• 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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Image: Blues Pills, Blues Pills, Stoner Rock, PitriffBlues 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 days of the late '60s/early '70s "war anthem" hard rock sound has been The Black Crowes. Every disc from them has been welcomed because it always accurately captured that spirit from a time that's long gone in music. Lately though, there's been a great many bands that have emerged and just have made my own personal listening experience better than it's been in years. SpiralArms and Scorpion Child were, without question, my favorites last year. Here at the halfway point of 2014, the runaway winner is Blues Pills. This soulful rock record is the very best thing to come across this desk this year, as it's as close to flawless as a disc can be.

So just what makes BLUES PILLS so great? Vocalist Erin Larsson for starters. While she gets a lot of comparisons to Janis Joplin, I don't think that's a completely fair description of her. She has a much better pure voice than Joplin ever exhibited. Her voice is clean and powerful. That said though, that emotional power that made Joplin a legend is so perfectly captured by Larsson throughout. Listening to songs like "River", you can't help but be mesmerized by her enchanting, engaging voice that just sucks you right in. On the same song, she's perfectly enhanced by some dirty rock slide-guitar provided by guitarist Dorian Sorriaux. He's truly great throughout this entire disc, primarily because he's not a shredder as much as a mood setter. His playing on songs like "No Hope Left For Me" just perfectly compliments Larsson. These two work perfectly together, with each setting up the other and both needing the other to complete the sound they are going for. While not comparable soundwise in any way, the way Larsson and Sorriaux work as a team on songs like "Devil Man" or "Ain't No Change" is very similar to the way Plant and Page worked their magic on songs like "Dazed and Confused" or "Since I've Been Loving You". Listening to songs like "Astralplane", you just find yourself grimacing and feeling the blues groove as they grind out yet another special track. Simply put, BLUES PILLS is an amazing release.

PITRIFF RATING - 100/100 - Easily the best release I've heard in all of 2014, and certainly a disc that will never leave my iPod, BLUES PILLS is one of those very special discs that comes along every once in a great while. Through two EPs and now a full length release, they have been nothing but perfect to these ears. This is without question one of those bands I'll be begging for new material from constantly. It's retro. It's cool. It rocks. It has soul. That alone makes it better than 99% of the stuff released today. To make the obvious and lame joke, Blues Pills is auditory Viagra. If you listen for more than 4 hours, call your doctor immediately. A word of warning though, you might need to keep your phone handy, because they are THAT good.

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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