• Megadeth - DYSTOPIA

    Image: Megadeth, Dystopia, Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Kiko Loureiro, Chris Adler Megadeth
    DYSTOPIA

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    More than any other metal band in history, being a hardcore Megadeth fan is truly a rollercoaster ride. This is a band with multiple duds in their catalog, and yet they always seem to rebound. Think about it, they’ve truly had some bad releases in their catalog. RISK was terrible. THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO wasn’t a lot better. And yet,

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  • Anthrax - FOR ALL KINGS

    Image: Anthrax, For All Kings, Pitriff, Chris Akin Anthrax
    FOR ALL KINGS

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    Depending on your perspective, Anthrax is either having a career resurgence or floundering at the end of their career. I’m stunned how many people actually didn’t like their last effort, FOR ALL KINGS. In these ears, that was the best effort of their career. What made it great, to me, was the mixture of crushing heaviness combined with some

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  • Sevendust - KILL THE FLAW

    Image: Sevendust, Kill The Flaw Sevendust
    KILL THE FLAW

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    When I first saw Sevendust’s new release was titled KILL THE FLAW, my initial thought was “what exactly is the flaw?” It leads you to wonder just what it is that caused this band to not break big, while bands with lesser quality catalogs like Disturbed or Korn had such crazy amounts of success at the same time. This

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  • Iron Maiden - THE BOOK OF SOULS

    Image: Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls, Review, Classic Metal, Pitriff, Chris Akin Iron Maiden
    THE BOOK OF SOULS

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    They don’t do it that often anymore, but there’s always excitement when Iron Maiden comes out with new music. Knowing that they are closing in on the end of their career, you really do end up hoping that when they go out for good, it will be with a bang. I think it’s universally agreed upon that

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  • Slayer - REPENTLESS

    Image: Slayer, Repentless, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal, Chris Akin Slayer
    REPENTLESS

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    Probably more than any release in their history, Slayer came into releasing this album at a crossroads. This WAS the album that, in many ways, dictated if the band could continue on or if it was indeed time to drift off quietly to Hell. The loss of guitarist Jeff Hanneman and the removal of drummer Dave Lombardo had almost every Slayer

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  • Operation: Mindcrime - THE KEY

    Image: Operation Mindcrime, Geoff Tate, Reviews, Music, heavy metal Operation: Mindcrime
    THE KEY

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    Geoff Tate’s falling out and subsequent two years of lawsuits, multiple versions of the same band and overall craziness in the press definitely tarnished a legacy that once seemed untouchable. Think about it. Even with over a decade of arguably bad releases (Q2K, TRIBE, AMERICAN SOLDIER, DEDICATED TO CHAOS), it wasn’t until the now infamous spitting incident and the

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  • W.A.S.P. - GOLGOTHA

    Image: WASP, Golgotha, Blackie Lawless, Pitriff, Review, Heavy Metal W.A.S.P.
    GOLGOTHA

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    W.A.S.P. is one of those bands that has a ridiculously loyal fanbase...and good for them, actually. Doing THE CLASSIC METAL SHOW, we get shit on repeatedly anytime we say anything that is less than glowing about W.A.S.P., Blackie Lawless or any of the band’s former or present members. Oh well...comes with the territory, I guess. After what seems like quite a

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Image: In Alcatraz 1962, The Drive, Heavy Metal News, ReviewsIn Alcatraz 1962
THE DRIVE

Standby Records is one of those labels putting out modern metal where they are pretty much hit or miss with me. They have put out some bands like Hopes Die Last, Modern Day Escape and Davey Suicide who's music I have completely dug. Then again, there are other bands like Blessed By A Burden or Emergency 911 that have just sucked balls. With that label, there really is no middle ground. Add In Alcatraz 1962 to the "completely dug" list. THE DRIVE is a fairly simple, extremely punishing and yet sonically excellent dose of hammer smashes to the face. Without question, THE DRIVE is one of those releases that leaves me thinking there is hope for the next generation of metal bands.

To be clear, In Alcatraz 1962 will be compared to a bunch of modern bands that only a few new school people will be able to relate to. Since I'm not new school, I'll relate them to something old school that most people won't be able to relate to. In many ways, In Alcatraz 1962 reminds me of an updated for the new century version of San Francisco's Skinlab. Listening to songs like "Eloquence" reminds me of that older generation ferocity that was a combination of sounds ranging from Machine Head to Destruction or Sodom. Guitarists Chris Smith and Allen Call take center stage throughout most of this release; dominating speedy songs like "The Fatal Flaw". They, along with drummer Josh Zupovitz drive each and every song. Zupovitz is one of the better players when it comes to the more modern time changes. He powers songs like "There To Take" with his thunderous performance.

Vocally, Tyler Baldwin is solid yet fairly unremarkable. His growls are fairly uniform and lack a lot of depth. That said though, they are blood curdling at times and are tempered nicely with some clean singing. Songs like "Acceptance" showcase Baldwin's ability to mix it up and keep the listener guessing. While he may not be the best vocalist on the planet, he fits the style this band is trying to achieve. His clean vocals here remind of a bit of Burton C. Bell from Fear Factory.

While all the band members have to get credit for the work here on THE DRIVE, some credit has to be given to producer Don DeBiase for his work on this release. Having heard pretty much everything DeBiase has done over the last few years, it's easy to say this is sonically the best thing to come out of his Studio D. Productions. Unlike so much modern metal that sounds sludgy and dull, THE DRIVE is one of the most alive releases to hit my hard drive in a long time. The guitars and drums are monumental, and yet leave enough room for Baldwin to scream with clarity and without being overpowered. It's a seriously solid piece of production work.

PITRIFF RATING - 87/100 - If you are a fan of extreme metal that borders in parts of death metal, In Alcatraz 1962 might be a gateway band to take you into the world of newer bands. THE DRIVE is a seriously sick, punishing listen (in the best possible way). Hopefully some people will discover it.

Chris Akin

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