the blues.

Tracks to Select Off the Jukebox at Your Next Bar Brawl: Killing Machine, and Desperation Blues

- Genghis wishes he'd been in just one bar brawl in his young life...


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...