• Black Stone Cherry - KENTUCKY

    Image: Black Stone Cherry, Kentucky Black Stone Cherry


    This collection of southern boys are not the most original band in the world. They’ll never be accused of being the most musically gifted fellas in the world. Certainly, no one will ever listen to them and think, “wow, that’s really cutting edge music”. To the contrary though, release in and release out, the same thought comes to mind

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  • Zakk Wylde - BOOK OF SHADOWS II

    Image: Zakk Wylde, Book Of Shadows II Zakk Wylde


    Sequels to albums, at least in my listening experience, are generally poor. The two that immediately jump to mind for me are Rob Zombie’s HELLBELLY DELUXE 2 and Meat Loaf’s BAT OUT OF HELL 2. Both releases were pretty lame, and garnered attention solely because they were named after much more historic releases in their creator’s career.

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Image: Spineshank, Anger Denial Acceptance, Pitriff, heavy metal, reviewSpineshank

I'm a guy that pretty much accepted, but never really liked, a whole lot of that late 90s/early 2000s brand of metal that was inspired by the success of Slipknot but really took dramatic steps toward being a more sterile version of that exciting band.  That said though, one band that I truly did enjoy immensely was Spineshank.  Their STRICTLY DIESEL release was an impressive collection of polished, angry modern metal that should have stood as the blueprint of how to move the genre along.  It didn't though, as the masses gravitated more to the Killswitch Engage sound than what Spineshank had to offer.  They continued on, but the albums got weaker and weaker as  they came along...eventually leading to the band breaking up.

Years have now passed, and they have returned with ANGER DENIAL ACCEPTANCE.  Sometimes a band should just accept the fact that it's over and move on.  This is one of those times.  While horrible by no means, ANGER DENIAL ACCEPTANCE is something that I never thought I'd think about a Spineshank record.  It's boring.  There are a few spots where the energy is there (like the title track), but overall ANGER DENIAL ACCEPTANCE sounds just like every other band out there in this post-hardcore era that combines screamo with mournful clean vocals to portray their "deep inner pain".  Vocalist Jonny Santos has returned to the fold for ANGER DENIAL ACCEPTANCE, but he left all the parts of his voice that were interesting with his other band, Silent Civilian.  Replacing it is a lot of standard fare in modern metal - a lot of whining about how the world has fucked him over, a lot of screaming that sounds almost the exactly the same when every vocalist of this genre does it, and a solid dose of clean vocal apathy to showcase how deep that inner pain really is.  In short, Santos sounds like the perfect whiny bitch that mirrors the attitude of this entire generation of music fans in their "you owe me, I'm too pathetic to do anything myself" lives.

Musically, they just don't score very high on the interesting meter either.  Again, it's not terrible or anything, but it's pretty lacking of a lot of interesting or memorable moments.  There are moments, like the nice intro called "Ploration Morbus", but it's bleeds right into a wall of poor, almost muffled distortion on "Everything Everyone Everywhere Ends".  Guitarist Mike Sarkisyan has proven on past releases that he has dynamic skills.  On ANGER DENIAL ACCEPTANCE, he proves that he's more than capable at providing simple, standard riffs that fail to establish themselves as anything other than the wall of fairly muddled sound that dominates much of this release.  The rhythm section is fine performance wise as well, although it's highly questionable that drummer Tom Decker came out of these sessions happy with the flat sound captured of his playing.

PITRIFF RATING - 55/100 - If 50% is the middle of the road, then ANGER DENIAL ACCEPTANCE comes in slightly above that.  The muddled sound of the music combined with an overall boring performance from Santos derails this release before it gets off the ground.  That said, receiving this made me pull out STRICTLY DIESEL and the brilliant release THE HEIGHT OF CALLOUSNESS, so I guess that's good enough for me.  If you are new to the band, don't start here.  If you aren't new to them, then skip over this and avoid the disappointment.

Chris Akin

Image: Cause/Effect Metallica, Chris Akin

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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Image: Little Victories, Book, Chris Akin

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

CLICK HERE to learn more about LITTLE VICTORIES.

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

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