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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
Monday
Apr112016

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...

Wednesday
Mar302016

Interview: Gary Noon (Walking With Giants)

Walking With Giants' Gary NoonIt's one thing to start a tribute band to two of your favorite musical influences, but how many musicians get to actually fill out that band with actual members of the bands you're paying homage to? Well that's just what happened to Gary Noon who hooked up with Morgan Rose and Clint Lowery of Sevendust, and Alter Bridge bassist Brian Marshall to form Walking With Giants, culminating in the band's debut album Worlds Unknown. The Right To Rock chatted with Gary to get the low down...

Where did the name Walking with Giants come from?

The Walking With Giants name defines what the project is. Walking With Giants is Gary Noon, and I have the privilege of making music with my idols, who became my friends and collaborators. So, even though they’re are still ‘Giants’ to me musically I’m also a colleague.

How would you best describe the sound of your band?

Walking With Giants has distinctive Rock sound featuring hard guitar riffs, uplifting choruses and thoughtful lyrics. Sometimes intense, sometimes somber, but mostly upbeat.

How did you get hooked up with Clint Lowery and Morgan Rose (Sevendust)?

I was introduced to Clint and Morgan through a mutual friend. I originally met Clint and Morgan in late 2008. Clint and I seemed to have a lot in common musically, so we kept in touch ever since. I got to know Morgan and the other guys in Sevendust over the past several years.

And how did Brian Marshall (Alter Bridge) get into the picture?

I was introduced to Brian’s Bass Tech - Ian Keith - through the same mutual friend that introduced me to Clint. We first met during the Full Circle touring cycle in 2009, and through Brian, I was introduced to Flip (he worked with me on the first two EPs).

I assume you're a fan of both bands?

Hell Yes! In my opinion, Alter Bridge and Sevendust are the two best bands walking the Earth today.

How does the writing process work in Walking with Giants?

Since Walking With Giants is primarily me, I usually come up with the initial ideas for each song. Clint and I would trade ideas back and forth using ProTools, and we’d share those with Brian and Morgan. We’d arrive at the studio with a basic arrangement, and the four of us would finalize those arrangements in the Live Room. We’d write vocals during the guitar/bass tracking phase. The process gets more defined each time.

Do you write most of the music on your own, or did you collaborate much with the other musicians in the band?

Walking With Giants’ material is co-written with myself, Gary Noon, and Clint Lowery. Once we get into the studio, Brian and Morgan add their perspective to the Bass and Drum parts and we end up with the complete package.

Why did you release the two EPs before issuing your full-length debut?

To test the waters? The original EP was intended to be a one-time occurrence, but I enjoyed the experience so much, I soon wanted to do another, which is how One By One came about. Worlds Unknown was originally going to be an EP as well, but after the initial 7 tracks were finished, I got inspired to write more, so it became a full-length.

When putting the record together, was it intentional to start and finish the album with an instrumental?

Nope. We originally completed the first group of tracks in April and in June, I decided to continue the process. I got inspired to do instrumental bookends after hearing Breaking Benjamin’s new album, Dark Before Dawn. I kept listening to that record and telling myself I should push myself to do more - so, I did.

I really dig the song Broken Truth, can you tell us how that song came together for you?

Thanks! After the initial group of tracks were completed, I pushed myself to write full arrangements for each new track - it had always been challenging for me in the past. I managed to deliver on the challenge, vocal ideas and all. Clint and the guys really liked the new stuff, and the songs came together quickly. I was really pleased how it turned out. I had written the intro as a guitar solo, but Clint came up with this amazing idea to play it with tapped harmonics - it made the intro sound soo much cooler.

Do you have a favorite song on the record, or one that came together, better than you expected?

Solid Ground is my favorite track. I feel like it was the culmination of two years of struggling to become a songwriter, and I think it’s the strongest track on the record.

Do you plan on touring, and if so, do you have a band in place or will you try to schedule around the musicians that played on the album?

Walking With Giants is primarily a studio project. If I decide to go live, I’ll be hiring a new group of guys to join me. It would be an honor to play live with Clint, Brian and Morgan, but I have a lot of dues to pay and experience to gain before I attempt that. =)

Good luck with the new CD, and we hope to see you in Texas!

Monday
Mar212016

Podcast Interview: Zakk Zedras

Ragman chats with guitarist Zakk Zedras of Serpentine Sky. Ripper!Ragman sits down to chat with Zakk Zedras, guitarist for Serpentine Sky, about the band's debut album and how it all came together, as well as plans for the future. It's a great bit of converstation with an interesting perspective from down under.

And show the band some love if you dig what they're puttin' down by purchasing their self-titled album from MelodicRock Records. HORNS UP!

Featured Tracks: Serpentine Sky - Whole Lotta Love, You're the One, For Love the Way, Nobody's Girl, Flower Dolls, and Midnight

Zakk Zedras Interview

Wednesday
Mar162016

Tiles - Pretending 2 Run

How legit is Tiles? This album cover was designed by none other than the legendary Hugh Syme.I remember when I really got into a progmetal frenzy in the early/mid 90s, looking for any other band than Dream Theater that was making progressive music and learning what labels catered to that sound. That quest brought me to Detroit's Tiles and their amazing CD Presents Of Mind. Their classic progressive rock sound was potent and impressive if not as heavy as DT. But in the ensuing years I sort of lost track of them I'm sorry to say. So for me, their latest album, Pretending 2 Run, is the first I've heard from them in about 20 years. And man is it good to have them back.

Pretending 2 Run is a damn fine concept album that tells the tale of a man blindsided and disillusioned by betrayal and includes every progressive hard rock bell and whistle you could ask for from a quartet of master musicians. This is the stuff, man. Kicking off with the Peter Gabriel-esque title track the lads set the stage for a truly theatrical affair, full of imagery and rich texture without being so atmospheric it forgets to rock you. The usual dynamics are masterfully orchestrated, letting the story build organically. The most straight ahead grooving track early on is Stonewall, which includes guest drum work from Mike Portnoy (you'll likely recognize the Winery Dogs-style riffing in the verses), who is not the only guest artist on this release. In fact, you'll find *deep breath* Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Mike Stern (Miles Davis), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Kevin Chown (Tarja Turunen, Chad Smith), and Max Portnoy (Next To None) just to name a few. Instrumental junkies will swoon over Voir Dire's manic energy, while others may be captivated by the choir in the baroque arrangements of Refugium and Meditatio. Ian's throaty flute compliments the exotic beauty of Midwinter which leads into the more introspective second CD. But while there's less out and out prog rocking for about half this second disc, this is where the true talent of the band as storytellers comes to the fore. The development of the story is allowed the necessary space to get you immersed in the protagonist's plight, his mindset. It's the kind of commercial risk most bands don't indulge, leaving it to the more seasoned, adventurous, and (ultimately) proficient musicians such as Tiles. This is just brilliant artistic expression, pure and simple. Bravo, lads!

The Bottom Line: Prog fans rejoice. Tiles is back with over 96 minutes of classic progressive hard rock that takes you on an emotional journey thanks to a little help from their friends. The wait has definitely been worth it for Pretending 2 Run, a statement made all the more clear when you consider this band has only put out six studio albums in their 23 year career. You can't rush genius. Now go get it!

- Genghis would *love* to see these cats play live...

Wednesday
Mar162016

Myrath - Legacy

If you've never heard "Oriental metal", you should check out Myrath's latest.It can never be overstated that one of metal's strongest qualities is its diversity. And Franco-Tunisian progressive power metal band Myrath's new album Legacy is testament to that fact. It would be reasonable to fear that the addition of a Middle Eastern sound would come off as a novelty that ultimately derails what would otherwise be pretty good genre fare. But in fact it breathes new life into it, something the band itself calls "oriental metal", taking us back to my original assertion that metal is like a culinary base for almost any spice to be added to for unique and amazing new flavors to be discovered and enjoyed. The first single, Believer, gives a great taste of the overall album, with some energetic singing from Zaher Zorgati and solid solo work from guitarist Malek Ben Arbia.

From there the album continues on a steady path of heavy, rhythmically sophisticated jams that are catchy enough to be worthy of airplay. What I appreciate is that while the lighter moments are great, the heavier tunes such as The Needle (which features some nice Symphony X-style riffing) are every bit as powerful, if not more so by contrast, proving that the band stands firmly by the balls and chunk mantra of all good progmetal. At the risk of sounding reductionist, I would describe it all as Norway's Ark with Enchant's Ted Leonard singing, all filtered through a Middle Eastern melodic sensibility. However you want to think of it, this is some really good progmetal music that deserves a listen.

The Bottom Line: This is some great progmetal with a different twist on the genre from Tunisia of all places. Myrath manages to give the genre a shot in the arm while avoiding the trap of collapsing under the weight of novelty. Nice work!

- Genghis really digs this band - but doesn't "the Orient" traditionally refer to Asia?