• 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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  • Sevendust - KILL THE FLAW

    Image: Sevendust, Kill The Flaw Sevendust
    KILL THE FLAW

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    When I first saw Sevendust’s new release was titled KILL THE FLAW, my initial thought was “what exactly is the flaw?” It leads you to wonder just what it is that caused this band to not break big, while bands with lesser quality catalogs like Disturbed or Korn had such crazy amounts of success at the same time. This

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  • Iron Maiden - THE BOOK OF SOULS

    Image: Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls, Review, Classic Metal, Pitriff, Chris Akin Iron Maiden
    THE BOOK OF SOULS

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    They don’t do it that often anymore, but there’s always excitement when Iron Maiden comes out with new music. Knowing that they are closing in on the end of their career, you really do end up hoping that when they go out for good, it will be with a bang. I think it’s universally agreed upon that

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  • Slayer - REPENTLESS

    Image: Slayer, Repentless, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal, Chris Akin Slayer
    REPENTLESS

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    Probably more than any release in their history, Slayer came into releasing this album at a crossroads. This WAS the album that, in many ways, dictated if the band could continue on or if it was indeed time to drift off quietly to Hell. The loss of guitarist Jeff Hanneman and the removal of drummer Dave Lombardo had almost every Slayer

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  • Operation: Mindcrime - THE KEY

    Image: Operation Mindcrime, Geoff Tate, Reviews, Music, heavy metal Operation: Mindcrime
    THE KEY

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    Geoff Tate’s falling out and subsequent two years of lawsuits, multiple versions of the same band and overall craziness in the press definitely tarnished a legacy that once seemed untouchable. Think about it. Even with over a decade of arguably bad releases (Q2K, TRIBE, AMERICAN SOLDIER, DEDICATED TO CHAOS), it wasn’t until the now infamous spitting incident and the

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  • W.A.S.P. - GOLGOTHA

    Image: WASP, Golgotha, Blackie Lawless, Pitriff, Review, Heavy Metal W.A.S.P.
    GOLGOTHA

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    W.A.S.P. is one of those bands that has a ridiculously loyal fanbase...and good for them, actually. Doing THE CLASSIC METAL SHOW, we get shit on repeatedly anytime we say anything that is less than glowing about W.A.S.P., Blackie Lawless or any of the band’s former or present members. Oh well...comes with the territory, I guess. After what seems like quite a

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Image: Fates Warning, Darkness In A Different Light, Pitriff, Reviews, progressive metalFates Warning
DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT

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Fates Warning are a band that has a ton of talent, but it's never been realized by the masses for one reason - they were always a bit too crafty for their own good.  In many ways, they remind me of a better musical version of bands like Rush or Dream Theater.  While the band is clearly filled with musicians that are as talented as any that are working today, they almost always over-extended their chops both musically and in writing material to a point that the masses just couldn't easily consume and "get" what they were about.  The result is that they never got big while other bands raced to the top of the niche they fall into.  The results have been releases like AWAKEN THE GUARDIAN, DISCONNECTED and A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY; albums that their core audience love, but just didn't have any real "hit" potential to break them past their niche audience.  DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT is their most straightforward effort since they debuted in the 80s, but it's a little too late at this point.  That said, this is a seriously solid Fates Warning album.

Without question, the biggest improvement on DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT is the removal of keyboards.  For 20 years, they released albums that were great, but tried to hard to mesh with all the prog metal bands out there by integrating world class keyboard playing into the material.  The results were good enough, but in the end, Fates Warning just isn't Dream Theater.  With DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT, the removal of keyboards has returned the band to a much more intense band.  Certainly, there is still plenty of progressive elements to the material.  This is in large part due to the incredible playing of new drummer Bobby Jarzombek.  He's masterful and has some great pop to his sound on songs like "Desire".

One thing that never changes in Fates Warning is the incredible songwriting.  Jim Matheos and Ray Alder wrote virtually the entire release, and it's as good as anything they have ever done as a team.  Songs like "Falling/I Am" are as well written as anything they have done to date.  That is not to say that their individual performances don't match the writing.  Alder sounds as good vocally as ever.  The guy is an absolute crooner with tremendous range and a fluidity to his singing that only a very few ever exhibit.  On songs like "Firefly", you can't help but marvel at how smooth a vocalist Alder continues to be.  He's countered brilliantly by both Matheos and Frank Aresti on guitar.  Without question, DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT is one of the heaviest, most guitar driven efforts Fates Warning has ever done.

PITRIFF RATING - 86/100 - Always an underrated band, Fates Warning return with their most "metal" album of their career.  Direct and to the point, there's no denying the elegance of Fates Warning as well as the aggression they can bring when they want to.  They've done a great job on this one.

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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