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That time Genghis said...
Album of the Month - March
  • Emperor Of Sand
    Emperor Of Sand
    by Mastodon
Video of the Month - March
  • Fest: Live Tokyo International Forum Hall a [Blu-ray]
    Fest: Live Tokyo International Forum Hall a [Blu-ray]
    by Michael Schenker
#JudasFeast
  • Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook
    Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook
    by Annick Giroux
Props

CD of the Month
  • Mudvayne
    Mudvayne
    by Mudvayne
Inspiration
  • 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
    Retribution
    by Shadows Fall
  • Brutal Legend
    Brutal Legend
    Electronic Arts
Friday
Sep162016

Steve 'N' Seagulls - Brothers In Farms

Their sense of humor is a big part of Steve 'N' Seagulls' appeal.Jumpin' Jehoshaphat, them country boys from Finland, Steve 'N' Seagulls, are at it again with their eagerly awaited follow-up to last year's Farm Machine - which I personally enjoyed mightily. Their sophomore entry into the small subgenre of bluegrass metal, Brothers In Farms, picks up where the last one left off and takes it all to whole 'nother level. This stuff is solid gold, people.

In a land famous for its metal fervor, it's gratifying (and perhaps most appropriate) to see a few farmboys offer their take on some of the most memorable metal tunes of the last 20 years. Running the gamut from Nirvana to Nightwish to Megadeth - to Deep Purple, The Seagulls know their way around a metal tune and handle solos and progessive-tinged interludes with tongue planted firmly in cheek. When it all comes together it can be practically sublime, as the band's unique perspective gives Nirvana's In Bloom a major key upgrade and peppy beat that may fit the tune's lyrical wryness even better than the original. Similar results apply to the lads' rendition of Foo Fighters' The Pretender - though I still prefer the more metal songs as potent examples of how classic heavy songs are cross-genre goldmines in the hands of talented performers. While each musician is proficient in their instrument(s) of choice, the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts largely due to the obvious enthusiasm the lads have for the source material and their own reimaginings of it.

The Bottom Line: The real bottom line is that heavy metal works in pretty much any genre, but Steve 'N' Seagulls are worthy pioneers of this particular (and hopefully growing) sub-genre of bluegrass-y jamming. Sallllllute!

- Genghis looks forward to seeing these cats' outstanding live show again...

Wednesday
Sep142016

Styx - Live at the Orleans Arena Las Vegas

I have been a fan of Styx for years, especially the early days, of the band.  They kind of lost me at Mr. Roboto, but we won't go there.  That said, I always look forward to when they have a new Blu-ray release.  The band always puts on a killer show, which keeps me coming back for more.  Their latest release, Live at the Orleans Arena, was actually released on CD last year.  The performance was taped back in 2014, but had only been available on CD, until now.

The performance on this Blu-ray is stellar.  Tommy Shaw brings it just as hard as he did back in the day.  Vocally the guy has not lost a thing.  He also still shreds on the guitar.  He is one of those guys that you forget how good of a player they are, until you see them shred.  I was really impressed on how well the band sounded as a whole.  They ripped through their classic tunes like it was nothing.  A highlight from the show was when the band was joined on stage by Don Felder (Eagles) for a ripping version of Blue Collar Man.

The show was shot very well, and gives you a sense of being in the front row.  The audio is strong as well.  I actually enjoyed watching this Blu-ray more than the last time I saw them live.  This isn't your average concert video, because the band intersperses some documentary type footage, between some of the live segments.  The footage focuses on life on the road with Styx.  I liked it, but found it a little distracting.   The good thing is, is that if you feel the same way I do, then you can access the full concert, sans interviews, within the bonus sections.  This one's a keeper.

Bottom LineStyx proving that they can still rock.  A solid performance, from on of the U.S.'s most solid rock bands.

-Ragman is glad that this show had Lawrence Gowan, on the keys, and not the tool that we saw live.

Thursday
Sep082016

Evergrey - The Storm Within

Evergrey's back for the attack - and kicking ass as always with their latest effort.As satisfying as 2014's Hymns For The Broken was, Evergrey (having undergone a sizeable lineup change) has returned with an impressive followup, The Storm Within, for a greedy fanbase. I'm happy to say that Tom Englund and company - including the returning Henrik Danhage (guitar) and Jonas Ekdahl (drums) - have turned out another great album. This time, it's a concept album based on the classic problem of grieving over lost love and the process of trying to move on. Wonder where that comes from?

Where some may level a complaint that this album sounds like a rehash of their previous release, I counter that with what I think is simply a consistent flow a great songwriting; saying "this is more of the same" about Evergrey's brand of metal is akin to saying that about your meal at Sukiyabashi Jiro.

Sure, there are some parallels in the sound, but like a really good steak pretty much always tastes like a really good steak from place to place, Englund and company manage to craft metal songs with heart that also rock as hard as any band out there. Englund's voice is the heart of the melodies, at once powerful and soulful, and the rhythym section is freakin' bedrock. Bonus: there's an interesting bit of keyboard background patches that add a little old-school dimension without sounding cheesy.

The Bottom Line: More great metal from Tom Englund's Evergrey is always a good thing. If you're on the mood for something new and groundbreaking, skip this album. But if you just want to rock even more after hearing Hymns For The Broken, well you're in luck my friend...

- Genghis dreams of eating at Sukiyabashi Jiro some day...

Thursday
Sep082016

Noise Pollution - Unreal

Nothing like finding new music to break you out of your mold. I have a hard time classifying modern heavy metal. I mean, with so many subgenres of metal out there, what makes any one band a certain one when it has elements of several genres? A lot of people would say "what does it matter?", but you have to understand that when put in the position of describing a product to others (especially in the context of recommending it), as I am in this review, it's kind of essential to the whole deal.

There's a lot of low end aggressiveness on Noise Pollution's sophomore album, Unreal, which follows a successful self-published debut and tons of live shows with the likes of Black Label Society, Airbourne, Skid Row and Black Stone Cherry. And from the sound of it, they earned the right to share the stage with such hard rocking luminaries, cuz this is some decent heavy jamming. That said, I can't claim that this Italian quintet is breaking any new ground musically speaking, but they do have some catchy rhythms and a satisfying crunch even if they lyrics are a bit cliched sounding. May I can put it this way: there are endless direct to video rip-offs of popular movies - like, say, The Fast And The Furious - and they need soundtracks too...

The Bottom Line: Fans of post hardcore (circa late 90s) will probably enjoy putting this album on their party rotation. You could do a lot worse.

- Genghis is itching for some live music...

Thursday
Aug042016

Podcast #208 - Chatter

The always engaging Ted Poley will definitely change the way you think about our Ted Poley interviews.The summer's drawing to a close and as the lads get themselves reoriented, they chat things up in their own inimitable style covering such topics as dangerous summer festivals, John and McCheese's excursion to Australia, and the players at Carolina Rebellion this year.

Afterwards, The Right To Rock chews the fat with Danger Danger vocalist and all-around raconteur Ted Poley who talks about his latest solo album, Beyond The Fade. Ted is always a delight to talk to and this episode's no different, so grab a pint and kick back for some rock talk, cool?

Video of the show: Carolina Rebellion 2016

Beer of the Show: Beez Nutz (Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.)
 
Appearance: 3.0
Aroma: 4.0
Palate: 3.5
Taste: 4.0
Overall: 3.5
"Buffalo Bayou Brewing's sweet, nutty version of an American Porter may just be our new favorite cigar beer."
 

Featured Tracks: Scar Of The Sun - An Ill-Fated Wonder; Trivium - Silence In The Snow; Monster Truck - Don't Tell Me How To Live; Sevendust - Bitch; Red Sun Rising - The Other Side; Megadeth - Post American World; Red Tide Rising - You're Nothing (But Shit); Lynch Mob - The Ledge; The Tracy G Band - Arrogant Prick; Danger Danger - That's What I'm Talking About; Ted Poley - Hands of Love, We Are Young, Stars, Where I Lost You; Bone Machine - Mrs. Frankenstein; Danger Danger - Coming Home

Ragman's Classic of the Show: Sweet FA - Liquid Emotion

Genghis' Classic of the Show: Van Halen - Hang 'Em High

Ragman's Pick of the Show: Anthrax - Breathing Lightning

Genghis' Pick of the Show: Good Tiger - Where Are The Birds

- Genghis is still kind of trying to get back into the swing of things...

Podcast #208: Chatter