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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
Wednesday
Apr232014

Winger - Better Days Comin'

Hard to believe that after being around nearly 30 years this is only Winger's sixth studio album.The more time passes, the more I relish getting new material from Kip Winger. Say what you want about his ex-Chippendale's dancer posturing days on MTV, but Kip and company is one of the few hair metal acts that can still put out good product, unlike some of their contemporaries (Dokken, I'm looking at you). And though that output has been sparse - their latest, Better Days Comin', being only their sixth studio release since 1988 - I'd stack the quality level of the music up against any other band's career.

Now, to be sure, I wouldn't claim that Winger's strength is innovation. You won't find some de rigueur progressive gymnastics or melodic death chug on this album (though Tin Soldier is satisfyingly unpredictable). This band's true talent lies in making great listenable songs and making it look effortless, as if they have this bag of great tunes from which to pull at any given moment. Even when they throw something in that's less energetic, possibly threatening to ruin the momentum, you still get a groovy track like Ever Wonder and it's all good. This I think is a testament to the group's dynamics and working relationships. Kip is usually the principal songwriter, and the synergy of him and Reb set the tone for the rest of the band. These cats just make great music when they get together. 

The Bottom Line: If you haven't listened to Winger in a while, or are curious about them ("Hey, is this that one band with the hairy, shirtless guy from back in the day?"), this album is a great way to check them out. They're still a great group of musicians that don't take themselves anywhere near as seriously as bands with half their talent. 'Nuff said.

Tracks To Do The Whole Rock Out In Your Underwear In Your Bedroom To: Midnight Driver Of A Love MachineQueen Babylon, Better Days Comin', Tin Soldier, So Long China, Storm In Me, and Out Of This World (with Reb Beach's patented mega outro solo)

- Genghis is practicing his one-handed bass playing while pointing technique...

Wednesday
Apr162014

Words Of Farewell - The Black Wild Yonder

Don't ask me why, but I've always loved album covers with pictures of beautiful women looking distressed with their eyes closed. Seriously.You may recall my enthusiasm for Words Of Farewell's debut full length album, Immersion, and the heralding of the burgeoning subgenre of progressive melodic death metal. Well, after nearly two years of making us wait the lads from Deutschland are back in fine form with their sophomore release, The Black Wild Yonder.

As previously mentioned with Immersion, WOF have a great foundation in that now legendary In Flames melodeath sound while keeping things more accessible with catchy melodies and a driving energy that never wanes. Factor in the amazing musicianship from vocalist Alexander Otto's iron throat to lead guitarist Erik Gaßmus' blazing but restrained fretwork and you're looking at a hell of a band; one that was good enough to be picked to open on tour for the likes of Dark Tranquility and Scar Symmetry.

Now while this latest album is as good as the previous one without a doubt, I do feel like the mix was a bit lacking on this one. I had a hard time hearing the guitars as distinctly as I would've liked, especially since blazing solos are one of the genre's hallmarks. But, truth be told, that's all I can find fault with on this otherwise fantastic disc. Ausgezeichnet, ihr alle!

The Bottom Line: Once again Words Of Farewell prove that not only is the subgenre started by bands like In Flames still viable, but it can even be improved a bit. Outstanding work!

Tracks To Make You Wish You Lived In Europe So You Could See Bands Like This All The Fucking Time: All of them

- Genghis would love to see these guys on a bill with Scar Symmetry...

Wednesday
Apr162014

Temperance (Self-titled)

The symphonic metal genre gets a really nice kick in the rear with some melodeath elements, courtesy of Temperance.So sure there's nothing new about a female-fronted band, even a heavy one. But often times the sticky wicket is that the overall sound suffers for lack of the aggressive edge that metal fans expect, relegating otherwise talented singers to mere novelty and eye candy.

Europe's latest rockers, Temperance, have just hit the scene with their self-titled debut album mixed and mastered by none other than guitar wizard Simone Mularoni (DGM). Right off the bat you can appreciate the band's committment to a heavy sound despite the symphonic metal trappings one might expect. Sure, they're there, but I've rarely heard this level of power - from the satisfying rhythmic punch to the addition of death metal growls - in bands like Nightwish or Lacuna Coil. Less gothic adornment, more balls and chunk™. Capische?

The Bottom Line: In this incredible modern age of metal it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd, but Temperance has a formula that works pretty well, taking symphonic metal and kicking it up a few notches with some heavy almost progressive elements. Nice debut, guys (and gal).

- Genghis can't get enough of Simone's shredding on YouTube...

Tuesday
Apr152014

Below - Across The Dark River

Man, I hope this dude made sure to pack plenty of under-wear. Get it? He's going to the under-world? Nothin'? Ahh, you guys suck.Sweden has long been the home of some of heaviest, darkest metal around, but a lot of doom metal tends to end up as so much droning with little regard to melody. Enter Below who seek to right that wrong with their debut album, Across The Dark River.

Moulded by great bands like early-era Black Sabbath, Below proves that the riff is king in the land of doom, and that good songs begin and end with a catchy riff upon which you build epic metal. Sounding like a cross between Ronnie James Dio and Zak Stevens, vocalist Zeb, clearly in his element, has the powerful voice you want in the midst of this intrepid death march.

Last year they released an EP that received enough buzz to catch the attention of major labels which eventually landed them in the studio of legendary King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque who stated "This is one of the heaviest bands I have worked with in the studio for a very long time". The results speak for themselves and fans of old school doom riffery like Candlemass and the Sabs should be very pleased indeed.

The Bottom Line: Fans of doom metal yearning for the days when the riff was a foundation for a song rather than an afterthought should check out Below's impressive debut. So, get your mind right, slap on those headphones, and fucking crank it.

Tracks To Be Listened To On A Cool Spring Night With The Windows Open: Bid You Farewell, Portal, and Mare Of The Night

- Genghis remembers fondly the days of listening to big console stereo systems...

Monday
Apr142014

Gun Barrel - Damage Dancer

You might be tempted to say "this band is just a G&R ripoff", but when's the last time G&R sounded this good?It's been nearly 30 years since Guns and Roses hit the scene and very few bands have managed to capture that kind of raw, hard rock power with any sort of sincerity, much less efficacy. But then you run across a band like Gun Barrel, brandishing their latest studio album Damage Dancer, to try to change your mind. These German boys get pretty damn close to evoking the ballsy, bluesy feel of a bar band that's ready to explode onto the audience as much as rock them.

Formed back in 1998, this quartet has been slowly, quietly making a big name for themselves by the tried and true practice of paying their dues, and it shows on album with no fancy studio gimmicks, just classic sweat and swagger captured in 12 high energy tracks.

Guitarist Rolf Tanzius does a nice job of delivering dirty but tight riffs over the solid backbeat of Tomcat Kintgen (bass) and Toni Pinciroli (drums) while singer Patrick Sühl's alley cat wail wraps it all up with a bow for a potent package of heavy rock and roll right off the Sunset Strip. If only Axl and Slash still had this kind of rocket sauce.

The Bottom Line: Gun Barrel do an amazing job of delivering the feel of being at the Whisky A Go Go circa the mid 80s, and while that time may be past, it's great to know that someone can still rock like that when the originators of the style couldn't do it anymore if they tried.

- Genghis would love to see these dudes tear up a joint live...