• Megadeth - DYSTOPIA

    Image: Megadeth, Dystopia, Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Kiko Loureiro, Chris Adler Megadeth
    DYSTOPIA

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    More than any other metal band in history, being a hardcore Megadeth fan is truly a rollercoaster ride. This is a band with multiple duds in their catalog, and yet they always seem to rebound. Think about it, they’ve truly had some bad releases in their catalog. RISK was terrible. THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO wasn’t a lot better. And yet,

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  • Anthrax - FOR ALL KINGS

    Image: Anthrax, For All Kings, Pitriff, Chris Akin Anthrax
    FOR ALL KINGS

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    Depending on your perspective, Anthrax is either having a career resurgence or floundering at the end of their career. I’m stunned how many people actually didn’t like their last effort, FOR ALL KINGS. In these ears, that was the best effort of their career. What made it great, to me, was the mixture of crushing heaviness combined with some

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  • Sevendust - KILL THE FLAW

    Image: Sevendust, Kill The Flaw Sevendust
    KILL THE FLAW

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    When I first saw Sevendust’s new release was titled KILL THE FLAW, my initial thought was “what exactly is the flaw?” It leads you to wonder just what it is that caused this band to not break big, while bands with lesser quality catalogs like Disturbed or Korn had such crazy amounts of success at the same time. This

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  • Iron Maiden - THE BOOK OF SOULS

    Image: Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls, Review, Classic Metal, Pitriff, Chris Akin Iron Maiden
    THE BOOK OF SOULS

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    They don’t do it that often anymore, but there’s always excitement when Iron Maiden comes out with new music. Knowing that they are closing in on the end of their career, you really do end up hoping that when they go out for good, it will be with a bang. I think it’s universally agreed upon that

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  • Slayer - REPENTLESS

    Image: Slayer, Repentless, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal, Chris Akin Slayer
    REPENTLESS

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    Probably more than any release in their history, Slayer came into releasing this album at a crossroads. This WAS the album that, in many ways, dictated if the band could continue on or if it was indeed time to drift off quietly to Hell. The loss of guitarist Jeff Hanneman and the removal of drummer Dave Lombardo had almost every Slayer

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  • Operation: Mindcrime - THE KEY

    Image: Operation Mindcrime, Geoff Tate, Reviews, Music, heavy metal Operation: Mindcrime
    THE KEY

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    Geoff Tate’s falling out and subsequent two years of lawsuits, multiple versions of the same band and overall craziness in the press definitely tarnished a legacy that once seemed untouchable. Think about it. Even with over a decade of arguably bad releases (Q2K, TRIBE, AMERICAN SOLDIER, DEDICATED TO CHAOS), it wasn’t until the now infamous spitting incident and the

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  • W.A.S.P. - GOLGOTHA

    Image: WASP, Golgotha, Blackie Lawless, Pitriff, Review, Heavy Metal W.A.S.P.
    GOLGOTHA

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    W.A.S.P. is one of those bands that has a ridiculously loyal fanbase...and good for them, actually. Doing THE CLASSIC METAL SHOW, we get shit on repeatedly anytime we say anything that is less than glowing about W.A.S.P., Blackie Lawless or any of the band’s former or present members. Oh well...comes with the territory, I guess. After what seems like quite a

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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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