That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - June
  • In Vaults
    In Vaults
    by District 97
Video of the Month - June
  • Live at the Roxy 09.25.14 [Blu-ray]
    Live at the Roxy 09.25.14 [Blu-ray]
    starring Slash/ Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators
Are you an old metal head?
  • Metal Fatigue: The Making of a Middle Aged Metal Head
    Metal Fatigue: The Making of a Middle Aged Metal Head
    by Todd Baker

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

Ranger - Where Evil Dwells

Finnish bad-asses Ranger are here to rock the fuck out of you with their debut CD. Or hadn't you guessed by this cover?Holy shit, what is it about the Scandinavian music scene? Between Sweden and Finland, you've got some of the most amazing metal trends of the 21st century. Every new genre revival and hybrid of note in the last decade and a half has come from Northern Europe like they're taking it personal or something. But don't take this as a rant or anything; I'm fucking loving it.

Case in point, Finnish metallers Ranger are here with their highly anticipated debut album, Where Evil Dwells, featuring some of the most authentic, ball-busting, classic speed metal I've heard in some time. From the first blistering attack of Defcon 1 (of course), I swear I could smell that slightly humidity of a smoke machine billowing out behind me. Somewhere in the back of my closet, I sensed my old denim jacket glowing, like Excalibur, beckoning me to return, my red Chuck Taylors (with the anarchy symbol that skaters brandished at disapproving adults) beneath it at the ready. This is an album that should bring metalheads out from the woodwork like the barbarians in Heavy Metal, ready to kick ass and take names.

The Bottom Line: Albums like this are a call to arms for the metal faithful. If your head doesn't immediately start banging when you hear the opening riff of Ranger's debut Where Evil Dwells, it's time to download some Perry Como CDs and buy some white loafers, man. 'Nuff said.

- Genghis feels the call of the mosh pit...


Temperance - Limitless

Temperance and their mix of symphonic metal bombast and crushing melodic death metal, are back again - and not a moment too soon.You may recall me reviewing Temperance's self-titled debut this time last year and their intriguing blend of the symphonic and melodic death metal genres, fronted by singer Chiara Tricarico and produced by this decade's Jesper Strömblad, Simone Mularoni (DGM). Well, they're back now with Limitless, so let's get to it.

Thankfully, everything that made their debut album so good is still here, with a bit more electronic sheen in the form of some sprightly keyboards. Don't get me wrong, the very satisfying balls and chunk™ is still in place, as heard in the pre-solo section of Save Me (2:49), but there's a closer alignment with the symphonic metal elements (e.g. dramatic orchestration, huge choral backing vocals) that makes the foundation of the band's sound. All in all, if you liked the first album, this is more of what you dug. Works for me!

The Bottom Line: Temperance is a great example of how metal continues to evolve more often and interestingly than any other subgenre of music out there. But rather than just slamming two subgenres together, this band has a thorough understanding of what they're doing - and they do it well.

- Genghis sure wants to rock out...


Secret Of Boris - Your Ghost

Hard to imagine Secret Of Boris coming out of Dallas of all places, but these guys are worth a listen.Dallas-based post-grunge, hard rock act Secret Of Boris is slowly gaining reputation as a great live band. And their debut album, Your Ghost, captures this energy pretty well.

The vocal harmonies are reminiscent of Five.Bolt.Main or Alice In Chains while the music itself calls to mind outfits like Breaking Benjamin or Saliva, while giving their 90s era sound a bit of a makeover with a well-layered, keyboard-enhanced sound. What makes this band stand out from the crowd is the high energy performance so faithfully captured in production, and its melodic sensibility; these cats understand that there's more to hard rocking than attitude, image, and down-tuned guitars cranked to 11.

The Bottom Line: Don't dismiss Secret Of Boris as another nu-metal, post-grunge, hard rock act until you give their debut a listen. There's more to this band than what some old music reviewer can manage to articulate. This is a secret that rewards investigation.

- Genghis needs a new hat...


FM - Heroes and Villains

British melodic hard rock masters FM do it again on their 9th studio album. Outstanding, boys.Good melodic hard rock is one of those things that's harder to find than you'd think, but when you do it's like comfort food (banana pudding, anyone?). The reason pop songs are so pervasive is that everybody loves a good melody; they're catchy and they stick around long after the song ends playing over and over in your head. And melodic hard rock adds the satisfying crunch of guitar and amazing lead work that tips it in the net for metal fans with a sweet tooth.

Such it is with Britain's FM, who've been kicking around for 30 years. And while Heroes and Villains is only their ninth studio album, they sound better than ever - which is in no small part due to guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick's tasteful solos and the band's lush harmonies behind lead singer Steve Overland's fantastic voice. This is the stuff, people.

As far as actual songs, it's solid, mid-tempo goodness reminiscient of bands like Sweden's Nation (one of my favorites) from back in the 90s. To say this music is "by the numbers" - which equates to formulaic - would be pejorative in most cases. But I say that in the sense of a well-trained group of professionals that know their roles and what's expected of them, hitting their marks with a precision and fluidity that's impressive.

The Bottom Line: FM may not be new kids on the block, but their sound is as vital as ever in the genre. Steve Overland's solid, powerful vocals are the frosting on this melodic hard rock cake, and Jim Kirkpatrick's guitar work is the sprinkles. Cut me a big slice of that, please.

Tracks to Go Full Tom Cruise To When No One's Looking: Digging Up The Dirt, Fire And Rain, Call On Me, and Shape I'm In

- Genghis would love to see this guys rock a small club...


Annisokay - Enigmatic Smile

German quintet Annisokay are back with their masterful genre blending - and they're still quite heavy!You may remember my reviewing this German melodic metalcore quintet's rather impressive debut, The Lucid Dream[er] last year. Amazingly, Annisokay is already back again with their followup, Enigmatic Smile.

The title is based on the timeless mystery of a lovely young French woman found dead in the river Seine (known today as "L’Inconnu de la Seine") of what was assumed to be suicide. The coroner was so taken by the woman's calm, almost smiling expression, he had a cast taken of her face to be displayed decoratively. To this day, the case is unsolved. The music itself is a continuation of the precedent established by their debut album; a thrilling mix of metalcore, melodic death metal, with a touch of electronic (and not being expert, so please don't try to pin me down on what sub-genre of electronic music is actually in play here). These guys just fucking rock, okay?

The Bottom Line: Those melodic metalcore wunderkinds, Annisokay, are back making some of the more interesting metal coming out of Europe these days. Keep in mind it's not that each of the constituent genre influences are new, but the artful blending of them is what these guys do best. Check 'em out.

Tracks That Make Your Neck Go "Uh-oh...": Panic Attack, Fragile Line, and Traveler

- Genghis wishes he was twenty-five years younger (and independently wealthy)...