That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - January
  • Gods of Violence
    Gods of Violence
    Nuclear Blast
Video of the Month - January
  • Restless & Live: Blind Rage Live In Europe 2015 (2Cd/Blu-Ray)
    Restless & Live: Blind Rage Live In Europe 2015 (2Cd/Blu-Ray)
  • The Complete David Bowie (Revised and Updated 2016 Edition)
    The Complete David Bowie (Revised and Updated 2016 Edition)
    by Nicholas Pegg

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

The Tracy G Group - Tramp

Oh, it's a tramp - I see what they did there...At this point we shouldn't have to mention that Tracy G is one our good friends, which may imply a bias in our review. But give a listen to his band's latest release, Tramp, and try to tell us we're wrong about it. The man has been steadily putting out music for years, collaborating with like-minded individuals with whom he feels a strong musical connection and the results speak for themselves.

Firstly, I have to give props to vocalist Michael Beatty whose cultivated hard rock chops belie his rough, biker bar bouncer look. What I'm saying is there's a momentary disconnect when you hear the vocals on, say, Fireball and picture a 20-something, shirtless, 80s hair metal band lead singer type, and then you see the guy on camera in the Leech video. In any case, this guy sings his ass off and he's perfect for Tracy G's dirty guitar sound. His vocals are a satisfying mix of Bruce Dickinson's authoritative bellow and Ozzy's serpentine serenade. Great choice.

The tunes themselves are classic examples of the G Man's penchant for somewhat unusual riff-based music; you think the melody is gonna zig and he zags every time, leaving you with something much more than just another metal song. And while The Tracy G Group doesn't necesarily always make you bang your head - Tracy loves a good, slow, bottom-heavy riff like The Revolution's mighty chorus - it will definitely rock the shit out of you with serious grooves. One of the standout jams is Leech, with an aggressive riff that's reminiscient of Tracy's time with Ronnie James Dio circa Angry Machines. And dig that System Of A Down style break before the solo. Instrumental fans - and those who may question Tracy's range - will surely dig tracks like P.C.H., a tasty driving groove over which he dives and wails in a shreddy, spiritual homage to [one of his idols] Jeff Beck's Freeway Jam, and The California Country Jamboree Funkfest, a nearly 6-minute jam that starts out like a classic Iron Maiden historical epic that suddenly kicks into a sweet riff that calls to mind the effortless fluidity of Blues Saraceno or Buck Dharma. Two thirds of the way in to that track there's some really great funk rhythm action that showcases Tracy's ability to pull out an unexpected style (including some banjo-style licks) and make it seem totally organic to the song. I'm telling you he's got the goods.

The Bottom Line: Fans of Tracy G know what to expect from his latest album, but if you're new to his solo work you're in for a treat. He's simply one of the most criminally underrated artists consistently putting out original, guitar-based music that deftly blends old and new school techniques. 'Nuff said!

- Genghis would love to see the G-Man play live in a small club some day...


Scar Of The Sun - In Flood

Who'da thought that you'd find a killer melodeath band in Athens, Greece?You tend to fall into paradigms when it comes to music - certainly music reviewing. Case in point, I read about this band Scar Of The Sun and their sophomore album, In Flood, and saw that hails from Greece. "Cool", I thought to myself. Then I read they were in the melodeath genre. Whaaaa?

Turns out they rock the shit out of some metal over in the Med. Opener Among Waters And Giants is a moody jam with enough machine gun double bass to throw your heart rate off and a good introduction to the band's sound; confident, insistent vocals over powerful, melodic, meaty riffs with a little fretboard pyrotechnics thrown in for good measure. My favorite on the album however is without a doubt Enemies Of Reason. This is the album's showpiece. Starting out with some foreboding piano, it moves into that classic chugchugchugCHUG that gets my head banging. And that bridge at 3:14 is the kind of atmospheric groove I love about the genre. I'm keeping my ear on these cats, I'll promise you that.

The Bottom Line: Fans of old In Flames who miss that classic Swedish melodic death metal sound may thoroughly enjoy Scar Of The Sun's stuff. We're talking solid metal here, folks.

- Genghis would love to play in a melodeath band - if only for the pinch harmonics...


The Tracy G Group release Tramp

Hey guys, I wanted to give you a heads up on the new killer release, from our good friend Tracy G.  The Tracy G Group has just release Tramp.  Read below and keep checking back for a full review of the CD.

Until then, check out their new video for Leech:

The Tracy G Group

Former DIO guitarist Tracy G has completed work with his band The TRACY G GROUP on a new 13 song CD ‘TRAMP’. It is now available via his official online store here. Patrick Johansson, the hard hitting former drummer for Yngwie Malmsteen has joined the project and is featured on 7 tracks. KORN drummer Ray Luzier plays on 4 tracks & local SoCal drummer Adrian Aguilar on 1 song. Michael Beatty is on vocals along with Randy Oviedo on bass.

Track List:

  3. LEECH
  7. BLEED
  10. P.C.H.
  12. LIAR

Listen and buy in the Store now.

- Ragman is diggin' Tracy's new release...


Amon Amarth - Jomsviking

It's a new Amon Amarth album and - look, a Viking! Imagine that...Thanks to Brian Posehn and his excellent Nerd Poker podcast, I decided to listen to my first Amon Amarth album. Yes, I know they've been around since the late 80s but I just never came across them (do you know how many metal bands there are?). But I am a fan of melodeath so I thought I'd give their latest studio album Jomsviking a try. And it is fucking excellent.

Yes, the hype is warranted, I must say. This is straight-up classic Swedish melodic death metal and while I can't compare it to previous albums in their catalog, I was very impressed with what would be considered by Ragman "meat and potatoes" melodeath. Harmonized guitar leads, Cookie Monster vocals, pounding rhythms and the ever important themes of the violent days of yore (think History Channel's Vikings). Beyond that, I couldn't really say anything that hasn't been said before about the genre this album so perfectly represents. There's over 53 minutes of kick ass heavy tunes, ranging from melodeath to more straight-ahead power metal (At Dawn's First Light), to bang your head to and that's what I crave. Fair enough?

The Bottom Line: This is a great album from a long standing Swedish melodeath band that stands as a great intro to the band's current sound and the genre itself. While other bands of their ilk that may have strayed from the core sound (I'm looking at you, In Flames) Amon Amarth is still cranking out fantastic tunes for the sweaty masses. Skål!

Tracks To Sharpen Your Battle Axe To: Wanderer, On A Sea Of Blood, Raise Your Horns, and The Way Of Vikings

- Genghis is pretty sure he'd make a crappy Viking...


Ihsahn - Arktis

The Norwegian wunderkind Ihsahn is back at it with another amazing solo album.After following Ihsahn on his last three albums I'm becoming more and more impressed with this artist's versatility and creativity as a solo artist. I especially drawn to the eclectic nature of Eremita, his concept album that included Jørgen Munkeby on saxophone among others, only to be blown away by its follow-up, the largely improvised Das Seelenbrechen. the man just continues to defy easy categorization and I love that.

With his latest Arktis, there is a bit of a more straight-forward metal sound that still manages to keep you on your toes expectation-wise. Mass Darkness is a pretty standard (and by "standard", I mean in comparison to Ihsahn's usual genre-bending alacrity) metal tune, with Trivium's Matt Heaffy on vocals, working like a nice appetizer that relies on classic sounds before tripping you out with more exotic musical fare. Speaking of which, South Winds kicks in with a sweet electronica groove makes me think of classic 90s industrial metal before a Steve Vai-esque chorus. This is a good example of how effortlessly Ihshan blends genre conventions without distorting the final hybridized product so much it loses anything for listeners of any constituent genre to grab on to and enjoy. Brilliant stuff. Until I Too Dissolve brings back a little late 80s/early 90s melodic metal sound in a very satisfying way I didn't realize I needed. Frail brings back a little electronica/metal mix before hitting you with Crooked Red Line's Pink Floyd meets In Flames, thanks in part to old co-hort Jørgen Munkeby back on saxophone. This is just amazing stuff. Just don't play the bonus track Til Tor Ulven when you're trying to fall asleep. Yipes.

The Bottom Line: If you're a fan of genre-bending, or just really creative music, I can't recommend Ihsahn's Arktis enough. It's just some of the most interesting metal you can find out there today, and I'm so glad every time I hear he's got new product out. Give it a listen.

- Genghis thinks this album is the cure to metal fatigue...