• Black Stone Cherry - KENTUCKY

    Image: Black Stone Cherry, Kentucky Black Stone Cherry
    KENTUCKY

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    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

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    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

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    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

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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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Image: Accept, Stalingrad, CD ReviewAccept
STALINGRAD

This almost never happens. It almost never happens that a band of some notoriety finds a way to come all the way back from the dead and be better than ever. That's exactly what has happened here. For all intents and purposes, Accept was dead. Udo Dirkschneider started an Accept clone band called U.D.O., and the remaining guys were doing nothing. For many, Accept was over. Somehow though, they brought in the surprisingly awesome Mark Tornillo from TT Quick, and came roaring back with BLOOD OF THE NATIONS. To say they stunned the world would be an understatement, as I think even the most staunch believers didn't come close to imagining that release being very good. That said though, the band's follow-up STALINGRAD could actually be more important for them. Would it live up to the last album, or was NATIONS just a fluke?

Simply put, it is no fluke. STALINGRAD is a serious followup to BLOOD OF THE NATIONS; pretty much on the same musical plain as that release. The songwriting is excellent. The performances are beyond reproach. The music is compelling. Udo must be having nightmares about Wolf Hoffmann and Peter Baltes on a daily basis.

While STALINGRAD is not quite the behemoth that BLOOD OF THE NATIONS was, it's pretty damn close. Songs like "Hellfire" are some of the most smoking tunes in the band's catalog. Wolf Hoffmann has come all the way back from the musical dead to lay in some of the best 80s metal riffs ever recorded here. His solos are biting throughout; almost Schenker-like in spots while reminiscent of his classic work at other points. Songs like the powerful "Against The World" feature what is the traditional Accept sound - meaty guitars from Hoffmann and Herman Frank, a thick foundation from bassist Baltes and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann, and some biting vocals from Tornillo. Without question, one of the best choices in rock history of the last decade has to be the decision to bring Tornillo into Accept. He has singlehandedly revived this band. His performances on songs like "Stalingrad" and "Twist Of Fate" are some of the best in the history of this act.

PITRIFF RATING - 94/100 - By the time the band finishes up with "The Galley", you have been once again reminded that you are listening to a great band that's truly rebounded from the depths of obscurity. STALINGRAD is exceptional; by far one of the best albums in the entire catalog. Only RESTLESS AND WILD is better than the last two Accept releases in their catalog in my mind. That's quite a statement when you consider the amount of great music they have created. Kudos to the best active German band out today. Accept continues to shine again.

Chris Akin

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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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Image: Little Victories, Book, Chris Akin

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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