• Megadeth - DYSTOPIA

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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


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


    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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Images: Obey, Benedictum, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, PitriffBenedictum


Some bands just don't get the love they deserve from metal fans around the world.  One of those bands is Benedictum.  In a large way, I put them in the same bucket as an artist like Jorn Lande.  Musically, they are continually stronger than most of the trendy dreck that's out there, but they are constantly overlooked for reasons that are just not fair to them.  With Lande, he's got the stigma of sounding like Dio (which, to be fair to the metal fans out there he helped to perpetuate) which has led people to not take him as seriously as an individual artist as his music demands.  With Benedictum, I'm quick to believe that the imagery of the beautiful and voluptuous Veronica Freeman does more harm than good, as the dumb metal stereotype of "chicks don't rock" will cause some to not give Benedictum a fair shake.  For those metalheads, I can only say, "your loss, dumbass".  As a band that simply gets better with each and every effort, Benedictum has created their best release yet with OBEY.  Full of speed, heaviness and frenetic energy that is far above their previous releases, OBEY has high jumped the bar the band previously set with DOMINION, and cleared it by a mile.

While most focus on vocalist Veronica Freeman when talking about Benedictum (with cause, she's not only the leader of the band but also amazingly talented in her own right), the focal point of OBEY is guitarist Pete Wells.  While playing without the false benefit of downtuning to make him sound heavy, Wells is a behemoth on guitar throughout OBEY.  His riffs on the title track are blasting.  On "Fighting For Your Life", Wells' riff drives the song as it interweaves old school thrash with a bit of more modern metal changes in the bridges of the song.  It's subtle in the way he does it, but it's one of the most recognizable signatures of not only this song, but of Wells' overall style.  It's clear the guy grew up listening to the greats, but unlike so many, he didn't stop growing as a player in 1990.  His work on OBEY is amazing.

The band plays an equally impressive part supporting Wells.  Bassist Aric Avina and drummer Rikard Stjernquist are the basement of this band; a rock solid foundation that does far more than just drive each song forward for Wells and Freeman.  They sound great on OBEY; specifically Stjernquist who takes songs like "Scream" and showcases both a soft, subtle beat at time and a titanic sized thump when the song gets cranked back up.  He and Avina team throughout and play brilliantly off each other.

This leads us to Freeman.  Knowing that she was working on a solo album at the same time she was crafting OBEY, it's not surprising that she comes to the table this time with some new vocal ideas.  Songs like "Fighting For Your Life" and "Fractured" find Freeman trying sounds other than her fiery deep vocals and patented screams.  There are times when Freeman is a bit softer in her delivery throughout OBEY, although I would not say there's a moment where you'd mistake her vocal sound as "going soft" or overly feminine.  To be blunt, you won't be mistaking anything here on OBEY for music by Kesha or Lady Gaga any time soon.  She's still all metal, and songs like the biting "Evil That We Do" or the interesting duet with ex-Black Sabbath vocalist Tony Martin called "Cry" will convince you of that.

More than any other release in this band's career to date, OBEY is not as much about the parts as it is about the collective sum of the individuals in the band.  In short, they simply wrote better songs than in the past.  "Retrograde" is, without question, the very best song Benedictum has crafted to date.  I'll compare it to a song that only you hardcores will even know and only about half of you will appreciate, but this song reminds me of "The Raging Storm" by WASP from their NEON GOD, PART 1 release.  It does so not so much in the overall sound (ultimately they don't sound the same), but in the way it builds up and explodes with emotion and pain.  "Retrograde" has this same characteristic.  With most of the other material on OBEY, the impact is more direct and fast, but with "Retrograde", you get the biggest example of their growth as songwriters as a band.

PITRIFF RATING - 94/100 - Definitely a contender for the top spot on my Top 20 list their year, OBEY continues to improve on the winning formula that has made them one of the best, and yet completely unheralded, bands out there today.  Benedictum is a band that many have yet to discover.  All I can offer to you if you are one of them is, "stop waiting and get it."  There;s too few great bands out today to miss the really good ones.

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.


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

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