• 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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  • Evergrey - HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN

    Image: Evergrey, Hymns For The Broken, Review, Progressive Metal Evergrey
    HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN

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    In the world of progressive metal, there are exactly 2 bands which I worship. Those bands are Symphony X and Evergrey. Both bands are immensely talented, feature incredible musicianship, and come full of great lyrical and musical representations that tell amazing stories to the listeners. Following their last release GLORIOUS COLLISION, it really seemed like Evergrey may have

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  • Ace Frehley - SPACE INVADER

    Image: Ace Frehley, Space Invader, Pitriff, Classic Metal, Reviews Ace Frehley
    SPACE INVADER

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    Am I the only one that is tired of not only Ace Frehley, but all members of Kiss past and present? Since they were nominated for the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF CORPORATE, it has been a steady stream of nonsense, bickering, anger, hurt feelings and now emotional trauma. It's over already. Get over it. It's 2014. Kiss is

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  • Blackberry Smoke - LEAVE A SCAR

    Image: Blackberry Smoke, Leave A Scar, Pitriff, Review, Rock Blackberry Smoke
    LEAVE A SCAR - LIVE IN NORTH CAROLINA

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    Right up front, Blackberry Smoke is not a metal band. They are a southern-rock band, in the classic, original sense. These days, the term "southern rock" has been applied to everybody from Black Stone Cherry to Nashville Pussy to Crowbar, all sounds that would be alien and extreme in the days of Skynyrd and

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  • Skid Row - UNITED WORLD REBELLION, CHAPTER 2

    Image: Skid Row, United World Rebellion Chapter 2, Pitriff, Classic Metal, Review Skid Row
    UNITED WORLD REBELLION, CHAPTER 2

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    Part two of the three part Skid Row series known as UNITED WORLD REBELLION has been unleashed. Dubbed as RISE OF THE DAMNATION ARMY, UWR2 picks up where the first EP left off. There's simple math here. Over the course of these two EPs you have 14 songs. If you put the two together, you've got

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  • Downset - ONE BLOOD

    Image: Downset, One Blood, Pitriff, Review Downset
    ONE BLOOD

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    As a fan of Downset, I wasn't really surprised when the band split up in 2009. They claimed that "the band has run it's course". As a fan, I believe that. They definitely had a huge influence on a lot of the bigger nu-metal bands of the 2000s. Certainly, anyone that heard releases like DO WE SPEAK A DEAD LANGUAGE

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Hopes die Last - TRUST NO ONE

Image: Hopes Die Last, Trust No One, Pitriff, CD Review, News, Heavy MetalHopes Die Last
TRUST NO ONE

I won't lie here - I was a fan of the early versions of nu-metal, or metalcore or whatever you want to call it.  More than anything, if there's a shift in sound and it's still heavy sounding, I generally will like it for awhile.  When people start mimmicking it, but don't do it as well is when I lose interest in trend hopping bands.  I would say that I jumped off this bandwagon about the same time that Howard Jones joined Killswitch Engage.  While that band is OK at times (definitely not a big favorite of mine), the new breed that followed for the last five or six years has been, to put it bluntly, pathetic.  I'm screaming because I'm angry.  Now I'm singing clean but slightly out of key to exhibit my emo pain of my existence.  Now I'm screaming again while our downtuned riff churns in circles.  Yeah...we all get it.  Further, most fans of metal checked out on it.

That said however, a band cranking out some metalcore has caught my attention recently, and I can't stop playing it.  Hopes Die Last return with a much improved sound, more diversity and just better songwriting with their latest release, TRUST NO ONE.  While their last release SIX YEARS HOME was fair, it fell right in line with that same collection of bands like Asking Alexandria, Aiden and the like that comes off as whiny and boring.  Not here.  This band has improved dramatically musically.  They also have done a much better job capturing themselves in the studio.  Songs like "Unleash Hell" punch you in the face with the force of Mike Tyson on a PCP high, and yet that only scratches the surface of what's going on here.  Musically, TRUST NO ONE is so diverse that almost anyone into modern metal will be aptly satisfied.  The ballad "The Same Old Fears" is especially unique here.  Lead by some well placed techo beats and soft piano, this song could easily be mistaken as a ballad by Linkin Park instead of an upstart metalcore band.  That has a lot to do with vocalist Daniele Tofan.  In short, this guy is the force behind this band.  His crooning voice is solid, and his aggro-screams are as strong as anyone's out there today.  Unlike most bands of this ilk, Hopes Die Last act as a cohesive unit instead of a layered, non-organic packing of whining.  Songs like "Icarus" are well structured; showcasing the perfect mixture of guitars, thick rhythms and one of the most fluid timing changes from fast to slow I've heard in a very long time.

While this release is great, it does occasionally showcase a few flaws here and there.  While these guys are clearly finding their sound, the experimentation on it with studio tricks is a bit over the top on occasion.  They tend to get a little bit Trent Reznor-like with the knob turning on "Never Trust The Hazel Eyed" and the aforementioned "Unleash Hell".  It's more like overkill on xxxxx It's a minor thing though, and one they will probably grow out of.

PITRIFF RATING - 92/100 - Hopes Die Last kick off the new year with a surprisingly solid dose of metalcore that's weak on whiny and strong on diversity.  With the right tours and promotions, you could see a lot more of this band because they clearly have the chops to be a force with today's youth.  TRUST NO ONE is about as good as this genre gets.

Chris Akin

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