• 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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Review - Walking With Kings

Image: Walking With Kings, Modern Metal, Christian Metal, Rich Ward, Pitriff, CD ReviewWalking With Kings
WALKING WITH KINGS

I’m a big Rich Ward fan - huge, actually.  I think he is the one guitarist out there that’s never been given his just due.  Stuck Mojo was a tremendous band that never got the credit they deserved while lesser bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn rose to dominance for a decade.  Ward has a large body of work with Stuck Mojo, as well as other bands like Sick Speed, The Duke and Adrenaline Mob.  While he’s teetered in and out of Christian-like themes for years, Ward has now put together and recorded a full Christian Rock album with Walking With Kings.  Past Stuck Mojo, this may be his best project to date.  

Let’s look at the positives here.  First, at least for now it’s free!  That’s right, if you want to sample this but the “C” word (Christian) is scaring you into thinking this will be some uncool, Stryper wannabe album, you can at least find out for yourself without spending more than 5 seconds to click the download link over at www.walkingwithkings.com.  

Second, singer and primary lyricist Terry Chism.  Chism is indeed devout in his worship of the Lord, but more importantly to me as a music fan is that he’s a damn good singer.  In a lot of ways, Chism reminds of Alter Bridge’s Miles Kennedy.   Listening to him sing on songs like “Change The World”, you hear a real sense of vocal excellence coming from him.  Further, Chism’s phrasing of lyrics is that of a 20 year professional.  It’s not sing songy, six syllable garbage where the last word rhymes from line to line.  To the contrary, Chism shares his spiritual feelings like a masterful storyteller on songs like “Home”.  Finally, guitarist Rich Ward is on the record, which automatically makes it a lot better.  As I stated, he’s never gotten his due as a player.  While his playing is not as over the top metal as he’s shown in Stuck Mojo as recently as on SOUTHERN BORN KILLERS, his modern rock riffs that he lays down on songs like “Friends” are juicy and fun; easily leading the listener through a fun experience of the songs.  

Now, the negative.  While I get that Sick Speed and the Stuck Mojo album THE GREAT REVIVAL were not successful, massively received projects, they do exist and were heard by hardcore Stuck Mojo fans like...well...like me.  Further, it’s hard to complain about anything that’s given to you free, as again THE GREAT REVIVAL and now WALKING WITH KINGS has been, but free or not, it’s a bit lazy to use the same songs from multiple releases here with virtually no rearrangement other than different vocals.  “Friends” was by far my favorite song on THE GREAT REVIVAL, so hearing what seems like the same musical tracks with different vocals thrown in just doesn’t feel right to me.  The same with Autumn Brings, which also was better when it was a Sick Speed track than here.  These criticisms are not a huge deal mind you, but these tracks just don’t feel good compared to other songs like “Leap Of Faith” or “Here I Stand”.  

PITRIFF RATING - 88/100 - There’s some great riffs on this album; some great songs, great performances and honestly a great message.  It’s definitely a harder Christian rock than I might otherwise look to listen to, but the music itself and the fact that it’s more telling a story than beating the listener up for not walking His path makes it OK with me.  Walking With Kings is a seriously solid band, and this effort is a fun listen to say the least.  It’s got it’s flaws, but it’s far from easily dismissed.  If more Christian Rock bands did this, the message would be easier to get out there to the modern aged kids.

Chris Akin

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