Search
That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - August
  • Light of Dawn
    Light of Dawn
    by Unisonic
Video of the Month - August
  • Live at Wacken 2013
    Live at Wacken 2013
    starring Motorhead, Alice Cooper, Various Artists
Good Reading
  • The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade
    The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade
    by Martin Popoff
Feedback

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
Thursday
Jan242013

Kingcrow - In Crescendo

Take your favorite progmetal bands from the 90s, mix into a stew and get Kingcrow.Man, Italy's really becoming the new place for interesting metal bands. Kingcrow started out as more of a straightahead metal band in the late 90s, but has since expanded to incorporate the more dramatic and reflective moods of progressive bands like Opeth or Dream Theater. Their previous release Timetropia has been hailed as a classic rock opera, being compared favorably to the likes of Tommy or Operation Mindcrime. And their 2010 effort Phlegethon received many accolades for its progressive stylings.

With In Crescendo, they continue their exploration of complex, atmospheric yet melodic music - that will sound rather familiar to fans of the aforementioned stalwarts of the genre - with moments of brilliance throughout. Right Before will remind you of Dream Theater's Awake-era stuff, while This Ain't Another Love Song has a great Enchant vibe, while Morning Rain is a great tune in the vein of vintage Queensrÿche, and so on throughout the album in a musical parade of progressive bands [mostly from the 90s].

Now the only problem (if you even want to call it that) that I run into is that when you think about it, while this is great music from an obviously talented band, it's also clearly, heavily, influenced by the bands they so closely resemble. That is to say that some people might wonder how original Kingcrow's music is. And while I can see their point, I am not in that camp. What I see is an established band that became inspired by a style and dived headfirst into it. And their output is really good, from the music to the impressive production - seriously, the mix on this album is about perfect, proving that it should be possible for every instrument to be heard clearly without the whole thing becoming muddy.

The Bottom Line: Fans of 90s progmetal bands will find much to like in Kingcrow's latest album. This is a talented group of artists with a good sense of melody and dynamics that some of those other prog bands have forgotten in the last 20 years...

Tracks to Test Those Fancy New Headphones With: Morning Rain, Right Before, This Ain't Another Love Song and Summer 97

- Genghis really dug this album (and now wants pasta in a bad way)...

Wednesday
Jan232013

Rhyme - The Seed And The Sewage

Them Southern boys sure know to rock things in - *spit take* Milan?!Italy's not the first place us Americans think of when considering modern metal bands. It's not because they don't have plenty of great bands coming out of that Mediterranean locale. For me, I imagine it has something to do with the phenomenon of singers often losing their accent when they sing in English. I don't know if that's just how they learned or what, but whether by choice or some natural transmogrification, it happens - as in the case of Milan's Rhyme. This is neither good or bad, mind you, I'm simply saying you may come to find out that great new band you found on Spotify may not be as American as they sound.

Their second album, The Seed And The Sewage, is a very approachable record in the vein of bands like Nickelback or even Black Stone Cherry. It's straightahead modern metal with a Southern slant which makes for a pretty agreeable formula - especially to us Americans. Vocalist Gabriele Gozzi has a great voice for this kind of music; a loud, powerful rebel yell that rides on the melodic crunch of Matteo Magni's guitars. Thankfully, there's a good clean mix for the listener to enjoy these radio friendly tunes without having to strain through the kind of muddy production that often ruins otherwise enjoyable bands.

The more I listen to it, the more it kinda sounds like a lost Winger album with songs that may not stick in your head for very long but are nonetheless throughly enjoyable every time you hear them.

The Bottom Line: Straightahead metal music with a Southern swagger from the Mediterranean? Yup, that's exactly what you get with Rhyme's sophomore release. Somebody pour me a drink and turn it up!

Tracks to Finish a Bottle of Jack Daniels to: Blind Dog, Slayer To The System, World Underground and Victim of Downturn

- Genghis really needs some rest and a LOT of cough medicine...

Wednesday
Jan232013

Hatriot - Heroes of Origin

Holy shit, it's like somebody aimed the Tardis at San Francisco, circa 1983. Too nerdy a reference for metalheads?Thrash fans are no doubt familiar with Steve Souza, who has fronted many a headbanging West Coast outfit (Legacy/Testament, Exodus, Dublin Death Patrol) since the early 80s. So it should be no great surprise that he's up to his old tricks with yet another band in the form of Hatriot, whose debut album Heroes of Origin runs the classic thrash playbook step by step into the pit.

If you're familiar with the aforementioned thrash groups then you know exactly what to expect - which may thrill or disappoint you depending on how you want to see it. I for one love it. This is the classic Bay Area thrash sound and I couldn't be more thrilled with every blast beat and harmonic squeal behind Souza's Bon Scott-meets-Jon Oliva-on-PCP vocals replete with sociopolitical commentary. It's just that simple. Go get this!

The Bottom Line: If you're a Bay Area Thrash Band era kind of guy (or gal), you'll want to pick up this album, put on your faded stovepipes, lace up your Chucks, and crank the fuck out of this! From brutal start to anthemic finish, the energy just never lets up.

Tracks To Gleefully Risk Snapping Your Neck To: Blood Stained Wings, The Mechanics of Annihilation, Heroes of Origin (and all of the other tracks!)

- Genghis scared everyone in the office headbanging to this CD like a maniac...

Tuesday
Jan222013

Gold - Interbellum

It's always nice to find a band that goes for the retro thing like they really do wish they were living in those times today.I don't know how Gold's being marketed to the public as far as their official genre, but don't make the mistake of thinking they're a metal band. Not that you'll necessarily get that idea from the cover of their debut album, Interbellum. This is clearly a retro style band, including the brash chick on lead vocals in the vein of classic rockers Heart or Jefferson Airplane.

In terms of sound, the album is well produced, with a sound that manages to be modern in its fidelity while maintaining an authentic analog quality that's often sacrificed. That said, it's a little too loose for me to get totally on board with. I mean, I know that the lack of precision is part of what makes the retro sound so desirable, but I was actually distracted by it more than once in some of the guitar work as well as Milena's singing. Don't get me wrong, this band has talent. I guess I've just come to expect more, thanks to our modern age of ProTools and other recording assistances.

All in all, this isn't a bad debut album from this Dutch band. Gold manages to have the look and feel (and sound) of a band of like-minded musicians with a fondness for the music of another age. And that's so much better than the dozens of hack outfits that merely give the appearance of such reverence for an easy ride on nostalgia's coattails. Ain't nobody got time for that!

The Bottom Line: If you're looking to find a new band that writes and plays authentic music of an arguably better musical age in the vein of such bands as Heart or Jefferson Airplane, this is what you've been looking for. All you other retro poseurs are hereby banished!

Tracks to Listen to While Shopping Resale Shops for Purple Velvet Pants: Antebellum, Love, The Magician, Dreams, Medicine Man and The Hunt

- Genghis thinks it's been a while since he got his mind right...

Tuesday
Jan222013

Prong - Carved Into Stone

Nice to hear the sound of classic thrash groovers from NYC. Play it, Tommy!My first encounter with Prong was back in the day with their album Beg To Differ (1990). I immediately liked their sound as they were part of the big East Coast sound back when I was getting into the Thrash Metal genre pretty heavy. I liked their way of mellowing the razor sharp edges of pure West Coast thrash with a characteristic New York City grooviness while retaining the heaviness and you'd expect from a metal band.

While the band's gone through a lot of changes since then, founder/guitarist Tommy Victor has maintained a certain sound that keeps the operation centered and culminating in their follow-up to 2007's well-received Power of the Damager. Carved Into Stone, Prong's 8th studio album in 26 years, calls to mind my favorite of their early work like Beg To Differ and Cleansing, where you get precision metal riffs with a nice groove that overall gives you a sense of enjoyable - and, more to the point, memorable - thrash.

The Bottom Line: If you're an old school Prong fan, you're gonna like hearing them once more. It's like moshing with old friends. INTO THE PIT!

Tracks To Make You Dig Your Old Chuck Taylors Out Of The Closet: Eternal Heat, Keep On Living In Pain, Revenge...Best Served Cold, and List Of Grievances

- Genghis is still moshing around the office...