• Black Stone Cherry - KENTUCKY

    Image: Black Stone Cherry, Kentucky Black Stone Cherry
    KENTUCKY

    CD
    MP3

    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
    BOOK OF SHADOWS II

    CD
    MP3

    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: Black Veil Brides, Wretched and Divine, Pitriff, CD Review, The Classic Metal ShowBlack Veil Brides
WRETCHED AND DIVINE

The Black Veil Brides have certainly come from out of nowhere to capture the Hot Topic community of modern metalheads. There's no denying their success. Ultimately, they are a fairly average band, even if they make efforts to fuse both modern elements and some old school into their music to create what I'll call "hybrid rock". They blew up with SET THE WORLD ON FIRE, and their REBELS EP was well received as well. That said though, the band is clearly at a crossroads for their career where they can emerge as superstars or fall back to the pack. Or, after listening to WRETCHED AND DIVINE, they can probably stay exactly where they are.

WRETCHED AND DIVINE certainly is ambitious enough. A full on concept album from a band on the cusp of breaking through definitely takes some balls. That said though, it also clouds the creative flow being received from an audience that's a bit too young generally to "get" a concept album. With WRETCHED AND DIVINE, there's just a bit too much creative going on here, and not enough tunes that just rock for the sake of rocking. Vocalist Andy Biersack may be the darling of all the 16 year old girls out there, but the modern day Tiger Beat pinup boy continues to keep the band average with his range-lacking, fairly innocuous vocals. Songs like "Shadows Die" are prime examples of this. Musically, this is probably the biggest sounding song the band has ever done, but Biersack's vocals drain it as they simply meander through the song.

It's too bad too, as the rest of the band sounds better than they have to date. Guitarists Jake Pitts and Jinxx, specifically, sound better than they have so far in their recorded careers. On songs like "Days Are Numbered", the two provide a very cool background soundscape of guitars which Biersack sings passionately over (by far his best vocal performance on the album). They are balanced by drummer Christian Coma and bassist Ashley Purdy, who both do solid jobs carrying the bottom end.

PITRIFF RATING - 70/100 - Ultimately, there's nothing at all wrong with WRETCHED AND DIVINE. For their hardcore fans, which are many, they will eat this up and continue their idol worship of the band. Gaining new fans though doesn't seem very likely with this release, as it's pretty much standard fare of what these guys do. Certainly there are moments that test their predefined boundaries (great example: "Done For You"), but ultimately this album is a very grand, and yet fairly average representation of a band that's done better on their past two long players. Decent, not great.

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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