• Black Label Society - CATACOMBS OF THE BLACK VATICAN

    Image: Black Label Society, Catacombs Of The Black Vatican, Pitriff, Review, Classic Metal Black Label Society
    CATACOMBS OF THE BLACK VATICAN

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    When Zakk Wylde decides to release new music, the metal world definitely stops for a moment and listens. They may not like it all, but they do listen. It's a testament to how unbelievable the man is on guitar; a true legend who stands shoulder to shoulder with the Eddie Van Halen's and Dimebag Darrell's

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  • Lacuna Coil - BROKEN CROWN HALO

    Image: Lacuna Coil, Broken Crown Halo, Review, Modern Metal, Pitriff Lacuna Coil
    BROKEN CROWN HALO

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    It's not really much of a secret that two of my favorite bands out there today are fronted by ladies. Those two bands are Halestorm and Lacuna Coil. While it took me awhile to latch onto Halestorm, Lacuna Coil was a band that I latched on the very first time I heard them. I remember getting a sampler

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  • Sevendust - TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES

    Image: Sevendust, Time Travelers & Bonfires, Review, Modern Metal, Pitriff Sevendust
    TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES

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    Sevendust are really a band for the fans, and the fans are definitely always there for the band. Case in point - their latest release TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES. This release is one paid for by the latest trend hitting the music business, pre-funding by the fans to pay for a project. The band asked for a lot for

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  • Various Artists: Ronnie James Dio - THIS IS YOUR LIFE

    Image: Dio, This Is Your Life, Pitriff, Review, Classic metal Various Artists
    RONNIE JAMES DIO: THIS IS YOUR LIFE

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    As much as I want to take this at face value, it's hard to not at least wonder just how many times Wendy Dio is going to visit the Dio well and mine more material culled from his past work. There's already been multiple live releases, deluxe reissues, an officially sanctioned band playing the

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  • Red Reign - CHASING SHADOWS

    Image: Red Reign, Chasing Shadows, Pitriff, Review, Classic Metal Red Reign
    CHASING SHADOWS

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    It's not very often that a band that has zero backing behind it sweeps in and just monopolizes my listening time. Generally, bands like Red Reign get 30 seconds as I quickly scan through their music and I'm on to something else that I'm getting pressured to review by a publicist. For Red Reign, I was asked to review

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  • Steel Panther - ALL YOU CAN EAT

    Image: Steel Panther, All You Can Eat, The Classic Metal Show Steel Panther
    ALL YOU CAN EAT

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    They certainly are the joke that just keeps on being retold and being funny, now aren't they? I'm sure there's a lot less people that remember them as Metal Shop, Metal Skool or even way back to the Danger Kitty days, but a whole lot more people have discovered this band since they adopted the name Steel

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  • Sebastian Bach - GIVE 'EM HELL

    Sebastian Bach, Give 'Em Hell, Pitriff, CD Review Sebastian Bach
    GIVE 'EM HELL

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    It seems like every time Sebastian Bach releases new music, the first thought that comes to my mind is "this dude comes off like a douchebag ALOT in interviews, but he just kicks ass musically." Amazing how that comes back around. Baz is back, and he's been saying some interesting things in recent interviews. Yet, just ignoring that

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  • Gamma Ray - EMPIRE OF THE UNDEAD

    Image: Gamma Ray, Empire Of The Undead, Pitriff, CD Review, Power Metal Gamma Ray
    EMPIRE OF THE UNDEAD

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    My affinity for Gamma Ray really predates the band itself, as it's much more of an appreciation for the vocal work of singer Kai Hansen. Be it with Gamma Ray or his legendary work with his previous band Helloween, Hansen has always been not only one of the most elite vocalists in power metal in my eyes,

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  • Vandenberg's MoonKings - VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS

    Image: Vandenberg's Moonkings, Pitriff, Classic Rock, Classic Metal Vandenberg's MoonKings
    VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS

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    Adrian Vandenberg and Jake E. Lee have seemingly the same career path. Both were great in super huge bands (Vandenberg in Whitesnake, Lee in Ozzy), recorded even better material when they broke away (Lee with Badlands, Vandenberg with Manic Eden), and then both walked away and just left music behind for awhile. Now, both are back. Lee's Red Dragon

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  • Pilgrim - II: VOID WORSHIP

    Image: Pilgrim, Void Worship, Pitriff, doom metal, review Pilgrim
    II: VOID WORSHIP

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    In the epic world of doom metal, there are a lot of pretenders. There are only a few that are truly authentic though. Pilgrim is one of the most authentic I think I've ever heard. Their grinding, slow moving sludge is such from which legends put on this Earth to slay anyone or anything in it's path. Made up

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  • Hatecore Inc. - NO HOPE, NO ESCAPE VOL. 1

    Image: Hatecore Inc, No Hope, No Escape Vol 1, Pitriff, Review Hatecore, Inc.
    NO HOPE, NO ESCAPE VOL. 1: WELCOME TO MY WAR

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    Being from the Cleveland area, I've seen a lot of bands get ignored for whatever reason. On the national side of things, most people look at bands north of Columbus as being from "Cleveland". Unfortunately though, that's not how it works. For as long as I've been in this scene, there

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  • KXM - KXM

    Image: KXM, George Lynch, Dug Pinnick, Ray Luzier, Pitriff KXM
    KXM

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    Some points of clarity before I write a single world about the new project KXM, in order that this review is understood and evaluated fairly by anyone reading it. This project features three guys - Dug Pinnick of King's X, George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, and Ray Luzier who is currently the drummer for Korn. Out of fairness, I'll

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American Dog - POISON SMILE

Image: Poison Smile, American Dog, Pitriff, heavy metal, news, reviews, interviewsAmerican Dog
POISON SMILE

I don't know what to call the development of a band like American Dog.  For most bands, you would say that they have matured as a band.  But I think if bassist/vocalist Michael Hannon or guitarist Steve Theado heard me say they had matured, they would knock me to the ground, give me a wedgey and piss in my face to prove that nothing had changed in the always crazy world of Canine Country!  Clearly, a band like American Dog does not "mature",  Just their playing does.

Reviewing POISON SMILE is pretty easy to do in all honesty.  If you have liked them in the past, you will love this.  If you hated them before, well...wait until tomorrow and a new review will be posted.  As a fan, I'm always excited to receive a new American Dog release because they always deliver for me.  Their own special brand of made in America, barroom rock n' roll is some of the best in a genre that is very crowded with great bands.

Listening to POISON SMILE, the one thing that jumps out at me is the new tone of guitarist Steve Theado.  Arguably the most underrated guitarist in all of rock music, his playing on POISON SMILE is a bit less boisterous and a bit more clean than ever before.  Where on albums like HARD and SCARS N BARS Theado was a loud, obnoxious shredder, here on POISON SMILE he's almost more...dare I say it...professional sounding.  Songs like "Old Dog New Tricks" showcase a much more focused and superiorly recorded guitar sound from Theado than on any other album in the band's career.  That's not to say it's stale or processed in the least.  It's not.  There's still moments where you get that blast of midnight at the bar, raw riffs ("The Real Nitty Gritty"), but overall this is like a graduated Theado on guitar.

Someone who's clearly graduating or any more grown up is bassist/vocalist Michael Hannon.  Hannon once again brings his couth-lacking vocals to song after song.  Hannon loves to party, and he loves to sing about it even more.  There are always times with Hannon where he strays into some obscene territories, but more times than not his tales of debauchery are lyrically genius in their absurdity.  Take a song like "Bathroom Romance".  While the song definitely definitely details some of the less than finer moments of being a musician that makes his living one bar at a time, the lyrics are both fun and enticing.  The in-timing toilet flush at the end of the song - a very nice touch that was good for a giggle.  Hannon and new drummer Michael Harris also lay down a much thicker, steady foundation than on the last album MEAN.  "Splinterin' Sally", and virtually every other track, are stabilized by a thick bottom end that will have you rockin' out with each and every listen.

PITRIFF RATING - 94/100 - There's never a really unwelcome time for an American Dog record.  They are definitely the leader of the pack for me over other bands like Rhino Bucket or Broken Teeth that make similar music, as their albums are always just that much more fun and ballsy.  The "don't give a shit" attitude that always dominates an American Dog album is still very present here, but the songs are a touch better than the last album provided.  Highly recommended.

Chris Akin

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