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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - April
  • Electric Tentacles
    Electric Tentacles
    by Damian Murdoch Trio
Video of the Month - April
  • Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A. (2 DVD)
    Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A. (2 DVD)
    by Steve Vai
Wanna Be A Metal Chef?
  • Mosh Potatoes: Recipes, Anecdotes, and Mayhem from the Heavyweights of Heavy Metal
    Mosh Potatoes: Recipes, Anecdotes, and Mayhem from the Heavyweights of Heavy Metal
    by Steve Seabury
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Props

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
Oct022013

Lalu - Atomic Ark

Frenchman Vivien Lalu has cranked out an even more impressive album than his debut with more guest talent than you can shake a baton at.Merde alors! If you don't know about Vivien Lalu, the French prog wizard, you're missing out on some amazing music. Yeah, yeah, everyone knows about progressive metal music - and, to be honest, it's not like there's a lot of new stuff to be discovered in the genre. But when someone comes along with an album of this kind of depth, fully realized (and backed by some of the best genre specialists in the business) you can't dismiss it as just another also-ran.

And such is the case with Lalu's second album Atomic Ark. This is progressive music of some of the highest quality, showcasing much of the genre's breadth in terms of mood as well as musicianship - all composed by one guy. No stranger to colloborations or even film and TV work, Lalu knows how to make a record. But for every pensive or brooding piece of music, there is at least an equal amount of heavy, dynamic, progmetal bombast that reminds you this dude can rock some ears, man. And the work of artists Martin LeMar (Mekong Delta), Mike LePond (Symphony X), Simone Mularoni (DGM), Virgil Donati (Planet X), in addition to countless guest contributions from people like Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment) and Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie) really give this CD the sound of a seasoned, well-oiled metal machine. I can hardly imagine what Lalu could do to top this.

The Bottom Line: If you like the progmetals with more of a European flair, Lalu has delivered in fine form. With the help of some of his buddies (themselves some of the best in the genre) handling some the instrumental chores, this French master gets to concentrate on some really great arrangements. Check it out!

Tracks to Make You Excited About the New Wave of European Progmetal: Greed, War on Animals, Deep Blue, Bast, and Momento

- Genghis was wide-eyed at many points listening to this album...

Friday
Sep272013

The Quill - Tiger Blood

Swedish rockers The Quill aren't another retro band, they're the real deal, bro. Winning!No doubt many are guilty of pigeon-holing Swedish hard rockers The Quill as being another band riding the retro craze - as am I. But as it turns out, The Quill have been doing their thing since the 90s. And their sound is really more accurately compared to classic bands of that era like The Cult. "But those bands are still basically doing a Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin thing!" Right, I know, but there's a big difference between the retro thing and being basically a band from that era. Like reviewing The Sabs' 13 album with a phrase like "they really capture that old Sabbath-y retro sound", it would be redundant to judge The Quill as such.

The selling point of Tiger Blood, the band's 7th studio album, is its musical depth. Rather than a simple, classic rock romp from start to finish, there are mellower tracks like Land of Gold and Honey with it's Embryonic Journey-esque acoustic riff and simple, effective harmonized vocals, and the use of strings on Purgatory Hill provide an almost Kashmir-ish energy that implies a more thoughtful and mature approach to the songwriting you don't find on simple, coattail-riding, retro bands. These guys are simply the real deal.

The Bottom Line: Not to be dismissed as just another retro band, The Quill has been making music for over 20 years, and their latest effort shows the kind of refinement and maturity that lesser bands riding the retro craze normally lack.

Tracks To Make You Consider Getting Your Bell Bottoms Out Of The Back Of The Closet: Death Valley, Land of Gold And Honey, Darkest Moon

- Genghis may have to grow some big-ass sideburns to go with his 'stache...

Thursday
Sep262013

Podcast #159: Rÿche

When two brothers fight over the last turkey leg at Thanksgiving dinner it can get pretty brutal. Same applies to rock n roll, believe it or not; when bands split into two separate factions which entity is the true owner of the name? Join Genghis & Ragman as they discuss what seems to be a growing trend for some of their favorite bands, like Queensrÿche. And the boys talk about their summer's lack of concert experiences due to high ticket prices. Next, the boys welcome the "Mountain King" himself, Jon Oliva, back to the show for a one-on-one as he discusses his first solo album, Raise the Curtain. HORNS UP!

DVD of the Show: Queensrÿche - Mindcrime at the Moore

Beer of the Show: State Pen Porter (Santa Fe Brewing Co.)
 
Appearance: 3.5
Aroma: 3.5
Palate: 3.5
Taste: 3.5
Overall: 3.5
"A really nice porter, rich in aroma and flavor. Toasty with a little bitterness at the end but not unpleasant."
 

Featured Tracks: Coldspell - Dark Reflections; Bad English - Straight to the Heart; Queensrÿche - Gonna Get Close to You; Zodica - Coming Home; Pamela Moore - Melt Into You; Geoff Tate’s Queensrÿche - Cold; Queensrÿche - Where Dreams Go to Die; Savatage - On The Run; Oliva - Can’t Get Away, Ten Years, I Know and Father Time; Savatage - Warriors

Ragman's Classic of the Show: Jorn - Something Real

Genghis' Classic of the Show: Tesla - Shine Away

Ragman's Pick of the Show: Sacred Mother Tongue - Demons

Genghis' Pick of the Show: Toxic Holocaust - Metal Attack

- Ragman is saving his allowance, so he can go to a concert soon...

Podcast #159: Rÿche

Sunday
Sep222013

Podcast #158: Question

Foi um prazer conhecê-lo, Kiko!How many times would you buy the same album? Seems like lately remastered and expanded versions of our favorite CDs are coming out like hotcakes. But is it just hype or something actually worth buying a second time? Join Genghis & Ragman as they discuss this tantalizing topic as well as current happenings in the metal world. Next, the boys scurry down to a local recording studio to have a chat with Angra guitarist Kiko Loureiro who discusses his latest solo album, Sounds of Innocence, as well as how he distinguishes his solo work from his day job in Angra.

DVD of the Show: Dio - Finding the Sacred Heart - Live in Philly 1986

Beer of the Show: Salt Lick Pecan Wood Smoked Saison (Jester King Brewery)
 
Appearance: 4.0
Aroma: 2.5
Palate: 3.0
Taste: 3.0
Overall: 2.75
"Ragman recuses himself as a non-sour beer lover, but Genghis likes this unusual farmhouse ale from a local fave brewer."
 

Standout Tracks: Deceit - Out of Project; Dio - The King of Rock n Roll; Blackwater Rising - Dance With the Devil; Newsted - Soldierhead; Metallica - Ride the Lightning; Angra - Salvation Suicide; Kiko Loureiro - The Hymm, El Guajiro, Ray of Life, Reflective and Conflicted

Ragman's Classic of the Show: Kiss - Under the Rose

Genghis' Classic of the Show: Pantera - 5 Minutes Alone

Ragman's Pick of the Show: Jorn - The Traveler

Genghis' Pick of the Show: Zed - Desperation Blues

- Ragman is proud to announce that the G & R show is the highest rated podcast on this site...

Podcast #158: Question

Friday
Sep202013

Sofy Major - Idolize

Yeah, Sofy Major is billed as a doom metal band, but this sounds more to me like classic proto-grunge - and it's great.There's been no shortage of late in the realm of bottom heavy retro rockers (i.e. sludge/doom metal). Sounding like the modern analogue of iconic metal forefathers Black Sabbath, French doom riffers Sofy Major has been slogging through countless countries leaving their pummeled, satisfied audiences wanting more. And their latest playlists will undoubtedly include tracks off their sophomore effort, Idolize.

While those that don't go for the swollen, fuzz-heavy riffs of the genre may find such music slow and plodding, there's no denying that there's an energy here. In fact, tunes like Bbbbreak get downright punky, giving a lift out of the muddy din like an exhilarating breeze on a hot evening. And that's where Sofy Major sets itself apart from other similar bands. While some songs sound like a car crash in progress, there are others that sound like classic Soundgarden in the early stages of grunge; power and melody delivered in dirty jeans and tees rather than leather and pirate shirts. And anyone who grew up with that cathartic punky break from the machined razor of metal in the late 80s/early 90s will likely enjoy the earnestly manic music these Gallic rockers are putting out.

The Bottom Line: Sofy Major is a French band that sounds like it's stepped through time, from 60s' England, to 90s' Seattle, to modern Brooklyn, to rock, drink beer, "and chew bubblegum..."

Tracks To Make You Wanna Smash a Guitar Over an Amp: Bbbreak, UMPPK pt. 2, Slow and Painful, and Platini

- Genghis never really had a grudge against grunge like Ragman...