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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
Monday
Oct152012

Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender (Blu-Ray)

Easily the most illuminating story of one of the most amazing and innovative vocalists ever to helm a rock band.Born in Zanzibar, Farrokh Bulsara quickly learned to live his own way while keeping most people in his life at arm's length, for fear of the heartache of non-acceptance.  It wasn't until he was in his mid twenties, having developed a singular voice, that he joined a band with Roger Taylor and Brian May, changed its name to Queen and his own to Freddie Mercury. The rest of course is history, but Freddie's own shyness and reticence in talking about himself has made him one of the more enigmatic figures in rock music.  And that is the subject that Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender seeks to expatiate over the course of its 107 minutes.

With personal interviews and archival footage, Eagle Rock Entertainment has put together a revealing portrait of one of the most innovative and elusive rock stars in the history of the genre. With a thankfully brief nod to his formative years, the bulk of the time in this thoughtful documentary is spent on the man behind the persona of Freddie Mercury. Far from a melancholy biography, there is much that is celebrated about Freddie's career, as told by his friends and comrades - including insight from none other than Matt Lucas (Little Britain). Personally, I was too young at the time to realize what was going on with Freddie. I didn't know what a homosexual was, much less able to read between any lines that may have been present in any of Queen's body of work. And as you watch this documentary, you see why. There was much more to Freddie Mercury than just who he had sex with. He was a talented but restless musician who sought inspiration wherever he could find it - even as fulfilling, personal relationships eluded him. I had no idea of his connection to Spanish soprano, Dame Montserrat Caballé, and the daring collaboration (Barcelona, 1987) that was quite innovative for its time (though was later adopted by a former critic, Pavorotti), but also its own touching love story of sorts. In a way, his life was not too different from some of the operas he listened to; full of villians like [confidante] Paul Prenter, friends like Roger Taylor, Brian May, and [manager] Jim "Miami" Beach, and shining heroines like Montserrat Caballé.

The Bottom Line: I found it quite inspirational, and my respect for Freddie has grown appreciably - especially where it concerns the last few years of his life, while quietly dealing with AIDS, when his output increased in sophistication and grace. This is a must have documentary for anyone who's a big fan of Queen and the mysterious, talented man who fronted the band, but not necessarily on Blu-Ray, as most of the footage is before the age of high definition video.

- Genghis admits he got a little choked up watching this...

Thursday
Oct112012

Gary Moore - Blues for Jimi (Bluray and CD)

I have said it before, and will say it again, Gary Moore is one of the best guitarists to ever strum a chord.  The man had an amazing career, but unfortunately was struck down before his time.  I'm still saddened by the thought of Moore being gone, but relish in the fact that he left us so much great music to remember him by.  The latest thing to surface is a tribute show Moore did in honor of Jimi Hendrix.  The great folks at Eagle Rock Entertainment have recently released this performance in a CD and Bluray format (sold separately). 

The show was captured in London back in 2007 and has now just seen its release.  It is an amazing performance in which Moore and his band tear up some Hendrix classics, but the real highlight of the show is when original Experience members Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox join Moore for some smoking renditions of Red House, Stone Free and Hey Joe

The Bluray looks amazing and gives you a sense of being in the audience.  The show was shot on film and is captivating.  The CD also is mixed well and has a great feel about it.   I gotta say this was a pretty ballsy move by Moore, but it paid off.  Hard to pull off doing a whole set of Hendrix, and doing it justice, but that is just what he did.  Moore was just on fire that night.  He rips is up like no other.  The CD and the Bluray complement each other nicely.  Get both if you can, because it is worth it.  All in all this is a solid show.

Bottom LineMoore killing it live, the only way he ever could.  Gary doing a fitting tribute to one of the greats.

-Ragman is missing Gary Moore about now.

Thursday
Oct112012

Kiss - Shout It Out Loud (The Secret Story - Unauthorized)

Being an avid Kiss fan, I usually get sucked in by any new product, especially if it involves the original line up.  Don't let the cover fool you, because the new line up is not included in this video, only the original guys.  The latest thing to catch my eye is an unauthorized DVD called Shout It Out Loud (The Secret Story).  This is not a documentary, so don't get the wrong idea.  It is a compilation of interviews, as well as features on the band from back in the day. 

I have seen some of this material before, but I don't believe it has been released on DVD before.  There are interviews with the band, mainly from the Dynasty era as well as some, documentary style features showing how the band gets their stage and their gear put together, before a gig.  I gotta say it was pretty cool to see some of this footage.  I think one of the highlights was an interview with Peter Criss, post Kiss (1st time), from some news broadcast.  It was a fun watch, but this one will mainly appeal to the Kiss Army.

Bottom LineA compilation of old TV clips featuring the hottest band in the world.  This is a nostalgia piece, that will mostly just appeal to die hard Kiss fans.

-Ragman took a ride on a time machine with this one.

Thursday
Sep272012

Podcast #142: Roar

Big thanks to Ryan, Brian, and the rest of the guys from Candlelight Red for showing us some hospitality. HORNS UP!Well, the festival season has recently come to an end and Genghis & Ragman closed it out by attending the Uproar Festival, battling through the Texas heat to rock out with the new school.  Join G & R as they give a play-by-play of the festival; from Candlelight Red to Shinedown the boys cover the gamut. First off, the guys cornered lead guitarist Brad Prentice from newcomers Mindset Evolution who discusses the tour as well as their current EP. Next, Genghis & Ragman were cordially invited to hang with the boys from Candlelight Red as vocalist Ryan Hoke and drummer Brian Dugan chewed the fat about touring and recording.

Beers of the Festival: Stella Artois, Shocktop, Ziegenbock

Featured Tracks: Papa Roach - Lifeline; Mindset Evolution - We Are Stars; Staind - Eyes Wide Open; Adelita’s Way - Alive; Godsmack - Cryin' Like a Bitch; Shinedown - Amaryllis; Candlelight Red - Medicated, Demons, Sleeping Awake, and Closer

- Ragman dug the roar, but got bit by the lion...

Podcast #142: Roar

Thursday
Sep272012

Gypsyhawk - Revelry and Resilience

Damn, them Gypsyhawk boys know how to rock. It's like Motörhead, Thin Lizzy, and KISS all got drunk and did it.I don't know what it is, but I've totally changed my mind on the whole "retro" thing. I know it's nothing new, (and that many artists may be offended at what seems like dismissive pigenholing) but I used to get all bent out of shape about people making music, movies, or whatever kind of media/art that was an obvious homage to - or, in some cases, outright ripoffs of - what has come before. But I was wrong - or at least painting with a broad brush.

There's a distinct difference between someone aping another's art in a desparate cash grab, and those that simply wear their influences proudly on their sleeves. Which isn't to say the latter people don't bring something original to the mix. In fact, that's what really makes it work best. Case in point, Pasadena rockers Gypsyhawk hit the mark with an album of nothing less than classic rock and roll brilliance. Revelry and Resilience, the band's second studio effort, may evoke the sound of bands like [early] KISS and Thin Lizzy, but the music somehow manages to be loose and ballsy while also sounding mature and comfortable in its place; it's all the whiskey-soaked fun of old school rockin' with the tight, technical approach of modern metal. The best example of their abilities is the awesome song Frostwyrm that's got the melodic warmth of something like Badfinger's No Matter What with an Iron Maiden-esque harmonized guitar solo section midway through (courtesy of Andrew Packer & Erik Kluiber) that's like finding bacon in a chocolate bar. Brilliant.

The Bottom Line: Don't make the mistake of dismissing Gypsyhawk as another retro band recycling what's already been done. This is a quartet with an old school sensibility that knows what makes good rock and roll inside and out. So grab a beer, spark up, and crank that fucking music.

Tracks to Make You Throw Away Your Skinny Jeans: Overloaded, Frostwyrm, 1345 & State Lines

- Genghis is working on growing a giant moustache...