• Sweet & Lynch - ONLY TO RISE

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


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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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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Image: Rush, Clockwork Angels, CD Review, Heavy metal, pitriff, interviews, newsRush

It's been five years since Rush unleashed their SNAKES AND ARROWS release, and to be honest, it's been longer still since they put out a release that was truly great.  Like most of their material outside of the 80s, SNAKES AND ARROWS was a little better than competent classic progressive hard rock.  For the diehards, always being good but not great leaves them wondering when the next great release will emerge.  For those that are just fans in passing (like this guy), the thought of a new release generates very little in the way of expectation.

Yet, what Rush have done this time is creating something that's going to be widely interesting to the average fan and adored by the hardcores.  CLOCKWORK ANGELS is a very tight, heavy conceptual opus that could possibly be the very best album this band has done since the middle of their career.  I'm not talking PRESTO or HOLD YOUR FIRE either folks...we're talking grand releases like SIGNALS or MOVING PICTURES.  Without question, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart have pushed their creative boundaries to the farthest edges with CLOCKWORK ANGELS.  Without breaking down the whole concept of things, Rush have captured the very best songwriting they have laid down in 30 years and combined it with their always tight, unquestionable musical skill.  Songs like "Caravan" are so much more heavy than anything these guys have been doing for years; specifically Lifeson on guitar.  While Lifeson has always been the forgotten man in the band between the unique vocals of Lee and the (arguably) best drummer in the history of Rock with Peart, he's long had a signature sound that balanced out between artistic and powerful.  He's noticeably less polished and much more raw and aggressive on CLOCKWORK ANGELS...in the best way possible.  Sure, there are songs like "Clockwork Angels" where Lifeson displays his more traditional flavoring to the songs, but these are exceptions more than the rule.  Lifeson sound is much thicker and heavier than anything they've done since PRESTO in my eyes.

As for the other two members of the band, what exactly are you going to say?  Peart is at worst one of the three top guys ever to play drums; widely regarded by many as the best ever to beat the skins.  His undeniable level of skill is on display as it always is throughout CLOCKWORK ANGELS.  His progressive meets rock drumming fusion on songs like "Headlong Flight" is a simple showcase of just why everyone from Tommy Lee to Mike Portnoy wishes they were Peart.  Like always, it's not that he's playing a zillion beats per second.  It's the level of precision and his ability to use his chops to develop each and every song instead of simply driving it like most percussionists do.  Lee's bass is thumping throughout; interesting louder and more impactful than on the last handful of albums.

Vocally is where Lee surprises though.  While he'll never reach the highest of high notes of the early days anymore, he proves that there's a lot left in the tank (at least studio-wise).  While their live album recorded in Cleveland showed a version of Lee who had lost a touch of his range for, at least, that performance, there are no signs of that here.  His voice is strong and loud throughout, with higher notes on songs like the aforementioned "Headlong Flight" than he's done in years.

PITRIFF RATING - 96/100 - I'm stunned at how good this really is.  By far the most creative album Rush has done in 30 years.  Certainly the best recorded sound they've captured as well.  Finally, the strongest musical performances this trio of great musicians have put forth in the bulk of my lifetime.  For so many rock fans that are 30 years old or less, they probably don't quite understand why so many have regarded Rush as an elite band.  CLOCKWORK ANGELS could be the album that makes them get it.  If nothing else, CLOCKWORK ANGELS once again brings shame on the Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame.  For them to be able to leave this band outside while welcoming far lesser talents like the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Guns N' Roses just proves how truly clueless the concept of greatness is to the curator and decision makers at that over-glorified Hard Rock Cafe.  CLOCKWORK ANGELS is the kind of work legends do.

Chris Akin

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.


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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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Available January 13th in Paperback and Digital Formats on Amazon and iTunes.

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