• Overkill - WHITE DEVIL ARMORY

    Image: Overkill, White Devil Armory, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal Overkill
    WHITE DEVIL ARMORY

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    Holy shit! Who saw this coming? In an astonishing detour off the band's well-trampled musical path. Their latest album ventures into heretofore uncharted territories, embracing such unexpected sonic offshoots as Eastern-tinged black metal, polka-dotted folk-metal, and, in what is sure to be a harbinger of trends to come, Tuvan throat-singing.

    Nah, just fuckin' with you to see if you

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  • Fozzy - DO YOU WANNA START A WAR

    Image: Fozzy, Do You Wanna Start A War, Pitriff, Modern Metal, Review Fozzy
    DO YOU WANNA START A WAR

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    All the stars are aligned for me to be an absolute worshipper of Fozzy. And yet, I'm just not. It's not that I don't want to be. I'm a huge fan of the WWE, which is where Chris Jericho calls home professionally at least part of the time. To that fact, I'm a fan of Chris

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  • Goatwhore - Constricting Rage Of The Merciless

    Image: Goatwhore, pitriff, review, death metal Goatwhore
    CONSTRICTING RAGE OF THE MERCILESS

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    Here's one for the stout of heart and strong of neck: New Orleans's Goatwhore have just barfed up their sixth album, and if you liked the last few releases, Constricting Rage of the Merciless is sure to appease your charred heart. If you haven't been following along, Goatwhore is sort of a supergroup, if having members of

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  • Blues Pills - BLUES PILLS

    Image: Blues Pills, Blues Pills, Stoner Rock, Pitriff Blues Pills
    BLUES PILLS

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    It's not a secret that this whole retro movement in the worlds of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal has been an absolutely God sent for my musical palette. For so many years now, probably 20 or more, the ONLY band I've had to hold onto when I wanted new music from a band who's influences were steeped into the

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  • Unbreakable - KNOCKOUT

    Image: unbreakable, knockout, review, classic metal, pitriff Unbreakable
    KNOCKOUT

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    Retro has become in these days, and there are more and more bands creeping up that have harkened their sound back to a time that left well over 30 years ago. The last 2 years have seen an influx of bands reaching back to the '70s. Bands like Blues Pills, Vista Chino, Scorpion Child and Rival Sons have all emerged with

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  • The Treatment - RUNNING WITH THE DOGS

    Image: The Treatment, Running With The Dogs, Pitriff, Classic Metal, Review The Treatment
    RUNNING WITH THE DOGS

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    Admit it: you've just about given up on England when it comes to producing quality rock 'n' roll. The land that brought us the Beatles, the Stones, Zeppelin, and of course the revered NWOBHM--in the past twenty-five years, what have they given us? The Wildhearts? Come on. The Darkness? Come the fuck on!

    The Treatment are a

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  • Arch Enemy - WAR ETERNAL

    Image: Arch Enemy, War Eternal, review, death metal, kip massey, pitriff Arch Enemy
    WAR ETERNAL

    The big story surrounding Arch Enemy's ninth studio album is that the band has done the impossible. They replaced their lead singer calmly, quietly, and without anybody knowing about it until it was already done—and somehow didn't miss a beat in the process. It's hard enough to replace a singer just once, but Arch Enemy has done it twice, and while

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  • California Breed - CALIFORNIA BREED

    Image: California Breed, Pitriff, Non Metal, Review California 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

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  • MuckRaker - KARMAGEDDON

    Image: Karmagaddon, Muckraker, Pitriff, Stoner Metal, Review MuckRaker
    KARMAGEDDON

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    One of the hardest things I'm tasked to do when reviewing bands is to look past the individual history of the members when a new project pops up. Many times, you really can't help but to think about a guy's past work in another band. That's especially true when the guy is the singer. MuckRaker is one of those bands for

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  • Judas Priest - REDEEMER OF SOULS

    judas priest, redeemer of souls, power metal Judas Priest
    REDEEMER OF SOULS

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    Judas Priest has a lot to atone for in the eyes of all fans except for Jim "Nostradamus" Bartek. Given the fact that Bartek's 524 day listening streak to NOSTRADAMUS probably doubled the count of the rest of the Priest fanbase combined, it's clear that the once Mighty Priest needed to do something very, very metal this time

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  • Quiet Riot - 10

    Image: Quiet Riot, Jizzy Pearl, 10, Pitriff, reviews Quiet Riot
    10

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    I'm generally excited when Jizzy Pearl fronts any band. He's one of my favorite singers out there from the classic metal era; a distinct sounding guy who has proven to be a chameleon while maintaining a sound there is no mistaking. Jizzy joining Quiet Riot was a welcome thought to me, personally. While I've never been a huge Quiet Riot

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  • Black Stone Cherry - MAGIC MOUNTAIN

    Image: Black Stone Cherry, Magic Mountain, Classic Metal, Review, Pitriff Black Stone Cherry
    MAGIC MOUNTAIN

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    Well, they finally did it. After nearly a decade of being hailed as the new kings of southern rock, and receiving favorable comparisons to Zeppelin and Skynyrd, western Kentucky's Black Stone Cherry have released an album that's worthy of all the praise.

    I've always liked the IDEA of Black Stone Cherry. I mean, what's not to like about

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  • American Dog - NEANDERTHAL

    Image: Neanderthal, American Dog, Classic Metal, Pitriff, Review American Dog
    NEANDERTHAL

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    God bless American Dog! For fifteen years, a bunch of blue-collar working stiffs from Columbus, Ohio have been churning out their brand of greasy, grimy redneck metal, and doing it all themselves. You gotta respect a band with American Dog's tenacity, toiling away in obscurity while other, much lesser bands soak up the major-label success. Oh yeah, and the tunes

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  • Hurtsmile - RETROGRENADE

    Image: Hurtsmile, Gary Cherone, classic metal, review, pitriff, chris akin Hurtsmile
    RETROGRENADE

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    For so many people, they hear Gary Cherone's name and immediately think about the failed Van Halen album III that he fronted. I get it. How can you not? It was such an unbelievably bad effort, and really should never have had the Van Halen name on it at all. Unfortunately though, Cherone has always been the blamesake of that release,

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  • U.D.O. - STEELHAMMER: LIVE FROM MOSCOW

    Image: Steelhammer, U.D.O., classic metal, review, pitriff U.D.O.
    STEELHAMMER - LIVE FROM MOSCOW

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    I really have no idea why U.D.O. is not a much, much bigger band than they are. Without question, everyone is all too quick to celebrate Accept, both with and without vocalist Udo Dirkschneider in the band. And yet, for all the love fans have for Dirkschneider's era of Accept, U.D.O. has really remained an afterthought instead of

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  • Ronny Munroe - ELECTRIC WAKE

    Image: Ronnie Munroe, Electric Wake, review, thrash metal, metal church Ronny Munroe
    ELECTRIC WAKE

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    One of the most disrespected singers in all of heavy metal, Ronny Munroe has more than ably fronted Metal Church for a decade now. Fronting Metal Church since 2004, the band has been a touch inconsistent (A LIGHT IN THE DARK and GENERATION NOTHING being great, WEIGHT OF THE WORLD and THIS PRESENT WASTELAND being a bit forgettable), but

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  • Vader - TIBI ET IGNI

    Image: Vader, Tivi Et Igni, Pitriff, review, death metal Vader
    TIBI ET IGNI

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    I could write all kinds of stuff about how Vader are the icons of Polish Death Metal. I could put all kinds of praise on them, and talk about how they and Behemoth are the trendsetters that allowed people to understand that Poland had some death metal brilliance coming out of their country. I could talk for a long

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  • Tesla - SIMPLICITY

    Image: Tesla, Simplicity, classic metal, review, pitriff Tesla
    SIMPLICITY

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    Even as a fan of Tesla, it's not hard to look at the band and find them to be somewhat less than energetic when it comes to putting out new music. They've now come forth with just their 7th studio album of new material since 1986. Let's be honest here, folks...that's not a lot of material over a VERY LONG period

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  • Tankard - R.I.B.

    Image: Tankard, R.I.B., thrash metal, review, chris akin, pitriff Tankard
    R.I.B.

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    I really don't think that, of all the bands out there, Tankard could ever do anything I don't appreciate in some way or another. Let's face it, if ever there was a "Chris Akin" band, Tankard would be it. They make the kind of metal that is closest to my heart - Thrash with just a touch of melody to make it

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Queensryche - FREQUENCY UNKNOWN

Image: Queensryche, Frequency Unknown, Pitriff, CD ReviewQueensryche
FREQUENCY UNKNOWN

If you've followed along with the whole Queensryche saga over the last few months and you are a fan, you are almost embarrassed to claim that fandom in public at this point. For a band that was once so proud of the fact that they were above the fray of their contemporaries, it's just flat out embarrassing to see the sad division of a band that was once so creatively excellent. Now, we have two Queensryches out there. The first one, made up of the "rest of the guys" and new vocalist Todd LaTorre, have proclaimed a return to the classic sound of the first five releases. They have been somewhat classier than Geoff Tate during the whole split, but at the same time haven't been shy to point fingers and make their private legal battle with Tate immensely public. Whatever, I guess...everyone's got to get the word out about their project. As for vocalist Geoff Tate...well, he's kind of gone insane the last few months publicly. Over the last few months, we've heard everything from why it was alright to spit in the face of his former drummer, rants from the stage where he told fans of the band that they suck, and yes, even stereotyping talk about the man's dick size. Certainly, the legacy has taken a lot of tarnish during this time.

But none of that really matters in the biggest picture for fans. As a Queensryche fan, all I care about are the tunes. To date, the release of FREQUENCY UNKNOWN has been a total trainwreck. The fan backlash to the samples was so bad that they had to do an immediate remix - one their label seemingly couldn't afford as production of physical product was underway, but where they tried to save face by offering two versions of the disc. The lineup of this "new" Queensryche has changed several times already, so any thoughts of cohesiveness are gone long before anyone even hears FREQUENCY UNKNOWN. In short, it's been a disaster.

As said before though, it's about the tunes and the tunes only. Like everything else, FREQUENCY UNKNOWN is difficult to give an actual assessment. I know what the name is on the cover as well as the logo, but this release feels nothing at all like what Queensryche has in the past. Even when compared to such disasters as DEDICATED TO CHAOS, the entire vibe is different. That's not to say it's awful though, but it's not really good either. In the rush to get FREQUENCY UNKNOWN out ahead of the other guys, it seems that there was literally no vetting process on many of these songs. Songs like "In The Hands Of God" would never have made it past the vetting process on any previous Queensryche album, even though this sounds about as close to the classic (maybe PROMISED LAND or Q2K era) as anything on the disc. I'm not sure if Tate was trying to prove some kind of point that he can still record heavy material, but there are some heavier moments on the disc. Songs like "Slave" are heavier than anything he's done in his recorded past. Unfortunately, that doesn't translate to good. While heavy, the song is lacking of creativity. There are times when the heaviness works, such as on "Running Backwards", but those moments are far too few.

As for Tate, he's not sounding very good vocally these days. I get it that you can't keep up being a high ranging member of metal's elite forever, but he's really falling fast into the realm of Brian Johnson where his voice just sounds a bit phlegmy or warbly (something like that - not sure what the exact definition I'm looking for is). Literally every time he goes for higher notes, he comes off strained to the point where it's noticeable. To be blunt, this is by far Geoff Tate's worst vocal performance on any Queensryche album.

You can't let a review of this release go without talking about the production of it. While it's better than expected, it's very uneven to say the least. There are moments where the incohesiveness of universal mixing and mastering come screaming through. The transition from "Cold" to "Dare" almost sounds like you are changing between two separate CDs recorded at different points in their career. Most of the disc was produced by Jason Slater, whose history is to create production that makes me wish I was deaf (AMERICAN SOLDIER, DEDICATED TO CHAOS, LETTING GO by Earshot, etc.). What he's captured is a flat sound with no dynamics to speak of, cardboard drum sound, and some of the worst vocal echoing to accentuate Tate's average vocals than should be tolerated from a guy earning a check of any kind to produce records.

Finally, there's the four re-recorded "classics". Now, I'm savvy enough to understand that re-recording their four biggest songs under the moniker of "Queensryche" guarantees Tate licensing going forward even if he loses his lawsuit over control of the band's name. That said though, pushing these poor renditions on the fans is akin to a porn star being slapped in the face with a hard cock before a brutal throat fuck scene commences. It's just uncomfortable to see, hear or experience...no matter how much of a fan you are. Hardcore fans are going to hate, hate, hate the re-recording of "Empire", which just feels insulting to the spirit of the original song. It's completely hollow on guitar, and Tate's big voice is now little more than a mish-mosh of inability to hit notes combined with bad reverb and obvious autotuning. "Silent Lucidity" suffers from Tate's diminished vocals as well.

PITRIFF RATING - 39/100 - I wanted to like this. Queensryche is one of my favorite bands of all time. While I've hated all the public bullshit that's come with this, I held out hope that their battle would compel Geoff Tate to really dig deep and come up with something great. Instead, FREQUENCY UNKNOWN delivers a rushed, sonically inept collection of songs that don't deserve the Queensryche name or logo on it's cover. No amount of guests were able to save it. This is just depressing.

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