• Wretch - WARRIORS

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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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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Hopes die Last - TRUST NO ONE

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

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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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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The shockingly honest and emotional first book from radio personality and rock critic Chris Akin.

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Available January 13th in Paperback and Digital Formats on Amazon and iTunes.

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