• 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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    MP3

    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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    MP3

    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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    MP3

    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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Black Sabbath - 13

Black Sabbath, 13, Pitriff, CD Reviews, Interviews, ReviewsBlack Sabbath
13

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I've really given this album a lot of time and listens to sink in before writing anything about it. I did so because I wanted to be fair about it, and not judge it with the anger I, as a fan, have at the band for passing this off as a "reunion" without Bill Ward playing drums. I've read all the arguments online for this. I've had a hundred friends all tell me that they played this album UNTIL they liked it, and had it "grow on them." I've tried that myself, to be honest. A lot of people are all claiming that "as long as it has Iommi's riffs, then they will like it." That is obviously a lie, unless you are like me and love albums like HEADLESS CROSS, FORBIDDEN and TYR. In the end, 13 is a release that needs to be judged like all releases do - on it's own merits and what you hear when listening to it. To me, it's a fairly average offering.

The thing that really stands out about 13 to me is how lacking of freshness this actually feels. For all the love that people (including me) have for guitarist Tony Iommi and his brilliant playing over the years, most of the riffs on 13 just sound like rehashed or slightly reworked versions of things he's done in the past. Be it the stolen "Planet Caravan" vibe of "Zeitgeist" or the direct knockoff riff on "Loner", it's clear that there were less new ideas and more of a concerned effort to simply sound like the old days by Iommi. That's fine, I guess. Keeping in mind that they are trying to reinvent the old vibe, I guess it makes sense. That said though, it's a major letdown when you consider the fresher vibe Iommi brought to THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by the Dio-led HEAVEN & HELL.

The real weakness on 13 to me though is vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. There's a reason his career as a solo artist has been done with triple tracking his voice to fill it out. It's because when it's raw, it's not very good. He's not cracking or going out of key or anything, but he's just very flat throughout the disc. In the old days, the lack of vocal excellence from Ozzy was masked by the crazy, frenetic energy that he brought. On 13, he's going through the motions to sound like the original singer from Black Sabbath. It's particularly noticeable and bad on "Age Of Reason", where he literally provides a performance that makes you sleepy...even though the song itself is probably the best the band have created for this release.

As far as the rhythm section, it's not surprisingly solid, even with some flaws in it. Geezer Butler's bass is it's usual thunderous. He does a great job of pushing the songs forward with his big, deep, stoner groove throughout. As for drummer Brad Wilk, he's a little sterile and doesn't quite bring the swing that Ward may have to the sound, but he's competent enough. The problem here is that as a unit, they just don't gel. Wilk's drums seem like they might have been recorded on a 1970s rig of some kind, as they are very sterile and lack a lot of oomph. Many times throughout songs like "God Is Dead", Butler's bass all but drowns them out.

PITRIFF RATING - 61/100 - I don't hate it. It's listenable. Honestly though, I can pretty much guarantee I'll hardly ever revisit this one. They sound like a really good cover band doing the first 4 albums of Black Sabbath. They don't feel like Black Sabbath though. Maybe it's age, or maybe it's too much intention without enough motivation, but whatever the case, 13 falls pretty flat on me.

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.

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

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