• Wretch - WARRIORS

    Image: Wretch, Warriors, Review, Power Metal, Chris Akin, Pitriff Wretch
    WARRIORS

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    There's an unwritten rule that I rarely follow here in Cleveland. That rule is that if a band is from Cleveland, I'm supposed to write all glowing things or else be called a hater by the local community. It's sad that it's like that, but the truth is what it is. For years I've lived with that stigma, to the point

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  • Machine Head - BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS

    Image: Machine Head, Bloodstone & Diamonds, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal Machine Head
    BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS

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    What happened to Machine Head really is a crime. Unfortunately for them, it's a crime they perpetrated upon themselves. With a mistake so many made in their youth, this band singlehandedly torpedoed themselves from ascending to the heights in metal held by only the select few like Metallica and Megadeth before them. After THE MORE THINGS CHANGE came

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  • Nashville Outlaws - TRIBUTE TO MOTLEY CRUE

    Image: Nashville Outlaws, Motley Crue Tribute Nashville Outlaws
    A TRIBUTE TO MOTLEY CRUE

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    With the music industry pretty much dead anymore, nothing really comes off as shocking. After all, you have very desperate companies trying to hang on and make money from an industry that has about as much relevance today as the typewriter ribbon makers of the world still do. The current trend for the last half decade

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  • Texas Hippie Coalition - RIDE ON

    Image: Texas Hippie Coalition, Ride On, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Review, Classic Metal Texas Hippie Coalition
    RIDE ON

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    I tell this story often, but it's one of my favorites of the past year. I had the chance to interview the Texas Hippie Coalition earlier this year at Rock On The Range in Columbus, Ohio. I was in a small tent with a bunch of photographers. The tent was fairly quiet really, as the much bigger adjacent

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  • Sammy Hagar - LITE ROAST

    Image: Sammy Hagar, Lite Roast, NonMetal, Review Sammy Hagar
    LITE ROAST

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    I get it. You are Sammy Hagar. You've seen huge success in virtually every world you've entered. In music, he was the main focus of Montrose. He parlayed that into a very successful solo career. That wasn't enough, so he joined the world's largest band at the time (Van Halen), and took them to commercial heights that even they

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  • Cavalera Conspiracy - PANDEMONIUM

    Image: Cavalera Conspiracy, Pandemonium, Pitriff, Death Metal, Review Cavalera Conspiracy
    PANDEMONIUM

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    There's always good news and bad news whenever Max Cavalera gets busy with new music. The good is that you get a whole lot of new music, seemingly all in a very short time. The bad news is it's generally spotty at best, because he simply writes and releases too much music at the same time. His band Soulfly released

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  • Slipknot - .5 THE GRAY MATTER

    Image: Slipknot, .5 The Gray Matter, Pitriff, CD Review, Modern Metal Slipknot
    .5 THE GRAY MATTER

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    With a ton of speculation and even more wonderment on this band's ability to continue on without founding members Paul Gray and Joey Jordison, Slipknot has returned after far too long of a layoff with .5 THE GRAY MATTER. I've listened to this release multiple times a day for the last week or so that I've had it,

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Review - Ministry RELAPSE

Image: Ministry, Relapse, Pitriff, CD ReviewMinistry
RELAPSE

When Al Jourgensen shelved Ministry back in 2008, it seemed like a good idea to be honest. While I’m a huge fan of his politically fueled albums, the rhetoric was wearing out on most people. That said though, there’s nary a Ministry album that’s not good, so after several years away, it only seemed right that Jourgensen would end his retirement with the bug to make more industrialized speed metal biting him hard on the neck. RELAPSE finds Ministry back and firing fast and furious. While this is lyrically the weakest album ever done by Ministry, the sneering sarcasm of Jourgensen comes spewing forth throughout. The subject matter may have changed, but this is still your same Ministry.

 

One thing that I think I can say with authority to Al Jourgensen, and really to any band, is that fans really don’t care about the business dealings or, more accurately, the bad band dealings musicians have with their management, touring agents and lawyers. Listening to the opening track, “Ghouldiggers”, a true sense of “really don’t care” hit me. Singing a song about how the business you chose to be in fucked you over is about as interesting as posting “my boss is an asshole” in your Facebook status. The endless ranting of “I’m not dead yet” makes the point clear that management view an artist as more of a commodity than when they are alive and active. That said though, the fake phone calls in the song and the hillbilly commentary are useless and sound pretty cheap.

Musically, RELAPSE is fast and furious, as Ministry always in. Without questions, guitarists Tommy Victor and Mike Scaccia do their part in creating fast, violent riffs that definitely remind you of the hey day of the band. Songs like “Relapse” and “Double Tap” could have fit musically on any Ministry album from PSALM 69 on. They make a song like “Get Up Get Out ‘N Vote” tolerable. To be clear here, I’m all for Jourgensen’s political ranting (one of the most fun nights of my life was debating politics with him on a radio show once), but the political songs here are just not up to the caliber he’s done in the past. The message is fine, but the presentation is lacking from Jourgensen. I’m not sure why he feels the need to continually use the hillbilly spoken word in several of these songs, but it really cheapens the impact. Another issue is the lack of creativity in the choruses. Songs like “United Forces” and “Get Up Get Out ‘N Vote” are plagued with simple, innocuous and repetitive gang vocals that merely repeat over and over. It’s so bad in “United Forces” that it almost feels like you are listening to a part of a song instead of a fully developed tune.

PITRIFF RATING – 61/100 - I’m a fan of Jourgensen and Ministry, but this album just doesn’t cut it. From a strictly musical standpoint it’s solid enough, but the overall vibe of the material just feels miles away from the smart, well thought out body of work we’ve previously come to expect from Al and company.

Chris Akin

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