• Black Stone Cherry - KENTUCKY

    Image: Black Stone Cherry, Kentucky Black Stone Cherry
    KENTUCKY

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    MP3

    This collection of southern boys are not the most original band in the world. They’ll never be accused of being the most musically gifted fellas in the world. Certainly, no one will ever listen to them and think, “wow, that’s really cutting edge music”. To the contrary though, release in and release out, the same thought comes to mind

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  • Zakk Wylde - BOOK OF SHADOWS II

    Image: Zakk Wylde, Book Of Shadows II Zakk Wylde
    BOOK OF SHADOWS II

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    MP3

    Sequels to albums, at least in my listening experience, are generally poor. The two that immediately jump to mind for me are Rob Zombie’s HELLBELLY DELUXE 2 and Meat Loaf’s BAT OUT OF HELL 2. Both releases were pretty lame, and garnered attention solely because they were named after much more historic releases in their creator’s career.

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  • Dream Theater - THE ASTONISHING

    Image: Dream Theater, The Astonishing, Pitriff, Chris Akin Dream Theater
    THE ASTONISHING

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    MP3

    So, Dream Theater is back with a release that many are calling their most in-depth, and yet polarizing release. Fair enough. With 34 tracks and clocking in at over two hours in length, it’s certainly the most challenging on a listener to fully grasp and comprehend. Along with THE ASTONISHING, you are expected to read the book of lyrics

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  • Megadeth - DYSTOPIA

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

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    MP3

    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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    MP3

    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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Image: Great White, Elation, news, reviews, interviews, heavy metalGreat White
ELATION

It's interesting just how the tables have turned for Great White. On the morning of February 21st, 2003, you have to think that not a single member of this band, past or present, wanted to be associated with the band in any way. A decade later, there's two versions of the band floating around and trying to claim themselves as "the real" Great White. It's a sad state of affairs, really. Jack Russell is out and about doing his thing, and then this band with guitarist Mark Kendall, keyboardist Michael Lardie, drummer Audie Desbrow and XYZ frontman Terry Ilous are out doing another thing. The "Kendall" version of the band is the first to produce new music with ELATION.

The argument is always there with bands...is it still the same band when the singer leaves? In this case, not really. For all the bad things that can be said about Jack Russell's off the stage activities and near willingness to kill himself to continue to cop a couple of years ago, listening to ELATION makes it very clear that he IS the signature sound of Great White. While Ilous does a solid job singing these songs, and the band does a decent enough job playing them, there's not a single moment on ELATION that really captures that sound or vibe that fans of Great White have been in love with for 30 years now.

To be clear here, ELATION is not a bad album. The performances are solid. The songs are decent enough. Aside from being mid-tempoed throughout most of the album, there's little else that really reminds you of Great White. Ilous just doesn't ooze that bluesy grit that made people compare the band in the past to Led Zeppelin. For his part, Ilous has toned back his performance from past album like the brilliant, heavy LETTER TO GOD from XYZ. Songs like the ballad "Hard To Say Goodbye" are his best reaches to find the Great White blues vibe, but he's just flat in this area. Ilous is a great vocalist under most conditions, but on ELATION he's out out of sorts from what he does best.

As for the material, there's several songs that have a real "almost Great White" feel, but never fully achieve their classic sound. Songs like "Resolution" could have been taken a bit further and found the groove of a song like "Mista Bone", but fall flat with a dull riff from Kendall and a soft "yeah yeah" sing along chorus that pretty much ruins the vibe here. I realize they are getting older, but there's just not a lot of standout moments on ELATION from anyone in the band that makes you think, "yeah, this could work".

PITRIFF RATING - 51/100 - This is such a painful review to write, as I've had a great relationship with Mark Kendall and Terry Ilous in the past. They are two of the more upstanding guys in all of the music business to be honest, and I believe them when they say they are continuing on for the fans. That said though, the loss of Jack Russell's creative abilities in this band have left a much bigger hole than a lot of people would have expected. It's like replacing real supernatural magic with a magician who pulls that long handkerchief from his pocket. One is the real thing, and the other is meant to seem like the real thing. I wish the best for both Jack Russell and Mark, Terry and the guys in this version of Great White (all have always been beyond nice to me, personally). At some point though, Jack Russell needs to be back in this fold. ELATION just doesn't feel right.

Chris Akin



Great White

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The shockingly honest and emotional first book from radio personality and rock critic Chris Akin.

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