• 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: unbreakable, knockout, review, classic metal, pitriffUnbreakable
KNOCKOUT

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Retro has become in these days, and there are more and more bands creeping up that have harkened their sound back to a time that left well over 30 years ago. The last 2 years have seen an influx of bands reaching back to the '70s. Bands like Blues Pills, Vista Chino, Scorpion Child and Rival Sons have all emerged with killer throwback vibes that are impressive. There's been a few bands that have come forward a little bit to the '80s, and have had varying success with that. So along comes Unbreakable; a band produced by Scorpions' legend Herman Rarebell that seemingly listened to a lot of '80s metal along the way. While I will say they are interesting, there's just something not fully clicking with this band. It's hard to put my finger on it, but there's just something not quite there.

This is not to say that these guys aren't proficient. Vocalist Al Crespo has a good, clean voice that is somewhat of a mix of Little Angels' Toby Jepsen and Stryper's Michael Sweet. This guy can sing, but he's a bit sterile in his presentation. He's best served on songs like "In Your Heart"; a ballad where you really can hear his throwback style that would please any Dokken fan as his phrasing works the way songs like "Alone Again" did for Don Dokken another lifetime ago. Crespo is balanced out by capable players. Guitarists Martin Ries and Pascal Alles are competent, old school sounding players. They are solid, but they need to be turned up in the mix and given a more dominant role in the mix. They are a bit subdued, which really never lets songs like "Good Times" act as the anthems they should be. Drummer Alex Ries and bassist Luke Mittler lay down a simple and steady foundation on each song, although they are anything but noticeable throughout. The drumming is mixed well, but it's so basic here that both Lars Ulrich and I could play it without any real issues.

The weakness to this band is definitely in the songwriting, and specifically in the lyrics. This style has been dead for far too long, and really wasn't good when it was happening the first time. Unbreakable write lyrics that are very sing-song like and rhyme driven from line to line. Listening to songs like "Back To The Roots", you get overwhelmed by the repetitive nature of the chorus, and spend most of the time trying to figure out what word the next line will rhyme with instead of just enjoying the song. Then there's songs like "Crazy Cat Lady". Is a description of why that's just not a good idea really necessary? "Welcome to the game of life / I want to touch your inner light / I'm gonna make you feel alright" - this comes from the chorus of "Game Of Life". I know this because it's repeated several times throughout the song, and it's just cheesy bad writing.

PITRIFF RATING - 55/100 - The weird thing is that for all the criticisms, I think this could be an enjoyable band with some tweaks and an outside songwriter. That said though, KNOCKOUT is just lacking in a lot of places. After a few listens, there's not anything on this that sucks, but there's really not much memorable either.

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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