• Halestorm - INTO THE WILD LIFE

    Image: Halestorm, Into The Wild Life, Pitriff, heavy metal, reviews, interviews Halestorm
    INTO THE WILD LIFE

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    With the release of THE STRANGE CASE OF…, I fell in love with Lzzy Hale. So much so, in fact, that I jokingly got down on one knee and asked her to marry me at Rock On The Range two years ago (a proposal that she didn’t flat out turn down, so maybe there’s still hope!!). Let’s be

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  • Marilyn Manson - THE PALE EMPEROR

    Image: Marilyn Manson, The Pale Emperor, Pitriff, Modern Metal, Reviews Marilyn Manson
    THE PALE EMPEROR

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    Let’s just call it the way it is. It’s been a very, very long time since Marilyn Manson recorded a really good, memorable release that any of us still listen to on a regular basis. To many, the would probably says that it’s been since MECHANICAL ANIMALS back in 1998. For me personally, I’ll be a bit more

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  • Black Star Riders - THE KILLER INSTINCT

    Image: Black Star Riders, The Killer Instinct, Review, Classic Rock, Pitriff Black Star Riders
    THE KILLER INSTINCT

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    When Black Star Riders made their decision to record under a new name instead of as Thin Lizzy, it was met with a lot of opinions. For most, I would assume they were happy that they decided to move away from the name they had been touring under. For many, I'm sure there was a lot of

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Image: Black Label Society, Unblackened, Pitriff, heavy metal, reviewBlack Label Society
UNBLACKENED

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It's no secret that I'm a very big fan of Zakk Wylde. I've gotten to know him over the years, and more to the point, I've truly apprecated the music the guy creates. For many, they just love hearing him play guitar. I can see that. For me though, my go to moments are not the heavier albums like STONGER THAN DEATH or ORDER OF THE BLACK, but the stuff that strays from the heavy where Zakk just lets loose as a classic rocker. My favorite thing Wylde has done is his solo release BOOK OF SHADOWS, followed closely by BLS efforts HANGOVER MUSIC VOL. VI and THE SONG REMAINS NOT THE SAME. "Darkest Days" from THE SONG REMAINS NOT THE SAME is, by far, my favorite song he's ever done, based solely on the raw emotion he puts forth singing it acoustically. Wylde has returned with a very interesting live show called UNBLACKENED; a sort of acoustic show where he and Black Label Society rework a lot of songs from his entire career for a one night only performance. It's pretty good stuff.

Notice, I said "sort of acoustic". While this is definitely not the full on, in your face Black Label Society concert, it does feature a ton of electric guitar provided by Wylde. In fact, on songs like "Sold My Soul", the solo is even more fierce than it was when originally recorded. While Wylde is definitely good at being the metal world's bad ass biker dude, his career is littered with great music that proves he could be more than successful in more of a Gregg Allman world if he chose to. Listening to the live performance of songs like "Spoke In The Wheel" on UNBLACKENED, it's more than clear that he has true passion for this style of music. Other songs, like the reworked version of "The Blessed Hellride" just sparkle. The bigger sound on "House Of Doom" is definitely welcomed as well, giving the song even more power than it had when recorded for HANGOVER MUSIC.

That's not to say that it's all good. It's not. "Stillborn" reworked as a slow, plodding ballad is a giant mistake that should never be mentioned again. Additionally, the recording of the Bill Withers tune "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" is fairly unnecessary and useless; made even worse by the dumb tongue in cheek video that is now out there. "Queen Of Sorrow" also needed to be left alone, as the original version of it is far better than this heavier live version that is featured here and showcases one of Zakk's lazier vocal performances on the whole release.

PITRIFF RATING - 80/100 - This is definitely a solid effort that's brilliant at times. There are other times that aren't so brilliant, but overall this is a solid listen if you are a BLS or Zakk Wylde fan. This will fill the void nicely until a new BLS album is prepared.

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.

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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.

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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.

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