• 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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Overkill - WHITE DEVIL ARMORY

Image: Overkill, White Devil Armory, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal

Overkill
WHITE DEVIL ARMORY

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MP3

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 were paying attention. This kind of journalistic red herring is second only to starting off an Overkill review by talking about the band's remarkable consistency.

So, getting to the point, WHITE DEVIL ARMORY sounds exactly like every Overkill album since at least NECROSHINE fifteen years ago, and not too different from the four or five that came before that. The differences are so minute that only Blitz Ellsworth himself can truly say for sure. So when he claimed that 2012's The Electric Age was a "two-dimensional" album in hindsight, it made me snap my fingers and say, "So THAT'S why I had trouble remembering any songs after the first three or four!" No worries, as Blitz has declared WHITE DEVIL ARMORY to be a more well-rounded release. We mere mortals will just have to take his word for it.

Seriously, I love Overkill. I love their tunes, I love their attitude, and I love their steadfast refusal to tinker with a prize recipe. And when I say you could take any song from WHITE DEVIL ARMORY, insert it anywhere on the previous half-dozen albums, and never know the difference, I'm being honest, but it's also meant in the best possible way.
The Overkill sound is well-entrenched: you got D.D. Verni laying down the loudest bass in thrash, and you got Blitz's signature half-strangled, goiter-rattling shriek. Then you got the twin guitars of Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer, whose approach is so workmanlike you almost don't notice how talented they truly are, plus the likewise-overlooked drum frenzy of Ron Lipnicki. Top it off with a healthy dose of East Coast smartassery, and you have Overkill, friend. "Give 'em what they're lookin' for!" Blitz hollers on "Armorist," the album's first true song (after a short and completely unnecessary intro). And that's what they do.

That doesn't mean there aren't highlights. Hel no, they're everywhere. If there is a difference, it's that WHITE DEVIL ARMORY offers more consistently catchy songs than its predecessor, while still remaining utterly Overkill. "Armorist," "Pig," "Freedom Rings," "It's All Yours" and the somewhat slower "Bitter Pill," all stand out as some of the disc's best moments. As always, the band is more than ready to skid into a grinding breakdown halfway through a song, or drop a beat here and there to keep you guessing. There's just no tighter band in thrash than Overkill.

Lyrically, Blitz is his usual snide, cynical self. You can ascertain from some of his interviews what his political leanings are, but when dealing with such issues in "Pig" and "King Of The Rat Bastards," he still manages to keep everything fairly vague. His point of view could have been applicable twenty years ago, and probably will still be just as relevant twenty years from now.

PITRIFF RATING - 84/100 – Really, what's left to say about Overkill? They practice consistency almost to a fault, always playing up their strengths. They might make it hard for reviewers to come up with new things to say about them, but their music, even as bruising as it unfailingly is, has such a refreshing and reassuring, favorite-old-sweatshirt feeling of comfort, it's damn near impossible to find fault. If you don't like Overkill on at least SOME level, you just aren't much of a fan of thrash metal.

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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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