• 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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    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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    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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    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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Ron Keel - METAL COWBOY

Image: Ron Keel, Metal Cowboy, Classic Metal, PitriffRon Keel
METAL COWBOY

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There's something very unique about Ron Keel that I think has escaped most of his peers that were spawn from the 80s hair metal scene. For most, they have been content to stick to the formula that made them famous, only take an experimental shot once the mainstream popularity had run it's course, and then returned to their classic form to ride out their career. With Ron Keel, it's been a very different experiment which he has crafted into a career. As an artist, Keel is one of neverending experimentation. He's had hair metal albums, acoustic releases, country metal releases, and now more of a southern rock/metal record. METAL COWBOY seems to have a lot of people remembering Keel's project Iron Horse, but I'd say that is highly inaccurate. The "Metal Cowboy" is proving once again that he's more of a Metal Chameleon. Hard at times, bluesy in other parts and full of twists and turns, METAL COWBOY could very well be the best release Keel's had his name on since THE RIGHT TO ROCK.

Listening to METAL COWBOY, you really get the feeling that this solo release was probably more in the direction that his past project Iron Horse would have gone in had Keel not had bandmates to help formulate the music. There are definitely songs on METAL COWBOY that you could see appearing on Keel or Iron Horse albums, but then there are song that are completely new to the Keel arsenal for a lot of reasons. "My Bad" is a primary example. This is a hard, angry song that showcases Keel in a brand new light as a rant n' roller. He's never really brought anger to the music (at least to the vocals of any project), and yet it's on display as he rages against the governmental corruption that has gripped this nation. There are other songs, like "What Would Skynyrd Do", that are cut straight from the Skynyrd/ZZ Top blues rock cloth. Throughout METAL COWBOY, you get the widest assortment of song structure that Keel has ever put together on any release.

In addition to the songs themselves, his band is diverse which leads to a lot more interesting music. Tesla's Frank Hannon brings his giant sound to much of this release, including "The Cowboy Road", which stands as one of the better tunes on the entire release. Still, at other times, such as the disc's best track "Just Like Tennessee", it's Ditch Kurtz's old country slide guitar that adds the perfect spice to this recipe of great music. For his part, Ron Keel sounds really strong vocally throughout. He's definitely not the screamer that he used to be anymore, but he can still bring it. On tracks like "The Last Ride", the grittier, more earth toned vocals of the modern day Keel certainly drive this rocker forward.

PITRIFF RATING - 91/100 - Ron Keel may have been spawned from the 80s when Steeler and Keel were atop the hard rock world, but this performer has never stopped being aggressive or creative. He's never stopped reinventing himself either. METAL COWBOY has a ton of flavor that both old Keel fans as well as classic rockers can all sink their teeth into. A very good listen from one of the most unheralded voices from the 80s glory years.

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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