• Sweet & Lynch - ONLY TO RISE

    Image: Sweet & Lynch, Only To Rise, CD Review, Classic Metal, Pitriff Sweet & Lynch


    Being completely honest here, I really didn't expect a whole lot out of this. I'm not the biggest Stryper fan in the world by a long shot, and the truth is that I just never could fully get into Michael Sweet's vocals. There's just always been something about him. I'm not sure what it is. I guess

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    Image: Rock Or Bust, AC/DC, Chris Akin, Pitriff, Classic Metal, Review AC/DC


    In a year that has see a foundational piece of AC/DC succumb to a debilitating illness and another to his own personal insanity, AC/DC emerges after seemingly forever away with ROCK OR BUST. To be fair and truthfully honest, expectations on this release were pretty low. I know that AC/DC is a band that's been in business almost 50

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  • Whitesnake - BACK TO THE BONE

    Image: Whitesnake, Back To The Bone, Pitriff, Chris Akin Whitesnake


    David Coverdale and company have had a very long and successful history that started even before he formed Whitesnake. There's no denying the legacy here. Coverdale has had a fantastic career with Whitesnake, and his time in Deep Purple was every bit as strong to that band as a Sammy Hagar was to Van Halen

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  • Wretch - WARRIORS

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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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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Arch Enemy - WAR ETERNAL

Image: Arch Enemy, War Eternal, review, death metal, kip massey, pitriffArch Enemy

The big story surrounding Arch Enemy's ninth studio album is that the band has done the impossible. They replaced their lead singer calmly, quietly, and without anybody knowing about it until it was already done—and somehow didn't miss a beat in the process. It's hard enough to replace a singer just once, but Arch Enemy has done it twice, and while there are still some people bellyaching over the loss of original vocalist Johan Liiva, it's safe to say Angela Gossow left a much bigger footprint on the band, and on metal in the new millennium. With her at the mic, Arch Enemy were one of the bands responsible for popularizing so-called "melodic death metal," if not in the mainstream, at least outside of the dank sub-basements of the underground. Plus, she reminded a new generation of female headbangers that you didn't need to be an opera singer, a goth chick, or a bassist to find a place in extreme metal.

But all that's old news, because Angela's out (but still managing the band), and Alissa White-Gluz (of the Canadian band The Agonist) is in. Along with recent addition Nick Cordle on guitar (from Arsis, another band whose name you see on Blabbermouth but probably never actually heard), Arch Enemy are moving full steam ahead on War Eternal.

Al the expected Arch Enemy ingredients are present and accounted for, starting with the portentous instrumental that opens the disc, complete with Latin, faux-classical title. Once that's over with, the band launches into the real music, and right off, they seem to be playing with more fire and aggression than we've heard recently. That sounds like a slam at previous albums, and I don't mean it to be—I personally thought 2011's Khaos Legions was fantastic. But songs like "Never Forgive, Never Forget," "As the Pages Burn" and "Down To Nothing" just rage with a speed and ferocity that feels renewed. Having said that, the band doesn't stray from its original recipe that much. You still have trademark Arch Enemy anthems like "Stolen Life" and the title track, and more mid-paced offerings like "You Will Know My Name" and "Time Is Black," and band founder Michael Amott's guitar madness is still very much classic metal sent through a C-tuned death-metal meat grinder. Some people have gotten bored with the formula, but if you're a fan, Arch Enemy has done nothing here to tarnish their legacy. But it's that intangible something, that jolt of energy that comes from new players in the band, that helps War Eternal pack that extra punch. Even on tracks like "Time Is Black" and "Avalanche," with their prominent keyboard melodies (tastefully done, not overbearing or cheesy), there's just a sense of urgency that's cranked up a notch from the past couple releases.

And that new singer, how does she fare? People like to joke about how hard it is to tell one death-metal singer from the next, but Alissa White-Gluz has a deeper, more powerful voice than Angela Gossow. She actually reminds me of Children of Bodom's Alexi Laiho in more than a few places, with a splash of Dez Fafara from DevilDriver. It's a different sound compared to Angela's thickly-accented snake-hiss, and it really adds to the heightened sense of aggression found on War Eternal.

PITRIFF RATING - 87/100 – Losing such a recognizable face and voice could have proved disastrous for a prominent band (relatively speaking). Indeed, Michael Amott admits pondering whether the band should even continue. Luckily, he chose to persevere, and I'm happy to report that War Eternal is another fine addition to the Arch Enemy catalog. No real surprises beyond the personnel shake-up; just another serving of vicious, well-crafted melodic death metal, from one of the pillars of the genre.

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.

CLICK HERE to learn more about LITTLE VICTORIES.

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

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