• 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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  • Opeth - PALE COMMUNION

    Image: Opeth, Pale Communion, Pitriff, Review, Progressive Metal Opeth
    PALE COMMUNION

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    Opeth simply fails as a band, at least to me. While I'll admit to never fully understanding the amazement and awe so many have for this band, I've appreciated them from afar. I've listened, and I've at least wrapped my head around what they were trying to do. Their fusing of death metal with progressive elements always made for an

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  • Cannibal Corpse - A SKELETAL DOMAIN

    Cannibal Corpse, A Skeletal Domain, Review, Death Metal Cannibal Corpse
    A SKELETAL DOMAIN

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    So really, what does anyone expect when you get a Cannibal Corpse release handed to you? Ballads, love songs and fun? Not hardly. There's an expectation of severe brutality which the band delivers time and time again. Certainly, it comes with different levels of acceptance to one's ears, but ultimately the only thing that matters if it says

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  • Exodus - BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT

    Image: Exodus, Blood In Blood Out, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal Exodus
    BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT

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    Unless you call Testament a "thrash band" (which I don't personally), Exodus would rank as my favorite true Thrash band of all time. They have had good times and bad. Occasionally, like on FABULOUS DISASTER, they have misstepped along the way. But overall, they are one of the true powerhouses in the history of thrash metal. Since 2004

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  • Mr. Big - ...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL

    Mr. Big, The Stories We Could Tell, Reviews, Classic Metal, Chris Akin, Pitriff Mr. Big
    ...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL

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    As a fan of Mr. Big, I can't honestly say that many people thought that their reunion was much more than a cash grab opportunity for the guys in the band who, while immensely talented, failed to find solo success to match their collaborative efforts. It was never a question of if they could still play.

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  • Slash - WORLD ON FIRE

    Image: Slash, Myles Kennedy, Conspirators, World On Fire, Pitriff, review, classic metal Slash
    WORLD ON FIRE

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    Hey Gene Simmons. The corpse of rock n' roll just had a baby. That baby is not an average baby at all. That baby was not stillborn, but came out kicking and screaming with an intensity rarely seen. This baby is destined for greatness. This infant is out to prove you wrong. While your days of spitting fire and

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  • Davey Suicide - WORLDWIDE SUICIDE

    Image: Davey Suicide, Worldwide Suicide, Pitriff, Reviews, Modern Metal Davey Suicide
    WORLDWIDE SUICIDE

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    I had the pleasure of working directly with Davey Suicide as he prepped his debut release a few years ago for release. I got to work with him on some promotional stuff, some publicity stuff, his website and a lot more of that kind of stuff. In that work, I quickly found him to be far more than the

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  • Ministry - LAST TANGLE IN PARIS

    Image: Ministry, Last Tangle In Paris, Pitriff, Review, Industrial Metal Ministry
    LAST TANGLE IN PARIS

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    Al Jourgensen of Ministry has been threatening to take his ball and go home for a long time now. Quite frankly, I'm not sure I believe that he'll ever retire. Every time he says he's retiring, he seems to come right back with more music that's stronger, meaner and just better than anything in his past. Being quite

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  • Kix - ROCK YOUR FACE OFF

    Image: Kix, Rock Your Face Off, Classic Metal, Pitriff, Review Kix
    ROCK YOUR FACE OFF

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    Kix might just be the last of the '80's bands to release new material. By now, it seems like everybody else you could name from the glory days of yesteryear has made a stab at making music in the new millennium. Of course, a lot of them, we wish they hadn't, and just left us to our misty-eyed

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Arch Enemy - WAR ETERNAL

Image: Arch Enemy, War Eternal, review, death metal, kip massey, pitriffArch Enemy
WAR ETERNAL

The big story surrounding Arch Enemy's ninth studio album is that the band has done the impossible. They replaced their lead singer calmly, quietly, and without anybody knowing about it until it was already done—and somehow didn't miss a beat in the process. It's hard enough to replace a singer just once, but Arch Enemy has done it twice, and while there are still some people bellyaching over the loss of original vocalist Johan Liiva, it's safe to say Angela Gossow left a much bigger footprint on the band, and on metal in the new millennium. With her at the mic, Arch Enemy were one of the bands responsible for popularizing so-called "melodic death metal," if not in the mainstream, at least outside of the dank sub-basements of the underground. Plus, she reminded a new generation of female headbangers that you didn't need to be an opera singer, a goth chick, or a bassist to find a place in extreme metal.

But all that's old news, because Angela's out (but still managing the band), and Alissa White-Gluz (of the Canadian band The Agonist) is in. Along with recent addition Nick Cordle on guitar (from Arsis, another band whose name you see on Blabbermouth but probably never actually heard), Arch Enemy are moving full steam ahead on War Eternal.

Al the expected Arch Enemy ingredients are present and accounted for, starting with the portentous instrumental that opens the disc, complete with Latin, faux-classical title. Once that's over with, the band launches into the real music, and right off, they seem to be playing with more fire and aggression than we've heard recently. That sounds like a slam at previous albums, and I don't mean it to be—I personally thought 2011's Khaos Legions was fantastic. But songs like "Never Forgive, Never Forget," "As the Pages Burn" and "Down To Nothing" just rage with a speed and ferocity that feels renewed. Having said that, the band doesn't stray from its original recipe that much. You still have trademark Arch Enemy anthems like "Stolen Life" and the title track, and more mid-paced offerings like "You Will Know My Name" and "Time Is Black," and band founder Michael Amott's guitar madness is still very much classic metal sent through a C-tuned death-metal meat grinder. Some people have gotten bored with the formula, but if you're a fan, Arch Enemy has done nothing here to tarnish their legacy. But it's that intangible something, that jolt of energy that comes from new players in the band, that helps War Eternal pack that extra punch. Even on tracks like "Time Is Black" and "Avalanche," with their prominent keyboard melodies (tastefully done, not overbearing or cheesy), there's just a sense of urgency that's cranked up a notch from the past couple releases.

And that new singer, how does she fare? People like to joke about how hard it is to tell one death-metal singer from the next, but Alissa White-Gluz has a deeper, more powerful voice than Angela Gossow. She actually reminds me of Children of Bodom's Alexi Laiho in more than a few places, with a splash of Dez Fafara from DevilDriver. It's a different sound compared to Angela's thickly-accented snake-hiss, and it really adds to the heightened sense of aggression found on War Eternal.

PITRIFF RATING - 87/100 – Losing such a recognizable face and voice could have proved disastrous for a prominent band (relatively speaking). Indeed, Michael Amott admits pondering whether the band should even continue. Luckily, he chose to persevere, and I'm happy to report that War Eternal is another fine addition to the Arch Enemy catalog. No real surprises beyond the personnel shake-up; just another serving of vicious, well-crafted melodic death metal, from one of the pillars of the genre.

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