• 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: Goatwhore, pitriff, review, death metalGoatwhore
CONSTRICTING RAGE OF THE MERCILESS

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CD

Here's one for the stout of heart and strong of neck: New Orleans's Goatwhore have just barfed up their sixth album, and if you liked the last few releases, Constricting Rage of the Merciless is sure to appease your charred heart. If you haven't been following along, Goatwhore is sort of a supergroup, if having members of Soilent Green and Acid Bath in the ranks qualifies for that designation—and maybe it doesn't, given the incestuous nature of that city's metal scene. They started out playing pure black metal in the Norwegian style, complete with cumbersome, English-as-a-second-language song titles, but over the ensuing fifteen years, their sound has evolved to include healthy doses of thrash and death metal, and even an almost rock 'n' roll swagger here and there. As a result, when you see news items about them on websites like Blabbermouth, they tend to have laughably long descriptors. Stuff like, "New Orleans hardcore blackened-thrash death 'n' roll sludgemeisters."

So anyway, they have a new album. Like its predecessors, 2009's Carving Out The Eyes Of God and 2012's Blood For The Master, the new release combines elements of many different extreme-metal subgenres into a (WARNING—gratuitous Looziana reference coming) gumbo that is all their own. Songs are short and to the point, often jumping right in with furious blastbeats as if the band had been playing for a couple minutes before somebody thought to hit "record." There isn't always a discernible verse-chorus pattern, but somewhere along the way, the songs usually downshift (somewhat) into a more headbangable groove that allows a riff or vocal pattern to stand out. On that note, Zack Simmons's drumming is really impressive. Ben Falgoust's vocals generally stay in a medium-pitch shout, occasionally dipping an octave for a deep, death-metal curveball (sinker?). If you're a certain kind of twisted, it's fun music while it's playing, but for the most part, damn hard to remember when it's over.

There are exceptions on every Goatwhore album, though. On Constricting Rage Of The Merciless, they come in the form of the catchy, thrashy first single "Baring Teeth Of Revolt," and the similar but even more clumsily-titled "Nocturnal Conjuration Of The Accursed." These songs, sandwiched amid all the blastbeating frenzy of other tracks, jump out with a gust of fresh air, real hooks and something for your ears to grab onto. The real surprise, however, is a happy little ditty called "Cold Earth Consumed In Dying Flesh." The title sounds sorta Crowbar-esque, and sure enough, it's a plodding, sludgy monolith that seems to move at an impossibly slow pace compared to the other nine songs. Odd how that tune-low-play-slow aesthetic is so common in the downers-crazed New Orleans metal swamp, yet Goatwhore only rarely explore it, and never to this degree.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the band's black-metal origins, the lyrics of Falgoust and guitar Sammy Duet are steeped in over-the-top, Venomous blasphemy (capital V on purpose). "FBS," on this album, even stands for "Fucked By Satan," with lyrics that might have been shocking in decades past, or if easily shockable people would ever hear them. But, it's 2014 and this has all been said before, and Goatwhore are an underground band anyway, and will likely stay below the radar of all but the most avid metalheads.

Pitriff Rating: 77/100 – Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Goatwhore's music, particularly the last few releases. Constricting Rage Of The Merciless delivers everything a fan of the band would want. But I'm not going to lie to you and try to sell it to you as the soundtrack to your backyard barbecues or beach volleyball games. And, except for the three named above, the songs tend to run together without leaving a lasting impression, unless you eat and breathe this stuff 24/7.

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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