• Wretch - WARRIORS

    Image: Wretch, Warriors, Review, Power Metal, Chris Akin, Pitriff Wretch
    WARRIORS

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    There's an unwritten rule that I rarely follow here in Cleveland. That rule is that if a band is from Cleveland, I'm supposed to write all glowing things or else be called a hater by the local community. It's sad that it's like that, but the truth is what it is. For years I've lived with that stigma, to the point

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  • Machine Head - BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS

    Image: Machine Head, Bloodstone & Diamonds, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal Machine Head
    BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS

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    What happened to Machine Head really is a crime. Unfortunately for them, it's a crime they perpetrated upon themselves. With a mistake so many made in their youth, this band singlehandedly torpedoed themselves from ascending to the heights in metal held by only the select few like Metallica and Megadeth before them. After THE MORE THINGS CHANGE came

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  • Nashville Outlaws - TRIBUTE TO MOTLEY CRUE

    Image: Nashville Outlaws, Motley Crue Tribute Nashville Outlaws
    A TRIBUTE TO MOTLEY CRUE

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    With the music industry pretty much dead anymore, nothing really comes off as shocking. After all, you have very desperate companies trying to hang on and make money from an industry that has about as much relevance today as the typewriter ribbon makers of the world still do. The current trend for the last half decade

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  • Texas Hippie Coalition - RIDE ON

    Image: Texas Hippie Coalition, Ride On, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Review, Classic Metal Texas Hippie Coalition
    RIDE ON

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    I tell this story often, but it's one of my favorites of the past year. I had the chance to interview the Texas Hippie Coalition earlier this year at Rock On The Range in Columbus, Ohio. I was in a small tent with a bunch of photographers. The tent was fairly quiet really, as the much bigger adjacent

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  • Sammy Hagar - LITE ROAST

    Image: Sammy Hagar, Lite Roast, NonMetal, Review Sammy Hagar
    LITE ROAST

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    I get it. You are Sammy Hagar. You've seen huge success in virtually every world you've entered. In music, he was the main focus of Montrose. He parlayed that into a very successful solo career. That wasn't enough, so he joined the world's largest band at the time (Van Halen), and took them to commercial heights that even they

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  • Cavalera Conspiracy - PANDEMONIUM

    Image: Cavalera Conspiracy, Pandemonium, Pitriff, Death Metal, Review Cavalera Conspiracy
    PANDEMONIUM

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    There's always good news and bad news whenever Max Cavalera gets busy with new music. The good is that you get a whole lot of new music, seemingly all in a very short time. The bad news is it's generally spotty at best, because he simply writes and releases too much music at the same time. His band Soulfly released

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  • Slipknot - .5 THE GRAY MATTER

    Image: Slipknot, .5 The Gray Matter, Pitriff, CD Review, Modern Metal Slipknot
    .5 THE GRAY MATTER

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    With a ton of speculation and even more wonderment on this band's ability to continue on without founding members Paul Gray and Joey Jordison, Slipknot has returned after far too long of a layoff with .5 THE GRAY MATTER. I've listened to this release multiple times a day for the last week or so that I've had it,

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  • Opeth - PALE COMMUNION

    Image: Opeth, Pale Communion, Pitriff, Review, Progressive Metal Opeth
    PALE COMMUNION

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    Opeth simply fails as a band, at least to me. While I'll admit to never fully understanding the amazement and awe so many have for this band, I've appreciated them from afar. I've listened, and I've at least wrapped my head around what they were trying to do. Their fusing of death metal with progressive elements always made for an

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  • Cannibal Corpse - A SKELETAL DOMAIN

    Cannibal Corpse, A Skeletal Domain, Review, Death Metal Cannibal Corpse
    A SKELETAL DOMAIN

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    So really, what does anyone expect when you get a Cannibal Corpse release handed to you? Ballads, love songs and fun? Not hardly. There's an expectation of severe brutality which the band delivers time and time again. Certainly, it comes with different levels of acceptance to one's ears, but ultimately the only thing that matters if it says

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  • Exodus - BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT

    Image: Exodus, Blood In Blood Out, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal Exodus
    BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT

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    Unless you call Testament a "thrash band" (which I don't personally), Exodus would rank as my favorite true Thrash band of all time. They have had good times and bad. Occasionally, like on FABULOUS DISASTER, they have misstepped along the way. But overall, they are one of the true powerhouses in the history of thrash metal. Since 2004

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  • Mr. Big - ...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL

    Mr. Big, The Stories We Could Tell, Reviews, Classic Metal, Chris Akin, Pitriff Mr. Big
    ...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL

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    As a fan of Mr. Big, I can't honestly say that many people thought that their reunion was much more than a cash grab opportunity for the guys in the band who, while immensely talented, failed to find solo success to match their collaborative efforts. It was never a question of if they could still play.

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Review - Modern Day Escape

Image: Modern Day Escape, Under The Gun, CD Review, PitriffModern Day Escape
UNDER THE GUN

With so much focus on the current demise of hard rock and heavy metal today (and yes, this focus is justified for the most part), it seems that people are missing a lot of bands that are creating quality music these days. How could you not? It's easy to become very disenfranchised with an entire genre of music when it's flagship band is an uncreative band like Nickelback. Still, there are bands that are creating highly interesting, powerful hard rock that should be getting a lot more attention. One such band is Modern Day Escape.  While the band seemed to find their audience with well conceived videos and decent songs with their last effort, HOUSE OF RATS, they have clearly defined their sound while stepping up their song and lyric writing with their latest, UNDER THE GUN. In all avenues, UNDER THE GUN features a tighter, more cohesive Modern Day Escape than we saw previously.

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Review - Ektomorf THE ACOUSTIC

Image: Ektomorf, The Acoustic, Pitriff, CD ReviewEktomorf
THE ACOUSTIC

Some albums are just meant to be kept for personal use. I can always appreciate when a band wants to branch out and try something different. Sometimes, it’s a cool little gem for fans. As an example, I very much like Aerosmith’s HONKIN’ ON BOBO release where they stretched themselves by doing an album of Blues sub-standards. The obvious marker for a successful stretch outward would be Tesla’s FIVE MAN ACOUSTICAL JAM. The difference between those bands and a band like Ektomorf is pretty clear though. Those bands had an established audience. Maybe they do somewhere else, but Ektomorf doesn’t mean a whole lot to metal audiences here in the States. I like them a lot, personally, but I’m one person. In fact, the sad truth is that if you played a single song frrom Ektomorf’s back catalog for most fans, they would think it’s Soulfly.

Read more: Review - Ektomorf THE ACOUSTIC

Review - Quiet Riot LIVE AT THE US FESTIVAL

Image: Quiet Riot, Live At The US Festival, Pitriff, CD ReviewQuiet Riot
LIVE AT THE US FESTIVAL 1983

The death of Kevin Dubrow a few years ago really put an explanation point on the hair band era. There’s really no doubt at all that Quiet Riot’s METAL HEALTH was the starting point to a decade of glitz rock and metal like none that’s been seen before or since. Dubrow’s death kind of put the final dagger in that genre once and for all, given that he was the face of this style’s initial rise to prominence. To many, the US Festival was the official launching point for this style of music, with both Motley Crue and Quiet Riot becoming huge largely due to their performances here.

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Review - Adrenaline Mob OMERTA

Image: Omerta, Adrenaline Mob, Pitriff, CD ReviewAdrenaline Mob
OMERTA

Mike Portnoy sure did torch his career in short order, didn’t he? In the span of a year, he went from one of the most loved and respected musicians in the world to a punching bag amongst metal fans. The whole drama with quitting Dream Theater, joining Avenged Sevenfold, being thrown out of Avenged Sevenfold, then being blocked from rejoining Dream Theater was somewhat amusing to watch in a sad sort of way. In the wake of all this, Portnoy was left without a band and had to create a new one. Adrenaline Mob is that band.

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Review - Municipal Waste THE FATAL FEAST

Image: Municipal Waste, The Fatal Feast, Pitriff, CD ReviewMunicipal Waste
THE FATAL FEAST

There are some bands that put out releases and you really, really know exactly what you can expect before ever playing a single note of one of their songs. Municipal Waste are one of those bands. Like all of their previous work, their Slayer meets early Anthrax approach to thrash hits you in the face with short blasts of aggression that leave you worn out after a full listen. Their lyrical outpouring pretty much stays the course as well; a litany of songs about horror, gore, and…well, sickness. These guys clearly don’t take themselves overly seriously, as is evidenced by songs like “Covered In Sick – The Barfer”.

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Review - Soulfly ENSLAVED

Image: Soulfly, Enslaved, Pitriff, CD ReviewSoulfly
ENSLAVED

It’s kind of odd really how time has worked with Max Cavalera. Back when Soulfly came out, the best quality of the band was that it took Max’s music fully into directions he wanted to explore bout really couldn’t with Sepultura. For many people, they will say quite a different thing, but hear me out. Far too many people criticized Soulfly for NOT sounding like Sepultura’s ARISE or CHAOS A.D., even though that really was never the intention. Somewhat predictably though, the years that have gone by has seen Cavalera progress (or regress depending on your stance) more and more toward the classic Sepultura sound. The last two albums, OMEN and DARK AGES, could easily have been mistaken for Sepultura reunion albums. The same can be said about Cavalera’s project with his brother, Cavalera Conspiracy. The same can now be said about ENSLAVED.

Read more: Review - Soulfly ENSLAVED

Review - Jeff Scott Soto DAMAGE CONTROL

Image: Jeff Scott Soto, Damage Control, Pitriff, CD ReviewsJeff Scott Soto
DAMAGE CONTROL

Jeff Scott Soto is, by far, my favorite singer out there today. The guy has one of the strongest voices in the world, and his ability to use it in a multitude of ways stretches far past what most singers ever showcase. Let’s face it, you have to have incredible talent to be able to front a band that was defined by a voice (Journey), as well as fronting a metal band of prominence (Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force).

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Review - Strangeways AGE OF REASON

Image: Strangeways, Pitriff, CD ReviewsStrangeways
AGE OF REASON

Vocalist Terry Brock can sing his ass off. I mean, seriously, he’s as good as it gets. He’s right there with the greats of Album Oriented Rock music as far as voice goes. Steve Perry, Jeff Scott Soto, Kevin Chalfant – pick a name that is synonymous with that genre, and you will find Terry Brock to be, at worst, of equal caliber to that singer. This just goes to show that no matter how good a singer is, he can’t turn a shitty album good. While Brock may sing as good as he has ever sang before here, ACT OF REASON is one of the most boring, tepid releases of the last year.

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