• Black Stone Cherry - KENTUCKY

    Image: Black Stone Cherry, Kentucky Black Stone Cherry
    KENTUCKY

    CD
    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

    Read More
  • Zakk Wylde - BOOK OF SHADOWS II

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

    CD
    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.

    Read More
  • Dream Theater - THE ASTONISHING

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

    CD
    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

    Read More
  • Megadeth - DYSTOPIA

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

    CD
    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,

    Read More
  • Anthrax - FOR ALL KINGS

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

    CD
    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

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Image: Icarus Witch, Rise, Pitriff, Heavy MetalIcarus Witch
RISE

It's been a decade of growth, development, change and experimentation for the guys in Pennsylvania's Icarus Witch.  The band that exists today simply would not have written albums like CAPTURE THE MAGIC or SONGS FOR THE LOST.  Being completely honest, it just seems like a completely new band.  Not only has this band gone through numerous member changes (I think they are the modern day Spinal Tap as I believe they are on drummer #5), but those new members have all instilled creative changes to where the music is different from what was first experienced.  If your first taste of Icarus Witch is RISE, you would never suspect that this was once a traditional metal/power metal band only a few years ago.  That said, it's doubtful you'd be disappointed either.

RISE is, by far, the most commercially friendly and accessible release that Icarus Witch has ever written.  The reasons for the more commercial sound are many, but they start with new vocalist Christopher Shaner.  Where their previous singer was decidedly old school in every way (delivery, actual voice...even his look), Shaner is a much more modern looking and sounding vocalist who has seemingly taken Icarus Witch to a new place.  Not that their old singer couldn't sing, but Shaner simply has a more "ready for the big time" sound to his voice.  To me, he sounds like a very polished version of Tom Englund from Evergrey.  Hearing him sing on songs like "Coming Of The Storm", you can't help but think this song would play well on commercial radio.

Shaner is hardly the only difference maker on RISE.  Guitarist Quinn Lukas sounds like a completely different player on RISE.  Gone are the big, flailing power metal riffs.  They've been replaced with a more blues oriented, arena-like crush.  Tracks like the moody "In The Dark" showcase a whole new side of both Lukas and this band.  Along with fellow guitarist Dave Watson, the guitar sound on RISE is greatly improved over their previous work.  While these guys can't ever seem to keep a drummer, they always find a way to keep the bottom end strong.  Bassist Jason Myers and drummer Tom Wierzbicky lay down a thick, driving foundation on songs like "Last Call For Living" and "(We Are) The New Revolution".

Musicianship is easy to write about, but the difference between the band's past work and RISE has little to do with the skill of the performances.  To the contrary, it has everything to do with a decided growth in the songwriting within the band.  Icarus Witch has grown by leaps and bounds since 2010's DRAW DOWN THE MOON was released.  Hearing songs like "Nothing Is Forever", you realize that there's a certain amount of grace and development that simply wasn't there on previous efforts.  Song-wise, RISE is a monumental step forward for these guys.

PITRIFF RATING - 92/100 - RISE is, without question, the most challenging release Icarus Witch has produced to date.  My bet is that it will put off some of the old schoolers that keep the band in heavy rotation between Symphony X and Dokken in their iPods, but the band had to pretty much be ready for that by trying something so decidedly different from their past efforts.  Could this be the release that breaks this band?  It definitely could.  The songwriting is strong enough, and the musicianship is stonger than they've ever shown.  Icarus Witch is definitely on the rise with this release.

Chris Akin

Image: Cause/Effect Metallica, Chris Akin

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.

CLICK HERE to learn more about CAUSE/EFFECT: METALLICA.

Buy Now:  Paperback    Digital

Image: Little Victories, Book, Chris Akin

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

CLICK HERE to learn more about LITTLE VICTORIES.

Buy Now:  Paperback     Digital

Read Reviews and Excerpts from LITTLE VICTORIES: A TALE OF DIVORCE, DEBAUCHERY AND FINDING HAPPINESS HERE!

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

 Image: Keel, pitriff, heavy metal, news, reviews, interviews

Want Streets Of Rock N' Roll Radio On Your Phone - CLICK HERE To Download The New App