• 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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    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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  • Mr. Big - ...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL

    Mr. Big, The Stories We Could Tell, Reviews, Classic Metal, Chris Akin, Pitriff Mr. Big
    ...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL

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    As a fan of Mr. Big, I can't honestly say that many people thought that their reunion was much more than a cash grab opportunity for the guys in the band who, while immensely talented, failed to find solo success to match their collaborative efforts. It was never a question of if they could still play.

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Hydrogyn - PRIVATE SESSIONS

Image: Hydrogyn, Private Sessions, heavy metal, reviews, interviews, news, pitriffHydrogyn
PRIVATE SESSIONS

It's interesting to follow the progress, or lack thereof, that some bands make.  Since 2004, Hydrogyn has been a band that has tried to market the hotness of their frontwoman Julie Westlake, hoping that it would overshadow their ultimately boring and clandestine music.  Album after album, there's been nothing but photos and videos of Westlake to promote the band, and nothing behind it musically to fully capture any interest her looks might have enticed.  By contrast, a band like Benedictum is also fronted by an appealing woman named Veronica Freeman, and yet the focus with them is always on the tunes and not Freeman's looks.  Not surprisingly, they are a lot farther along, respected and known than Hydrogyn.

The reality though is it doesn't matter what this band does with their imagery, because the tunes are not there now and really haven't been there from the start.  PRIVATE SESSIONS is everything that Lacuna Coil or Evanescence would be if they were trying to record something to solve insomnia.  This is a snorefest of a release - boring in every aspect of its delivery.  Songs like "I Don't Know How" are just flat out boring.  As a vocalist, Westlake has a very clean voice like Amy Lee, but she just doesn't have the delivery to give her voice any life at all.  Listening to songs like "Scream" just leaves you bored and wishing the song would hurry up and end so the next song can start.  Unfortunately, each song following has the same effect thanks to Westlake's dynamic, yet lifeless voice.  She's like a cardboard cutout - there's so little feeling to her voice that you just end up bored.

Westlake is not the problem though.  While her vocals are not all that interesting, that factor is magnified by dull musicianship backing her.  Husband and guitarist Jeff Westlake has seemingly declined a bit in his playing.  Previous albums found his guitar playing to be far more dynamic and full.  That's not to say it's all bad.  His riff  on "Creeper" is pretty robust and rocking.  That said though, there's not a ton of dynamic energy coming from Jeff, drummer Joe Migs and bassist Chris Sammons throughout the entire disc.

PITRIFF RATING - 31/100 - Dull musicianship and subpar songs plague PRIVATE SESSIONS from Hydrogyn.  It's been almost a decade and this band has failed to capture much of an audience.  Maybe it's time they accept it.  Maybe not...I don't know.  Whatever they do in the future, it won't be impacted on positively by what they've done now.  PRIVATE SESSIONS is a great listen on those nights when you can't get to sleep.  It'll get you over that...quick!

Chris Akin



Private Sessions - Hydrogyn

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