• 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

    Read More
  • 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

    Read More
  • 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

    Read More
  • 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

    Read More

    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

    Read More
  • Halestorm - INTO THE WILD LIFE

    Image: Halestorm, Into The Wild Life, Pitriff, heavy metal, reviews, interviews Halestorm


    With the release of THE STRANGE CASE OF…, I fell in love with Lzzy Hale. So much so, in fact, that I jokingly got down on one knee and asked her to marry me at Rock On The Range two years ago (a proposal that she didn’t flat out turn down, so maybe there’s still hope!!). Let’s be

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

Image: Black Stone Cherry, Magic Mountain, Classic Metal, Review, PitriffBlack Stone Cherry


Well, they finally did it. After nearly a decade of being hailed as the new kings of southern rock, and receiving favorable comparisons to Zeppelin and Skynyrd, western Kentucky's Black Stone Cherry have released an album that's worthy of all the praise.

I've always liked the IDEA of Black Stone Cherry. I mean, what's not to like about a bunch of good ol' (young) boys flying the rock 'n' roll rebel flag? I was a bit lukewarm on the band's actual music, though. BSC always sounded more like Alice In Chains with a twang than any of the classic-rock heroes people seemed so eager to compare them to. Southern-rock poured through a thick filter of down-tuned grunge. Black Label Society minus the showy guitars and pretend biker-gang ethos, if you will, or maybe Stone Temple Pilots dressed up in overalls and a stars-and-bars shirt (that analogy owing in part to Chris Robertson's drony Weiland-like vocal style). I wanted to like BSC, and checked out every new release, waiting for them to break out. If they could just put together a whole album of songs like "Hell And High Water," "Soul Creek" or "White Trash Millionaire," we'd be in business.

With their fourth album, Magic Mountain, Black Stone Cherry have finally made the record I'd been hoping they would. The band's essential sound hasn't changed: the guitars are still tuned low, and Robertson's voice is still a deep baritone. But the band has managed to convey a real sense of fun and tunefulness that was sometimes lacking in earlier material. And they're able to maintain that spirit and high level of quality throughout Magic Mountain. The melodies are stronger, the songs are catchier, and the overall performance is just better than on any previous release. You listen to the guys harmonize on a song like "Peace Pipe," the thick, soupy guitar leads of "Holdin' On...to Letting Go," or the heavy thump of leafy-green celebration "Me And Mary Jane," and it just restores your faith in this band, and of young people (i.e. my age or younger), who came of age in the postgrunge era, to make rock that really rolls, without sounding self-consciously retro. Even the dreaded Fucky Effect can't derail a pounding party anthem like "Fiesta Del Fuego." On the mellow side, "Sometimes" goes beyond the trite shrink's-couch whining of their contemporaries, and the predictable together/forever, remember/December lyrics of their own past ballads, instead reeking of genuine emotion.

There's really only one stinker in the bunch, and it comes in the form of "Hollywood In Kentucky," an attempt at a lighthearted "country checklist" song. This is a trope well-known to listeners of pop-country, but may not be as familiar to hard-rock listeners. Basically, it's just a rhyming list of all the things you might see and do outside the city-limits sign. Food, front porches, outdoor recreation, pickup trucks, and church usually figure prominently in these kinds of songs, as well as a kind of defensive belligerence. Like, "You think yer better'n me?!" They're predictable and stupid, but a certain type of person never seems to tire of them, and so Nashville keeps barfing them up. Black Stone Cherry knows this, but they do one anyway, and even include a line about how we all need to lighten up. But I don't wanna lighten up about a song that contains lines like these: "You'd open up a truck door takin' out your lover / She might be your cousin but she wouldn't be your lover." So what are they saying, that incest is preferable to homosexuality? And later, "Every pair of boots would get a little muddy / Your ass would get a job if you ran out of money / ... if Hollywood was in Kentucky." Note to BSC: research the percentage of your home state's population collecting some form of welfare. (Hint: it's pretty high, as states go.) But you wanna know the weird thing? As pandering as the lyrics are to the lowest common denominator, it's still an enjoyable little tune musically, and when they kick into a triple-time jam at the end, like bluegrass played with hard-rock instrumentation, you can't help but smile.

PITRIFF RATING - 88/100 - It's so nice to be pleasantly surprised by a new release. You check it out for the four or five good songs, and it turns out, almost the whole damn thing is a good listen. Black Stone Cherry seem like a totally likable bunch of guys who came up the hard way, and it's hard not to root for them. I'm glad to say Magic Mountain is the album I'd always hoped they would make.

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.


Buy Now:  Paperback    Digital

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.

Buy Now:  Paperback     Digital


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

 Image: Keel, pitriff, heavy metal, news, reviews, interviews

Want Streets Of Rock N' Roll Radio On Your Phone - CLICK HERE To Download The New App