That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - February
  • The Grinding Wheel
    The Grinding Wheel
    by Overkill
Video of the Month - February
  • & There Will Be a Next Time: Live From Detroit [Blu-ray]
    & There Will Be a Next Time: Live From Detroit [Blu-ray]
    by Def Leppard
  • Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam
    Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam
    by Mark LeVine

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

Trioscapes - Digital Dream Sequence

It's just a crying shame that bands like Trioscapes isn't all over the damn place - especially playing sweet clubs in my hometown...When jazz metal neo-fusion group Trioscapes put out their debut album Separate Realities two years ago, I was instantly hooked. I've always been a fan of the incredible showmanship that master jazz musicians display onstage together, always challenging each other without it ever seeming to be a pissing contest. It's synergy of the best kind.

And luckily, they've decided to make another album of hardcore jazz beauty.  Case in point, the 3:55 mark of the title track is where some of the best jamming comes into play, carrying the player on a sonic flying carpet through a world of ethereal freeform grooviness I can't even (adequately) describe; you're just either into it or you're not, that's all I can tell you. Don't worry, it's not all breakneck riffs and runs. Tracks like From The Earth To The Moon has a sweet Chick Corea thing going on that breaks into a fuzzy bass stomp then into a haunting flute melody. There's some truly impressive dynamics going on with these cats, and I just can't get enough of it, and fans of old school fusion's audaciousness and musical innovation will surely pick up on this as the new generation of that great form.

The Bottom Line: More jazz than metal, Trioscapes is a power trio of the highest musical order. This is some of the best neo-fusion available today, period.

- Genghis so wishes he could play in a band like this...


Death Penalty - Sign Of Times (EP)

I'm diggin' this female-fronted doom metal band from the UK. Keep an ear open for the full length later this year.What happens when British doom metal legends Cathedral finally call it quits? Well, if you're riffmaster Garry "Gaz" Jennings, you hook up with a Belgian singer like Michelle Nocon and start working on a new album stat. And while it's too soon for that album to be out just yet, the band Death Penalty has shrewdly released a 7" with their forthcoming first single "Sign Of The Times".

Now, so far, Michelle isn't necessarily belting it out Ann Wilson style right from the get-go. But there's clearly some talent there, and her smooth vocals layer over Gaz' fantastically epic grooves in a very appealing mix of old school metal without sounding like just another retread. In a world where retro is the norm, this is some truly great sounding music on its own. And I mean that; there's some really sweet guitar playing in these two tracks that could easily stand up to anything out there today. Not too shabby, Gaz.

The Bottom Line: If Sign Of Times is any indication, when Death Penalty releases their debut full length album later this year, you're gonna hear some serious shit. And you can take that to the bank. The money bank.

Genghis is intrigued by Michelle's Belgian (read: beer, I want beer) heritage...


Corrosion Of Conformity - IX

If you're a Pepper fan, he's not back yet, but this album rocks all the same. So calm yourself!Fans of Corrosion of Conformity (CoC) surely know that the band has been rocking for over 30 years now. And while their heyday was 20 years ago, those Carolina boys still know how to make some bitchin’ rock music. After a second hiatus in 2006 that led to a return in 2010 (sans Pepper Keenan) and 2012’s self-titled album, the original lineup of Reed Mullin (drums), Woody Weatherman (guitar) and Mike Dean (bass, vocals) have just released their ninth studio album, IX.

What I like about CoC is that their music comes with an authenticity that’s hard for new bands to match. But the real problem a lot of people have involves Pepper Keenan, who left in 2006 to play and tour with Down but isn't "officially" out of the band (yes, there's hope for you Pepperheads). Many consider him to be essential to the Southern-fried sound (Keenan being from Louisiana) of the band, having been the vocalist for their most successful album, Deliverance. And while Mike Dean, the band's original vocalist, is no Pepper, his vocals fit the music on this album just fine. The success of this latest LP will have to depend on its merits and not Pepper-era fans. And I think it should succeed, as this is some of the best doom metal tuneage I've heard in a while. The riffs are bigger than a wall of Marshall stacks and the groove is slicker than the bottom of your plate after a mess o' Carolina barbecue. So check it out.

The Bottom Line: Fans of the original, pre-Pepper incarnation of CoC will likely appreciate the return of their sound to its punky, groovy roots. But new fans, unburdened by the weight of a band's glory days, should find a lot to like here too with music that's thoroughly rocking irrespective of its context. So smoke 'em if you got 'em, and enjoy.

- Genghis admits he wouldn't recognize Albatross if he heard it...


Allegaeon - Elements Of The Infinite

Them Colorado boys not only know how to make some killer tech melodeath, but they make some of the most impressive album covers in the biz.As one of the better technical melodic death metal bands out there, Allegaeon is all about intensity - though not at the expense of melody. And thanks to recent changes in the band, Brandon Park (drums) and Michael Stancel (guitars) have helped breathe some life into the creative process, making the band's latest album Elements of the Infinite one of their finest efforts yet.

One of the things that draws me into their art is the balance they bring to the form. While they are quite adept at high-falutin' concepts like the Golden Ratio (1.618), Dyson Spheres, and Gravimetric Time Dilation, they don't take themselves so seriously they can't have fun. For proof of the latter, check out their tongue-in-cheek video for 1.618 which features the band trying to decide in what style the video should be made, resorting to spinning a wheel of various subgenres with hilarious results (with thrash hitting quite close to home).

The Bottom Line: Technical melodic death metal can easily get way in over its head, but Allegaeon have always managed to keep a tight reign on their music, making the experience not only enlightening but damn fun to thrash to.

- Genghis thought the glam metal vision needed more hot chicks...


Super Duper Alice Cooper

You have to hand it to the boys at Banger Films, because these guys know how to make a great rock documentary.  The boys have tackled the world of hard rock and metal with a Headbanger's Journey as well as with Metal Evolution.  They also have also produced solid docs on Rush and Iron Maiden.  Their latest project to tackle is a documentary on the Godfather of Glam, Alice Cooper.  Each film these guys do, is a little different from the last, so be prepared for another solid experience.

Super Duper Alice Cooper dives into the transformation of Vince Furnier to Alice Cooper.  It is a Jekyll and Hyde story, in which a straight laced young man, from Phoenix, turns in to a rock n roll madman.  The film takes you all the way back, to the early days of Vince's career.  It chronicles from his first band, The Earwigs, all of the way up to the rise and fall of Alice Cooper.  It is a wild journey that shows how the excesses of drugs and alcohol, can come close to destroying one's life. 

The film is full of rare archived footage and still photography, which narrated by Alice and and other key people in his life.  I like how the film dove into the breakup of the Alice Cooper Band and how Alice, with the help of Bob Ezrin, was able to move forward, after the split.  Alice succeeded, after the band broke, but in the end fell victim to drugs and alcohol.  It wasn't until he conquered his demons, that he got his career back on track. 

The movie ends, as Alice is making his comeback into the rock world.  I really like that they touched on his comeback and his relationship with ex-guitarist Kane Roberts.  They were a solid team.  It is ashame their partnership didn't last longer.  Super Duper is a solid film from start to finish, which kept me wanting more.  An in depth look into one of the godfathers of glam and stage theatrics.


Bottom LineAnother solid rock doc from Banger films.  The rise and fall and resurrection of Alice Cooper.  A classic tale, of a man than lived to the excess of life but was able to wake up before his demons took his life.  A must for all Alice fans.

-Ragman is wondering if there will be a part 2.