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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - August
  • Light of Dawn
    Light of Dawn
    by Unisonic
Video of the Month - August
  • Live at Wacken 2013
    Live at Wacken 2013
    starring Motorhead, Alice Cooper, Various Artists
Good Reading
  • The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade
    The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade
    by Martin Popoff
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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
Wednesday
Apr302014

Metal Inquisitor - Ultima Ratio Regis

This guy looks like Sauron going for an evening run. Wow, I wonder how many album covers Tolkien single-handedly inspired...Fans of classic NWOBHM-style tunes may already know of Metal Inquisitor and their commitment to that sound. And with their fourth studio release, Ultima Ratio Regis, that commitment rocks on with tunes that pay glorious homage to the heyday of such legendary acts as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Saxon.

Something that's both a blessing and a curse for this German band is how well they do what they do. If you try to sound like a classic NWOBHM band and stink at it, you end up being laughed at or, worse, ignored. But ironically, if you do it as well as these cats do, you face the possibility of being ignored as well; lost in the shuffle as if you were one of those countless bands from "back in the day". But there's real talent here, as you can't ignore the skill it takes to define your target and hit it with such pinpoint accuracy. It would be much easier to claim your influences by the aforementioned legends and add the usual modern fretboard wankery or genre-bending twist to it that so many bands do now as a given, losing the purity of the source material.

Ultima Ratio Regis (Latin for "the king's final argument", which used to be inscribed on Spanish cannons) succeeds by the band knowing precisely where it wanted to go and refusing to deviate for the sake of some imagined obligation to innovation for innovation's sake. And I'm happy to give a hearty horns up to that. Rock on, motherfuckers.

The Bottom Line: Metal Inquisitor eschews today's trends of mixing genres and the heresy of digital studio wizardy, instead opting to walk the path of the metal gods before them. So what do we call this, The New Wave of The New Wave of British Heavy Metal? Fair enough, just keep playing!

Tracks To Play While Patching The Holes In Your [Vintage] Denim Jacket: All of them

- Genghis really wants to go back in time to the classic concerts of his youth...

Sunday
Apr272014

Podcast #173: Apart

We talk to Speed of Silvertung, and even (barely) manage to avoid saying "Pop quiz, hotshot..." the whole time.Which is better, the original band or the spin-offs? Get ready for a return of our famous Versus series where two similar bands or artists go up against each other. This time it's Don Dokken and George Lynch, both formerly of Dokken and since gone on to solo ventures of their own. How do they stack up? Let's find out. Next, the boys cornered newcomer Speed from Silvertung for a heart to heart, as he discusses the band's debut release Devil's in the Details as well as their upcoming tour plans.

DVD of the Show: Portnoy, Sheehan, MacAlpine, Sherinian - Live in Tokyo

Beer of the Show: Señorita (Elevation Brewing Company)
 
Appearance: 3.5
Aroma: 3.0
Palate: 3.0
Taste: 3.0
Overall: 3.0
"This beautiful beer tries to invoke Mexico's horchata drink to indeterminate results - but we're liking this brewery."
 

Featured Tracks: Ektomorf - Escape; PSMS - Lines in the Sand; Steve Vai - Oooo; Of Mice and Men - Feels Like Forever; Dokken - It's Not Love; Don Dokken - Mirror, Mirror; Lynch Mob - Tangled in the Web; War and Peace - Spread Your Wings; Silvertung - Coming Alive, I Don't Care, Daddy's Little Girl, and Falling Down

Ragman's Classic of the Show: Juliet - 8 Lives Gone

Genghis' Classic of the Show: Motley Crue - Looks That Kill

Genghis' Pick of the Show: Nervosa - Envious

Ragman's Pick of the Show: Andi Deris - Who Am I

- Ragman is ready for the summer concert season...

Podcast #173: Apart

Thursday
Apr242014

Obsequiae - Suspended In The Brume Of Eos

Now how often to you get to hear about metal bands composed of two guys from Minnesota that blend death metal and medieval music?Okay, here's something you don't see every day: "Hailing from the great Northern end of Minnesota, the band Obsequiae creates a unique, organic blend of dark, melodic black and death metal infused with traditional medieval music." Um...okay. Believe me, I was as confused as you may be right now. I mean, how does that work?

But if there's anything us metalheads have learned, it's the power of metal to bring together so many disparate sounds into something greater than the sum of its parts. And that's what duo Blondel de Nesle (Guitar, Vocals) and Andrieu Contredit d'Arras (Drums, Bass) do on their debut album, Suspended In The Brume Of Eos. Right off the bat, the opening track Altars of Moss cleverly melds a lute melody over a death metal dirge as de Nesle rages over it. And damned if it doesn't work, sounding both ancient and modern all at the same time. Granted the mix is a bit muddy and the heavily reverbed vocals get lost amongst the wall of sound, but I take that as a given with most of this subgenre.

My one complaint would be the mix. I don't know how this was put together or the constraints involved, but it sounds as if it were all recorded live in a stone room. And the reverby nature of it all plays havoc with the dynamics, making it all the more difficult to discern instrumental differences - something I think is key considering the medieval instruments in use.

The Bottom Line: Proving once more that metal is easily the most prolific and genre-hopping musical genre of all time, Obsequiae deftly melds medieval music and doom metal into a seemless new subgenre that retains the melodic novelty of the former and the driving rhythyms of the latter. All in all, some pretty impressive shit. Can't wait to hear more!

Tracks To Make You Want To Install A Humbucker In Your Lute: Altars of Moss, In The White Fields, Atonement, and Cabin Lights

- Genghis doesn't really need a lute, but he would like to get an oud...

Thursday
Apr242014

Prong - Ruining Lives

Hey, the lads are back. And I think their motto should be "Keep Calm and Punch Hipsters". Just spitballin' here...It's been a couple of years since venerable hardcore band Prong released their last album, Carved Into Stone. And singer/guitarist/founder Tommy Victor claims that their latest, Ruining Lives, "is the fastest written and recorded PRONG-album ever and it has more great songs than any previous PRONG-record". Bold words, but when it comes to all things Prong, I reckon he's the authority.

And in the 12 years since the band reformed after a few years of hiatus, Victor and company have seen the evolution of the band's core sound without sounding like they're boondoggling while their longtime fans lament the erosion of a once great sound. This band is a great example of how to grow as artists without losing what makes you so great in the first place.

On Ruining Lives, the band takes their classic New York hardcore style of music and upgrades it. For example, there's a little of the time signature-bending rhythmic elements of progressive and technical metal on Come To Realize. And Tommy's signature vocal delivery has a great earnestness that belies the band's no-bullshit approach to heavy music. Look, metalheads, the simple fact is that you just can't go wrong with Prong, amirite?

The Bottom Line: Prong is back with a slightly different, updated sound, but thankfully have lost none of their potency. If you need a soundtrack to your weekend's cathartic release of all that aggression built up over the preceding five workdays, this is your jam.

Tracks To Punch Hipsters To: The Book Of Change, Self Will Run Riot, Come To Realize, and Limitations and Validations

- Genghis needs to get some more black concert shirts for the weekend...

Wednesday
Apr232014

Winger - Better Days Comin'

Hard to believe that after being around nearly 30 years this is only Winger's sixth studio album.The more time passes, the more I relish getting new material from Kip Winger. Say what you want about his ex-Chippendale's dancer posturing days on MTV, but Kip and company is one of the few hair metal acts that can still put out good product, unlike some of their contemporaries (Dokken, I'm looking at you). And though that output has been sparse - their latest, Better Days Comin', being only their sixth studio release since 1988 - I'd stack the quality level of the music up against any other band's career.

Now, to be sure, I wouldn't claim that Winger's strength is innovation. You won't find some de rigueur progressive gymnastics or melodic death chug on this album (though Tin Soldier is satisfyingly unpredictable). This band's true talent lies in making great listenable songs and making it look effortless, as if they have this bag of great tunes from which to pull at any given moment. Even when they throw something in that's less energetic, possibly threatening to ruin the momentum, you still get a groovy track like Ever Wonder and it's all good. This I think is a testament to the group's dynamics and working relationships. Kip is usually the principal songwriter, and the synergy of him and Reb set the tone for the rest of the band. These cats just make great music when they get together. 

The Bottom Line: If you haven't listened to Winger in a while, or are curious about them ("Hey, is this that one band with the hairy, shirtless guy from back in the day?"), this album is a great way to check them out. They're still a great group of musicians that don't take themselves anywhere near as seriously as bands with half their talent. 'Nuff said.

Tracks To Do The Whole Rock Out In Your Underwear In Your Bedroom To: Midnight Driver Of A Love MachineQueen Babylon, Better Days Comin', Tin Soldier, So Long China, Storm In Me, and Out Of This World (with Reb Beach's patented mega outro solo)

- Genghis is practicing his one-handed bass playing while pointing technique...