• 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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  • Opeth - PALE COMMUNION

    Image: Opeth, Pale Communion, Pitriff, Review, Progressive Metal Opeth
    PALE COMMUNION

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    Opeth simply fails as a band, at least to me. While I'll admit to never fully understanding the amazement and awe so many have for this band, I've appreciated them from afar. I've listened, and I've at least wrapped my head around what they were trying to do. Their fusing of death metal with progressive elements always made for an

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  • Cannibal Corpse - A SKELETAL DOMAIN

    Cannibal Corpse, A Skeletal Domain, Review, Death Metal Cannibal Corpse
    A SKELETAL DOMAIN

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    So really, what does anyone expect when you get a Cannibal Corpse release handed to you? Ballads, love songs and fun? Not hardly. There's an expectation of severe brutality which the band delivers time and time again. Certainly, it comes with different levels of acceptance to one's ears, but ultimately the only thing that matters if it says

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  • Exodus - BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT

    Image: Exodus, Blood In Blood Out, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal Exodus
    BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT

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    Unless you call Testament a "thrash band" (which I don't personally), Exodus would rank as my favorite true Thrash band of all time. They have had good times and bad. Occasionally, like on FABULOUS DISASTER, they have misstepped along the way. But overall, they are one of the true powerhouses in the history of thrash metal. Since 2004

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  • Mr. Big - ...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL

    Mr. Big, The Stories We Could Tell, Reviews, Classic Metal, Chris Akin, Pitriff Mr. Big
    ...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL

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    CD

    As a fan of Mr. Big, I can't honestly say that many people thought that their reunion was much more than a cash grab opportunity for the guys in the band who, while immensely talented, failed to find solo success to match their collaborative efforts. It was never a question of if they could still play.

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  • Slash - WORLD ON FIRE

    Image: Slash, Myles Kennedy, Conspirators, World On Fire, Pitriff, review, classic metal Slash
    WORLD ON FIRE

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    Hey Gene Simmons. The corpse of rock n' roll just had a baby. That baby is not an average baby at all. That baby was not stillborn, but came out kicking and screaming with an intensity rarely seen. This baby is destined for greatness. This infant is out to prove you wrong. While your days of spitting fire and

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  • Davey Suicide - WORLDWIDE SUICIDE

    Image: Davey Suicide, Worldwide Suicide, Pitriff, Reviews, Modern Metal Davey Suicide
    WORLDWIDE SUICIDE

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    I had the pleasure of working directly with Davey Suicide as he prepped his debut release a few years ago for release. I got to work with him on some promotional stuff, some publicity stuff, his website and a lot more of that kind of stuff. In that work, I quickly found him to be far more than the

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  • Ministry - LAST TANGLE IN PARIS

    Image: Ministry, Last Tangle In Paris, Pitriff, Review, Industrial Metal Ministry
    LAST TANGLE IN PARIS

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    Al Jourgensen of Ministry has been threatening to take his ball and go home for a long time now. Quite frankly, I'm not sure I believe that he'll ever retire. Every time he says he's retiring, he seems to come right back with more music that's stronger, meaner and just better than anything in his past. Being quite

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  • Kix - ROCK YOUR FACE OFF

    Image: Kix, Rock Your Face Off, Classic Metal, Pitriff, Review Kix
    ROCK YOUR FACE OFF

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    Kix might just be the last of the '80's bands to release new material. By now, it seems like everybody else you could name from the glory days of yesteryear has made a stab at making music in the new millennium. Of course, a lot of them, we wish they hadn't, and just left us to our misty-eyed

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Review - Axel Rudi Pell

Image: Axel Rudi Pell, Circle Of The Oath, Pitriff, Reviews, News, InterviewsAxel Rudi Pell
CIRCLE OF THE OATH

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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