• Black Stone Cherry - KENTUCKY

    Image: Black Stone Cherry, Kentucky Black Stone Cherry
    KENTUCKY

    CD
    MP3

    This collection of southern boys are not the most original band in the world. They’ll never be accused of being the most musically gifted fellas in the world. Certainly, no one will ever listen to them and think, “wow, that’s really cutting edge music”. To the contrary though, release in and release out, the same thought comes to mind

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  • Zakk Wylde - BOOK OF SHADOWS II

    Image: Zakk Wylde, Book Of Shadows II Zakk Wylde
    BOOK OF SHADOWS II

    CD
    MP3

    Sequels to albums, at least in my listening experience, are generally poor. The two that immediately jump to mind for me are Rob Zombie’s HELLBELLY DELUXE 2 and Meat Loaf’s BAT OUT OF HELL 2. Both releases were pretty lame, and garnered attention solely because they were named after much more historic releases in their creator’s career.

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  • Dream Theater - THE ASTONISHING

    Image: Dream Theater, The Astonishing, Pitriff, Chris Akin Dream Theater
    THE ASTONISHING

    CD
    MP3

    So, Dream Theater is back with a release that many are calling their most in-depth, and yet polarizing release. Fair enough. With 34 tracks and clocking in at over two hours in length, it’s certainly the most challenging on a listener to fully grasp and comprehend. Along with THE ASTONISHING, you are expected to read the book of lyrics

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  • Megadeth - DYSTOPIA

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

    CD
    MP3

    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

    CD
    MP3

    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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Image: Shadowmaker, Running Wild, Pitriff, CD Review, News, Heavy MetalRunning Wild
SHADOWMAKER

Well, Running Wild is back!  It wasn't that long ago we were reading about them calling it a day and sailing off into the proverbial sunset.  Apparently they have changed their mind.  Listening to SHADOWMAKER, maybe they shouldn't have reconsidered retirement.

To be fair here, that's a bit misleading.  SHADOWMAKER is, pretty much, a middle of the road album that is as average as steamed rice served with a gourmet dinner.  The hardcore fans that have loved everything from "Victims Of States Power" to "The Fall Of Dorkas" will probably like this.  People that never got these pirate metallers will continue to not care.  As a fan in passing of some of their material, I can say honestly that I'll probably never encounter this release again, but wouldn't turn off a song or two if they came on my Ipod shuffle.  In short, SHADOWMAKER is pretty much standard fare for these feisty Germans.

There are some songs that are very good though.  While this is more of a hard rock album that rubs up against the fringes of heavy metal on occasion, there are a few worthy moments on the disc.  "I Am Who I Am" is a particularly rocking song with a great guitar riffs and solos provided by band leader Rolf Kasparek and Peter Jordan.  Other songs, like "Black Shadow" , find Kasparek in decent voice and the band sounding strong.

The problem though is those moments are short lived.  Overwhelmingly, the songs are just kind of there; laboring on and on without a whole lot of direction or inspiration.  Listening to songs like "Locomotive", they have all the right elements (rockin' tempo, cool solo, decent vocals), but the song just lays there and is pretty uninspired.  Adding on to that, the lyrics here are pretty lame as well.  A song describing a train might work for infant television, but it's really not going to get close to reaching deep into the soul of any metalhead.  Other songs, like "Shadowmaker" remind a bit of music Judas Priest might have created and left on the cutting room floor in the late 80s era of the band.

PITRIFF RATING - 51/100 - It is decent hard rock bordering on metal, but that's about the best I can say for SHADOWMAKER.  I doubt any metalhead would listen to this and absolutely hate it.  I also doubt that those fans not claiming Running Wild as "their band" will even remember any of these songs a week after hearing them.  SHADOWMAKER is the bran muffin of metal in 2012.  I have a friend who holds Running Wild as one of his favorite bands, and he claims the songs sound like Rock N' Rolf's side project Toxic Taste.  I'll take his word for that, because this doesn't remind me much of the great German metal they are known for.  Pretty average stuff.

Chris Akin

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.

CLICK HERE to learn more about CAUSE/EFFECT: METALLICA.

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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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Read Reviews and Excerpts from LITTLE VICTORIES: A TALE OF DIVORCE, DEBAUCHERY AND FINDING HAPPINESS HERE!

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

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