That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - March
  • Pictures
    by Cyrax
Video of the Month - March
  • Heavy Metal Parking Lot
    Heavy Metal Parking Lot
    starring n/a
Great Metal Reading
  • Power Chord: One Man's Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes
    Power Chord: One Man's Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes
    by Thomas Scott McKenzie


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

Scale The Summit - The Migration

Holy smokes, these hometown heroes can play instrumental prog like nobody's damn business. This album is fucking amazing.It's hard enough to start a band these days in a town that's not known for having a thriving music scene, but that's exactly what Scale The Summit did in my home town of Houston, Texas back in the mid 2000s, putting out their debut album in 2007 on their own.  Since then, they've released three sucessive albums through Prosthetic Records bringing us to their latest work, The Migration.  And it's a progressive instrumental lover's sweet, melodic dream.

Far from the wankery of their brilliant-but-way-too-esoteric musical predecessors like Watchtower (another Texas band), Scale The Summit's strength is its firm foundation in melody; more Gordian Knot than Messhugah.  And no matter how intricate Chris [Letchford] and Travis [Levrier]'s complimentary guitar passages get, there's always a strong sense of direction from beginning to end like a boat floating down a river.  Indeed even when things go from pensive to energetic as on Evergreen, you never get the feeling of disorientation that some bands do; you need a melodic anchor in an instrumental piece when the vocals aren't there to tie it all together emotionally. Think Animals As Leaders meets...Eric Johnson? However you want to describe what they're doing, I just hope they keep doing [in Houston] it for a long time to come.

The Bottom Line: These hometown boys have done it again! They've put out an amazing catalog of music in the short time they've been around and they show no signs of stopping with each new album sounding better than the last. If you get a chance to see them live, DO IT!

Tracks To Make Your Guitar Playing Irrelevant: The whole damn album

- Genghis sometimes just looks at his guitars and asks "who am I kidding?"...


Dio - Finding the Sacred Heart - Live in Philly 1986

It has been 3 long years since the passing of metal legend Ronnie James Dio, but his legacy lives on, with all of the vintage releases that have followed, since his passing.  The latest release, is actually a re-release of his 1986 concert film Sacred Heart (The Video).  The show was filmed in Philadelphia during the second leg of the Sacred Heart tour.  The original release was an edited version of the full show, but the re-release, now features the full concert, which is definitely a good thing.  If you were a fan of the original line up, then you will be happy, because they are all there, with the exception of original guitarist Vivian Campbell.  At the start of the second leg of this tour, Campbell had been replaced by Craig Goldy (Ex-Giuffria).  Goldy joined the band, after Campbell left to join Whitesnake.

Finding the Sacred Heart, has finally been released, the way it should have been, several years ago.  It baffles the mind, to think some exec., back in the day, thought it was a good idea to edit this thing down. The set list relies heavily on the Sacred Heart album, but many of the classics are present as well. The great thing about the re-release is that you now get to see the performances of songs like Don't Talk to Strangers and We Rock, which were left off of the original release.  

If that ain't enough, make sure to check out the bonus features.  There is a vintage interview with Ronnie, at the time of the release of Sacred Heart as well as a more recent interview with Ronnie and Craig, that features them reminiscing of the the Sacred Heart tour.  Cool stuff.  A must for Dio fans.

Bottom Line: This is a solid performance from the Dio band, in which they were firing on all cylinders.   If you own the previous version, I would suggest you box it up and grab this one because this release trumps it by a mile.  

Ragman is biting his nails for the re-release of the Hear N' Aid...Release it already!!


Podcast #153: Owner

Geoff Thorpe is an old school guy, and a class act to boot - and Vicious Rumors sounds amazing these days!Is there really a need for two incarnations of the same band? That is, when bands split up into two (or more) separate factions to carry on shouldn't only one of them get the name? Join Genghis & Ragman as they discuss how it's not only confusing when you go to see these bands live, but equally so when they're releasing new product under the same name (this practice has been more prevalent over the last 10 years, but Queensryche's taken it to a new level). Next, the boys welcome Vicious Rumors guitarist Geoff Thorpe for a one-on-one as Geoff discusses the band's latest release Electric Punishment as well as their current tour plans.

DVD of the Show:  Judas Priest - Epitath

Beer of the Show: Préaris Quadrupel (Vliegende Paard Brouwers)
Appearance: 3.0
Aroma: 3.0
Palate: 3.0
Taste: 3.5
Overall: 3.0
"What starts out with as a great sipping beer becomes really strong on the alcohol taste when it warms up."

Featured Music: Jolly - Firewell; Judas Priest - Metal Gods; Dio - Night Music; Queensryche - Rhythm of Hope; The Winery Dogs - Elevate; Adler - Just Don’t Ask; Vicious Rumors - Don’t Wait for Me, Thirst for a Kill, Together We Unite, Escape (From Hell), This Sign of the Southern Cross (Black Sabbath Tribute), Electric Punishment, and Children

Classic of the Show: Crimson Glory - Painted Skies

2nd Classic of the Show: Sevendust - T.O.A.B.

Genghis' Pick of the Show: Soen - Oscillation

Ragman's Pick of the Show: Jettblack - Sweet and the Brave

- Ragman is ready for a throwdown between the Queensryches...

Podcast #153: Owner


TesseracT - Altered State

The addition of Ashe O'Hara has really put this band at the top of their prog metal game - and they do it all without guitar solos! WTF?I have said it before, but it bears repeating that the key to good progmetal isn't just killer musical chops; there are loads of talented people all over the world - just check out YouTube some time. But there has to be a good listenable quality to it in the vocals and in the melodies. Luckily, UK-based TesseracT displays not only a good sense of that melodicism but also possess an extraordinary intensity in their music that makes for an exhilarating sense of momentum.

Despite a seemingly ever-changing [vocalist] lineup over the last several years, as heard on their debut CD and follow up EP, the band's drive to make a name for themselves clearly remains undaunted, and their sophomore effort, Altered State, attempts to reflect that sense of the dynamic nature of our existence. Based on the scientific Law of the Conservation of Energy, the album muses on the law's four stages of change. But, while there are deeper levels of thought involved lyrically, the music of Altered State is what hits you with the most impact. It is classic progmetal all the way, though thankfully light on the esoteric noodling that often permeates the genre today.

For a band that's apparently gone through as much inner turbulence as this one, the music has a remarkable focus and intensity - perhaps due to the creative energy brought to the table with the addition of vocalist Ashe O'Hara. His amazing voice injects the rest of the lads' incredible music with an organic presence that connects emotionally in a way too few fellow proggers do these days.

The Bottom Line: Let's hope that this lineup stays together for a good long while. This is progmetal at its finest, and I can't wait to hear more from this band!

Tracks To Make You A Believer: Of Matter - Proxy, Of Mind - Nocturne, and Of Reality - Palingenesis

- Genghis got through most of the album before he even realized: no guitar solos...


The Custodian - Necessary Wasted Time

For a custodian, this guy sure has a hell of a mess lying around his office. Seriously though, this is some damn fine 70s era prog, so check it out!For some reason no prog is better than old school, English progressive music. Bands like Genesis, Marillion, Yes or the Flower Kings always put a smile on my face during those times when I want to mellow out to unique and sophisticated compositions without the heaviness of distorted guitars and machine gun double bass beats. And now I have new material to enjoy in The Custodian's debut album, Necessary Wasted Time.

The brainchild of lead singer and keyboardist, Richard Thomson (vocalist for progmetal band Xerath), The Custodian indulges his love of 70s era prog, and quite effectively recalls the sounds of the aforementioned bands that set the template for the genre. I'm not familiar with his metal band, but Thomson's voice is perfectly suited to The Custodian's sound, much like Neal Morse in Spock's Beard.

Those who prefer a heavier flavor of prog can still enjoy a mild crunch at times, as heard on Other People's Lives, but most of the tunes on this excellent debut fall squarely in the realm of the aforementioned 70s era progressive sound - particularly in the extended jam sessions that such music tends to become during its longer-than-radio-prefers run times. For me, it's the interaction of crystalline acoustic noodling with the warm thickness of a Hammond organ's chording and rich, syncopated percussion that really makes 70s prog such a good jam. And it's all here in spades.

The Bottom Line: Old school prog fans can indulge their musical proclivities with The Custodian's debut album - which may be considered necessary, but certainly not wasted time.

Tracks To Play On A Cool Sunday Morning With The Windows Open: The Man Out Of Time, Other People's Lives, Persona and The Sun Is God

- Genghis wishes it was cool enough to have the windows open these days...