• Sweet & Lynch - ONLY TO RISE

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

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    MP3

    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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  • AC/DC - ROCK OR BUST

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

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    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
    LIVE IN '84 - BACK TO THE BONE

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    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
    WARRIORS

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    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
    BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS

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    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
    A TRIBUTE TO MOTLEY CRUE

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    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
    RIDE ON

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    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
    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

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  • Cavalera Conspiracy - PANDEMONIUM

    Image: Cavalera Conspiracy, Pandemonium, Pitriff, Death Metal, Review Cavalera Conspiracy
    PANDEMONIUM

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    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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Havok - UNNATURAL SELECTION

Image: Pitriff, CD Review, Havok, Unnatural SelectionHavok
UNNATURAL SELECTION

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I'm really not sure how Havok has done it, but they have once again topped themselves musically and creatively. While creating music with a pretty rigid framework by purposely claiming themselves to be playing "90s era Thrash", Havok finds ways to improve from release to release. On UNNATURAL SELECTION, they just may have peaked. There really can't be much further they can go to get better. A seething cauldron of frenetic rage, UNNATURAL SELECTION finds Havok creating a thrash metal opus that would stand proudly and deservedly next to any Exodus, Overkill or Anthrax release from the past that you want to line it up against. Without question, this Denver band has their shit REALLY together these days.

While they have always been solid in this arena, Havok have gotten their production chops honed on UNNATURAL SELECTION. Without question, this release has some of the best recorded production of anything I own in my catalog (a catalog that is built on a foundation of all the classic Bay Area sounding Thrash of the last 35 years). The lead guitar sound from Reece Scruggs on "Waste Of Life" is just ripping. he and fellow guitarist David "Dirty" Sanchez provide some nasty riffs to drive each song, and yet Scruggs rips off some killer solos throughout the release. The recording quality of their work is masterful, as it's huge sounding while still having that raw "fuck you" aspect that made guys like Gary Holt into legends.

Vocally, Sanchez returns and brings his guttural rage with him. He's regularly compared to Zetro Souza of Exodus. While that might be fair as a comparison, the truth is that Sanchez has developed away from that a bit and has a bit more depth and a bit less high end squeal than Zetro featured in Exodus or now in Hatriot. Instead, he just sounds like a pissed off guy thrashing around a room enraged as he attacks on songs like "Give Me Liberty...Or Give Me Death". He's grown vocally in the last 9 years as a vocalist, and it shows on UNNATURAL SELECTION.

Some credit has to be given to drummer Pete Webber and bassist Michael Leon as well. Specifically with Webber, these guys create a raw bottom end that hasn't been featured so prominently in a long time in the world of Thrash. While his kit sometimes sounds like something off the shelf from a music store, his playing more than makes up for it. This guy is a monster who controls tempo changes throughout most of the songs. More than a lot of thrash acts that let the guitars drive, Havok is completely driven by a rhythm section that's only too happy to light the way.

PITRIFF RATING - 97/100 - UNNATURAL SELECTION is a DAMN solid effort; by far the best by a band who's praises I've been singing since the moment I heard them. Hard working (as they are always on tour), it's clear that all that work has been the reason they have surpassed every other like band that came out at exactly the same time as them. Havok is here to stay, and UNNATURAL SELECTION is one of the best albums the thrash genre has seen in years.

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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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!

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