That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - October
  • Concepts of Math: Book One
    Concepts of Math: Book One
    by Watchtower
Video of the Month - October
  • Let Me Feel Your Power [Blu-ray]
    Let Me Feel Your Power [Blu-ray]
    by Saxon
  • Metallica: Back to the Front: A Fully Authorized Visual History of the Master of Puppets Album and Tour
    Metallica: Back to the Front: A Fully Authorized Visual History of the Master of Puppets Album and Tour
    by Matt Taylor

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

John Garcia (self-titled)

Next time you and Mr. Goat are itchin' to ride, you'll want to take this album with you, yessir.Erstwhile Kyuss and current Vista Chino singer John Garcia has come out of the desert like a rock and roll shaman to groove you with tales of obsession and danger on his debut solo album. Need I say more?

Yeah, okay. Those of you (myself included) not familiar with his genre pedigree may be unaware of Garcia's ability to craft genuine down and dirty hard rocking tunes, covered in dust and sweat, and brimming with effortless swagger and attitude. And that's just what his eponymous debut delivers in spades, due in part to assistance from folks such as The Doors' guitarist, Robby Krieger (His Bullets Energy), and Kyuss co-hort, [bassist] Nick Oliveri to name just a couple. This is the jam to crank on your next cross-country drive, top down and cigarette (or whatever you may prefer to smoke) dangling from your mouth.

The Bottom Line: Stoner metal fans who like a little more bluesy rocking than psychedelic tripping to their tunes should enjoy the hell out of this solo album. You dig?

Tunes To Never Take Your Sunglasses Off While Listening To: Rolling Stoned, The Blvd, His Bullets Energy and Saddleback

- Genghis wonders if it's really so bad to legalize it...


Unisonic - Light Of Dawn

Even the album cover is classic old school stuff: crazy-assed squadrons of ballooned rocketships? Dafuq?I totally understand that some bands want to distance themselves from the S word. Once people hear "supergroup" they start listening to the music in a fundamentally different way, as if the finished product needed to be a perfect blending of the music of each of the various bands that each member came from rather than the result of a shared vision amongst like-minded musicians. Founded in 2009, Unisonic really gelled when pathologically-busy guitarist Kai Hansen joined his fellow ex-Helloween bandmate, singer Michael Kiske - alongside guitarist Mandy Meyer (Asia, Gotthard and Krokus), bassist Dennis Ward, and drummer Kosta Zafiriou (both of Germany’s Pink Cream 69) - completing a musical formula that has resulted in the band's fantastic sophomore effort, Light Of Dawn.

I can't tell you how good it is to hear some really good, authentic, melodic hard rock these days. In a musical soundscape replete with retro bands, nothing beats the old-school talent of outfits like this. There's killer solos weaving throughout heavy, but not overdone, hard rocking tunes and it all has the well-balanced production of the best music of this genre's heyday. Rags calls this meat and potatoes metal, which is not meant in a pejorative way at all. It's just straightahead bad-ass music, without gimmicks, cloying self-awareness, or any other such modern trappings that can take the fun out of what us old fogies used to listen to 'til the wee small hours (up all night, sleep all day, right?). This is some great fucking stuff.

The Bottom Line: Hey, new kids. If you wanna rock, good on ya. But you would be wise to do your homework and learn from those before you. It won't ruin your vision if you've really got the goods. And the education will pay back in spades. The textbook was written by guys like Hansen and company, and it's waiting for you. 'Nuff said.

- Genghis will be cranking this shit on his stereo for many nights to come (sorry, neighbors)...


Megaton Leviathan - Past 21 Beyond The Arctic Cell

Something tells me this place does NOT get a lot of pizza deliveries in thirty minutes or less...I will say this: Portland band Megaton Leviathan is one unique band. Sure, they generally fall into the category of doom metal, but they're not just an also ran in the genre. Largely the work of one man, Andrew James Costa, the music has all of the familiar sorts of trappings you'd expect, but it moves at such a slow and deliberate pace - even for doom metal - that you wonder if you switched that speed dial on your iPod player to ½x.

I'll be honest, I can hang with some doom metal, especially the psychedlic kind. But, the ethereal background vocals amidst the glacial tempo of Megaton Leviathan's second studio effort - the curiously named Past 21 Beyond The Arctic Cell - has a compelling drone to it. If you're looking for something mellow in terms of dynamics, but still heavy in terms of vibe, this is your jam.

The Bottom Line: It's nice to find bands that provide a counterpoint to stacatto blast beats and the relentless breakneck pulse of black metal rage bands that sound like a CD stuck on a track forever. And Megaton Leviathan fits the bill with sound that's both heavy and mellow at the same time. Call it...easy listening doom?

- Genghis needs to get his mind right again...


Malpractice - Turning Tides

And to top it all off, this progressive thrash group from Finland made a concept album about modern urban ennui. Nice.Finnish band Malpractice started out as more of a straight up thrash act way back in 1994, but has slowly and steadily incorporated more complexity and melodicism into their moshpit tunes making for one of the more exciting releases this year. Progressive thrash isn't a huge sub-genre, but it's one that ticks all the boxes for me. And like others in the field (e.g. Mekong Delta, Voivoid, et al), the primary emphasis is on crunchy, heavy riffage.

One of the more appealing aspects of Malpractice's sound is its vocal harmonies, courtesy of vocalist Aleksi Parviainen, who reminds me of Lemur Voice's Gregoor van der Loo; really great, melodic, and soulful - if not a bellowing powerhouse. The other defining element to their sound is the great guitarwork of Joonas Koto and Markus Vanhala. They help add to the deft blending of two normally disparate musical ideas; the heavy, high gain chug of thrash rhythyms and the clean, chorused arpeggiated interludes of progressive metal, all overlaid with soaring solos and catchy choruses. It's just magic when it all comes together as well as this. It's like Enchant meets classic Queensrÿche for lack of a better description. Trust me, it's good stuff.

The Bottom Line: This here's some stellar progressive thrash, replete with monster riffs, lush vocal harmonies, melodic hooks, and great, fluid solo work throughout. What the hell else do you need, amirite?

- Genghis was thrilled to find the obligatory instrumental (Symphony Of Urban Discomfort) on here...


Bowl Ethereal (self-titled)

Word of warning: Turn off Crossfade Songs when you listen to this EP or you might miss it entirely.I like to think of my musical tastes as being eclectic. There are more bands out there than can possibly all be listened to, much less appreciated. So, I try to get a taste of every genre to see what I may be missing. This effort occasionally rewards with an interesting band like Bowl Ethereal that comes along every now and then that stands above the crowd a bit. While their music seems chaotic, it's actually more like a very precise, concentrated, tonal mood session.

Hailing from Virginia, duo Brian Metz (guitar/bass) and Pen Rollings (drums) have released a 7" that contains 6 songs, each the exact same abbreviated length (1:01). What results isn't as gimmicky as it sounds. Instead, it's like a portfolio of work that takes the best parts of songs and makes them whole songs in themselves. It's concentrated riffing that comes by design, as Pen and Brian decided they wanted to have songs that sounded like intros to bigger longer songs and just stopped. From this economy of songwriting, comes the half dozen tracks on their eponymous debut EP.

Whether this kind of approach will gain any traction for the band may as yet to be determined, but there's no question that there's some great sounds on this disc. Heavy, razor sharp riffs, raucous drum beating and no small amount of moxie in the context of math metal, where songs can often go on long tangents. One thing's for sure, their live shows could be seen during a coffee break. BONUS!

The Bottom Line: After years of self-imposed exile, influential musician Pen Rollings is back with a new band and some pretty damn fine - if pretty damn brief - tunes. Here's hoping this introspective, metallic stew is a long-lasting recipe.

- Genghis was just getting into this album when it ended (doh!)...