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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - October
  • z²
    by Devin Townsend Project
Video of the Month - October
  • Ozzy Osbourne: Memoirs Of A Madman
    Ozzy Osbourne: Memoirs Of A Madman
    starring Ozzy Osbourne
Good Reading
  • Bringing Metal to the Children: The Complete Berzerker's Guide to World Tour Domination
    Bringing Metal to the Children: The Complete Berzerker's Guide to World Tour Domination
    by Zakk Wylde, Eric Hendrikx
Feedback

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
Jun042014

Annisokay - The Lucid Dream[er]

This quintet of hard rocking Germans is really great stuff if you're looking for a cross-genre metalfest.Every now and then a new band comes along that causes this somewhat jaded reviewer to look back at his stereo and go "woah, who is this again?" Newcomers Annisokay are just one of a number of great new bands coming out of Germany these days and I couldn't be more impressed.

While some may call them post-hardcore or metalcore, there are elements of other genres (including melodeath) that come together in a satisfying mix of melody and metal crunch. Even their name belies their crossover mindset in a reference to Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal ("Annie, are you okay? Are you okay, Annie?"). Starting with a music box melody, you get the feeling you're entering some sort of Tim Burton dreamscape, but it quickly breaks into an In Flames-esque guttural onslaught. And that's just the opening track. There are other sounds here that are as innovative as they are familiar and that's probably what makes it all work, but it's the fact that these young guys from Germany are doing something that seems very American in its sensibility and self-assuredness but with a clever and experienced European spin on it.

Even more fascinating is how they incorporate electronic elements into the mix without taking the metal edge off of things - and for clubbers there's even a dub step version of the opening track (the HoppiTronic Remix) that actually kind of rocks. I'm not gonna run out and start clubbing or anything, but I'm in awe of how these musicians crank out highly listenable music from such an unusual mix of genres. Nice work.

The Bottom Line: Annisokay seems to be the best amalgamation of innovative, 21st century metal from both sides of the pond and it sounds great. If you're looking for something fresh and full of energy, check out these young Saxons' debut.

- Genghis totally did the robot guy dance from The Dave Chappelle Show during that last track...

Tuesday
Jun032014

Unisonic - For The Kingdom (EP)

The boys of Unisonic know their way around some classic heavy tunes, you betcha.You may remember the impressive eponymous debut of supergroup Unisonic, boasting Helloween vets Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen, as well as members of such illustrious rock bands as Pink Cream 69 and Krokus. Rags was pretty geeked, and why not? There's a palpable chemistry between Mike and Kai that, backed by this formidable rhythym section, makes for some amazing metal music brimming with energy and pyrotechnics.

You can feel the fun these guys are having, imagining Kai with a big grin on his face as he whips out tasty licks from his ESP Flying V, and I defy you to keep your head still while listening to this EP. This seems to be the new norm where bands often are putting out EPs in between full length LPs to keep the fans involved while also keeping their creative juices flowing and waiting for schedules to align. The two new tracks, For The Kingdom (from their upcoming sophomore album) and You Come Undone are accompanied by four live tracks, Unisonic, Never Too Late, Star Rider and Souls Alive (recorded at the Masters of Rock 2012 festival).

The Bottom Line: This is classic hard rock/heavy metal from a group of guys that have decades of experience and enormous talent. If you're a fan of such classic heavy tunes, you pretty much can't go wrong with Unisonic. 'Nuff said.

- Genghis was throwing horns up left and right listening to this...

Tuesday
Jun032014

Dust Bolt - Awake The Riot

This thrash album rocks hard. And they even have a kick-ass old school, apocalyptic, album cover. Nice.Heilige scheiße! Bavarian thrash masters, Dust Bolt (even their name is classic bad-assery) are back to kick your ass all up and down the straße with their second album, Awake The Riot. I'm pretty sure you have to scream that title whenever you read it for the full effect.

As the site's thrash metal fan in residence, my standards are deceptively simple: it has to rock. No bullshit, no fancy tricks, just hit me with that one of a kind intensity that only thrash can deliver. And the lads do just that. For a young quartet that's only been putting out product since 2010, Dust Bolt's music - like fellow neo-thrashers, Havok - follows the old school "if it ain't broke - we're gonna break that motherfucker now" philosophy in the path of the original masters of the genre: high octane, balls to the wall, metal from start to finish. There's some pretty furious riffage here and if you don't build up a sweat air guitaring to this, you're just not trying.

The Bottom Line: This is classic metal worthy of the Bay Area masters who started the subgenre. This bodes well for the future, with the new guys not just carrying the thrash metal torch, they're lighting a rocket with it and riding that bitch into the sun.

Tracks Likely To Cause An Increase In Your Insurance Rates: The whole damn album

- Genghis needs to do some live moshing...

Monday
Jun022014

Gloryful - Ocean Blade

Belgian artist Kris Verwimp rocked an old school cover for Gloryful worthy of the best of the genre. Nice rack, Sedna!We at The Right To Rock are not shy about our love for the classic metal sounds of NWoBHM bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Apparently, German metallers Gloryful feel similarly, as evidenced on their excellent sophomore release Ocean Blade

Continuing the tale of the Inuit sea goddess Sedna (as depicted on the cover thanks to Belgian artist Kris Verwimp) that was started with their 2010 debut EP Sedna's Revenge, the lads have made a fine concept album in the mold of their influences with all of the bells and whistles you'd expect from the form; moody ocean soundscapes, majestic harmonized guitars, soulful wailing, and even a sea shanty for good measure. It's all here and it's as good as anything in the genre. Singer Johnny la Bomba knows his way around a chorus, and his powerful voice works well even in the lighter moments, as on the aforementioned Black Legacy, where his slight rasp lends authenticity to the tale of a weary sailor bemoaning his fate. But such an album is all about the guitars, and Gloryful has this covered. Shredmaster J.B. (Jens Basten) has a career going back over 20 years and it shows in his tasteful solos which have well-balanced aspects of shred and soul.

My only one complaint would be the production, which got a little muddy at times. I say this in comparison to Savatage's take on the concept, 1997's The Wake of Magellan. Things seemed a little closed in on this album, giving the feeling that there wasn't enough space for the music. Again, it's just a minor concern, and possibly just my issue involving my stereo's settings.

The Bottom Line: If you're hankering for some old school, European heavy metal with all the trimmings, check out Gloryful's Ocean Blade. Its tale of a doomed crew on a suicide mission to stop a murderous wraith hell-bent on revenge is told in classic NWoBHM style. What this music may lack in innovation is more than made up for with heart and confidence - something newer bands should keep in mind.

- Genghis wants to watch Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl now...

Friday
May302014

Battleaxe - Heavy Metal Sanctuary

Can you really mention battleaxes and NOT have a bearded guy in a horned helmet nearby?Oh man, I love it when a band comes along like they stepped out of a time portal from the 80s. And in the case of Battleaxe (formed in 1979), they basically did just that. Having put out their last full studio album 30 years ago they certainly have the pedigree of an English heavy metal band from the greatest decade of heavy metal ever.

Right off the bat - vocalist Dave King, sounding like a cross between Udo Dirkschneider, Rob Halford and Brian Johnson - sets the tone with the title track, Heavy Metal Sanctuary. From there, the tunes come at you rapid-fire, awash in the familiar lyrical content of the military industrial complex and rebellion. It's not gonna break any molds or break new ground, but some stuff should be left for thems that wants it. Battleaxe is just here to crank some metal. This is what Rags often refers to as meat-and-potatoes metal, and it's nothing to sneeze at.

This is the kind of stuff modern metal was built on, and these lads are champions of an era not forgotten. Now, there's the occasional tune, like Hail To The King, whose opening riff sounds very familiar (Dio's Stand Up And Shout comes to mind), but I think it's really more of a case of music sort of coming full circle than any kind of rip-off. Either way, there's a conviction here amongst the riffage that can't be denied, and it's great to see bands from bygone days still putting out good material. This is just the kind of band where people generally split into one of two camps: those that think this is all just treading the same water, and those that fondly remember a legendarty era in metal. Which one do you fall in?

The Bottom Line: This band is flying the flag of classic 80s-era metal, something they know a lot about, and fans of that sound should find much to like in this no-frills approach. Check out Battleaxe and know why Britain will always be known as the birthplace of metal!

- Genghis needs a nice left-handed Gibson SG and a Marshall stack...

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