• Sweet & Lynch - ONLY TO RISE

    Image: Sweet & Lynch, Only To Rise, CD Review, Classic Metal, Pitriff Sweet & Lynch
    ONLY TO RISE

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    MP3

    Being completely honest here, I really didn't expect a whole lot out of this. I'm not the biggest Stryper fan in the world by a long shot, and the truth is that I just never could fully get into Michael Sweet's vocals. There's just always been something about him. I'm not sure what it is. I guess

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  • AC/DC - ROCK OR BUST

    Image: Rock Or Bust, AC/DC, Chris Akin, Pitriff, Classic Metal, Review AC/DC
    ROCK OR BUST

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    In a year that has see a foundational piece of AC/DC succumb to a debilitating illness and another to his own personal insanity, AC/DC emerges after seemingly forever away with ROCK OR BUST. To be fair and truthfully honest, expectations on this release were pretty low. I know that AC/DC is a band that's been in business almost 50

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  • Whitesnake - BACK TO THE BONE

    Image: Whitesnake, Back To The Bone, Pitriff, Chris Akin Whitesnake
    LIVE IN '84 - BACK TO THE BONE

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    David Coverdale and company have had a very long and successful history that started even before he formed Whitesnake. There's no denying the legacy here. Coverdale has had a fantastic career with Whitesnake, and his time in Deep Purple was every bit as strong to that band as a Sammy Hagar was to Van Halen

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  • Wretch - WARRIORS

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

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    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
    BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS

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    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
    A TRIBUTE TO MOTLEY CRUE

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    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
    RIDE ON

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    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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CD Review - Volbeat

Image: Volbeat, Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady LadiesVolbeat
OUTLAW GENTLEMEN AND SHADY LADIES

Many times over the past five years, I've proclaimed Volbeat as the lone exciting new band out there today. Their sound is definitely one that you either love or hate, and there's no middle ground whatsoever with them. That said, their growth in popularity has not been the most healthy for this band creatively. They have seemingly started to play to the masses a little bit. It started showing itself with "Fallen", and now there are plenty of moments on their latest that seem to grow from that. I'm not sure if they are just churning out music a bit too fast to capitalize on their popularity growth or if they have just come up a little bit flat this time around, but OUTLAW GENTLEMEN AND SHADY LADIES simply isn't as good as what Volbeat has been producing since most of us first heard them with "Sad Man's Tongue". While it doesn't suck by any means, OUTLAW GENTLEMEN AND SHADY LADIES is a bit of a letdown.

For me as a listener, it's remarkably easy to figure out what went wrong with OUTLAW GENTLEMEN. What made Volbeat special from the onset was their ability to fuse many styles together within their songs. Songs like "Sad Man's Tongue" or "Still Counting" took various styles that generally don't mix (rockabilly and metal or reggae and metal) and found a way to fuse them seamlessly. On their latest release, virtually every song is singular in style. Maybe it's growth in the band, but it's growth that takes away from the sound if that's the case. This is not to say that what they've come up with is bad. Songs like "My Body" are toe tappers that will force you to hit repeat on them several times on your iPod. Other songs like "Lola Montez" feel perfectly at home when played next to anything in the back catalog of the band. The problem though is that lack of diversity leaves almost the entire album without a single takeaway moment. What's also frustrating is the deliberate attempts to write songs for radio. The first single, "Cape Of Our Hero" is, quite frankly, not very good at all. It's almost like Volbeat trying to sound like Volbeat, and just lacks the dynamic that gave past singles like "Warrior's Call" their bite.

To be clear though, this is not a bad album at all. As stated, "My Body" is a very cool song. Vocalist Michael Poulsen's voice is as strong as ever, which literally carries this band from album to album. Guitarist Rob Caggliano defected from Anthrax to join this band, and yet the overall style and sound of the guitars is right in the pocket of what we've heard in the past. He does bring a heavier element to songs like "Room 24" (which features a menacing vocal duet with the legendary King Diamond), but overall he picks up where they left off previously. Bassist Anders Kjolholm and drummer Jon Larsen are solid laying down the bottom end which Caggliano and Poulsen rock over. The band are solid on tunes like "The Sinner Is You" or the release's best track, "The Hangman's Body Count".

PITRIFF RATING - 80/100 - Definitely the worst release from Volbeat to date, but that said, their worst is far better than most of the good stuff being released today. OUTLAW GENTLEMEN AND SHADY LADIES is decent, but not quite as dynamic as these guys have been in the past. Listenable, but will probably just lead you back to listening to past releases.

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.

CLICK HERE to learn more about CAUSE/EFFECT: METALLICA.

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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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Read Reviews and Excerpts from LITTLE VICTORIES: A TALE OF DIVORCE, DEBAUCHERY AND FINDING HAPPINESS HERE!

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

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