• Black Label Society - CATACOMBS OF THE BLACK VATICAN

    Image: Black Label Society, Catacombs Of The Black Vatican, Pitriff, Review, Classic Metal Black Label Society
    CATACOMBS OF THE BLACK VATICAN

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    When Zakk Wylde decides to release new music, the metal world definitely stops for a moment and listens. They may not like it all, but they do listen. It's a testament to how unbelievable the man is on guitar; a true legend who stands shoulder to shoulder with the Eddie Van Halen's and Dimebag Darrell's

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  • Lacuna Coil - BROKEN CROWN HALO

    Image: Lacuna Coil, Broken Crown Halo, Review, Modern Metal, Pitriff Lacuna Coil
    BROKEN CROWN HALO

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    It's not really much of a secret that two of my favorite bands out there today are fronted by ladies. Those two bands are Halestorm and Lacuna Coil. While it took me awhile to latch onto Halestorm, Lacuna Coil was a band that I latched on the very first time I heard them. I remember getting a sampler

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  • Sevendust - TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES

    Image: Sevendust, Time Travelers & Bonfires, Review, Modern Metal, Pitriff Sevendust
    TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES

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    Sevendust are really a band for the fans, and the fans are definitely always there for the band. Case in point - their latest release TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES. This release is one paid for by the latest trend hitting the music business, pre-funding by the fans to pay for a project. The band asked for a lot for

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  • Various Artists: Ronnie James Dio - THIS IS YOUR LIFE

    Image: Dio, This Is Your Life, Pitriff, Review, Classic metal Various Artists
    RONNIE JAMES DIO: THIS IS YOUR LIFE

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    As much as I want to take this at face value, it's hard to not at least wonder just how many times Wendy Dio is going to visit the Dio well and mine more material culled from his past work. There's already been multiple live releases, deluxe reissues, an officially sanctioned band playing the

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  • Red Reign - CHASING SHADOWS

    Image: Red Reign, Chasing Shadows, Pitriff, Review, Classic Metal Red Reign
    CHASING SHADOWS

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    It's not very often that a band that has zero backing behind it sweeps in and just monopolizes my listening time. Generally, bands like Red Reign get 30 seconds as I quickly scan through their music and I'm on to something else that I'm getting pressured to review by a publicist. For Red Reign, I was asked to review

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  • Steel Panther - ALL YOU CAN EAT

    Image: Steel Panther, All You Can Eat, The Classic Metal Show Steel Panther
    ALL YOU CAN EAT

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    They certainly are the joke that just keeps on being retold and being funny, now aren't they? I'm sure there's a lot less people that remember them as Metal Shop, Metal Skool or even way back to the Danger Kitty days, but a whole lot more people have discovered this band since they adopted the name Steel

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  • Sebastian Bach - GIVE 'EM HELL

    Sebastian Bach, Give 'Em Hell, Pitriff, CD Review Sebastian Bach
    GIVE 'EM HELL

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    It seems like every time Sebastian Bach releases new music, the first thought that comes to my mind is "this dude comes off like a douchebag ALOT in interviews, but he just kicks ass musically." Amazing how that comes back around. Baz is back, and he's been saying some interesting things in recent interviews. Yet, just ignoring that

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  • Gamma Ray - EMPIRE OF THE UNDEAD

    Image: Gamma Ray, Empire Of The Undead, Pitriff, CD Review, Power Metal Gamma Ray
    EMPIRE OF THE UNDEAD

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    My affinity for Gamma Ray really predates the band itself, as it's much more of an appreciation for the vocal work of singer Kai Hansen. Be it with Gamma Ray or his legendary work with his previous band Helloween, Hansen has always been not only one of the most elite vocalists in power metal in my eyes,

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  • Vandenberg's MoonKings - VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS

    Image: Vandenberg's Moonkings, Pitriff, Classic Rock, Classic Metal Vandenberg's MoonKings
    VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS

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    Adrian Vandenberg and Jake E. Lee have seemingly the same career path. Both were great in super huge bands (Vandenberg in Whitesnake, Lee in Ozzy), recorded even better material when they broke away (Lee with Badlands, Vandenberg with Manic Eden), and then both walked away and just left music behind for awhile. Now, both are back. Lee's Red Dragon

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  • Pilgrim - II: VOID WORSHIP

    Image: Pilgrim, Void Worship, Pitriff, doom metal, review Pilgrim
    II: VOID WORSHIP

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    In the epic world of doom metal, there are a lot of pretenders. There are only a few that are truly authentic though. Pilgrim is one of the most authentic I think I've ever heard. Their grinding, slow moving sludge is such from which legends put on this Earth to slay anyone or anything in it's path. Made up

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  • Hatecore Inc. - NO HOPE, NO ESCAPE VOL. 1

    Image: Hatecore Inc, No Hope, No Escape Vol 1, Pitriff, Review Hatecore, Inc.
    NO HOPE, NO ESCAPE VOL. 1: WELCOME TO MY WAR

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    Being from the Cleveland area, I've seen a lot of bands get ignored for whatever reason. On the national side of things, most people look at bands north of Columbus as being from "Cleveland". Unfortunately though, that's not how it works. For as long as I've been in this scene, there

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  • KXM - KXM

    Image: KXM, George Lynch, Dug Pinnick, Ray Luzier, Pitriff KXM
    KXM

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    Some points of clarity before I write a single world about the new project KXM, in order that this review is understood and evaluated fairly by anyone reading it. This project features three guys - Dug Pinnick of King's X, George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, and Ray Luzier who is currently the drummer for Korn. Out of fairness, I'll

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Hopes die Last - TRUST NO ONE

Image: Hopes Die Last, Trust No One, Pitriff, CD Review, News, Heavy MetalHopes Die Last
TRUST NO ONE

I won't lie here - I was a fan of the early versions of nu-metal, or metalcore or whatever you want to call it.  More than anything, if there's a shift in sound and it's still heavy sounding, I generally will like it for awhile.  When people start mimmicking it, but don't do it as well is when I lose interest in trend hopping bands.  I would say that I jumped off this bandwagon about the same time that Howard Jones joined Killswitch Engage.  While that band is OK at times (definitely not a big favorite of mine), the new breed that followed for the last five or six years has been, to put it bluntly, pathetic.  I'm screaming because I'm angry.  Now I'm singing clean but slightly out of key to exhibit my emo pain of my existence.  Now I'm screaming again while our downtuned riff churns in circles.  Yeah...we all get it.  Further, most fans of metal checked out on it.

That said however, a band cranking out some metalcore has caught my attention recently, and I can't stop playing it.  Hopes Die Last return with a much improved sound, more diversity and just better songwriting with their latest release, TRUST NO ONE.  While their last release SIX YEARS HOME was fair, it fell right in line with that same collection of bands like Asking Alexandria, Aiden and the like that comes off as whiny and boring.  Not here.  This band has improved dramatically musically.  They also have done a much better job capturing themselves in the studio.  Songs like "Unleash Hell" punch you in the face with the force of Mike Tyson on a PCP high, and yet that only scratches the surface of what's going on here.  Musically, TRUST NO ONE is so diverse that almost anyone into modern metal will be aptly satisfied.  The ballad "The Same Old Fears" is especially unique here.  Lead by some well placed techo beats and soft piano, this song could easily be mistaken as a ballad by Linkin Park instead of an upstart metalcore band.  That has a lot to do with vocalist Daniele Tofan.  In short, this guy is the force behind this band.  His crooning voice is solid, and his aggro-screams are as strong as anyone's out there today.  Unlike most bands of this ilk, Hopes Die Last act as a cohesive unit instead of a layered, non-organic packing of whining.  Songs like "Icarus" are well structured; showcasing the perfect mixture of guitars, thick rhythms and one of the most fluid timing changes from fast to slow I've heard in a very long time.

While this release is great, it does occasionally showcase a few flaws here and there.  While these guys are clearly finding their sound, the experimentation on it with studio tricks is a bit over the top on occasion.  They tend to get a little bit Trent Reznor-like with the knob turning on "Never Trust The Hazel Eyed" and the aforementioned "Unleash Hell".  It's more like overkill on xxxxx It's a minor thing though, and one they will probably grow out of.

PITRIFF RATING - 92/100 - Hopes Die Last kick off the new year with a surprisingly solid dose of metalcore that's weak on whiny and strong on diversity.  With the right tours and promotions, you could see a lot more of this band because they clearly have the chops to be a force with today's youth.  TRUST NO ONE is about as good as this genre gets.

Chris Akin

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