• Black Label Society - CATACOMBS OF THE BLACK VATICAN

    Image: Black Label Society, Catacombs Of The Black Vatican, Pitriff, Review, Classic Metal Black Label Society
    CATACOMBS OF THE BLACK VATICAN

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    When Zakk Wylde decides to release new music, the metal world definitely stops for a moment and listens. They may not like it all, but they do listen. It's a testament to how unbelievable the man is on guitar; a true legend who stands shoulder to shoulder with the Eddie Van Halen's and Dimebag Darrell's

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  • Lacuna Coil - BROKEN CROWN HALO

    Image: Lacuna Coil, Broken Crown Halo, Review, Modern Metal, Pitriff Lacuna Coil
    BROKEN CROWN HALO

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    It's not really much of a secret that two of my favorite bands out there today are fronted by ladies. Those two bands are Halestorm and Lacuna Coil. While it took me awhile to latch onto Halestorm, Lacuna Coil was a band that I latched on the very first time I heard them. I remember getting a sampler

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  • Sevendust - TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES

    Image: Sevendust, Time Travelers & Bonfires, Review, Modern Metal, Pitriff Sevendust
    TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES

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    Sevendust are really a band for the fans, and the fans are definitely always there for the band. Case in point - their latest release TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES. This release is one paid for by the latest trend hitting the music business, pre-funding by the fans to pay for a project. The band asked for a lot for

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  • Various Artists: Ronnie James Dio - THIS IS YOUR LIFE

    Image: Dio, This Is Your Life, Pitriff, Review, Classic metal Various Artists
    RONNIE JAMES DIO: THIS IS YOUR LIFE

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    As much as I want to take this at face value, it's hard to not at least wonder just how many times Wendy Dio is going to visit the Dio well and mine more material culled from his past work. There's already been multiple live releases, deluxe reissues, an officially sanctioned band playing the

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  • Red Reign - CHASING SHADOWS

    Image: Red Reign, Chasing Shadows, Pitriff, Review, Classic Metal Red Reign
    CHASING SHADOWS

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    It's not very often that a band that has zero backing behind it sweeps in and just monopolizes my listening time. Generally, bands like Red Reign get 30 seconds as I quickly scan through their music and I'm on to something else that I'm getting pressured to review by a publicist. For Red Reign, I was asked to review

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  • Steel Panther - ALL YOU CAN EAT

    Image: Steel Panther, All You Can Eat, The Classic Metal Show Steel Panther
    ALL YOU CAN EAT

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    They certainly are the joke that just keeps on being retold and being funny, now aren't they? I'm sure there's a lot less people that remember them as Metal Shop, Metal Skool or even way back to the Danger Kitty days, but a whole lot more people have discovered this band since they adopted the name Steel

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  • Sebastian Bach - GIVE 'EM HELL

    Sebastian Bach, Give 'Em Hell, Pitriff, CD Review Sebastian Bach
    GIVE 'EM HELL

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    It seems like every time Sebastian Bach releases new music, the first thought that comes to my mind is "this dude comes off like a douchebag ALOT in interviews, but he just kicks ass musically." Amazing how that comes back around. Baz is back, and he's been saying some interesting things in recent interviews. Yet, just ignoring that

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  • Gamma Ray - EMPIRE OF THE UNDEAD

    Image: Gamma Ray, Empire Of The Undead, Pitriff, CD Review, Power Metal Gamma Ray
    EMPIRE OF THE UNDEAD

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    My affinity for Gamma Ray really predates the band itself, as it's much more of an appreciation for the vocal work of singer Kai Hansen. Be it with Gamma Ray or his legendary work with his previous band Helloween, Hansen has always been not only one of the most elite vocalists in power metal in my eyes,

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  • Vandenberg's MoonKings - VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS

    Image: Vandenberg's Moonkings, Pitriff, Classic Rock, Classic Metal Vandenberg's MoonKings
    VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS

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    Adrian Vandenberg and Jake E. Lee have seemingly the same career path. Both were great in super huge bands (Vandenberg in Whitesnake, Lee in Ozzy), recorded even better material when they broke away (Lee with Badlands, Vandenberg with Manic Eden), and then both walked away and just left music behind for awhile. Now, both are back. Lee's Red Dragon

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  • Pilgrim - II: VOID WORSHIP

    Image: Pilgrim, Void Worship, Pitriff, doom metal, review Pilgrim
    II: VOID WORSHIP

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    In the epic world of doom metal, there are a lot of pretenders. There are only a few that are truly authentic though. Pilgrim is one of the most authentic I think I've ever heard. Their grinding, slow moving sludge is such from which legends put on this Earth to slay anyone or anything in it's path. Made up

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  • Hatecore Inc. - NO HOPE, NO ESCAPE VOL. 1

    Image: Hatecore Inc, No Hope, No Escape Vol 1, Pitriff, Review Hatecore, Inc.
    NO HOPE, NO ESCAPE VOL. 1: WELCOME TO MY WAR

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    Being from the Cleveland area, I've seen a lot of bands get ignored for whatever reason. On the national side of things, most people look at bands north of Columbus as being from "Cleveland". Unfortunately though, that's not how it works. For as long as I've been in this scene, there

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  • KXM - KXM

    Image: KXM, George Lynch, Dug Pinnick, Ray Luzier, Pitriff KXM
    KXM

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    Some points of clarity before I write a single world about the new project KXM, in order that this review is understood and evaluated fairly by anyone reading it. This project features three guys - Dug Pinnick of King's X, George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, and Ray Luzier who is currently the drummer for Korn. Out of fairness, I'll

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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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