• Sweet & Lynch - ONLY TO RISE

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

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    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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  • AC/DC - ROCK OR BUST

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

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    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
    LIVE IN '84 - BACK TO THE BONE

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    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
    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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In Alcatraz 1962 - THE DRIVE

Image: In Alcatraz 1962, The Drive, Heavy Metal News, ReviewsIn Alcatraz 1962
THE DRIVE

Standby Records is one of those labels putting out modern metal where they are pretty much hit or miss with me. They have put out some bands like Hopes Die Last, Modern Day Escape and Davey Suicide who's music I have completely dug. Then again, there are other bands like Blessed By A Burden or Emergency 911 that have just sucked balls. With that label, there really is no middle ground. Add In Alcatraz 1962 to the "completely dug" list. THE DRIVE is a fairly simple, extremely punishing and yet sonically excellent dose of hammer smashes to the face. Without question, THE DRIVE is one of those releases that leaves me thinking there is hope for the next generation of metal bands.

To be clear, In Alcatraz 1962 will be compared to a bunch of modern bands that only a few new school people will be able to relate to. Since I'm not new school, I'll relate them to something old school that most people won't be able to relate to. In many ways, In Alcatraz 1962 reminds me of an updated for the new century version of San Francisco's Skinlab. Listening to songs like "Eloquence" reminds me of that older generation ferocity that was a combination of sounds ranging from Machine Head to Destruction or Sodom. Guitarists Chris Smith and Allen Call take center stage throughout most of this release; dominating speedy songs like "The Fatal Flaw". They, along with drummer Josh Zupovitz drive each and every song. Zupovitz is one of the better players when it comes to the more modern time changes. He powers songs like "There To Take" with his thunderous performance.

Vocally, Tyler Baldwin is solid yet fairly unremarkable. His growls are fairly uniform and lack a lot of depth. That said though, they are blood curdling at times and are tempered nicely with some clean singing. Songs like "Acceptance" showcase Baldwin's ability to mix it up and keep the listener guessing. While he may not be the best vocalist on the planet, he fits the style this band is trying to achieve. His clean vocals here remind of a bit of Burton C. Bell from Fear Factory.

While all the band members have to get credit for the work here on THE DRIVE, some credit has to be given to producer Don DeBiase for his work on this release. Having heard pretty much everything DeBiase has done over the last few years, it's easy to say this is sonically the best thing to come out of his Studio D. Productions. Unlike so much modern metal that sounds sludgy and dull, THE DRIVE is one of the most alive releases to hit my hard drive in a long time. The guitars and drums are monumental, and yet leave enough room for Baldwin to scream with clarity and without being overpowered. It's a seriously solid piece of production work.

PITRIFF RATING - 87/100 - If you are a fan of extreme metal that borders in parts of death metal, In Alcatraz 1962 might be a gateway band to take you into the world of newer bands. THE DRIVE is a seriously sick, punishing listen (in the best possible way). Hopefully some people will discover it.

Chris Akin

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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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The shockingly honest and emotional first book from radio personality and rock critic Chris Akin.

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