• 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: Venom, Fallen Angels, PitriffVenom
FALLEN ANGELS

Unlike most metalheads, I think I'm somewhat sacrilegious when it comes to my non-appreciation of Venom.  They are one of two acts that I know are just worshipped in the metal community, but I simply do not get the appeal at all (the other being King Diamond).  That being said, I had very little expectation for a new Venom release, and yet, they came though with what is a fairly solid effort.

 

Is this great, no.  But it is Venom doing what they do and yet being a touch stronger than normal for them in my eyes.  First and foremost, kudos to them for finally figuring out how to capture their sound in the studio.  They have a career of bad recordings behind them, so it's good to hear them recorded well. Secondly, these songs on FALLEN ANGELS are not the typical Venom dirges of anger and hatred surrounded by lacking musicianship.  In short, these songs sound like songs played by professional musicians.  Sure, listening to a song like "Beggarman" are still raw and raucous, but they are much tighter than this band usually sounds.  The overall sound is a shade different than in the past too, as it sounds like there's just a touch of a modern flair to the songs found on FALLEN ANGELS.  It's a good quality for them.

Individually - well, it's Venom.  Cronos is still a bad singer/ranter, but his dirges are expected and meet expectations throughout.  He croaks it out with vengeance on songs like "Lap Of The Gods".  He also lays down a much more solid, less distorted bassline than ever before on this release.  He and drummer Dante create a thick, yet somewhat raw and flattened foundation on songs like "Hail Satanas".  On guitar, La Rage is full of that early punk meets Metal sound that has defined Venom's career.  To listen to him play on songs like "Hammerhead", it's clear that he's not the best player on the planet but knows how to craft his music to what is needed from song to song.  Overall, these guys come together and create a decent enough effort from start to finish.

PITRIFF RATING - 68/100 - I'm well aware that this is more of a Cronos solo album than a true Venom album featuring the original guys.  To be honest, I don't care, as I'm not really a fan nor do I have any intention of ever seeing these guys live.  That said, if you are into the spirit of Venom or just respect them for their contributions to the history of Metal, then you will probably appreciate this.  It's not great, but it doesn't suck either.  It's Venom - based on that sentence alone you should be able to judge if you want to purchase it or not.

Chris Akin

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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