• 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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L.A. Guns - HOLLYWOOD FOREVER

Image: LA Guns, Hollywood Forever, pitriff, heavy metal, reviews, news, interviewsL.A. Guns
HOLLYWOOD FOREVER

The thing with L.A. Guns, at least in my eyes, is that you pretty much know what you are going to get just as long as vocalist Phil Lewis is fronting the band.  They have definitely been a mixed bag without Lewis (AMERICAN HARDCORE - pretty bad, WASTED - pretty good, SHRINKING VIOLET pretty solid, BLACKLIST - awful).   But when Lewis fronts an entity known as L.A. Guns, you are pretty much guaranteed a solid listening experience from these 80s sleaze rockers.  True to form, HOLLYWOOD FOREVER is a solid effort once again from LA Guns.

To be honest, L.A. Guns has been consistently good but never great after the release of COCKED AND LOADED a zillion years ago.  While they have had several lineup changes and multiple versions of the band over the years, the consistent (and the only "real" L.A. Guns in my opinion) has been the version with Phil Lewis and drummer Steve Riley.  Their last album, TALES FROM THE STRIP, had its solid moments, but ultimately ended up filed away next to most of their albums in the collection.  With HOLLYWOOD FOREVER, it's more of the same.  L.A. Guns have put forth a solid effort that rocks, but ultimately doesn't have a lot of songs that stick with you for a really long time.  In short, they are writing good songs that will enable them to keep touring, but not great ones that will propel them back into any sort of prominence.

Again, HOLLYWOOD FOREVER is a pretty solid effort.  There's some good rockers here, and there's a song or two that feel ripped  from their HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES era as well.  Probably my favorite song on the disc is one that exhibits this; the midtempo rocker "Sweet Mystery".  This song features Lewis providing a more vulnerable, deep vocal performance than his standard sound generally provides.  In many ways, the vocal performance is similar to "It's Over Now" from the old days.  It also showcases a simple, yet strong solo from guitarist Stacey Blades.  Throughout the entire album, Blades seems right at home now in this band.  Blades rocks on songs like "You Better Not Love Me", but changes course for a more deliberate tone-setting sound on "Burn".  This song is another of the better tunes here, as it's kind of reminiscent of a slightly faster paced version of "Over The Edge"; again from HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES.  The entire disc is anchored nicely by bassist Scott Griffin and Riley on drums.

PITRIFF RATING - 76/100 - Solid, but certainly not close to the caliber of their first two albums that were damn near brilliant for their time.  It's L.A. Guns - if you liked them before, you will like them now.  If you didn't, there's not a note here to change that or the slightest inclination that these guys would even want to try to.  This is L.A. Guns doing what L.A. Guns do; it's as simple as that.

Chris Akin

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