• Opeth - PALE COMMUNION

    Image: Opeth, Pale Communion, Pitriff, Review, Progressive Metal Opeth
    PALE COMMUNION

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    Opeth simply fails as a band, at least to me. While I'll admit to never fully understanding the amazement and awe so many have for this band, I've appreciated them from afar. I've listened, and I've at least wrapped my head around what they were trying to do. Their fusing of death metal with progressive elements always made for an

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  • Cannibal Corpse - A SKELETAL DOMAIN

    Cannibal Corpse, A Skeletal Domain, Review, Death Metal Cannibal Corpse
    A SKELETAL DOMAIN

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    So really, what does anyone expect when you get a Cannibal Corpse release handed to you? Ballads, love songs and fun? Not hardly. There's an expectation of severe brutality which the band delivers time and time again. Certainly, it comes with different levels of acceptance to one's ears, but ultimately the only thing that matters if it says

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  • Exodus - BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT

    Image: Exodus, Blood In Blood Out, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal Exodus
    BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT

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    Unless you call Testament a "thrash band" (which I don't personally), Exodus would rank as my favorite true Thrash band of all time. They have had good times and bad. Occasionally, like on FABULOUS DISASTER, they have misstepped along the way. But overall, they are one of the true powerhouses in the history of thrash metal. Since 2004

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  • Mr. Big - ...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL

    Mr. Big, The Stories We Could Tell, Reviews, Classic Metal, Chris Akin, Pitriff Mr. Big
    ...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL

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    As a fan of Mr. Big, I can't honestly say that many people thought that their reunion was much more than a cash grab opportunity for the guys in the band who, while immensely talented, failed to find solo success to match their collaborative efforts. It was never a question of if they could still play.

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  • Slash - WORLD ON FIRE

    Image: Slash, Myles Kennedy, Conspirators, World On Fire, Pitriff, review, classic metal Slash
    WORLD ON FIRE

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    Hey Gene Simmons. The corpse of rock n' roll just had a baby. That baby is not an average baby at all. That baby was not stillborn, but came out kicking and screaming with an intensity rarely seen. This baby is destined for greatness. This infant is out to prove you wrong. While your days of spitting fire and

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  • Davey Suicide - WORLDWIDE SUICIDE

    Image: Davey Suicide, Worldwide Suicide, Pitriff, Reviews, Modern Metal Davey Suicide
    WORLDWIDE SUICIDE

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    I had the pleasure of working directly with Davey Suicide as he prepped his debut release a few years ago for release. I got to work with him on some promotional stuff, some publicity stuff, his website and a lot more of that kind of stuff. In that work, I quickly found him to be far more than the

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  • Ministry - LAST TANGLE IN PARIS

    Image: Ministry, Last Tangle In Paris, Pitriff, Review, Industrial Metal Ministry
    LAST TANGLE IN PARIS

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    Al Jourgensen of Ministry has been threatening to take his ball and go home for a long time now. Quite frankly, I'm not sure I believe that he'll ever retire. Every time he says he's retiring, he seems to come right back with more music that's stronger, meaner and just better than anything in his past. Being quite

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  • Kix - ROCK YOUR FACE OFF

    Image: Kix, Rock Your Face Off, Classic Metal, Pitriff, Review Kix
    ROCK YOUR FACE OFF

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    Kix might just be the last of the '80's bands to release new material. By now, it seems like everybody else you could name from the glory days of yesteryear has made a stab at making music in the new millennium. Of course, a lot of them, we wish they hadn't, and just left us to our misty-eyed

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  • Evergrey - HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN

    Image: Evergrey, Hymns For The Broken, Review, Progressive Metal Evergrey
    HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN

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    In the world of progressive metal, there are exactly 2 bands which I worship. Those bands are Symphony X and Evergrey. Both bands are immensely talented, feature incredible musicianship, and come full of great lyrical and musical representations that tell amazing stories to the listeners. Following their last release GLORIOUS COLLISION, it really seemed like Evergrey may have

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  • Ace Frehley - SPACE INVADER

    Image: Ace Frehley, Space Invader, Pitriff, Classic Metal, Reviews Ace Frehley
    SPACE INVADER

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    Am I the only one that is tired of not only Ace Frehley, but all members of Kiss past and present? Since they were nominated for the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF CORPORATE, it has been a steady stream of nonsense, bickering, anger, hurt feelings and now emotional trauma. It's over already. Get over it. It's 2014. Kiss is

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  • Blackberry Smoke - LEAVE A SCAR

    Image: Blackberry Smoke, Leave A Scar, Pitriff, Review, Rock Blackberry Smoke
    LEAVE A SCAR - LIVE IN NORTH CAROLINA

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    Right up front, Blackberry Smoke is not a metal band. They are a southern-rock band, in the classic, original sense. These days, the term "southern rock" has been applied to everybody from Black Stone Cherry to Nashville Pussy to Crowbar, all sounds that would be alien and extreme in the days of Skynyrd and

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  • Skid Row - UNITED WORLD REBELLION, CHAPTER 2

    Image: Skid Row, United World Rebellion Chapter 2, Pitriff, Classic Metal, Review Skid Row
    UNITED WORLD REBELLION, CHAPTER 2

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    Part two of the three part Skid Row series known as UNITED WORLD REBELLION has been unleashed. Dubbed as RISE OF THE DAMNATION ARMY, UWR2 picks up where the first EP left off. There's simple math here. Over the course of these two EPs you have 14 songs. If you put the two together, you've got

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  • Downset - ONE BLOOD

    Image: Downset, One Blood, Pitriff, Review Downset
    ONE BLOOD

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    As a fan of Downset, I wasn't really surprised when the band split up in 2009. They claimed that "the band has run it's course". As a fan, I believe that. They definitely had a huge influence on a lot of the bigger nu-metal bands of the 2000s. Certainly, anyone that heard releases like DO WE SPEAK A DEAD LANGUAGE

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  • Madball - HARDCORE LIVES

    Image: Pitriff, Madball, Hardcore Lives, Pitriff, Harcore Madball
    HARDCORE LIVES

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    As a total fan of hardcore metal, it's a genre that doesn't always make a lot of sense. Certainly, there's no real questioning why a band like Agnostic Front is the "Black Sabbath" of the genre. Equally, it's not much of a surprise that Biohazard was so well regarded as they broke the style into the mainstream with the big

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  • Accept - BLIND RAGE

    Image: Accept, Blind Rage, Pitriff, Clasic Metal, Review Accept
    BLIND RAGE

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    Accept continue to rage on. Since his debut with the band, it's as clear as can be that vocalist Mark Tornillo has completely revitalized this band. His first two discs with the band, BLOOD OF THE NATIONS and STALINGRAD, were both masterpieces that sit near the top of the Accept catalog...regardless of who the singer is. This is not to

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Kix - ROCK YOUR FACE OFF

Image: Kix, Rock Your Face Off, Classic Metal, Pitriff, ReviewKix
ROCK YOUR FACE OFF

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Kix might just be the last of the '80's bands to release new material. By now, it seems like everybody else you could name from the glory days of yesteryear has made a stab at making music in the new millennium. Of course, a lot of them, we wish they hadn't, and just left us to our misty-eyed memories. Others have released music that, while not stacking up against the old favorites, at least doesn't embarrass the band or tarnish the legacy. A bare few have been able to create something that rivals the classics.

There's no doubt Kix is as good a live band as they ever were in the '80's. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic, you've had plenty of changes to catch them live since their reunion during the holiday season of 2003, and the band has begun playing outside their home base more and more. Barring that, one viewing of the Live In Baltimore DVD, shot in late 2010, should answer any questions about the band's onstage prowess. But playing the old songs is one thing? How would they fare when it came to actually sitting down and writing songs, let alone without bassist Donnie Purnell, Kix's main songwriter during their first run (and the only member not included in the reunion)?

The answer comes in the form of Rock Your Face Off, the first new Kix material since 1995's oddly lackluster, tree-falling-in-an-empty-forest swan song, Show Business. And while it would have been damn near impossible to top the holy trinity of Midnite Dynamite, Blow My Fuse and Hot Wire, Rock Your Face Off is more than satisfying. Singer Steve Whiteman's band Funny Money have written a handful of songs on each of their albums that rise to near Kix-like quality, but having the twin guitars of Ronnie Younkins and Brian Forsythe, along with drummer Jimmy Chalfant and Funny Money bassist Mark Schenker, gives the overall sound that extra spark that sizzles for most of the album. Kix were always known as a very high-energy band, and songs like "Wheels In Motion," "Mean Miss Adventure," "Rock 'n' Roll Showdown" and the title track keep the accelerator jammed. Maybe even more rewarding are the big singalong choruses in songs like "Rollin' In Honey," "All The Right Things" and the disc's first single "Love Me With Your Top Down." Younkins and Forsythe show what an underrated guitar team they are, their approach deceptively simple, Forsythe with a twangy, Telecaster tone he's been using in his other gig with Rhino Bucket. Whiteman, perhaps owing to his day job as a voice teacher, is in fine form, putting most of his contemporaries to shame. Just watch him shriek through "She Dropped Me The Bomb" or Midnite Dynamite" on Live In Baltimore for proof. He isn't as over-the-top on Rock Your Face Off, but still gets his licks in here and there. He's bitched the most in the past about Donnie Purnell hogging the songwriting, so I would hazard the guess that most of the new songs are his. In a way, it sounds like if Funny Money could write most of an album full of "Boogie Man" and "About Women".

Say what you will about a bunch of 50-something men singing about chasing pussy and living the life of wild, freewheeling rock 'n' roll bandits, but what the hell did you expect from Kix? If they'd squeezed out a prune-fed turd of a song like "MP3" off the latest Tesla release, I think I might have lost faith completely. Besides, I hope chasing pussy, or at least thinking about it, never stops being fun. The one exception here is "Inside Outside Inn," which, unfortunately, isn't a paean to a no-tell motel. Instead, it's a tender, middle-aged-guy love song to his wife "and those two kids you talked me into." Gotta sing one for the little lady who puts up with all your bullshit, right? Not coincidentally, the song blows, the weakest track on the album, and Mrs. Whiteman is the only one diggin' it. But then, the band has never quite topped 1983's "For Shame" in the ballad department anyway. Aside from that, and a couple other below-average songs ("Can't Stop The Show" and "Dirty Girls"), it's hard to find much to complain about.

PITRIFF RATING - 81/100 - I ain't gonna lie to ya: Rock Your Face Off can't replicate the heard-it-at-a-million-parties familiarity of the band's best work. To expect that in 2014 would be ridiculous, and the same goes for the studio polish of 1988. But it's by no means a disappointment, either. Give the band credit for taking the trouble to write new material, rather than raiding the vaults, Van Halen style. (And there is a ton of unreleased Kix material out there in the dark corners of the Internet, in demo form from the old days.) Rock Your Face Off may not quite live up to the lofty standards of fan favorites from the past, but the band is generally successful in capturing the sound, and just as important, the intangible FEEL of Kix. They made the effort and got most of it right. What more could you ask for? I'm satisfied.

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