• 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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Zakk Wylde - BOOK OF SHADOWS II

Image: Zakk Wylde, Book Of Shadows IIZakk Wylde
BOOK OF SHADOWS II

CD
MP3

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. Being honest, when I first heard that Zakk Wylde was going to go after what I personally find to be his finest moment, BOOK OF SHADOWS, and trying to create a follow up...well...I wasn’t overly excited about the prospect of it. While I’m a Black Label Society honk if ever there was one, I truly didn’t like even thinking of his greatest and most soulful work being soiled in any way. Thankfully, it wasn’t. While far different than the original BOOK OF SHADOWS, BOS2 finds Wylde doing what he does best and least often - writing and performing soulful balladic music that is largely timeless.

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Black Star Riders - THE KILLER INSTINCT

Image: Black Star Riders, The Killer Instinct, Review, Classic Rock, PitriffBlack Star Riders
THE KILLER INSTINCT

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When Black Star Riders made their decision to record under a new name instead of as Thin Lizzy, it was met with a lot of opinions. For most, I would assume they were happy that they decided to move away from the name they had been touring under. For many, I'm sure there was a lot of apprehension about ruining the legacy, or at least dragging it through the mud if the new music wasn't good. For some, most likely record label people, they probably questioned the financial viability of starting over with a brand new name and distancing themselves from the humongous legacy that was and is Thin Lizzy. Regardless of which side of the argument you fall on, it's really hard to argue that what they've done has worked. THE KILLER INSTINCT picks right up where ALL HELL BREAKS UP left off.

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Sammy Hagar - LITE ROAST

Image: Sammy Hagar, Lite Roast, NonMetal, ReviewSammy 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 hadn't seen to that point. When that ended, he went back to solo material and was successful there once again. He then needed something fun to do, so he formed Chickenfoot and found success there. He loves to drink, so he made his own tequila which then went on to make him a zillion more dollars. He needed a place to party, so he built the Cabo Cantina which has now become THE party spot in Cabo, St. Lucas, Mexico. Hell, I'd love to have Sammy Hagar take a second of interest in one of my businesses, just to see how "Midas" the guy really is. Lately though, it seems like he might be ready to just relax and have fun. Two of his most recent solo efforts, SAMMY HAGAR AND FRIENDS and LIVIN' IT UP, found the former Red Rocker mellowing out a lot and just having fun. More of the same here with LITE ROAST. Comprised of material he's performed over the years in a new, laid back "on the beach" method, LITE ROAST will likely only appeal to hardcore Hagar enthusiasts. At this point, I'm not all that sure Hagar cares.

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Blackberry Smoke - LEAVE A SCAR

Image: Blackberry Smoke, Leave A Scar, Pitriff, Review, RockBlackberry Smoke
LEAVE A SCAR - LIVE IN NORTH CAROLINA

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Right up front, Blackberry Smoke is not a metal band. They are a southern-rock band, in the classic, original sense. These days, the term "southern rock" has been applied to everybody from Black Stone Cherry to Nashville Pussy to Crowbar, all sounds that would be alien and extreme in the days of Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet. Atlanta's Blackberry Smoke, on the other hand, would have fit comfortably in that era. In fact, in 2014, their music sound more like hard, modern country music than anything you would hear on rock radio. The band seems to know this, and in the years since their 2003 debut, Bad Luck Ain't No Crime--produced by Jackyl's Jesse Dupree, who more or less discovered them--they seem to have steered their music in that direction. To that end, they've worked with hot Nashville producer Dann Huff (a reinvented rocker himself, formerly the lead singer and guitarist for the band Giant), and sanding away the rough edges of their music and lyrics.

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California Breed - CALIFORNIA BREED

Image: California Breed, Pitriff, Non Metal, ReviewCalifornia Breed
CALIFORNIA BREED

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It definitely sucks when you watch a band that you are REALLY a fan of implode. For me, that's just what I had to do with Black Country Communion. As the band that I think a lot of people compared head to head with Sammy Hagar's supergroup Chickenfoot, BCC stormed out quickly and recorded three tremendous releases. Still, as quickly as they came up, they imploded. Guitarist Joe Bonamassa's ego seemed to clash with vocalist Glenn Hughes', and before long you had half the band (Bonamassa and keyboardist Derek Sherinian) on one side, and the other half (Hughes and drummer Jason Bonham) on the other. The side most people will care about, Hughes and Jason Bonham, have returned with a new band name, a new guitarist and a slightly different sound from what they were doing. The sound may be a bit different, but it's clearly lost none of it's punch.

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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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