That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - May
  • Amr
    by Ihsahn
Video of the Month - May
  • Live In Overhausen (2 CD + Blu-ray)
    Live In Overhausen (2 CD + Blu-ray)
    by Overkill
  • Metal: The Definitive Guide
    Metal: The Definitive Guide
    by Garry Sharpe-Young

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

Velvet Revolver - Live in Houston

A rushed out the door DVD that tries to capitalize on what little cred VR still hasThe term supergroup, unfortunately get loosely thrown around, especially these days.  I remember back in the day when the term meant something, but unfortunately today, its just considered cheap hype.  There are a couple of bands, from recent memory, that did not deserve this designation, but the hype machine drilled it into our heads until we were almost convinced.  One of those bands that fell into that category was Velvet Revolver.   VR was hyped because it contained a big chunk of Guns and Roses, along with the voice of Stone Temple Pilots.  On paper, not a bad match, but when it came to delivering the goods, to me, they fell way short.  Due to reckless behaviors and instability, the band called it quits a few years ago, but now we have a video document of one of their performances.

Eagle Rock Entertainment has recently just released VR's first and probably last DVD Live in Houston.  The show was shot in 2005 on the band's inaugural tour, for their debut Contraband.  The DVD contains an 11 track set, which covers the new record as well as a couple of tracks from the guys former bands.  The show is a little hard to watch due to all of the erratic camera work.  The shot angles change about every 2 seconds, which can cause retinal whiplash.  The sound is okay, but not that strong either.  Too bad this one wasn't stronger, because I was open to it changing my mind about the band, but after watching this one, it just solidified my previous perception.

Bottom Line:  Velvet Revolver in the short-lived heyday.  It seems like this was put out fairly quick and could have used a bit more editing.  Not sure what spawned this release, but it was probably to try to capitalize on the success of Slash's new solo group - or to further hype the rumors of Velvet Revolver reforming with a new vocalist...

- Ragman is still pissed Maiden was kicked off Ozzfest a few years back, and he had to see VR instead


Mama Kin - In the City

Young Swedes wear their 70s hard rock influences on their sleeves - and they're good!Taking their name from the classic Aerosmith track, Swedish rockers Mama Kin have burst onto the scene with their debut release In the City.  Mama Kin is a 4 piece hard rock band, that sounds like they just walked out of a time machine from the late 70's.  It is so refreshing to hear the new guys going old school.  I like when young bands, wear their influences on their sleeve, and pay homage to the ones that inspired them to pick up a guitar.  Sounding like a cross between classic Kiss and Thin Lizzy, Mama Kin bring it old school, without sounding too dated.

In the City is a 10 track platter of pure ear-candy for fans of classic hard rock.  This debut is chocked full of hard rocking anthems which contain big choruses and monster riffs.  The songs are well written, but do contain a little cheese to them.  Some of the tunes have the cliche type lyrics popular in the 70's and 80's like in Hey Operator and Fortune and Fame, but fortunately the music is strong enough to carry them. 

There are some really strong tracks on the record like Superman and Too Much.  I really dig the Kiss inspired track Too Much, which sounds like it could have come off Unmasked, but much heavier.  It starts with a cool Dio (Rock-n-Roll Children-esque) type heavy riff, before kicking into a full on Kiss type tune.  Vocalist Ward does a nice job emulating Mr. Stanley for this track.  Ward is a unique vocalist because he is like a cross between Phil Lynott and Paul Stanley.   All in all not a bad debut.

Bottom Line: New rockers taking the classic rock approach.  Good strong sing along type hard rock tunes that will keep you wanting more.

Standout TracksToo Much, Superman, Higher and Higher and In The City

- Ragman is starting to wonder if all [good] metal now comes from Sweden...


Heaven & Hell - Neon Nights (DVD)

Ronnie James Dio's final taped performance - 'nuff said.It has been 6 months since the great one left us, and it is still hard to fathom that Ronnie James Dio is gone.  Luckily there are still plenty of releases coming out, to help this legend live on.  The latest release comes from Eagle Rock Entertainment in the form of a DVD/CD combo titled Heaven and Hell - Neon Nights (Live in Europe).  The DVD and CD are sold separately.  Neon Nights marks the last filmed performance of RJD with Heaven and Hell.   The performance was filmed a little over a year ago at Wacken.  This show and this release also marks the 30th anniversary of the band and their classic release Heaven and Hell.

Neon Nights captures the band in top form, but did these guys ever have a bad gig?  As you would imagine the set list is full of Black Sabbath classics as well as a couple off their last release.  In support of The Devil You Know the band took the stage at Wacken and ruled the night.  The amazing thing to me is how good the guys sound.  Ronnie's vocals were amazing that night and we should feel fortunate that they were preserved on this DVD.  The filming of the show is perfect and the audio is spot on as well.  The picture is good, but would be amazing on BluRay.  Hopefully this will get the BluRay treatment in the future.  There are some cool special features, like interviews with the band discussing their classic record H&H, as well as a special tribute from the guys to Ronnie.

Bottom Line:  A must buy for Black Sabbath/Heaven and Hell fans.  Ronnie James Dio's final filmed performance, need I say more?  Get it.

- Ragman now has his music DVD of the year


De Van - Planet Botox

Damn, what the hell are them Swedes drinkin' over there? This stuff ROCKS.It has been awhile since a new band kicked my ass, and man I wish it happened more often.  The world of hard rock and metal seems to be flourishing now more than it has in years.   I wouldn't say the scene is getting saturated, but there is now more to listen to than there has been in quite sometime.  It takes alot for me to replay a CD after it has been reviewed, but if you kick as much ass as Swedish newcomers De Van do, then it is inevitable.  De Van mix the sounds of hard rock, goth, industrial with metal to make one killer sound.  The band reminds me of Crematory but with a bit more melody and more of a hard rock vibe.  I think the reason for the hard rock vibe is the vocals of Eric De Van.  He just has one of those killer hard rock type voices.

Planet Botox is the group's debut record on Jamsync Music.  It is an 11 track offering full of ear candy.  The CD is packed full of tunes that will get in your head and not leave.  Tracks like the melodic first single Shine will get in your head and will not let go.  It has one of those chorus' that tattoos the senses, so that it will be embedded in the brain for days.  Another track that is toxic is the track Plastic Surgery,  which is probably the catchiest tune on the CD.  It is an uptempo rocker that is sure to be a staple in their live set.  I'm not the biggest lyric guy, but these will give you a chuckle if you pay attention.  All in all a solid debut from another solid Swedish rock band.  Man, what is in the water over there?   Sweden is the new mecca for hard rock and heavy metal.

Bottom Line: Solid debut that will kick your ass.  A nice blend of several styles within the genre to create one killer sound.  Well-written songs that will stick with you.  A CD full of catchy/melodic songs with an edge.

Standout Tracks: Shine, Plastic Surgery, Rain, and Here in Shalaland

- Ragman was thinking about hair plugs until he heard Plastic Surgery...


Mas Alejandro Silva, Por Favor?

In case any fans want to catch some more of Alejandro Silva (Chile), here's a sweet video of him doing some south of the border shred...

- Genghis ain't seen a fretboard that scalloped since Maestro Malmsteen...