• 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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    MP3

    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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Tyketto - DIG IN DEEP

Image: Tyketto, Dig In Deep, Pitriff, Heavy MetalTyketto
DIG IN DEEP

Tyketto is one of those bands from the 80s that I always liked, but really never caught on very much. They had a couple hits that were cool, but even their best songs like "Forever Young" and "Seasons" were marginally successful at best. The band was a highlight reel for former Waysted vocalist Danny Vaughn, who shined and ended up building a solid solo career outside of Tyketto in the AOR world when Tyketto disbanded.

They are back with the original lineup I'm told, and interestingly, DIG IN DEEP is exactly what they've always produced. It's an album full of solid tunes that aren't especially memorable, yet feature some great playing and even better vocals. Simply put, Vaughn is a great singer. His voice is pretty much a mish mosh of Survivor vocalist Jimi Jamison and Thunder lead man Danny Bowes. He sounds great as always here on songs like the mid-tempo, yet punchy "Here's Hoping It Hurts". The thing to remember though is that while Vaughn is a great singer, he never has a distinctive moment like either Bowes or Jamison do to separate their vocals from the music. Vaughn is certainly clear vocally and clean throughout, but there's no memorable or emotional moment where you latch onto any song on the disc. Songs like "Love To Love" are nice songs, but really fall into the unmemorable category five minutes after listening to them.

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Doro - UNDER MY SKIN

Image: Doro, Under My Skin, Pitriff, heavy metal, cd reviews, news, interviewsDoro
UNDER MY SKIN

Contrary to popular belief and a lot of silly bits that I've done throughout the years on THE CLASSIC METAL SHOW and THE METAL SHOW respectively, I really am a fan of Doro. I loved her work in Warlock, and I like her work even more as a solo artist. I'm one of those guys that even liked that period where she tried to stop being metal and attempted to be more of a vocalist than the reigning queen of metal. But all that said, at what point do we just say "enough" to all these rehashes, reissues, and repackaging of her's (or any artists) greatest hits? I think now is as good a time as any.

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Manowar - LORDS OF STEEL

Image: Manowar, The Lord Of Steel, Pitriff, CD Review, ReviewsManowar
THE LORD OF STEEL

I'm sure Manowar had to make this album. I'm sure the Magic Circle of Manowarriors expected it. Just like Kiss keeps putting out records that pander to the "character" the band created, so too does Manowar need to create a record steeped in the tricks and turns of its back catalog.

That's the only reason I can gather that guys looking at 60 are still compelled to write material like this.

To my ears, the band sounds a bit like a middling Scandinavian power metal band bashing out NWOBHM-styled tunes. In theory, that would be great for me, but the band keeps trotting out the same tired ideas, the same riffs, the same choruses, the same Valhalla battles fought over and over since 1982's Battle Hymns.

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Snew - WHAT'S IT TO YA

Image: Snew, Pull My StingerSnew
WHAT'S IT TO YA

What is there to say about Snew?  They are the quintessential shit kicker band.  There's several out there.  There's bands like Broken Teeth, Rhinobucket and American Dog to name a few.  Then, there's Snew.  Snew has been kicking around for a few years now, growing a couple fans at a time but making an impact independently with a level of persistence that only guys that are truly dedicated to their craft can appreciate.  Given that life forces me to be wedged in with a lot of image conscious, douchey modern metal/post hardcore bands that would never understand this level of commitment, I'm always one to give a DIY band like Snew every chance.  Thankfully, they have proven the musical chops once again to warrant some attention from not only me, but the hard rock community at large.  WHAT'S IT TO YOU feels just like the boot hitting your ass when you were a teenager telling your dad that you couldn't do something because it was too hard.

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Icarus Witch - RISE

Image: Icarus Witch, Rise, Pitriff, Heavy MetalIcarus Witch
RISE

It's been a decade of growth, development, change and experimentation for the guys in Pennsylvania's Icarus Witch.  The band that exists today simply would not have written albums like CAPTURE THE MAGIC or SONGS FOR THE LOST.  Being completely honest, it just seems like a completely new band.  Not only has this band gone through numerous member changes (I think they are the modern day Spinal Tap as I believe they are on drummer #5), but those new members have all instilled creative changes to where the music is different from what was first experienced.  If your first taste of Icarus Witch is RISE, you would never suspect that this was once a traditional metal/power metal band only a few years ago.  That said, it's doubtful you'd be disappointed either.

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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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