• Iron Maiden - THE BOOK OF SOULS

    Image: Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls, Review, Classic Metal, Pitriff, Chris Akin Iron Maiden


    They don’t do it that often anymore, but there’s always excitement when Iron Maiden comes out with new music. Knowing that they are closing in on the end of their career, you really do end up hoping that when they go out for good, it will be with a bang. I think it’s universally agreed upon that

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  • Slayer - REPENTLESS

    Image: Slayer, Repentless, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal, Chris Akin Slayer


    Probably more than any release in their history, Slayer came into releasing this album at a crossroads. This WAS the album that, in many ways, dictated if the band could continue on or if it was indeed time to drift off quietly to Hell. The loss of guitarist Jeff Hanneman and the removal of drummer Dave Lombardo had almost every Slayer

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  • Operation: Mindcrime - THE KEY

    Image: Operation Mindcrime, Geoff Tate, Reviews, Music, heavy metal Operation: Mindcrime


    Geoff Tate’s falling out and subsequent two years of lawsuits, multiple versions of the same band and overall craziness in the press definitely tarnished a legacy that once seemed untouchable. Think about it. Even with over a decade of arguably bad releases (Q2K, TRIBE, AMERICAN SOLDIER, DEDICATED TO CHAOS), it wasn’t until the now infamous spitting incident and the

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    Image: WASP, Golgotha, Blackie Lawless, Pitriff, Review, Heavy Metal W.A.S.P.


    W.A.S.P. is one of those bands that has a ridiculously loyal fanbase...and good for them, actually. Doing THE CLASSIC METAL SHOW, we get shit on repeatedly anytime we say anything that is less than glowing about W.A.S.P., Blackie Lawless or any of the band’s former or present members. Oh well...comes with the territory, I guess. After what seems like quite a

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  • Halestorm - INTO THE WILD LIFE

    Image: Halestorm, Into The Wild Life, Pitriff, heavy metal, reviews, interviews Halestorm


    With the release of THE STRANGE CASE OF…, I fell in love with Lzzy Hale. So much so, in fact, that I jokingly got down on one knee and asked her to marry me at Rock On The Range two years ago (a proposal that she didn’t flat out turn down, so maybe there’s still hope!!). Let’s be

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Image: Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Big Moon RitualChris Robinson Brotherhood

Man, oh man.  Sometimes I hear music that really, really makes me question my decision of 1986 to just quit smoking pot.  I've never lied to anyone about it.  I loved smoking pot - everything about it.  I loved the buzz.  I loved the warm, bubbly feeling as you let it find its way through your lungs while you held it in before that euphoric release that was, generally, followed by a soft giggle of the purest enjoyment.  I loved the relaxing serenity it can put your mind into, specifically if you had just the right music playing while you enjoyed passing a joint around a campfire or mixing in pipe hits when you grew tired of drinking beer by the six pack.  Yes, I do miss smoking pot, but thankfully I am one of those rare breed that still enjoys the best pot smoking music while being completely herb free!

Image: Rush, Clockwork Angels, CD Review, Heavy metal, pitriff, interviews, newsRush

It's been five years since Rush unleashed their SNAKES AND ARROWS release, and to be honest, it's been longer still since they put out a release that was truly great.  Like most of their material outside of the 80s, SNAKES AND ARROWS was a little better than competent classic progressive hard rock.  For the diehards, always being good but not great leaves them wondering when the next great release will emerge.  For those that are just fans in passing (like this guy), the thought of a new release generates very little in the way of expectation.

Images: Mnemic, Mnemesis, Mircea Gabriel EftemieThe road to success, or even survival, for any band is a difficult one.  For a band like Mnemic, that's never found a way to break through in the United States for a wide assortment of reasons, it can be even that much harder.  For every band, from the smallest local band to Metallica or Aerosmith, there always seems to come a point where the band is tested to decide if they should move forward or pack it in. 

That time seemingly came for Mnemic following the release of their SONS OF THE SYSTEM release.  It was at this point that 3/5 of the band turned over.  This left the band's lone original member Mircea Gabriel Eftemie with a decision - continue Mnemic which has always shown the potential but has never broken through on the biggest stage, or call it a day and try something else.  According to Eftemie, there really was no decision like this to be made.  Mnemic found new members and went about the business of recording their latest release, MNEMESIS.  As he explained to PITRIFF recently, the turnover of members did present it's own set of challenges, but never so much so that he ever considered putting an end to Mnemic.  Here's the conversation:

Image: Kreator, Phantom Antichrist, interviews, news, cd reviews, heavy metal, pitriffKreator

Creating the magical moment in a band's history can certainly be a blessing.  it can also be a curse though.  Throughout the history of recorded music, most long term bands have created their "epic moment", and then followed it up (generally unsuccessfully) for the next several decades trying to recapture that moment once again.  While I'm sure people will question the band's apex moment, I'll state that ENDLESS PAIN (and specifically the brilliant track "Flag Of Hate") was Kreator's grandest moment.  While they have been one of the more excellent thrash bands since then, they never really lived up to that album...until 2009's HORDES OF CHAOS.  There was a level of brilliance with that release that most didn't think these guys had anymore.  That was the blessing.

Image: DeHuman, Black Throne Of All Creation, pitriff, heavy metal, reviews, news, interviewsDehuman

Holy Suffocation, is this a tribute band?  Actually, it's not.  Dehuman is a Belgian death metal band that claims themselves to be an "old school death metal" band, and they are certainly right on the mark with that.  BLACK THRONE OF ALL CREATION certainly could have done well in 1996 or so...long before this genre was uprooted and bastardized by all the influence of Metalcore to ruin future generations of sonic death.

While I appreciate the old school sound that Dehuman has, they unfortunately sound like they might have recorded with gear that hasn't been updated since the '90s as well.  

Image: Firewind, CD Review, Heavy Metal, PitriffFirewind

I know I wasn't alone in worrying that guitarist Gus G. joining Ozzy would ruin Firewind.  Sure, we all get that it's a great move for Gus.  Further, we also understand that it is an unbelievable opportunity that that has propelled every other guitarist except Joe Holmes to stardom.  In short, we get why Gus did it.  That said though, Firewind has been, along with Primal Fear, the most consistently great power metal band of the last decade.  Seeing it become a part time project behind a very high profile gig could have spelled disaster.

Thankfully though, this has not happened.  While it's not the best album Firewind has ever done, FEW AGAINST MANY is very much in tune with the greatness of previous efforts and continues to show development of the band as songwriters.  To say the least, FEW AGAINST MANY kicks ass in the tradition the band had previously established.

Mnemic, Mnemesis, pitrif, heavy metal, cd reviewMnemic

This pattern has been played out far too many times.  Band comes along and kicks ass from the start.  As time goes by though, original members start flaking away, and  the core sound slowly begins to go in different directions.  Finally, you get down to one original member and a sound that seemingly forces itself to touch on the original direction, but falls away to some completely new signatures that render said band to being little more than a shell of their former selves.  After 14 years, Mnemic has eroded away to guitarist Mircea Gabriel Eftemie and four other jags (JAG = Just Another Guy) that have come in to sing the old songs while changing the entire chemistry and vibe of the band.  For most, a listen to MNEMESIS followed by a listen to MECHANICAL SPIN PHENOMENA, and you'll think you listened to two entirely different bands.  Some will call that musical growth.  I'll call it failing direction as a band.

Image: Queensryche, Rage For Order, Pitriff, heavy metalLast week saw the debut of Rising West - a "new band" that was formed to make a statement or two about the current state of affairs in Queensryche.  It says, pretty loudly, that the band behind vocalist Geoff Tate pretty much hate him  and don't want to work with him anymore.  It also loudly proclaims that the guys in the band do not believe in the direction that Tate and his wife have taken the band into.  Finally, it definitely screams out that they are going to take their legacy with them into something new, and Geoff Tate can do nothing about it.  In short, what's truly rising in the west is a mutiny from within the ranks of one of the most respected bands to come out of the 80s scene.

As a fan of Queensryche since their very beginnings, I can only ask...plead really...Geoff, please retire the name Queensryche and move forward with your solo career.  Please do not drag it through the mud the way so many bands have done over the past decade.

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Image: Cause/Effect Metallica, Chris Akin

A look at one of the most polarizing, iconic and best selling albums of all time from author, rock critic and shock jock radio host Chris Akin.


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Image: Little Victories, Book, Chris Akin

The shockingly honest and emotional first book from radio personality and rock critic Chris Akin.

CLICK HERE to learn more about LITTLE VICTORIES.

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Available January 13th in Paperback and Digital Formats on Amazon and iTunes.

 Image: Keel, pitriff, heavy metal, news, reviews, interviews

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