• Megadeth - DYSTOPIA

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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


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


    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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The Cult - Choice Of WeaponThe Cult

Having never been an overly huge fan of The Cult, I've always struggled to understand the rabid way their fans follow them. Clearly, they are one of those bands that are polarizinng. Their fans tend to REALLY love their music. Being honest, I think songs like "Edie" and "She Sells Sanctuary" are pretty cool. I have a few albums, like ELECTRIC, LOVE and SONIC TEMPLE. They are cool I guess. I think they might just be a bit too artsy for my taste, to be perfectly honest.

With CHOICE OF WEAPON, the band that would never record another album because it's a dead format have returned with another album in the dead format. Interestingly, it's the first time in the history of The Cult that they've recorded back to back albums with the same lineup. CHOICE OF WEAPON is definitely one of the most interesting albums of The Cult's career, and it's probably the least likely to find mass appeal. In short, CHOICE OF WEAPON is a very deep album that, while sounding somewhat like their past work, really expands and explores a lot of new ground for the band.

The leader of this band, vocalist Ian Astbury, really is one of the more artistically talented guys in rock music. With CHOICE OF WEAPON, he seems as if he might have been stuck channelling his inner Jim Morrison throughout many of these songs. Lyrically, the depth of writing goes from its normal level of deep to a more difficult to understand place that he, and he alone, may be the only one that can understand it. Songs like "Wilderness Now" showcase Astbury coming from a unique place musically. Other tunes like "Lucifer" may not be the deepest lyrics that Astbury has ever written, but they are some of the most biting. Vocally, age and years have deepened Astbury's voice a touch. The astronomical range of the past is not there anymore, but Astbury has adapted the material to meet his now lower tone.

The other musicians are fine throughout as well. Guitarist Billy Duffy, bassist Chris Wyse and former White Zombie drummer John Tempesta create music that sounds distinctly like the band's past work. It does sound as if it's tuned down a touch to accommodate Astbury, there will be no mistaking this for anything other than The Cult.

If I have an issue with the material, it's that it's so locked into the vision instead of simply creating great songs. I get that these guys are artsy, and that Astbury likes to write about Native American heritage, but songs like "Pale Horse" are a bit tough to decipher and come off as grandiose toward a cause that pretty much ran its course long ago.

One final thing I must address, that deserves the utmost credit - the packaging. Simply put, this is the best CD package to hit my desk in a very long time. It's a binded booklet - literally. Great imagery is included with the lyrics,a s well as a nice setup for storing the disc and the accompanying bonus disc.

PITRIFF RATING - 74/100 - While much of this material goes to some places that won't remind you at all off The Cult's heyday, there's no denying that there's a lot of quality moments on this release. While there's not a "Fire Woman" in the bunch, there's no indication they were looking to write one either. CHOICE OF WEAPON is a deep record that is solid but avoids trying to find mass appeal. Clearly, this is an Ian Astbury record and is exactly what he wanted it to be.

Chris Akin

The Cult

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

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Available January 13th in Paperback and Digital Formats on Amazon and iTunes.

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