• Nashville Outlaws - TRIBUTE TO MOTLEY CRUE

    Image: Nashville Outlaws, Motley Crue Tribute Nashville Outlaws
    A TRIBUTE TO MOTLEY CRUE

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    With the music industry pretty much dead anymore, nothing really comes off as shocking. After all, you have very desperate companies trying to hang on and make money from an industry that has about as much relevance today as the typewriter ribbon makers of the world still do. The current trend for the last half decade

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  • Texas Hippie Coalition - RIDE ON

    Image: Texas Hippie Coalition, Ride On, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Review, Classic Metal Texas Hippie Coalition
    RIDE ON

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    I tell this story often, but it's one of my favorites of the past year. I had the chance to interview the Texas Hippie Coalition earlier this year at Rock On The Range in Columbus, Ohio. I was in a small tent with a bunch of photographers. The tent was fairly quiet really, as the much bigger adjacent

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  • Sammy Hagar - LITE ROAST

    Image: Sammy Hagar, Lite Roast, NonMetal, Review Sammy Hagar
    LITE ROAST

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    I get it. You are Sammy Hagar. You've seen huge success in virtually every world you've entered. In music, he was the main focus of Montrose. He parlayed that into a very successful solo career. That wasn't enough, so he joined the world's largest band at the time (Van Halen), and took them to commercial heights that even they

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  • Cavalera Conspiracy - PANDEMONIUM

    Image: Cavalera Conspiracy, Pandemonium, Pitriff, Death Metal, Review Cavalera Conspiracy
    PANDEMONIUM

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    There's always good news and bad news whenever Max Cavalera gets busy with new music. The good is that you get a whole lot of new music, seemingly all in a very short time. The bad news is it's generally spotty at best, because he simply writes and releases too much music at the same time. His band Soulfly released

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  • Slipknot - .5 THE GRAY MATTER

    Image: Slipknot, .5 The Gray Matter, Pitriff, CD Review, Modern Metal Slipknot
    .5 THE GRAY MATTER

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    With a ton of speculation and even more wonderment on this band's ability to continue on without founding members Paul Gray and Joey Jordison, Slipknot has returned after far too long of a layoff with .5 THE GRAY MATTER. I've listened to this release multiple times a day for the last week or so that I've had it,

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  • 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, 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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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.

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The shockingly honest and emotional first book from radio personality and rock critic Chris Akin.

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