That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - April
  • Pretending 2 Run
    Pretending 2 Run
    by Tiles
Video of the Month - April
  • Monsters of Rock Live at Donington 1980
    Monsters of Rock Live at Donington 1980
    by Rainbow
Like He Needs More Money...
  • Me, Inc.: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business
    Me, Inc.: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business
    by Gene Simmons

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

Gloryful - Ocean Blade

Belgian artist Kris Verwimp rocked an old school cover for Gloryful worthy of the best of the genre. Nice rack, Sedna!We at The Right To Rock are not shy about our love for the classic metal sounds of NWoBHM bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Apparently, German metallers Gloryful feel similarly, as evidenced on their excellent sophomore release Ocean Blade

Continuing the tale of the Inuit sea goddess Sedna (as depicted on the cover thanks to Belgian artist Kris Verwimp) that was started with their 2010 debut EP Sedna's Revenge, the lads have made a fine concept album in the mold of their influences with all of the bells and whistles you'd expect from the form; moody ocean soundscapes, majestic harmonized guitars, soulful wailing, and even a sea shanty for good measure. It's all here and it's as good as anything in the genre. Singer Johnny la Bomba knows his way around a chorus, and his powerful voice works well even in the lighter moments, as on the aforementioned Black Legacy, where his slight rasp lends authenticity to the tale of a weary sailor bemoaning his fate. But such an album is all about the guitars, and Gloryful has this covered. Shredmaster J.B. (Jens Basten) has a career going back over 20 years and it shows in his tasteful solos which have well-balanced aspects of shred and soul.

My only one complaint would be the production, which got a little muddy at times. I say this in comparison to Savatage's take on the concept, 1997's The Wake of Magellan. Things seemed a little closed in on this album, giving the feeling that there wasn't enough space for the music. Again, it's just a minor concern, and possibly just my issue involving my stereo's settings.

The Bottom Line: If you're hankering for some old school, European heavy metal with all the trimmings, check out Gloryful's Ocean Blade. Its tale of a doomed crew on a suicide mission to stop a murderous wraith hell-bent on revenge is told in classic NWoBHM style. What this music may lack in innovation is more than made up for with heart and confidence - something newer bands should keep in mind.

- Genghis wants to watch Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl now...


Battleaxe - Heavy Metal Sanctuary

Can you really mention battleaxes and NOT have a bearded guy in a horned helmet nearby?Oh man, I love it when a band comes along like they stepped out of a time portal from the 80s. And in the case of Battleaxe (formed in 1979), they basically did just that. Having put out their last full studio album 30 years ago they certainly have the pedigree of an English heavy metal band from the greatest decade of heavy metal ever.

Right off the bat - vocalist Dave King, sounding like a cross between Udo Dirkschneider, Rob Halford and Brian Johnson - sets the tone with the title track, Heavy Metal Sanctuary. From there, the tunes come at you rapid-fire, awash in the familiar lyrical content of the military industrial complex and rebellion. It's not gonna break any molds or break new ground, but some stuff should be left for thems that wants it. Battleaxe is just here to crank some metal. This is what Rags often refers to as meat-and-potatoes metal, and it's nothing to sneeze at.

This is the kind of stuff modern metal was built on, and these lads are champions of an era not forgotten. Now, there's the occasional tune, like Hail To The King, whose opening riff sounds very familiar (Dio's Stand Up And Shout comes to mind), but I think it's really more of a case of music sort of coming full circle than any kind of rip-off. Either way, there's a conviction here amongst the riffage that can't be denied, and it's great to see bands from bygone days still putting out good material. This is just the kind of band where people generally split into one of two camps: those that think this is all just treading the same water, and those that fondly remember a legendarty era in metal. Which one do you fall in?

The Bottom Line: This band is flying the flag of classic 80s-era metal, something they know a lot about, and fans of that sound should find much to like in this no-frills approach. Check out Battleaxe and know why Britain will always be known as the birthplace of metal!

- Genghis needs a nice left-handed Gibson SG and a Marshall stack...


Xandria - Sacrificium

Xandria's latest cover seems to say "Somebody run an' tell Mordechai there's another one o' them dadburn firebirds in the cathedral again!"There are times when I just can't listen to symphonic metal, and then there are times where I can't seem to get enough of it. Where that line divides the two sentiments I have no idea. But it must lie somewhere in how the symphonic elements blend with the metal aspect of the music. You can't just come into the metal studio with your keyboard loaded up with a "maximum strings" patch. Authenticity plays a huge part in how the music will be received; either it will sound majestic or cheesy, and the difference is all too critical to success.

Luckily there's no problem with Xandria's arrangements. Taking a cue from other successful genre bands like Nightwish, the proven formula of female lead vocalist, epic keyboards, and (best of all) some very tasty, dirty guitar for just the right amount of heaviness as if to say "hey, don't forget we're a metal band!"

With their sixth studio album Sacrificium, and the recent addition of vocalist Dianne van Giersbergen, Xandria is clearly bucking for the lead position in the symphonic metal genre. From the pretty epic opening title track, clocking in at a little over ten minutes, the band sets the tone. They're here to rock and they're not screwing around, that much is clear. And even when things mellow out for a moment, the stillness is threatened with a contained fury. You always have the feeling that big heavy riffs are being held in check like wargs in Saruman's pit, waiting to be let loose and lay waste to everything in sight. That's where Xandria really excels. The epicness can only be held back for so long, and when it gets released, it's...well, epic. Genre fans should definitely pick this up if they haven't already.

The Bottom Line: German symphonic metallers Xandria are poised to take on the current king of the hill, Nightwish, with furious guitars and majestic keyboards all held together by the confident, powerful soprano of Dianne van Giersbergen. Go get 'em.

Tracks To Make You Consider Getting A Velvet Waistcoat: Sacrificium, The Undiscovered Land and Little Red Relish

- Genghis can not do justice to vests...


Arkona - Yav

"Hey, Genghis, where the hell can I find me some good Russian pagan/folk metal", you say? Hmmm....I have said it many times, metal's got something for just about everyone. And if you happen to be into, say Russian pagan/folk metal with a slightly progressive aspect to it, Arkona's your jam. Their latest album, Yav, comes after a three year absence, but these guys, while they may take a little getting used to, are actually pretty good. Most of, if not all, the folk melodies are played on authentic medieval instruments giving the album an otherworldly sound, a melding of the old and new.

Lead vocalist Masha "Scream" Arkhipova leads the lads of Arkona with an at times Enya-like etheral quality, while other times she slips right into guttural fury though it can get lost in the mix. But it's when the band goes on extended musical interludes (songs average about seven and a half minutes) that things can get more interesting, with progressive-inspired jams that get satisfyingly heavy.

The Bottom Line: If you're looking for some pagan/folk metal (we know you're out there) and aren't too concerned about knowing all the lyrics, you should check out Russia's Arkona. Their medieval modern sound works well while standing out in a crowded world of heavy metal bands.

- Genghis needs to get back to practicing his mandolin...


Marty Friedman - Inferno

Been wondering where the hell Marty Friedman went? Well, he's back, tough guy! And he's ready to shred your face.Ex-pat Marty Friedman virtually disappeared 15 years ago after a memorable stint with Megadeth leaving the newer of his converts wondering "where can I get more of this guy"? Certainly older shredheads know of his legendary work with Cacophony and even his work in between playing with Megadeth, which included one of my favorite instrumental albums of all time, Scenes.

The closest he comes to the Eastern leanings that began to show on that highly Asian-influenced album (co-produced by Kitarō, no less) is Undertow with Greg Bissonette and Tony Franklin, one of many impressive collaborative efforts. Horrors, co-written by his old Cacophony co-hort Jason Becker, is unsurprisingly an amazing piece of work complete with acoustic interlude à la [Becker's] Air. The world beat-friendly Wicked Panacea bears a delightful, heavy Latin flavor thanks to guest Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, who are known for their strong connection to heavy metal music. Lycanthrope features some shred-off exchanges between Alexi Laiho and Marty that never descend to mere brinksmanship. There are plenty other moments on this album where Marty is content to share the stage with his peers rather than just name drop on the label while wanking away. Simply put, this album is a great example of how a great shredder can grow into a bonafide master musician that serves his muse - rather than just hoisting up her shirt from behind to show off her tits to the crowd.

Oh, one final note to give you an idea of Friedman's inventiveness as a collaborator, musician and songwriter: check out Meat Hook with jazz-metal saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby (Shining) where Marty and Jørgen trade off some amazing phrases in a frentic but controlled solo section that builds to an abrupt climax. Great stuff.

The Bottom Line: Marty makes a triumphant return to American ears with a highly collaborative album that shows an impressive and very satisfying degree of diversity and depth. Friedman's matured nicely into a shredder's shredder and I couldn't be happier about it. Arigato, Hebimeta-san!

Tracks That May Make You Appreciate Instrumental Guitar Albums Again: Wicked Panacea, Meat Hook, Sociopaths, Lycanthrope, and Horrors

- Genghis is is digging through his cassettes...