You’ll see this baby show up more as their coverage isn’t just nerdy articles on how to do wank-off licks faster than ever, but rather broader coverage of guitar-oriented artists in blues, jazz, and rock (My apologies, country fans….for you being country fans, that is).

This issue’s strong points:

  • Great article on the reunion of the Dio-led version of Black Sabbath as the newly-christened Heaven and Hell. While they could never have the trailblazing impact that the Ozzy version did, they were a fantastic metal outfit in their own right and probably something of an improvement.
  • Great look back at the making of Highway to Hell AKA the last Bon Scott AC/DC record. Yet another somewhat overlooked iteration of a fantastic band.
  • A "metal" lesson with Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest. Surprisingly skill-oriented and relevant.

This issue’s weak points:

  • As any piece on Fall Out Boy would have to be, it’s more about the MySpace following and Pete Wentz’s misadventures than it is the music. Mostly a waste, tho I will admit to actually liking their new single and absolutely nothing else they’ve ever done.
  • Overall, it’s a very good issue, but sadly indicative of mainstream US music mags in general that most cover stories and lead articles are about past bands and "greatest" lists. There’s little exciting new stuff going on in mainstream music, and putting great newer bands like The Arcade Fire or Of Montreal on covers probably won’t sell magazines. What a quandary.

Overall: 8.5 out of 10

2. WEEKLY #925

Sure, their film reviews are hated by geeks. Yes, they follow trends incessantly. And yes, music coverage is generally an afterthought. But it’s surely the most fun weekly read out there, and they have television on lock. Plus, they’ll surprise with every now and then with a great piece on overlooked entertainment industry plebs like personal assistants and bodyguards. When it’s on, it’s an incredible value. When it’s not…wait a week.

This issue’s strong points:

  • I’m not really an Ugly Betty fan at all, but I liked the article’s focus on how the show can improve and overcome the buzz deflation that’s afflicted Lost and Desperate Housewives. That’s how TV coverage should be: current, relevant, and not-at-all worshipful.
  • Short, but entertaining Malcolm McDowell article about his role on the ludicrously entertaining Rising Stars…I mean, Supreme Power…err, I mean X-Men….nope, that’s not it…oh yeah, Heroes.
  • Good two-pagers on Andy Richter and Lily Allen. Richter gets some good love, and the cute, yet feisty Allen is much more interesting in print than she is on record. That "Smile" single is a yawner.

This issue’s weak points:

  • They consider that Gym Class Heroes video for "Cupid’s Chokehold" to be a YouTube Sensation? Who would bother downloading it when MTV and MTV2 show it for about 80 percent of the 3 hours a day each morning they actually show videos?
  • Reviews this ish are predictably bland. Still, it’s a good issue for these guys.

Overall: 7.0 out of 10