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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - May
  • In Flood
    In Flood
    Scarlet records
Video of the Month - May
  • Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock - On A Mission: Live In Madrid
    Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock - On A Mission: Live In Madrid
    starring Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock
Like He Needs More Money...
  • Me, Inc.: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business
    Me, Inc.: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business
    by Gene Simmons
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
Tuesday
Jan052016

Hell In The Club - Shadow Of The Monster

Italy's Hell In The Club is back with a new platter of 80s/90s era hard rockin' so recognize.You may remember my review last year of Italy's (that's right, Italy, dude) Hell In The Club's sophomore release, Devil On My Shoulder, wherein I praised the band's totally authentic turn of the 90s hard rock club sound. These cats have the goods, to be sure, and they're at it again with their latest album Shadow Of The Monster.

To be fair, it's basically more of the same, but as I said in my review of their previous album, these cats are the real deal amongst the new wave of bands paying homage to that particular OG sound. The music has an authenticity that belies a genuine love and appreciation for the source material that you don't get with a cash-grab, wannabe situation. The title track has every trademark of the genre: harmonized anthemic choruses, blazing solos, club-shaking rhythms, and bawdy lyrics, of course. And the same goes for pretty much the rest of the album. Lead singer Davide "Dave" Moras has that nasal tenor that fits the music perfectly, while guitarist Andrea "Picco" Piccardi keeps the energy going with crunchy, swaggering riffage and impressive solos. It's all there for you waiting for a party to break out on cuts like the title track with its metallic stomp-ending verse beat. If you didn't get their last album, but need some feel good hard rock, this is the stuff.

The Bottom Line: Fans of Guns N' Roses, LA Guns and other hard rock bands of the Sunset Strip circa late 80s/early 90s, this is totally up your alley. Check them out.

- Genghis needs to get his old Levi's jacket cleaned...

Tuesday
Dec222015

Midas Fall - The Menagerie Inside

British quartet Midas Fall scratches my shoegazing itch like a custom-made, ivory-handled apparatus.UK-based quartet Midas Fall is grounded in that classic alternative/shoegaze sound that is quintessentially British. Trebly guitar textures are the stock in trade, processed with that trademark lush, liquid chorus that makes for a perfect canvas on which the singer's melancholic voice can trace her pains. In this case we're talking about Elizabeth Heaton, whose heartfelt wailing give the music its soul.

Speaking of Heaton, one of my favorite aspects of this album is that along with guitarist Rowan Burn, we are presented with a wholly female voice in terms of the guitarwork. Strangely you don't get a lot of that in the genre despite the deeply personal sound of the music, and I'm always fascinated with just how the layers of sound and texture are worked out where atmosphere is almost as much a member of the band as the actual players. It's easy to put too much into it and create a cacophanous melange that takes away from the delicacy of the lyrical content. And that aforementioned texture plays out perfectly on tracks like Afterthought through Burns' deft use of harmonics, feedback, delay, and arpeggiated melodies. Considering that the album was recorded live in the studio, I have to believe their live shows must be amazing to witness.

The Bottom Line: Fans of the whole alternative/shoegaze sound will likely revel in the beautiful, British somberness of Midas Fall, whose female-scripted guitar textures keep the listener floating on soft, gray clouds of introspection.

- Genghis is liking this album more with every subsequent listen...

Wednesday
Dec162015

Scorpions - Forever and a Day

It goes without saying, that the Scorpions are one of the greatest Hard Rock/Heavy Metal bands of all time.  It is hard to believe that the band has been around 50 years and that they can still rock as hard as they did back in the day.  As many of you know, a few years back, the Scorp's decided to call it a day.  Their original intention, was to go out one last time, and tour the world.  I believe the tour was supposed to last about 18 months, and then they would call it a day.  Fortunately, for the fans, the band had so much fun on their final tour, that they decided to keep going.

Forever and a Day is a documentary, that focuses heavily on the final tour, but not as much on the history of the band.  Don't get me wrong, they do touch on the early years of the band, as well as their progression, but the meat and potatoes of this film, is documenting the final tour.  I would assume, that the original idea was to film the final tour, but after they had a change of heart, then they decided to release this as a documentary.  This is this reviewer's opinion.

The film was released in Germany and recently made it State side.  The majority of the dialog is in German, so as you can imagine, much of the film is subtitled.  There are a few cameos in the film, from their peers, like Paul Stanley (Kiss) and Don Dokken, which was cool.  The disappointing thing for me, was that there wasn't enough focus on the history of the band.  The film really didn't touch too much on previous members, or their departures.  I think that would have made the film more interesting.  All in all this was a good documentary.

Bottom LineA well done documentary, on one of the greatest bands of our time.  A documentary of the band's last tour, before they changed their minds.

-Ragman is wondering is the Scorpion will ever play Houston again.  Why do they keep skipping Texas?  I want answers.

Tuesday
Dec152015

Black Stone Cherry - Thank You (Livin' Live)

I've been a fan of Black Stone Cherry, ever since their debut record.  The boys from Kentucky, serve up a steaming dish of metal tinged southern fried rock, that would make any Allman Brother proud.  They consistently put out solid product year after year, which is why these guys continue to grow in popularity.  It is hard to believe, that these guys have been around 14 years. It just seems like yesterday, when the debut hit my speakers.  That said, the boys have recently released their first live CD/DVD called Thank You (Livn' Live in Birmingham, UK October 30th 2014).  I have to tell you, I was extremely geeked, when I got my hands on this one, because I've never seen them live.

The band come out all guns blazing in this live DVD, by tearing through their vast catalog of killer tunes.  The band sound great and put on one hell of a show.  I was thoroughly entertained throughout this show, with the exception of a few things.  One critique I have, is that the camera work is a little spotty at times.  I'm not sure if they were going for more of a raw approach, but that is what it came off as.  This is not a bad thing, but I would have like to have seen something a little more polished. 

My only other complaint was that vocalist Chris Robertson, diverts many of the vocals to the crowd.  I get it, it is cool when the crowd sings along, but not to the point, to where the crowd sings the whole song like in Things My Father Said.  This is not what you want to see or hear in a live recording.  It is cool, somewhat, when you're at the show, but it is really annoying, when you are watching a concert video at home.  When I go to a show, I don't want to hear myself or the guy next to me sing, I want to hear the band. Unfortunately, this happens a little too often in this show.  Other than this, this was a good show.  I just had to hit the FF button a few times, dung the sing-a-longs.

Bottom Line: Black Stone Cherry commanding the stage and putting on one hell of a show.  The band sound great, when Chris sings, but it does get a little distracting with too much crown interaction.

-Ragman needs to catch these guys live in the new year.

Monday
Dec142015

Concert Review: Dragonforce/Kamelot

Ragman and I have long been fans of Kamelot, but I had yet to see them live. So when we heard about them playing in town recently - with Dragonforce opening no less, we knew we had to check them out for a night of some serious shredding and fist pumping. Needless to say we were not disappointed. Let's get down to brass tacks.

Dragonforce

Performances - I've noticed many people divided on their opinions of Dragonforce's live shows, but I think they put on a great performance. There's no shortage of energy from the band, especially guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman, whose playful back and forth displays a youthful exuberance while simultaneously making it look like their musical feats of derring-do are no big deal. I swear these guys must mainline coffee, cuz they seem to have no shortage of energy from the beginning of the show through to the end. Kudos to them. Meanwhile lead singer Marc Hudson kept the crowd going like a good frontman should. Adding to the playful chaos, bassist Frédéric Leclercq had a stuffed dog that wanted to crowd surf, and the audience complied gleefully as the giant toy flew around the venue with quite a bit of force. Basically, the vibe was all about fun and self-deprecating humor, something the band does quite well.

Sound & Lights - Live shows can often be problematic when it comes to sound and light setup for opening acts, but you wouldn't have known it with Dragonforce. The guitars were sometimes a bit hard to hear in the mix, but it have been attributed to my earplugs, or the fact that Herman uses that whammy pedal for those crazy high notes (possibly controlled by his Hot Hand controller ring?), which can sometimes get lost in the thundering rhythm section's onslaught. But no complaints.

Setlist - The guys played a little something from every album in their catalog, save for Ultra Beatdown, with half the set relying on their last two releases as expected. I especially enjoyed hearing their cover of Johnny Cash's Ring Of Fire off of Maximum Overload. The crowd seemed to dig that flow of the set as well with a little mosh action during their last song, naturally, Through The Fire And Flames. After opening with 2004's Fury Of The Storm they even managed to throw in the title track of their first album, Valley Of The Damned. before the final couple of songs, for fans of their earlier stuff. For a quick set, it was a nice spread of their catalog that flowed well and got the crowd suitably pumped for Kamelot, so all in all mission accomplished. Kudos to Dragonforce, nice work, lads.

Kamelot

Performances - Kamelot took the stage with a strong presence from the get-go. It's clear this band knows what they're doing and have a great respect for the audience. Tommy Karevik is a prefect frontman for the group, interacting with the audience with the right mix of cheerleading and rockstar appeal, garnering fans of both sexes while delivering the goods from a pure singing perspective. His duets with Kobra Paige (Kobra and the Lotus) were nicely choreographed as well, the two weaving about each other at times like a pair of dancers surrounded by smoke and wind. Guitarist Thomas Youngblood, playing against a rock-solid rhythm section, was the confident veteran who shared freely with the crowd, from picks to bottled waters, in between effortless solos.

Sound & Lights - A decent mix all around - though I would've liked the guitars up more, and it was a little difficult to discern the bass amidst the rhythm section. It may be kind of unimportant to some, but I was pretty impressed that the band had some powerful fog machines used for dramatic visual effect, (a proportionately-sized stadium experience in a small venue) which was a nice touch - especially when Tommy took the photo opportunity to pose menacingly through a column of it like the Wizard of Oz during one song.

Setlist - As expected, a third of the show was devoted to songs from their recently released Haven album, which played very well live, along with a couple of songs each from Silverthorn, The Black Halo, and Karma. I especially like that the first few songs were each from different albums in their catalog, skipping back and forth in time to provide a nice appetizer. But more importantly, with a half of the entire setlist being Roy Khan fronted songs, I was impressed that Tommy performed the whole show like he was born to do this. He played to the crowd while making the songs his own.

The Bottom Line

Fans of Kamelot would surely enjoy this year's tour. Dragonforce did a good job of getting the crowd ready with a good mix of six-string pyrotechnics and self-deprecating, good-natured tomfoolery. And Kamelot came in like total pros to finish out the evening with some kick-ass American power metal. And end of the tour dates scored a concert shirt for half price, so fuck yeah. Great evening!

- Genghis can scratch another great band off his concert bucket list...