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Album of the Month - April
  • Horizons
    Horizons
    by Anubis Gate
Video of the Month - April
  • Led Zeppelin - Good Times, Bad Times
    Led Zeppelin - Good Times, Bad Times
    starring Led Zeppelin
Good Reading
  • The Art of Metal: Five Decades of Heavy Metal Album Covers, Posters, T-Shirts, and More
    The Art of Metal: Five Decades of Heavy Metal Album Covers, Posters, T-Shirts, and More
    Voyageur Press
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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
Friday
Mar072014

Monster Magnet - Last Patrol

Comic fans may dig Monster Magnet's new album cover and its Rob Zombie meets Jack Kirby aesthetic, eh?So Monster Magnet has been doing their thing since 1989, right? And while I've heard of them many times before I've never actually gotten around to listening to any of their stuff. And now, with the retro thing chugging along, their latest album drops on my desk for review. So where does it fall? Let's see.

Seeming to attempt to answer the question "What if Jim Morrison had replaced Ozzy as lead singer of Black Sabbath after their first album?", Monster Magnet does the old school vibe as good as anyone in the business, that much is clear. There's just a great classic sound with Monster Magnet that is as authentic as anything else out there - perhaps because they've been doing it for well over 25 years now - and they continue the trend with their 9th studio album, Last Patrol. Lead singer/songwriter (and sole remaining original member) Dave Wyndorf was a teenager when Black Sabbath's first album came out, but it would seem to have had a profound effect on him. This is some really great 70s era psychedelic rock here, including some nice moody, acoustic stuff that reminds me of old Pink Floyd, and a bitchin' cover of Donovan's Three Kingfishers. I feel silly for not having bothered to check them out before.

As a lyricist, Dave explores the standard philosophical issues of life through sci-fi and archetypal, comic book imagery with a voice that sounds authentic and passionate. I can't claim that the music is trancendent or revelatory in any big way, but it does what you expect this kind of music to do, and after doing it for this long, it's nice to hear they're still going strong.

The Bottom Line: Monster Magnet does the old school thing while being old enough to actually be an old school thing. If you dig the classic tunes of bands like The Doors, Black Sabbath, or even newer ones like Opeth, you'll probably dig some Last Patrol pretty well.

Tracks To Make You Want To Break Out The Patchouli: I Live Behind The Clouds, Three Kingfishers, Paradise and Stay Tuned

- Genghis isn't actually that surprised he didn't know about Monster Magnet...

Thursday
Mar062014

Michael Schenker - Bridge the Gap

Over the past several years, Michael Schenker albums have been pretty much hit or miss.  There's no doubt, he is one of the greats, but like many of our heroes, he has let his demons get the best of him, at times.  I think he turned the corner, with his last release, Temple of Rock.  It was the best thing he had put out in years.  Now he is back with a new band and a new record called Bridge the Gap.  Joining Michael for the new album, are former Scorpions, Herman Rarebell on drums and Francis Buchholz on bass as well as the return of vocalist Doogie White.

Bridge the Gap builds on the momentum from the last album.  This is probably the purest Schenker record in years, because it delves back into the guitarist's past and bridges it with the present sound of the band.  It is a retro album of sorts, bringing back the classic feel of early MSG.  The sound of the record, reminds me of classic 80's MSG mixed with Rainbow.  A perfect example of this, is on the track Shine On.  Slow, melodic and heavy. 

I gotta say, that I was more impressed with White's vocals on this release, than anything else I've ever heard him sing on.  The guy has a Dio vibe to his voice, that I have never noticed before.  He is amazing on this release.  Also, Schenker never ceases to amaze me either.  He is playing like a man possessed on this release.  It is some of the best riffage, he has given us in a while.  Check out the solo in Beacuse You Lied, and you'll hear what I mean.  Schenker showing why he is still one of the best ones out there today.

Bottom LineSchenker is showing no signs of slowing down, by churning out two solid releases within a 3 year period.   A solid set of classic tinged tunes all complete with some major shreddage.

Standout Tracks: To Live for the King, Black Moon Rising, Shine On and Bridges That We've Burned

-Ragman is liking the temple that Mr. Schenker and company have built.

Thursday
Mar062014

Thanatomorphose

When is the last time you had a horror film make you cringe?  It had been a while for me, until I sat down to watch Thanatomorphose.  This is the most disturbing moving I have seen, in quite sometime.  The movie is about a loner girl who starts having some severe health issues.  She first notices some bruising, which turns to more bruising and then eventually skin rotting off.  Let's face it, she's turing into a zombie.  She is not sure why this is happening, but seems to come to terms with it.  It is as though she has contracted this disease, that is slowly killing her each day.

The film is based in the woman's apartment, and pretty much focuses on her deteriorating physical condition.  She does have guests from time time to time; Mainly a loser boyfriend as well as another love interest, but other than that, that is pretty much it.  Word of warning, this one is very graphic and will make those with a weaker stomach turn away more than once.  I have to say, I've seen alot of fucked up movies in my time, and this one made me look away a time of two. 

This is one of those avant garde horror flicks, you know the type, the one that tries to be artsy, while still trying to appeal to the horror genre.  There is some symbolism, in the movie, that I'm still trying to figure out, and it's something that the director focuses on from time to time.   The ceiling above the main character's bed, seems to be deteriorating at the rate her body is.  Not sure what that symbolizes, but the two go together.    A very well done movie, that will keeping you interested all the way through.

Bottom LineOne of the most disturbing films, I have ever watched.  I haven't been sicked out by a movie in ages, but this one got to me.  The special effects are amazing. 

-Ragman is thinking that many barf bags will be filled during the viewing of this one.

Thursday
Mar062014

Hatriot - Dawn Of The New Centurion

If you dug their debut, you'll totally dig this. It's the classic Bay Area Thrash sound.It was only about a year ago that Hatriot unleashed its classic Bay Area Thrash sound on us with their thunderous debut, Heroes of Origin, handily grabbing CD of the Month for January in the process. And now they've come back to march all over our asses again with their follow-up, Dawn of the New Centurion. Backed by his sons, Cody and Nick, vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza is known to most any longstanding fan of classic thrash, and with the twin guitar attack of Kosta V and Miguel Esparza, he turns shit to 11.

Dawn Of The New Centurion continues the theme of it's predecessor with vignettes of the plagues of our modern political American society; ignominious death, murder, and war. And like last year's Heroes Of Origin, Zetro and company's intention is not to revolutionlize metal or innovate, but to restore the former glory of classic thrash metal and basically does that. Tracks like Honor The Rise And Fall or the brilliantly named Superkillafragsadisticactsaresoatrocious sound like they've been unearthed from a time capsule buried in the mid 80s. I'm like a pig in shit over here.

The Bottom Line: Fans of Hatriot's impressive debut will find more of the same on Dawn Of The New Centurion to love, albeit with a little more restraint and lyrical refinement. It's a tactical narrowing of focus for a more precision strike, and thrash metal fans should definitely get this right now. Well?! GET GOING!

- Genghis is reminded that he needs to get some new camouflage cargo shorts...

Tuesday
Mar042014

Def-Con-One - II

Yes, my fellow metalheads, England still turns out some kick ass metal bands. You betcha.You may remember my review of Def-Con-One's first full-length album, Warface, a couple of years ago. Being exposed to the Newcastle quartet for the first time, I was struck by how they wore their musical influences on their sleeves (and speaking of sleeves, you could do a full episode of LA Ink on these guys alone) while still managing to have their own sound. I'm happy to say they've realized that evolution as a band with their new release, II.

Built on a solid foundation of metalcore, there are certainly a lot of similarities to bands like Pantera, as on tracks like Debt To Society or H8 Ball. While tracks like Soul Possessed will casually throw out a great Sabbath-y drone when you don't necessarily expect it for a more old school feel. But, what should get emphasis here is that while you can definitely still hear those influences, the band continues to develop their own sound, as on Skinhead Shaped Dent with its punctuating King's X-style chord, or the doom metal opening to Need A Reason that becomes a cathartic, screaming chorus a la Sevendust. It's a good sign to be able to hear a band's sound progress naturally like this, and I bet their live show is classic heavy metal goodness.

The Bottom Line: This is great angry metal for when you need that tension release while you rock the fuck out, and I think these dudes are at the beginning of what should be a long career. Cheers, mates!

Tracks That May Likely Turn All Of Your Clothes Black: Broke, Soul Possessed, Need A Reason, Debt To Society, and Damned Disgrace

- Genghis may have pulled a hamstring moshing around his office...