That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - January
  • No Cross No Crown
    No Cross No Crown
    by Corrosion Of Conformity
Video of the Month - January
  • Return To Live (Blu-Ray)
    Return To Live (Blu-Ray)
    by Labyrinth
  • 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

James LaBrie - Static Impulse

Damn, James, what have you done? This CD fucking ROCKS.It's funny to think of Labrie as anything other than the Canadian vocalist from Dream Theater.  It's not like he just joined one of the biggest bands in the prog metal scene (try the last 20 years).  But his solo work is relatively sparse for a singer with his talent.  After a couple of albums as "Mullmuzzler", James has finally accepted his role as leader of the James LaBrie band.  And their latest effort, Static Impulse is, in a word: incredible.

LaBrie has slowly been gathering an amazing group of musicians with which he's forged a tight, melodic - and now heavier than ever - band worthy of a big tour.  I mean it, this album sounds like it deserves a place on the shelf next to In Flames as well as Dream Theater.  Though many side projects become another "guy from a popular band does his own thing" self-centered solo CD, James and Matt [Guillory, keyboardist extraordinaire, of Dali's Dilemma] are a great song-writing team, crafting songs with punch while maintaining a lyrical sophistication that transcends most solo efforts from lesser musicians.

The Bottom Line: I can't stop listening to this CD.  James and company have made an incredible album that incorporates all of the best elements of his solo work to date in a tightly focused musical force.  If Ragman hadn't already declared a CD Of The Month (the bastard), this would be it for me.

- Genghis is cranking up "Mislead" for the third time...


System Divide - The Conscious Sedation

"I like how they're able to transition from brutality to beauty"Imagine if Soilwork and Lacuna Coil had a baby, I know it's hard to imagine, but if they did, it would sound just like new comers System Divide.  System Divide have just released their debut CD on Metal Blade Records entitled The Conscious Sedation.  System Divide pack the heaviness of Soilwork with the melody of Lacuna Coil.  As you might of guessed, the band is fronted by a male and female vocalist.  It is a nice blend of melodic death metal with a touch of goth.  I really like how the band is able to transition from brutality to beauty. 

The song Echoes is a prime example of this perfect transition.  The song pummels your senses and then goes into this beautiful melody, that take the song to a new level  I have to say this band is a breath of fresh air, because they are able to blend these two genres.  With the success of bands like Lacuna Coil and Evanescence, the metal market has been flooded with copy cat bands, but System Divide has taken it up a notch, and distanced themselves from the pack.  Go get this one, it rocks!

Bottom Line: Great melodic death metal with a little goth.  Well-written tunes that will get the blood pumpin'.

Standout tracks: Lethargy, Echoes, Hollow and Vagaries of Perception

- Ragman has a new favorite band


Roswell Six - Terra Incognita (A Line in the Sand)

A proggy concept album based on best -selling novels? What a country!Terra Incognita is a epic fantasy book trilogy, created by author Kevin J. Anderson, based on world discovery and battles for religion.  Not too far from what we see and hear about today.  All that being said, it appears that Mr. Anderson is a metal head and has decided to put his books to music.  Anderson enlisted the talents of many names in the progressive rock industry to give him a hand in bringing his books to life, via music.  For the project, he asked Frame Shift multi-musician Henning Pauly to create and play all of the music on the CD.  I have to say, I was not familiar with Pauly, before this project, but now that I've heard this guy play, I'm truly amazed.  Dude is a bad ass.  The vocals were primarily handled by Steve Walsh (Kansas), Michael Sadler (ex-Saga) and Sass Jordan (This one left me guessing when I saw her name on the liner notes, because she is not affiliated with the metal community what so ever.  Not sure what rock they found her under, but she does a nice job).  A Line in the Sand, is the second in this trilogy and promisses to be heavier than it's predecessor.  I haven't heard the first CD, but this one is dark and heavy and very catchy.  The songs are well crafted and flow very well together.  The songs are progressive and have a very heavy edge to them.  All in all a very enjoyable listen.

Bottom Line: A concept album from a best selling author.  Much like the Ayreon projects that we are more accustomed to, Roswell 6 delivers the same sort of progessive punch.  A well crafted disk that gets better with every listen.

Standout Tracks: Barricade, When God Smiled on Us, My Father's Son and Whirlwind

- Ragman is looking for his reading glasses


Rush - Classic Albums: 2112 & Moving Pictures (Blu-Ray)

One kick ass behind the scenes documentary!Classic Albums is at it again, by releasing an expanded version of the VH-1 Classic show's feature on Rush.  This episode focuses on two of the greatest Rush records ever: 2112 and Moving Pictures.  Hot off the heels of the Rush documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage, Classic Albums has released a nice companion to this now legendary documentary.  An interesting thing about this DVD, was that it seemed like some of the footage from the this classic albums special, was used in the movie.  I need to check that.  The classic albums series digs deep in to these classic records and gives a little more insight, as to how these records were created.  The DVD is full of interviews and classic footage of the band.  As I always say, the BluRay version gives the viewer a sense of being in the room with the artist, which comes off pretty surreal.  It was very cool seeing each member play their instrument separately as they played along with the original studio track.  The DVD is packed with approx. 54min. of bonus footage that was not originally aired.  Killer DVD!

Bottom Line: A must for Rush fans.  Wanna see how two of the greatest rock records of all time came together?  Then check this one out.

- Ragman can't wait to see this live...


2Cents - Dress To Kill

Not re-inventing the wheel, but solid enough to stand out from the pack.Hailing from Southern California, 2Cents look to make a dent in the ever populated metal market with their debut Dress To Kill and as an opening slot on the BLS Berserkus tour.  2Cents is a modern hard rock/heavy metal band that packs a punch as fierce as Pantera or Killswitch Engage mixed with the melody of Chevelle.  Actually the band sounds like a cross between Mudvayne and Slipknot, but with a modern edge.  Vocalist Adam O'Rourke can sing as angry as Chad Gray, and as precise as a pissed off Corey Taylor, which is evident on the track The Distance Traveled.  The music on the record reminds me of early Mudvayne, but more accessible, due to the melody within each track.  A refreshing note about this CD, is that unlike early Slipknot or Mudvayne offerings, 2Cents guitarist Adair Cobley has chosen to solo on this CD.   The CD is full of solid heavy tunes, that contain enough melody to get them played on the radio. 

Bottom Line: 2Cents are on to something.  They are not re-inventing the wheel but they are a solid enough band to stand out from the pack.  The songs are well crafted and catchy enough to make you remember them.

Standout Tracks: She's Gone, The Distance Traveled, Dressed To Kill and Deeply, Madly

- Ragman has given his 2 cents