That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - May
  • In Flood
    In Flood
    Scarlet records
Video of the Month - May
  • Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock - On A Mission: Live In Madrid
    Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock - On A Mission: Live In Madrid
    starring Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock
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

North - Metanoia (EP)

Tired of all the other atmospheric post-sludge bands out there? Well, check out North! Seriously, they're good.Okay, you know how I go on about how cool it is that metal has so many varied subgenres, but it's a little daunting on the review end of things when you have to try to keep all of them straight, let me tell you. Don't get me wrong, I love discovering so much new amazing music, but there are genres out there based on evolutions of other genres I've never even heard of.

Billed as "atmospheric, post-sludge [me - see what I mean?] metal sorcerers", Arizona-based trio North have put out an EP, Metanoia, as something of a breather after their critically-acclaimed full-length The Great Silence. Having not heard The Great Silence, I hope it's more like this latest effort as being indicative of their sound because I love their masterful blending of shoe-gazing guitar ambience, the cathartic wailings of metalcore, and the rumbling psychedelic doom metal I've come to appreciate; what could easily devolve into a screaming wall of sound is tempered nicely with melodicism - something that all too often goes out the window in the subgenre.

The Bottom Line: North is one of the latest bands to mix slow, atmospheric textures with booming, heavy riffs for something that's just greateer than the sum of its parts. Don't ask how or why they do it, just dig it already.

- Genghis seriously can't handle these subgenres growing at a geometric rate...


Anette Olzon - Shine

After having worked on it in the last few years since leaving Nightwish, Anette Olzon's debut album, Shine, is finally here.Though there's been much contention over the details of Anette Olzon's leaving Nightwish back in 2012, there's never been any doubt in most people's minds that the woman's got a great voice. And on her debut album, Shine, she puts that asset at the forefront of her sound.

This is truly a solo album, in that there are no big name guest artists or musical pyrotechnics from virtuosos in the field. Instead are ten starkly non-metal songs that showcase Anette's clear and powerful voice. That's not to say there's no good music to be found here, just not necessarily what Nightwish fans - or those who like metal with a female lead singer - may be looking for. The closest we get to anything with a heavy beat is the title track, which has more of a nu-metal feel and evokes early Evanescense on more than one occasion.

Still, there's plenty of good, listenable moments on this debut and, with any luck, Olzon can explore a heavier side of her talent with her follow up maybe? Here's hoping so.

The Bottom Line: Anette Olzon fans will likely be happy with this mature debut, but Nightwish fans may want to go back to their catalogs and enjoy those tunes while Anette indulges her catharsis.

- Genghis was really hoping for some powerful Lacuna Coil-esque jamming here...


Pet Slimmers of the Year - Fragments of Uniforms

Band names are usually a little odd, but this one is reaching for the title. What's a Pet Slimmer?Say what you want about their name, but Pet Slimmers of the Year are making a reputation for themselves in the underground music circles as an up and comer in the stoner/doom metal continuum. Starting out by building a buzz with two well-received EPs, they've hit it big by blending the chimey, textured, reverby guitars of alternative music of the late 20th century with a metal grunge and atmospheric noise to make a truly otherworldly sound.

Their full-length debut Fragments of Uniforms presents you with eight songs, averaging six and a half minutes in length each, and it makes for a pretty great moody soundtrack to a weekend driving excursion, with the windows rolled down, a certain burning smell in the air, and a cool breeze on your face. Typical of this kind of music the vocals are sparse, serving only to accent the melodies over the rhythms that plod along like elephants in a caravan. So while it's heavy, it never really breaks through that threshold into headbanging territory, instead percolating steadily giving a sense of impending release that doesn't quite come.

The Bottom Line: If you dig stuff like East Of The Wall but want it a little more reigned in with a little bit of a 90s Brit-pop feel, Pet Slimmers of the Year may be your new jam. No foolin'.

- Genghis really dug this a lot...


The Oath (self-titled)

You'd be forgiven for thinking this is an all girl band. And for just staring at the cover for a while...One of the earmarks of a thing becoming bigger than just being a thing is when it starts having its own variations. As with the retro thing going around, you're starting to see some subdivision within the normal makeup, which keeps an otherwise boring pattern from becoming monotony.

In this case, I'm speaking of The Oath and their self-titled debut album featuring their version of that wonderful, warm 70s vibe (with occult overtones, in this case) that's spread like friggin' gangbusters all over Northern Europe. The brainchild of Johanna Sadonis and Linnéa Olsson, The Oath have a rock solid foundation of thick, meaty riffs and whiskey-soaked vocals that sound like what should be playing under the Taarakian segment of a new Heavy Metal movie. This is music with old school balls of steel, baby, which is delightfully ironic coming from two beautiful, leather-clad blondes. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to find hair on their chests - nor would I mind women.

[Editor's note: Re-reading that bit I see how insulting that can be. So I changed it. Fair enough?]

All [bad] jokes aside, The Oath is a really great album in part because it pays homage to the great elements of the best of an era's music rather than merely imitating the sound. There's some great production on the album as well with just enough distortion and a touch of vocal reverb (note, ladies: not all female singers need to scream like they're in labor in order to make a song rock), keeping it all simple while evoking the spartan setups of bands of metal yore - unlike the highly processed, multi-layered opuses many modern bands attempt today. Really nice work here.

The Bottom Line: The Oath may be "another one of those damned retro bands", but this one's really got the goods; great riffs, killer style, sexy vocals, and enough leathered up charisma to make for a rocking good time.

Tracks That Might Cause You To Spontaneously Develop Tattoos: Night Child, Black Rainbow, and Silver and Dust

- Genghis may have just fallen in love with yet another female guitarist (sigh)...


Anubis Gate - Horizons

Damn, this is some good progmetal. Something is awesome in the state of Denmark.Danish proggers Anubis Gate have released their sixth studio album, Horizons, their first without vocalist Jacob Hansen (though he does have co-producer credit) and I have to tell you this is a great time to check them out if you haven't already. This is some stellar shit.

Anubis Gate brings a little something extra to the table when it comes to traditional progressive metal, and that's a terrific pop flavor in terms of melody and vocals. If pressed, I would liken them to a cross between Rabin-era Yes and Vanden Plas with a little Opeth-y acoustic work for depth.

I love how the vocal harmonies are smooth as silk, giving it that Vanden Plas-esque richness while the heavy distortion keeps things chugging beneath it. This is sonic layering at its finest, folks, where no one instrument gets lost in the mix, just the way it ought to be. What an album.

The Bottom Line: Even trimming down to a quartet hasn't diminished Anubis Gate's ability to rock the shit out of some great progressive metal, and the heavier melodic overtones freshen up the sound quite a bit from the frenetic, instrumental pissing contest to which the genre often falls victim.

Tracks That Prove Everything's Better With Pinch Harmonics: Destined To Remember, Airways, and Mindlessness

- Genghis does a mean air pinch harmonic...