• Megadeth - DYSTOPIA

    Image: Megadeth, Dystopia, Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Kiko Loureiro, Chris Adler Megadeth
    DYSTOPIA

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    More than any other metal band in history, being a hardcore Megadeth fan is truly a rollercoaster ride. This is a band with multiple duds in their catalog, and yet they always seem to rebound. Think about it, they’ve truly had some bad releases in their catalog. RISK was terrible. THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO wasn’t a lot better. And yet,

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  • Anthrax - FOR ALL KINGS

    Image: Anthrax, For All Kings, Pitriff, Chris Akin Anthrax
    FOR ALL KINGS

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    Depending on your perspective, Anthrax is either having a career resurgence or floundering at the end of their career. I’m stunned how many people actually didn’t like their last effort, FOR ALL KINGS. In these ears, that was the best effort of their career. What made it great, to me, was the mixture of crushing heaviness combined with some

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  • Sevendust - KILL THE FLAW

    Image: Sevendust, Kill The Flaw Sevendust
    KILL THE FLAW

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    When I first saw Sevendust’s new release was titled KILL THE FLAW, my initial thought was “what exactly is the flaw?” It leads you to wonder just what it is that caused this band to not break big, while bands with lesser quality catalogs like Disturbed or Korn had such crazy amounts of success at the same time. This

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  • Iron Maiden - THE BOOK OF SOULS

    Image: Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls, Review, Classic Metal, Pitriff, Chris Akin Iron Maiden
    THE BOOK OF SOULS

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    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
    REPENTLESS

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    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
    THE KEY

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    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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  • W.A.S.P. - GOLGOTHA

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

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    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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Image: Scalp, Heavy Metal, Reviews, PitriffScalp
SCALP

Well, this is a first for me - a band reaching out and asking me to review their new music by listening to it on Spotify.  I guess that's an OK strategy, although if I really liked the material this would not be acceptable to have to burn up my 3G bandwidth that AT&T robs me for using.  Still, I'm in front of the computer most of the time, so why not give this a listen.

For those that don't know, Scalp is a project who's mere mention probably put Andrew McNeice of MelodicRock.com into convulsions!  This is an AOR supergroup of sorts - featuring members of acts like W.E.T., Insania, Eclipse, Baltimoore and Sabaton).  Unfortunately for Scalp, the amalgamation of a lot of talent doesn't always translate into a great project.  SCALP is a pretty sub-standard AOR rocker that suffers from somewhat murky production as well as fairly drab material.

Again, it's not horrible by any means.  There's just not a ton of material here that really stands out.  A big part of that comes from the production, which is definitely lacking for this genre of music.  One of the key elements to this kind of music thriving is the huge, lush production quality that these bands usually showcase.  It's just not here.  Songs like "Frozen Days" and "Do You Dream" are plagued by simply awful guitar tone and drum sound.  "Frozen Days", in particular, is an absolute mess sonically.  I have no idea with guitarists Emanuel Hedberg and Tobias Jakobsson were going for on this song, but what they captured with a thin, seemingly filtered tone that is very lacking.  There are times in this progressive wannabe song when the entire band seems completely out of sync with each other, and specifically with vocalist Dmitri Keiski.  For his part, Keiski is not the most appealing singer.  He's got a quality to his voice that is very reminiscent of some early 70s pop singer that I can't quite place, but that's not a good thing.  He incorporates a simply horrible vocal effected callout under his voice on "I Just Wish".  Not only is the effect bad, but the callback is too loud throughout to where it interferes with the vocal line itself.

Production is a large part of the problem, but the other half of the issues with Scalp come from songs that just aren't very good.  Listening through the material, it's amazing that these guys came up with such middle of the road AOR music considering how much more dynamic their real projects are.  To listen to songs like "Romes Peace" or the seemingly out of tune "Time For Revolution", you almost can't believe that guys that have done so much better would put their names on this.

PITRIFF RATING - 32/100 - I'm quite sure the theme going into this project was to do something unlike their bigger named projects.  They've certainly accomplished that.  SCALP is a pretty tough listen plagued with either poor production and dreadfully average songs, or bad decisions about what to do with the sound and direction of the project.  Either way, this was a difficult listen.

Chris Akin

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