• Megadeth - DYSTOPIA

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

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    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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    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
    KILL THE FLAW

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    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
    THE BOOK OF SOULS

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    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
    REPENTLESS

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    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
    THE KEY

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    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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  • W.A.S.P. - GOLGOTHA

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

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    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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Toby Jepson
RAISING MY OWN HELL

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I can't tell you the number of strange looks I've received over the years when I claim two of my top five hair bands of all time to be Love/Hate and Little Angels.  The overwhelming look of confusion is only equaled by the number of people that simple say, "who the fuck is that?"  Little Angels was, without question, the single most underappreciated band of the hair band era.  In a time that saw Def Leppard become one of the biggest bands ever, it simply should have been Little Angels.  They were better musicians.  They wrote much stronger songs than Leppard did with HYSTERIA on forward.  They didn't sell out to make it.  Most importantly, their singer Toby Jepson was just flat out better.  I've always felt that "Don't Pray For Me" and "Broken Wings Of An Angel" are two of the very best ballads ever recorded in an era where careers were cemented based on a solid ballad (Motley Crue, Poison, Mr. Big, Warrant, Skid Row all found their groove based on huge ballads). It's been a lot of years since then, and big success always eluded Jepson and Little Angels, but RAISING MY OWN HELL proves that nothing has been lost with this vocalist.

An acoustic-like EP, RAISING MY OWN HELL makes it clear that the powerful pipes of Jepson have never faded.  he sounds as good now as he did when the band debuted; a total crooner with amazing range, depth and soul in his sound.  Listening to songs like "Patience Of A Saint", you realize right away that Jepson still brings a raw emotional aspect to everything he sings, but still has far more natural skill than most singers today.  While most of his contemporaries have needed to downtune to simply make their songs presentable, Jepson showcases the fact that he sounds as good now as he did back then, going up and down the octave scale naturally and with both power and ease.  The brooding "Four Letter Word" has the grit you would want from an attitude ladened song like this, and yet his sound is so smooth that you can't help but be sucked in by it.  "Raising My Own Hell" sounds like it could have been ripped from the Little Angels' album YOUNG GODS, in large part because of Jepson's ability to tell a story in a compelling, and yet fun manner.

PITRIFF RATING - 96/100 - When it was announced that Jepson was a part of the Dio Disciples sharing vocals with legendary metal throat Tim "Ripper" Owens, I think most were surprised.  Certainly, it didn't seem like a match.  That is, unless you know Jepson's career and the wide vocal range he possesses. The acoustic RAISING MY OWN HELL is an exquisite collection of unplugged rockers that's about as good a listen as it gets for this kind of release.  I may be in the minority since most never gave his band a chance back in the day, but I'm more than thrilled he's back releasing music.

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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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