• 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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  • 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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Review - Daughtry

Image: Daughtry, Break The Spell, Pitriff, CD ReviewsDaughtry
BREAK THE SPELL

I'm sure I'll get crucified for even reviewing this new release by Daughtry, but fuck it! I like this guy's tunes. In short, Daughtry is the only American Idol rocker to make it without the show's help after he was cast off the show. He's also the only one that's had success outside of the pop world that American Idol caters to. Musically, Daughtry has been solid, and has been good enough that a good number of bands have been willing to record with him without worrying that the AI stigma would infect them. Finally, let's face it. In today's world where there's almost no good hard rock being released, Daughtry is kind of like Nickelback without all the suck tunes.

Being in my mid-40s, seeing and hearing the way Daughtry's career has gone reminds me in large part of Bon Jovi in the mid '80s. Bon Jovi had two albums of really strong songs before putting it all together with SLIPPERY WHEN WET. Daughtry has followed that path. His previous efforts have been solid, but lacked that bit of swagger needed to break out. BREAK THE SPELL has definitely captured that. The songs on this release have a bit more edge to them, which is good for this radio-hit producing act. Listening to songs like "Outta My Head", it's clear that the band went for a bit more attitude-ladened rock this time out. Chris Daughtry seems to be putting a bit more emotion into his singing, which takes him outside of that Aaron Lewis wannabe sound he's cultivated and brings new identity to him as a vocalist.

Being fair though, BREAK THE SPELL is the first effort Daughtry has done that truly feels like a band and not "Chris Daughtry and some guys backing him up". Guitarist Josh Steely is a very underrated rock guitarist who plays some very tasteful riffs here. The rhythm section of Josh Paul and Robin Diaz are solid stabilizers of the songs, and Daughtry himself is a solid frontman and rhythm guitar player.

Ultimately though, what has separated Daughtry from the rest of the American Idol washouts and, for the most part, the rest of the hard rock community has been their ability to write strong, yet radio-friendly songs. There's no shortage of that here. "Start Of Something Good" is as good as anything that's been a hit at rock radio in the past five years, which is pretty much proven by it's immediate sales numbers once it was released as the single. "We're Not Gonna Fall" is an emotional mid-tempo rocker that seems destined for radio success as well..

PITRIFF RATING - 91/100 - All you hardcore metalheads have your middle finger pointed at me I'm sure, but so be it. Daughtry is a solid band, and BREAK THE SPELL is by far the best effort they've released to date. Full of radio rockers without sacrificing their musical integrity to get popular, Daughtry are the lone rock band in the '10s that get it. BREAK THE SPELL proves that out.

Chris Akin

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