• Megadeth - DYSTOPIA

    Image: Megadeth, Dystopia, Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Kiko Loureiro, Chris Adler Megadeth


    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


    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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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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    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

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Image: Kix, Rock Your Face Off, Classic Metal, Pitriff, ReviewKix


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.

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.


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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.

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

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