• 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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  • Slipknot - .5 THE GRAY MATTER

    Image: Slipknot, .5 The Gray Matter, Pitriff, CD Review, Modern Metal Slipknot
    .5 THE GRAY MATTER

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    With a ton of speculation and even more wonderment on this band's ability to continue on without founding members Paul Gray and Joey Jordison, Slipknot has returned after far too long of a layoff with .5 THE GRAY MATTER. I've listened to this release multiple times a day for the last week or so that I've had it,

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Shrapnel - THE VIRUS CONSPIRES

Image: Shrapnel, The Virus Conspires, Pitriff, Thrash, ReviewShrapnel
THE VIRUS CONSPIRES

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For the last five to ten years, I have been championing the return of thrash metal by a series of new bands. Some have made it and built pretty solid careers (Havok, Municipal Waste), and others have come and gone (what happened to Lazarus AD). That said though, there's be no shortage of bands in the last decade that have returned to the roots of thrash to make authentic and new thrash that have been more than welcome to those of us that live in hope that Exodus and Death Angel can continue their winning ways since coming back. In short, it's been very good to have a gluttony of new bands making this kind of music. Formed in 2009, Shrapnel jumps right into the middle of this fold with THE VIRUS CONSPIRES. This release is 100% a facemelter, seemingly cut out of 1988 and intent to simply destroy everything in it's path. It's technically excellent, sonically crushing and as good a thrasher as anything that's come along in awhile.

On THE VIRUS CONSPIRES, you can't help but be blown away with the level of heaviness and the raw power exhibited by Shrapnel. Songs like "22" just come ripping through the headphones and take your ears off with their blazing fury. Certainly, like most thrash bands, the core to their sound is the guitarwork. Nathan Sadd is a beast on lead guitar, and he's tempered well by the blazing rhythm work of fellow guitarist Chris Martin. These guys have riffs that simply tear through the air when listening to them, and yet their breakdowns are about as effortless as anything you will ever hear. On "22", the tempo transitions to and from hyperspeed are amazing. Sadd's solo roars as well, proving him to be far more than a thrasher. It's some of the coolest guitarwork in this kind of music I've heard in awhile.

That said though, this band is far more than a lot of guitars. Drummer Simon Jackson is both a hyperspeed beast and a technical technician behind the kit. His blast beats are ably turned on and off throughout material like "The Virus Conspires". While in most bands he would be teamed with the bassist, Jackson seems more on his own as bassist Darryl Abbot seems more content to follow along and thicken up the rhythm playing provided by Martin. In a lot of ways, the rhythm provided by Martin and Abbot reminds a lot of the early Death Angel albums. Finally, vocalist Jae Hadley is not overly flashy or anything, but he brings the nasty vocally. He's a fairly typical thrash vocalist to be honest, and that's all the more that songs like "Poison The Mind" or "Kingdom Come" call for.

PITRIFF RATING - 96/100 - I love thrash metal, and am very judgmental of it as it stands as probably my favorite "type" of metal there is. THE VIRUS CONSPIRES from Shrapnel is as good as anything that has come out in the last decade, be it from a new act or the all time veterans of the genre. This asskicker is well worth a listen or 50.

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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The shockingly honest and emotional first book from radio personality and rock critic Chris Akin.

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