Gengis Khan Was a Rocker

Gengis Khan

Like a blast from the past that I haven't heard in years, a classic Metal […]
August 19, 2013
Gengis Khan - Gengis Khan Was A Rocker album cover

Like a blast from the past that I haven't heard in years, a classic Metal tendency that has been the critical mass of everything that is on today, thanks to this Italian trio named GENGIS KHAN, I felt that I was in luck. Well, at least at first glance. The Mongolian conqueror has been long gone, and probably he wasn't a rocker after all (as I don't believe that he would have understood the term) but these kinds of phrases (like the notorious "God is a DJ") have been sprinkling around with various of versions, therefore, if it is marketable and catchy, who cares really because it works. As their debut, GENGIS KHAN issued "Gengis Khan Was A Rocker", via MDD Records, a classic blaze right into the clenches of the mid to the later 80s, smelling British, like post NWOBHM, a swing of Hard Rock, with fists of Speed Metal, yet sounding Italian (due to the utterly heavy accent). It has been a while since I listened to a band that sounds similar, and in a way influenced, to old 80s relics like RAVEN, STORMWITCH, ATTACK among the many that once ravaged the traditional Metal scene in the golden years.

Once again the classic type rhythm guitar riffing exploded into the air like thunder, a crushing echo as if it was a victorious hymn after a flourishing conquest. While ranging between the later era of NWOBHM all through the boundaries of Speed Metal precision, GENGIS KHAN's conceptions didn't appear that creative, needless to say that there wasn't any indication of anything vigorously miscellaneous. Frankly, it wasn't expected of them, especially after launching straightforward chops, rather catchy and easily comprehensible. Nonetheless, there was a selecting of crispy harmonies of the old British kind while also scattering a few nasty soloing procedures measured to pure class. Serving as a great support to this effort, the general sound, other than the drum set that appeared quite modern, and the perspective of whoever engineered it, contributed to the 80s feel of the entire release. Perhaps the producer's work could have been one of the album's power pointers if the vocal production wasn't that horrid as it turned out to be.

Following the material of the hefty tracklist, which also contained of early demos dating two years ago, I have been baffled. Possibly the main issue I had with the material in general, taking off the track that features ex-IRON MAIDEN and active solo man, Blaze Bayley, Frank Leone's vocal determination left me with doubts. That Italian accent really took its toll on the songs, and it was hard for me to acknowledge his involvement. His voice is pretty good, reminded some of the old vocalists of the era, has a nice range, yet, along with this accent, his wasn't anywhere dominant. The production could be at fault, yet I am not so sure. Furthermore, stepping out of the vocal section, GENGIS KHAN weren't able to set out super hits with gold chains. The majority of the lyrics seemed quite meaningless, and in a way with a touch of nonsense, not that I laughed myself off, but it was hard to appreciate them as well. "Heavy Metal Maniac", even with the constant reprise, could have been an anthem, one of the better ones for the genre, but it kept on repeating itself. "Welcome in the Middle", the supposed album's ballad, seemed puny, unlike the power ballads of the 80s, it had nothing to offer, letting out a nice solo presentation, not emotion or anything substantial. Nevertheless, "We're Standing in the Night", which should have been an integral part of this release beforehand, merely saved this release with a fine 80s classic, I could say the same on "Leaving This Hell", yet this one took its stature on the tracklist. "1984 in Tokyo", "Dr. Midnight" and "Into The Fire" slashed as solid 80s anthems, specifically the former hailing with a great mix of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, a few simpler early 80s Teutonic reservations with the awesome and memorable British appeal.

"Gengis Khan Was A Rocker" had me contemplating with myself. Without any expectation other than an 80s oriented release, I believe that I got what I deserved. However, with the Speed Metal combustion and the 80s signatures, GENGIS KHAN set off only a decent release with a few potential shining stars and a track that sadly didn't make it to the list. Furthermore, a suggestion for the band, don't let Blaze front one of your songs, as he didn't quite nail "Revenge In The Shadow". 80s fans should check "Gengis Khan Was A Rocker" out and desolate its contents. As for the vocals, it is a matter of getting used to. 

7 / 10


"Gengis Khan Was a Rocker" Track-listing:

1. What The Hell Is Going On
2. Into The Fire
3. Dr. Midnight
4. Leaving This Hell
5. Heavy Metal Maniac
6. Welcome in the Middle
7. She's Got the Power
8. On and On
9. 1984 in Tokyo
10. Revenge In The Shadow (Feat. Blaze Bayley)
11. Under the Sign of Danger (Demo 2011)
12. Leaving This Hell (Demo 2011)
13. On and On (Demo 2011)
14. We're Standing in the Night (Demo 2011)

Gengis Khan Lineup:

Frank Leone - Vocals / Guitars
Maurizio Leone - Bass / Backing Vocals
Martin Castillo - Drums / Backing Vocals

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