• Wretch - WARRIORS

    Image: Wretch, Warriors, Review, Power Metal, Chris Akin, Pitriff Wretch
    WARRIORS

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    There's an unwritten rule that I rarely follow here in Cleveland. That rule is that if a band is from Cleveland, I'm supposed to write all glowing things or else be called a hater by the local community. It's sad that it's like that, but the truth is what it is. For years I've lived with that stigma, to the point

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  • Machine Head - BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS

    Image: Machine Head, Bloodstone & Diamonds, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal Machine Head
    BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS

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    What happened to Machine Head really is a crime. Unfortunately for them, it's a crime they perpetrated upon themselves. With a mistake so many made in their youth, this band singlehandedly torpedoed themselves from ascending to the heights in metal held by only the select few like Metallica and Megadeth before them. After THE MORE THINGS CHANGE came

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  • 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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Review - DONNIE VIE

Image: Donnie Vie, Pitriff, CD Review, Wrapped Around My Middle FingerDonnie Vie
WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER

I'm one of those guys that just worshipped the work Donnie Vie did with Enuff Z'nuff. Even now, where I've actually hosted shows where Vie was a drug addled embarrassment to the point where I regretted having the name of my radio show tied to his performance, I never stopped appreciating the enormous musical talent that Vie has. I have all those Enuff Z'nuff albums on my IPod and they get regular play in my ears.

 As a solo artist, Vie has been spotty though. His songwriting and his choices to prostitute the old Enuff Z'nuff songs as a solo artist really lead me to believe that he wasn't capable of writing quality music without his musical partner Chip Z'nuff. It's safe to say that all changes with WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER. While a lot darker than the happier, party vibe that dominates the back catalog, WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER proves that Vie can still write tunes with incredible melody and strong hooks. He can still sing to; fusing his own sound with that John Lennon influence that has been the signature of his sound since his moment in the sun in 1989.

There are so many great songs on WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER. "Rattle On" is a great song that showcases the new Donnie Vie. Gone are the days of "Joni Woni Rides The Pony" silliness; replaced with more real world messages of life like this song. This song reaches for a place we've all been - that spot where you want to just settle for the fact that life sucks before someone tells you to snap out of it. While Vie seems to be singing this to a girl, one has to wonder if this isn't a metaphor to a lesson that's been thrown at him over the last decade. Whatever the case, this song is a simple singer songwriter dirge that just works on a lot of levels.

As I stated previously, WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER is a bit darker and emotional than previous Vie efforts. Songs like "No Escape" are as emotionally scarred as Vie has ever decided to go, while other songs like "I Won't Let You Down" feel almost like desperate cries to a woman; begging her to stay in the wake of previously emotional misfortune in a relationship. Still, while this album has it's share of dark moments, there's still some of that patented Enuff Z'nuff songwriting sound that so many fell in love with back in the day. Songs like "Wrapped Around My Middle Finger" are straight forward, fun rockers, while "Lollipop" is punchy and fun.

PITRIFF RATING - 88/100 - Being honest, this is a really pleasant surprise. While Donnie Vie is one of those "sing the phonebook" guys to me, he hasn't been very good without the framework of Enuff Z'nuff. WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER is the strongest thing Vie has been involved with in awhile - even more so than the last two Enuff Z'nuff albums he did. I'm glad to see there's still some gas in his tank!

Chris Akin

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