• 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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Interview - Mnemic

Images: Mnemic, Mnemesis, Mircea Gabriel EftemieThe road to success, or even survival, for any band is a difficult one.  For a band like Mnemic, that's never found a way to break through in the United States for a wide assortment of reasons, it can be even that much harder.  For every band, from the smallest local band to Metallica or Aerosmith, there always seems to come a point where the band is tested to decide if they should move forward or pack it in. 

That time seemingly came for Mnemic following the release of their SONS OF THE SYSTEM release.  It was at this point that 3/5 of the band turned over.  This left the band's lone original member Mircea Gabriel Eftemie with a decision - continue Mnemic which has always shown the potential but has never broken through on the biggest stage, or call it a day and try something else.  According to Eftemie, there really was no decision like this to be made.  Mnemic found new members and went about the business of recording their latest release, MNEMESIS.  As he explained to PITRIFF recently, the turnover of members did present it's own set of challenges, but never so much so that he ever considered putting an end to Mnemic.  Here's the conversation:

Read more: Interview - Mnemic

Kreator - PHANTOM ANTICHRIST

Image: Kreator, Phantom Antichrist, interviews, news, cd reviews, heavy metal, pitriffKreator
PHANTOM ANTICHRIST

Creating the magical moment in a band's history can certainly be a blessing.  it can also be a curse though.  Throughout the history of recorded music, most long term bands have created their "epic moment", and then followed it up (generally unsuccessfully) for the next several decades trying to recapture that moment once again.  While I'm sure people will question the band's apex moment, I'll state that ENDLESS PAIN (and specifically the brilliant track "Flag Of Hate") was Kreator's grandest moment.  While they have been one of the more excellent thrash bands since then, they never really lived up to that album...until 2009's HORDES OF CHAOS.  There was a level of brilliance with that release that most didn't think these guys had anymore.  That was the blessing.

Read more: Kreator - PHANTOM ANTICHRIST

CD Review - Dehuman

Image: DeHuman, Black Throne Of All Creation, pitriff, heavy metal, reviews, news, interviewsDehuman
BLACK THRONE OF ALL CREATION

Holy Suffocation, is this a tribute band?  Actually, it's not.  Dehuman is a Belgian death metal band that claims themselves to be an "old school death metal" band, and they are certainly right on the mark with that.  BLACK THRONE OF ALL CREATION certainly could have done well in 1996 or so...long before this genre was uprooted and bastardized by all the influence of Metalcore to ruin future generations of sonic death.

While I appreciate the old school sound that Dehuman has, they unfortunately sound like they might have recorded with gear that hasn't been updated since the '90s as well.  

Read more: CD Review - Dehuman

Firewind - FEW AGAINST MANY

Image: Firewind, CD Review, Heavy Metal, PitriffFirewind
FEW AGAINST MANY

I know I wasn't alone in worrying that guitarist Gus G. joining Ozzy would ruin Firewind.  Sure, we all get that it's a great move for Gus.  Further, we also understand that it is an unbelievable opportunity that that has propelled every other guitarist except Joe Holmes to stardom.  In short, we get why Gus did it.  That said though, Firewind has been, along with Primal Fear, the most consistently great power metal band of the last decade.  Seeing it become a part time project behind a very high profile gig could have spelled disaster.

Thankfully though, this has not happened.  While it's not the best album Firewind has ever done, FEW AGAINST MANY is very much in tune with the greatness of previous efforts and continues to show development of the band as songwriters.  To say the least, FEW AGAINST MANY kicks ass in the tradition the band had previously established.

Read more: Firewind - FEW AGAINST MANY

Mnemic - MNEMESIS

Mnemic, Mnemesis, pitrif, heavy metal, cd reviewMnemic
MNEMESIS

This pattern has been played out far too many times.  Band comes along and kicks ass from the start.  As time goes by though, original members start flaking away, and  the core sound slowly begins to go in different directions.  Finally, you get down to one original member and a sound that seemingly forces itself to touch on the original direction, but falls away to some completely new signatures that render said band to being little more than a shell of their former selves.  After 14 years, Mnemic has eroded away to guitarist Mircea Gabriel Eftemie and four other jags (JAG = Just Another Guy) that have come in to sing the old songs while changing the entire chemistry and vibe of the band.  For most, a listen to MNEMESIS followed by a listen to MECHANICAL SPIN PHENOMENA, and you'll think you listened to two entirely different bands.  Some will call that musical growth.  I'll call it failing direction as a band.

Read more: Mnemic - MNEMESIS

Retire The Name Queensryche

Image: Queensryche, Rage For Order, Pitriff, heavy metalLast week saw the debut of Rising West - a "new band" that was formed to make a statement or two about the current state of affairs in Queensryche.  It says, pretty loudly, that the band behind vocalist Geoff Tate pretty much hate him  and don't want to work with him anymore.  It also loudly proclaims that the guys in the band do not believe in the direction that Tate and his wife have taken the band into.  Finally, it definitely screams out that they are going to take their legacy with them into something new, and Geoff Tate can do nothing about it.  In short, what's truly rising in the west is a mutiny from within the ranks of one of the most respected bands to come out of the 80s scene.

As a fan of Queensryche since their very beginnings, I can only ask...plead really...Geoff, please retire the name Queensryche and move forward with your solo career.  Please do not drag it through the mud the way so many bands have done over the past decade.

Read more: Retire The Name Queensryche

Unisonic - UNISONIC

Image: Unisonic, heavy metal, pitriff, heavy metal news, reviews, interviewsUnisonic
UNISONIC

If you aren't a fan of Helloween, you might consider Michael Kiske returning to metal after over a decade of saying that he hated everything about it to be hypocritical.  If you are a fan of Helloween, you probably will look at it as a simple change of mind.

So Michael Kiske has changed his mind and returned to metal...:P

Seriously though, the great Helloween vocalist has joined forces with many of the best names in the current European metal market to form what has to be considered a supergroup of sorts; the new group Unisonic.  The band, which also features former Helloween and current Gamma Ray guitarist Kai Hansen, Krokus/Gotthard axeslinger Mandy Meyer and the former bottom end of Pink Cream 69 (bassist Dennis Ward and drummer Kosta Zafiriou), have just released their first effort - the self-titled release UNISONIC.  As a Helloween enthusiast, as well as a fan of every single band these guys are or have been with, this seems like a home run waiting to be hit.

Read more: Unisonic - UNISONIC

Ugly Kid Joe - STAIRWAY TO HELL

Image: Ugly Kid Joe, Stairway To Hell, pitriff, interview, cd review, news, heavy metalUgly Kid Joe
STAIRWAY TO HELL

Ugly Kid Joe was one of my very favorite bands of the later hair band era.  They got massively popular off a song that, to me anyway, wasn't very good ("Everything About You"), but they backed it up with three albums that really kicked ass (AMERICA'S LEAST WANTED, MENACE TO SOBRIETY and the hugely overlooked MOTEL CALIFORNIA).  With much better than average musicianship, and attitude filled lyrics that were literally spit at the listener, Ugly Kid Joe were the original "anti-hair band" hair band of the era.  It didn't last too long though, and before we knew it, they were gone.  Vocalist Whit Crane bounce around in bands like Life Of Agony and Medication, before joining up with former UKJ bandmate and drummer Shannon Larkin in Another Animal.  Larkin also found a career in a little band called Godsmack.  Dave Fortman put down his guitar and put on his producer's cap, working with tons of bands from Superjoint Ritual to Otep, among others.  In short, their youthful success led several guys to other careers in music.

Read more: Ugly Kid Joe - STAIRWAY TO HELL

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