That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - September
  • Hymns For The Broken (ltd. 2CD digipak edition)
    Hymns For The Broken (ltd. 2CD digipak edition)
    by Evergrey
Video of the Month - September
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall [Blu-ray]
    Breaking the Fourth Wall [Blu-ray]
    by Dream Theater
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


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

U.D.O. - Celebrator

It is hard to believe that 25 years has passed, since Udo Dirkschneider's first departure from Accept.  It was a bold move, at the time, but Dikschneider was determined to keep rocking and formed his solo band U.D.O.  Even though I miss Udo in Accept, I can't deny that the man has delivered with his solo band.  To celebrate, U.D.O. has recently released a 2 CD set of out takes, remixes and rare tracks from his solo career.   The set is titled Celebrator.  If you're a U.D.O. fanatic, then you may have alot of the bonus tracks on this CD, so as a bonus, he has also included three unreleased tracks: Tallyman, The Silencer and the rocking Artificialized

For the most part U.D.O. releases are solid, but you can always count on a few clunkers, fortunately for this compilation, it is mainly rockers.  This is a nice set, especially if you don't have most of the bonus material.  I have to say, the piano version of Balls to the Wall came off as a novelty, and was cute the first time, but doubt it will get played again.  The highlight of the set for me, was the Udo/Raven cover of Born to be Wild (Steppenwolf).  I bought this one a 12" single back in the day, and to my knowledge this is its first release on CD.  Other interesting tracks include a cover of Metal Gods (Judas Priest) as well as the inclusion of the XTC track which is technically a cover of his former band, when he was out.  Interesting.  A nice package for metal fans.

Bottom LineU.D.O. feeding us some earcandy before his next release.  A nice compilation of rare tracks, which is essential for any metal collection. 

Standout Tracks: Born to Be Wild, Artificialized, Free or Rebellion and Streets of Sin.

-Ragman is hoping the next U.D.O. CD rocks like this one.


Stratovarius - Under Flaming Winter Skies

To honor the departure of long-time drummer Jorg Michael, Stratovarius went on a 5 date farewell tour, to commemorate his time in the band.  The end result of this tour is the cool new live release called Under Flaming Winter Skies.   Under Flaming Winter Skies is a double CD release, with a DVD sold separately.  The band sound great and re-establish themselves at the top of the power metal heap.  The band were on fire for these recordings, and new guitarist Matias Kupiainen steals much of the spotlight with his monstorous ripping.  Matias has found his way out from the shadow of former guitarist/founder Timo Tolki and truly shines on this release. 

The CD is packed full of hits from the band's stellar catalog.  There is a nice representation of songs from every era of the band.  It is cool to hear the older songs performed with this current line up.  There are also a couple of interesting covers thrown in as well, like Behind Blue Eyes (The Who) and Burn (Deep Pruple) All of the musicians are on top of their game and perform masterfully.  My only critique is that the mix is off at times.  In several instances, Kotipelto's vocals are drowned out by the other instruments.  This package is the perfect send off for their long time drummer.  All in all a solid package.  I have to say though, if you get the CD, you must also get the DVD, because the visual is rocking as well.

Bottom Line: Stratovarius rocking it, better than they have in awhile.  The band are on top of their game and seem to be rejuvenated.

-Ragman can't wait for the next release, it should be a killer.


Extreme Metal Retardation

Well Bill Zebub is at it again, with the release of his follow up to Metal Retardation, called Extreme Metal Retardation.  Extreme Metal Retardation picks up where the last film left off.  The DVD is a compilation of interviews that Zebub and his crew did with extreme, black and death metal bands.  Imagine a half hearted documentary of interviews with extreme metal bands. 

Bands featured range from Enslaved to Dimmu Borgir.  The point of these DVD's is not to take themselves too seriously.  Many of the questions asked, in this DVD, are just off the wall, to see what kind of reaction they can get from the artist.  It is fun to see the artist take these questions in stride and have fun with the Zebub crew.  There is also a long form interview with King Diamond, which made the DVD for me.  If that ain't enough, this DVD also includes the cult classic Metalheads.  For fans of extreme death metal bands.

Bottom Line: Get to know your favorite extreme metal band, better than you ever thought you would.  Another solid Bill Zebub feature exposing the lighter side of these extreme bands.

-Ragman got a kick out of this one.


Hotel Diablo - The Return to Psycho California

Hotel Diablo is one of those bands that kicks your ass from the first note, and their debut The Return to Psycho California is a CD that will stay in the rotation for awhile.  This band is made up of members from Quiet Riot and WASP, but don't think that is what you're going to get.  Their sound is a mix of alt rock and melodic hard rock.   The songs are well structured and are catchy as hell.  Hook-laden rock at it's best. 

It will be a travesty if songs like Bury You and What You do to Me don't get airplay.  Both songs are very catchy and have that hit factor.  The whole CD flows well and contains a nice variety.  If you're looking for a CD full of solid tunes, then you've found it.  If I had one complaint about this CD it would be that the production is a little flat.  Not sure why the band chose Gilby Clarke to produce, didn't think he could produce, and still don't; Thank goodness the songs are so strong, because you'll be able to overlook it.  Solid CD from start to finish.  Go get it!  

Bottom Line: One of the best bands I have heard in a long time.  Great melodic hard rock with an alt edge.

Standout Tracks: Bury You, What You Do to Me, All These Years and Wicked Lines.

-Ragman wanted this one for CD of the month, but Genghis beat him to it. DOH!


Helstar - 30 Years of Hell

It is hard to believe that Helstar has been around 30 years.  It seems like just yesterday, when me and the crew were banging our heads at Cardi's, to our home town heroes.  Helstar has just released their performance from the 30th anniversary show, filmed in their hometown of Houston, called 30 years of Hell.  It is aptly titled considering the Houston metal scene.  Houston's scene was descent back in the day, but never emerged as a scene to rival either coast.  Helstar luckily emerged from the scene and made a name for themselves; hence the longevity of the band.

30 Years of Hell is a nice package, containing a DVD along with 2 CD's of this historic performance.  The DVD was shot with multiple cameras and is on film rather than video.  That band looks different than they did 30 years ago, but the important thing is, that the sound was not affected.  Rivera and Co. sound as good as they did back in the day.  The audio on the DVD as well as the CD's, is spot on.  The band were on top of their game that night, and this package is a testament to how good they are.  The set list is comprised of material spanning their career.  Nice set list, but was scratching my head with the omission of Dracula's Castle.  I'm just saying. 

Bottom Line: Metal Veterans proving they can still do it live.  For those of you that missed Helstar bakc in the day, this is a great way to aquaint yourself with one of the more underated thrash acts of the 80'/90's.

-Ragman remembers the time he could not lift his head, after attending a Helstar show back in the day.  Talk about being in pain....Ughhh!!!