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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - September
  • The Book Of Souls
    The Book Of Souls
    BMG Recorded Music
Video of the Month - September
  • Rocks Donington 2014 [Blu-ray]
    Rocks Donington 2014 [Blu-ray]
    by Aerosmith
What's in the mind of Behemoth?
  • Confessions Of A Heretic: The Sacred And The Profane: Behemoth And Beyond
    Confessions Of A Heretic: The Sacred And The Profane: Behemoth And Beyond
    by Adam Nergal Darski, Mark Eglinton
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
Nov062013

Asomvel - Knuckle Duster

Oi! This is some kick ass motör-lovin' UK metal an' you better believe it!The retro train keeps on a rollin'. And, in fact, it's been doing so long enough that one might have to question whether this is "a thing", or simply the evolution of rock music happening right in front of us. After all, it's not that the music itself is a bad thing, it's the poseurs that make it annoying.

The lads of Asomvel have been doing their thing for nigh 20 years, so the idea of them being poseurs is ridiculous. And you'll know it as soon as you get a listen, as this is classic British hard rock/heavy metal in the vein of their legendary fellow countrymen Motörhead.

Their second(!) album, Knuckle Duster, marks the triumphant return of a band whose story reads like that of Spinal Tap or Bad News, having actually gone through much of the same trials (multiple drummers, obscurity, etc.) on their way to rock history - even culminating with the tragic loss of one of their founding brothers, bassist/vocalist Jay-Jay Winter in an auto accident. This is as real as metal gets, folks, and you can hear it in their music that's so down and dirty you'll need a pumice stone to wash your hands and face after a listen.

The Bottom Line: This is some authentic, working class metal from the UK happening here. If you're a fan of Ol' Lemmy and company you owe it to yourself to check these Brits out. It's as simple as that. Now somebody beer me! Anybody got a light?

Tracks That Require You Wear A Leather Jacket Or Pants: The whole damned thing

- Genghis always did want a leather biker jacket...

Wednesday
Nov062013

Benedictum - Obey

This is classic American heavy metal so good you'll swear you can smell someone sparking up a doob behind you.Formed back in 2005, San Diego metal band Benedictum has made a name for themselves and it's easy to see why. This is straight ahead American heavy/power metal in the vein of the venerable Ronnie James Dio, one of lead singer Veronica Freeman's inspirations.

Certainly, one of the stand out qualities of the band is Freeman's powerful vocals. This chick can scream and wail with the best of them and makes for a great frontwoman. But that's not to say the others in the band are riding her coattails. There's some great old school heavy metal happening here - enough to catch the ear of Jeff Pilson and Craig Goldy, who were captivated enough by what they heard to get involved in getting Benedictum more attention. Seriously, when you hear this album you'll likely get an instant flashback to those classic live shows of your youth: the colored lights pulsing, the smell of the fog machine, the taste of a cold beer, and the sound of a band that's there to rock the shit out the place. Great stuff.

The Bottom Line: There are very few female-fronted heavy metal bands that are putting out music that's more than just novelty. Like Doro, Veronica Freeman has the chops and the presence to carry Benedictum into its place in metal history. If you dig classic American heavy metal, in all its sweaty, smoky, headbanging glory, Benedictum may be the ticket.

Tracks To Make You Start Searching Local Venues For Upcoming Live Shows: Obey, Crossing Over, Cry, Die To Love You, and Retrograde

- Genghis would let nothing stop him from seeing this band live if they come through town...

Wednesday
Nov062013

Withem - The Point Of You

Guess what? Them crafty Norwegians have started playing around with progressive metal now. And it's pretty good!You don't hear a lot about progressive bands coming out of Norway, but damned if Withem hasn't released a pretty impressive debut with The Point Of You. And luckily they avoid the cliches that most progmetal bands seem to fall into. Instead, you get about an hour of clearly talented musicians that know their away around some odd time signatures, but don't turn it into the "look how we can turn a song on a dime" pissing contest that you normally see in the lesser bands of this ilk.

A big part of this success is due to the great vocals of Ole Aleksander Wagenius, who lends a sophistication that is often lost in the instrumental flurries that are a hallmark of such music. Reminiscient of Enchant's Ted Leonard, Ole's voice (and harmonies) is a vital instrument that compliments rather than competes with the other musicians to exhilarating effect. Aside from that, it's pretty standard progressive metal fare, but avoids the boring, mechanical gymnastics in favor of song-oriented compositions that serve a coherent melody without losing that all-important crunch that helps defines the genre.

The Bottom Line: Proving that there's more to Norwegian metal than just melodeath, Withem does a damned fine job of making some progressive metal that avoids much of the cliches of the genre. Using a steadfastly song-oriented approach gives their music a sophistication that delightfully belies its heavy yet complex, powerful rhythyms. And that is progressive metal, folks.

Tracks That Might Be Impossible To Resist The Urge To Headbang To At Work: Miracle, Burned By Senses, and The Paramount Of Lies

- Genghis sure wishes he could shred - especially after playing guitar for 25+ years...

Tuesday
Nov052013

Murder University

Murder University is a new slasher flick, that also deals with the occult.   The story is set at a New England college, which was center of a series of brutal, cult-like murders, approx. 20 years prior.  Just recently, well in 1983, the murders have started up again, and happen to be very similar to the ones that took place several years before.  The main character is a guy named Josh, who was recently targeted, during one of these attacks, but was lucky enough to escape.  After the attack, Josh teams up with a detective and his daughter, to try to figure who is committing these murders, as well as their motive.  

M.U. was a fairly entertaining flick.  Word of warning, this is a B-Movie!  Yes, the acting is subpar and the special effects and dialog abysmal at times, but this one remained, pretty entertaining from beginning to end.   The story line was one that has been done before, but this one added a new twist to it.  Long story short, Josh's father started a club/cult that murder students or anyone that got in their way.  Josh, ends up being a legacy, when the club gets started again 20 years later.  That's it and there it is, you'll have to watch it to see what happens from there.

Bottom Line: Slasher flick pays homage to 80's horror and doesn't do that bad of a job.  The acting and dialog can get cheesey at times, but it ain't enough to make this one a coaster.  A fun slasher flick that takes ya back a few years.

-Ragman can't believe he didn't watch more horror movies, before Halloween.

Monday
Nov042013

Six Minute Century - Wasting Time

Was it just one guy that did all of those CG rendered prog album covers back in the day?Being from Houston, it's very tempting to give local progmetal band Six Minute Century a greater review for their second studio album Wasting Time than I might normally give. Don't get me wrong, the four members of the band are each top notch musicians, as one would expect. But, admittedly, their music has a very nineties feel that I have a hard time enjoying with the same enthusiasm I did when it actually was the nineties.

That said, let's run down the particulars: Chuck Williams has a great voice that provides a good contrast to the layered crunchy guitars of Don LaFon who, like Michael Romeo (Symphony X), seems to be the main orchestrator of the proceedings. The other standout musician is easily Michael Millsap who gets his chance in the spotlight on Czardas (and the opening of Last Days In Paradise) with some bass playing that demonstrates an impressive mix of speed, fluidity, and restraint. But, like I said, there's no denying the talent everyone in this band possesses.

In the end, however, I think it's a combination of little things that keep me from giving a perfect score; the mix is a bit flat with little of the space between instruments necessary for a band so full of technical skills. The vocal harmonies could stand some more punch; it all sounds like not enough intervallic distance, making them seem just doubled or even tripled. And the production could use more separation of the bass in the mix. Granted, I'm no audio engineer and these are minor quibbles, but like I said, collectively they were enough to hurt the overall presentation a little.

The Bottom Line: It's true there is no shortage of progmetal bands out there, but I respect the obvious talent in Six Minute Century, and really look forward to watching them grow and make more music. Even the venerable Dream Theater started somewhere (listen to When Dream And Day Unite again some time), honing their sound and songwriting over the years into the popular music it is today. I think LaFon and company may have what it takes to do it too.

Tracks To Make You Break Out Your Bryce Installation Disc: Baptized In Flames, Paying Death's Toll, and Defining Moment

- Genghis thinks this album will grow on him with repeated listens...