• Black Stone Cherry - KENTUCKY

    Image: Black Stone Cherry, Kentucky Black Stone Cherry
    KENTUCKY

    CD
    MP3

    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

    CD
    MP3

    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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Image: Winger, Better Days Comin', Pitriff, CD Review, Classic MetalWinger
BETTER DAYS COMIN'

CD
MP3

Of the bands that have come back into an active state from the 80s, it's hard to argue that any has created stronger music than Winger.  Their IV and KARMA releases have been enjoyable to say the least, and have shown that there is still plenty of magic left when this collection of musicians gets together.  While not as good as KARMA, BETTER DAYS COMIN' certainly won't offend any fans of the band.  While not quite as heavy as it's predecessor, BETTER DAYS COMIN' is a cool release that showcases the melody and the musicianship that always set Winger apart from most of the other bands that were out there in 1989.  It's not likely to win any new fans over, but that's probably not even a consideration at this point.  BETTER DAYS COMIN' will feed those that always look for new releases from bands of their past.

There's never been any denying that Winger was a band comprised of super talented musicians, and they do nothing to take away from that here.  Guitarist Reb Beach may be splitting time these days between Winger and Whitesnake, but he's still as great as he ever was as a player.  He brings the rock on songs like "Rat Race", but shows an elegance in his playing rarely seen on songs like "Ever Wonder".  He's always been the perfect counterbalance for vocalist Kip Winger; the long underrated singer of the band.  Winger has always had an ability to use his voice to fit the emotions of any song he sang on, and that hasn't changed here.  Listening to songs like "Queen Babylon", you hear that he has lost nothing at all vocally.  The band is rounded out by world class drummer Rod Morganstein and rhythm player Paul Taylor.  As a rhythm section, Morganstein and Winger create a solid enough thump that drives rockers like "Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine" and "So Long China".  In short, Winger sounds like Winger; a trait that is not bad at all.

The only real criticism of BETTER DAYS COMIN' is that it's just a bit lighter than it's predecessor.  KARMA was such a striking, heavy record for the band that BETTER DAYS COMIN' feels tame by comparison.  Still, it's not bad by any standard.  In many ways, it reminds of the opposite effect from the heyday when the band found huge success with the somewhat mellow IN THE HEART OF THE YOUNG, only to follow it up with their heaviest (and best) release PULL.  BETTER DAYS COMIN' certainly has a vibe closer to IN THE HEART OF THE YOUNG than either KARMA or PULL.  Not bad, but not quite as ballsy as fans might have liked considering the direction of the last release.

PITRIFF RATING - 78/100 - A solid effort from an always solid band.  Not their best, but definitely a cool listen for fans of hair metal that just love that melodic hard rock sound with a touch of metal thrown in for good measure.

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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