• Wretch - WARRIORS

    Image: Wretch, Warriors, Review, Power Metal, Chris Akin, Pitriff Wretch


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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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Review - Axel Rudi Pell

Image: Axel Rudi Pell, Circle Of The Oath, Pitriff, Reviews, News, InterviewsAxel Rudi Pell

I've got to say this about Axel Rudi Pell.  The guy (and/or the band) writes some of the best unmemorable music of anyone out there today.  I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it is a fact.  Every metalhead I know seemingly likes everything they hear from ARP.  Over the last decade, I've not heard a single person badmouth this band at all.  Yet, ask 10 metalheads that you know have heard previously released Axel Rudi Pell albums, and it's likely that 9 of them wouldn't be able to name a single song.  It's very strange how they have created great music that just never seems to be that memorable.


With CIRCLE OF THE OATH,  it's more of the same.  As melodic, powerful metal goes, CIRCLE OF THE OATH is a fine album full of great guitar work, strong songs and soaring vocals.  Without any question, this is a very strong album.  Yet, I know for a fact in six months I won't remember the name of a single song.  For now though, I do so let's look at it.

The namesake of the band may be guitarist Axel Rudi Pell, but the standout performer on CIRCLE OF THE OATH is vocalist Johnny Gioeli.  Known for his work in Hardline, Gioeli has proven over several albums now that he's one of the most quality singers in this genre or any other.  His voice is crystal clear as always here.  His powerful pipes work masterfully over the mid-tempo riffs of the album's best track, "Circle Of The Oath".  While he's certainly not held with the same esteem as the great vocalists, his work with Axel Rudi Pell has proven Gioeli to be as strong as any of the legends of the power metal genre.  One interesting factor to his voice is how he and Sheldon Tarsha of Tarsha and Adler's Appetite favor each other vocally.  A song like "Fortunes Of War" could easily be mistaken for Tarsha material.

As with any ARP albums, the guitar work is always masterful.  It is once again here.  Simply put, Axel Rudi Pell is one of the best, yet unheralded guitar players out there today.  He has been since his days with Steeler, to be honest.  Pell once again brings his unique combination of Scorpions-esque German metal sound with a much more bluesy vibe to each and every cut on CIRCLE OF THE OATH.  Songs like "Bridges To Nowhere" have a Judas Priest-like quality guitarwise, which truly powers the song and the whole record.

PITRIFF RATING - 86/100 - There's no arguing that CIRCLE OF THE OATH is another pleasing effort from Axel Rudi Pell.  Will this be the one that takes him over the top?  Probably not, but that doesn't take away from the majestic qualities of this effort.  Solid stuff from Pell and company.

Chris Akin

Circle of the Oath - Axel Rudi Pell

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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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