• 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: Dio, This Is Your Life, Pitriff, Review, Classic metalVarious Artists
RONNIE JAMES DIO: THIS IS YOUR LIFE

CD
MP3

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 music of Dio...and now second tribute collection of music from people other than Dio performing his work (the first being Jorn Lande's DIO release). I'm almost expecting a release of special rare interviews or voice mails to come at this point. Still, it's their business what they put out, and ours to merely judge it. So that said, we now have RONNIE JAMES DIO: THIS IS YOUR LIFE. While it has some real heavyweights performing on it, it's pretty much like every other tribute album you'll get. It's a hodge podge of covers. Some are good. Some aren't. Big surprise, right?

The easiest way to review this is to simply look at it and say what's good and what's not. The song with the most attention on it is, without question, Metallica's "Ronnie Rising Medley". Comprised of pieces of "A Light In The Black", "Tarot Woman", "Stargazer" and "Kill The King", Metallica does themselves proud on this tribute that's not so far over the top as to become a parody. Anthrax does a very nice job opening the disc with "Neon Knights". Slipknot's Corey Taylor does a solid job singing "Rainbow In The Dark", even if his backing band (and specifically guitar player Satchel of Steel Panther fails miserably at recreating the keys on guitar here) doesn't. "Catch The Rainbow" is probably the best track on the disc, featuring Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo and Scott Warren. "I" was a surprising addition to this release, and it is worked out well by Lynch Mob vocalist Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson and Brian Tichy.

So that's the good. Sadly though, it's balanced out by a lot of dreck that would otherwise never be done. Even more tragic is the players that performed some of these craptastic covers. Most disappointing of the entire disc is "Man On The Silver Mountain". Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford seemingly sleeps his way through this song. It's really a bummer to hear Halford so flat and lifeless here. In fairness, guitarist Doug Aldrich does a great guitar solo on this track, but it's Halford that surprisingly and disappointingly kills this one. One of my favorite bands of the moment, Halestorm, also offer up a fairly drab effort with their rendition of "Straight Through The Heart". Lzzy Hale is so much better a singer than this, and generally has proven to be solid at doing covers...but she and her band fail here. Another surprisingly blah song comes in the form of "Starstruck" This one features two of my favorites of all time, Motorhead and Bif Byford of Saxon, and yet it does absolutely nothing. It really feels thrown together and has very little energy to it at all.

PITRIFF RATING - 35/100 - This is NOT Dio's life. He did far more, was far better, and deserved much better than this as a tribute to his legacy. A mish mosh of decent to dull, this tribute to Dio is simply not very good. If Dio was alive, no one would care at all about this collection, much like they didn't care when Century Media put out the two disc HOLY DIO covers collection (which, to be honest, was 500x better than this one). We all want to celebrate Dio, but lets face it folks. The way to do that is to pull out HOLY DIVER, RAINBOW RISING or HEAVEN & HELL and remember the true greatness.

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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