• 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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Fates Warning - DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT

Image: Fates Warning, Darkness In A Different Light, Pitriff, Reviews, progressive metalFates Warning
DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT

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Fates Warning are a band that has a ton of talent, but it's never been realized by the masses for one reason - they were always a bit too crafty for their own good.  In many ways, they remind me of a better musical version of bands like Rush or Dream Theater.  While the band is clearly filled with musicians that are as talented as any that are working today, they almost always over-extended their chops both musically and in writing material to a point that the masses just couldn't easily consume and "get" what they were about.  The result is that they never got big while other bands raced to the top of the niche they fall into.  The results have been releases like AWAKEN THE GUARDIAN, DISCONNECTED and A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY; albums that their core audience love, but just didn't have any real "hit" potential to break them past their niche audience.  DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT is their most straightforward effort since they debuted in the 80s, but it's a little too late at this point.  That said, this is a seriously solid Fates Warning album.

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Deicide - IN THE MINDS OF EVIL

Image: Deicide, In The Minds Of Evil, Death Metal, Review, PitriffDeicide
IN THE MINDS OF EVIL

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Am I the only one that remembers when Florida was THE place for brilliant death metal?  That is definitely a ghost from the past, as the major players from that era have seemingly all faded away (or, at a minimum are putting out subpar material).  One of those bands that was considered a leader of that pack was Deicide, and much like your Morbid Angels and Obituarys of the Florida world, their music has become little more than tired, regurgitated crud that will draw people to the clubs based solely on their past instead of anything they are doing now.  IN THE MINDS OF EVIL feels like a glass of drinking water that you know was recycled from your neighbor's toilet.  It may have the feeling that it's refreshing, but you just sense that it's not truly fresh.

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Boston - LIFE, LOVE & HOPE

Image: Boston, Life Love and Hope, Pitriff, heavy metal, reviewsBoston
LIFE, LOVE & HOPE

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Boston is one of those bands that, as a fan, has just been one of the most frustrating to follow.  Their career has been so sporadic musically and so infrequent release-wise that they literally tanked their career for the sake of the creative musings of their leader, guitarist Tom Scholz. To be pretty honest, they haven't done anything that's been that great since the THIRD STAGE release, which came back in 1986.  Following the death of vocalist Brad Delp, they seemed like they may just be over, but were resurrected in the live setting by Stryper vocalist Michael Sweet.  Sweet has since left, but new vocalist Tommy DiCarlo seems to be a pretty good clone of Delp sonically.  So, onward does the Boston spaceship sail.

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Pro-Pain - THE FINAL REVOLUTION

Image: Pro-Pain, The Final Revolution, Pitriff, Review, Heavy MetalPro-Pain
THE FINAL REVOLUTION

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In almost every subgenre of heavy metal, there's a band where you just know what you are going to get before you ever listen to a note of new music from the band.  In hard rock, it's AC/DC.  In modern rock/metal, it would be Disturbed.  In death metal, you could point to Six Feet Under, Cannibal Corpse or just about anyone else.  In hardcore, it's definitely Pro-Pain.  Before ever playing a single note of THE FINAL REVOLUTION, I had the strongest idea of what was coming.  Needless to say, my hunch was correct.  THE FINAL REVOLUTION is exactly as advertised.  It's violent.  It's a clear spit into the face of authority.  In short, it's Pro-Pain.

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Kataklysm - WAITING FOR THE END TO COME

Image: Kataklysm, Waiting For The End To Come, Heavy Metal, Review, Death Metal, PitriffKataklysm
WAITING FOR THE END TO COME

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For a lot of people, the second they hear that a band is "death metal", they will exit the conversation.  Their loss, I guess.  Kataklysm are definitely a death metal-like band I guess, but in many ways the continue to remind me of their slightly less heavy former enemies Devildriver.  To be certain, there's nothing here at all resembling anything but the most heavy of music that has ever been created, but there's always that slight bit of melody in the music that has long separated Kataklysm from the myriads of Cookie Monster sounding gurglers that clog the "death metal" world today with what is, basically, average music that plays more to it's genre's stereotype than it does to anything creative.  While not the best release Kataklysm has ever done, WAITING FOR THE END TO COME continues the tradition the band has established and ran with for two decades.

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Benedictum - OBEY

Images: Obey, Benedictum, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, PitriffBenedictum
OBEY

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Some bands just don't get the love they deserve from metal fans around the world.  One of those bands is Benedictum.  In a large way, I put them in the same bucket as an artist like Jorn Lande.  Musically, they are continually stronger than most of the trendy dreck that's out there, but they are constantly overlooked for reasons that are just not fair to them.  With Lande, he's got the stigma of sounding like Dio (which, to be fair to the metal fans out there he helped to perpetuate) which has led people to not take him as seriously as an individual artist as his music demands.  With Benedictum, I'm quick to believe that the imagery of the beautiful and voluptuous Veronica Freeman does more harm than good, as the dumb metal stereotype of "chicks don't rock" will cause some to not give Benedictum a fair shake.  For those metalheads, I can only say, "your loss, dumbass".  As a band that simply gets better with each and every effort, Benedictum has created their best release yet with OBEY.  Full of speed, heaviness and frenetic energy that is far above their previous releases, OBEY has high jumped the bar the band previously set with DOMINION, and cleared it by a mile.

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Metal Church - GENERATION NOTHING

Image: Metal Church, Generation Nothing, Pitriff, CD Review, heavy metalMetal Church
GENERATION NOTHING

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Back in 2009, there were a lot of us that were less than thrilled with Metal Church announced they were disbanding. While not for all fans, there's a lot of people out there that considered their LIGHT IN THE DARK release to be one of the best in the history of the band. And while other releases in the Ronny Munroe era of the band have been hit or miss, they brought it strong in the live environment. Further, releases like WEIGHT OF THE WORLD and THIS PRESENT DARKNESS were not bad efforts per se. They just weren't as good as LIGHT IN THE DARK or the classic era material. Having seen the Munroe led version of Metal Church a few times, it was really disheartening to hear they had broken up. Thankfully though, they have brought the band back together after a few years away to regroup, adapt to the business model of modern recording, and just recharge the batteries. The resulting GENERATION NOTHING is a very, very strong effort from the mighty Metal Church.

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Korn - THE PARADIGM SHIFT

Image: Korn, The paradigm shift, heavy metal, reviewsKorn
THE PARADIGM SHIFT

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Korn has always been one of those bands that either hits or misses with me. I've loved some of them (KORN, FOLLOW THE LEADER), and I've hated others (LIFE IS PEACHY, UNTOUCHABLES). Their last release, the dubstep flavored PATH OF TOTALITY, was pretty much unlistenable to me personally. It just turned into so much more of a Jonathan Davis solo project than anything else. For THE PARADIGM SHIFT, the band has returned to their roots in a lot of ways. They have brought back guitarist Head from his religious revival, and with him comes a lot of the older style flavor. While not perfect, THE PARADIGM SHIFT is one of the stronger releases from Korn in awhile.

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