• Halestorm - INTO THE WILD LIFE

    Image: Halestorm, Into The Wild Life, Pitriff, heavy metal, reviews, interviews Halestorm
    INTO THE WILD LIFE

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    With the release of THE STRANGE CASE OF…, I fell in love with Lzzy Hale. So much so, in fact, that I jokingly got down on one knee and asked her to marry me at Rock On The Range two years ago (a proposal that she didn’t flat out turn down, so maybe there’s still hope!!). Let’s be

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  • Marilyn Manson - THE PALE EMPEROR

    Image: Marilyn Manson, The Pale Emperor, Pitriff, Modern Metal, Reviews Marilyn Manson
    THE PALE EMPEROR

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    Let’s just call it the way it is. It’s been a very, very long time since Marilyn Manson recorded a really good, memorable release that any of us still listen to on a regular basis. To many, the would probably says that it’s been since MECHANICAL ANIMALS back in 1998. For me personally, I’ll be a bit more

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  • Black Star Riders - THE KILLER INSTINCT

    Image: Black Star Riders, The Killer Instinct, Review, Classic Rock, Pitriff Black Star Riders
    THE KILLER INSTINCT

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    When Black Star Riders made their decision to record under a new name instead of as Thin Lizzy, it was met with a lot of opinions. For most, I would assume they were happy that they decided to move away from the name they had been touring under. For many, I'm sure there was a lot of

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Image: Godsmack, 1000hp, review, pitriff, modern metalGodsmack
1000HP

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I must be getting old, because recently, I've noticed my attitude softening toward the dreaded "nu-metal" bands of fifteen years ago. Maybe it's just nostalgia for what I now perceive (incorrectly, I'm sure) as a simpler time, but the burnout and disinterest I felt circa 2002, the year I quit seriously listening to mainstream rock radio has mellowed of late. Don't get me wrong, I still won't go out of my way to listen to Creed (for just one example), but maybe I'm not going to dive through a glass door to get to the tuner to change the station before Scott Stapp's droning vocals start.

All this brings us to Godsmack's latest album, 1000hp. I thought Godsmack were just about the best of the best of the new breed back in '98, when their self-titled debut was released. I can still remember walking around campus my freshman year of college, inwardly chanting the chorus of "Whatever." The song just came out at the perfect time in my life. And even though I got bored with Godsmack after their second album, partly because there was just so much music out there to explore in the post-Napster universe, I still respected them. It seemed to me like they, and a few others, actually understood what metal is supposed to FEEL like. A lot of bands can drop-tune and sound angry or moody, but they forget about that sense of power that's supposed to be there.

So here they are again, Sully and the gang returned after four years and nearly breaking up over hurt feelings about side-projects. And although song titles like "FML" (I guessed "Fuck My Life" even before I'd heard the song), "Something Different," and "What's Next," would indicate a deep yearning for change and a dissatisfaction with the predictable, Godsmack play it straight down the middle. There's nothing as aggressive or raging as the first two albums, but if you've heard Faceless, IV, or The Oracle, you know what to expect. Chunky, heavy riffs, midtempo grooves, and angsty psychobabble lyrics. It's a poor man's mix of Black Album-era Metallica and early Alice In Chains, Sully's Hetfield-isms leading the way. And yet he seems to be singing more and growling less with each successive release. The more energetic songs like "What's Next," "Locked & Loaded" and the title track (complete with the overused motorcycle sound effect) remind me why I still like this band.

But there's no denying the music sounds pretty samey after not very long. That's one of the problems with drop-tuning. Whether you drop your top string to D, C or B, you're pretty much stuck playing in that key—there's not that much you can do with the guitar until you tune it back up. This has always been a problem with Godsmack. The unwavering approach extends to the lyrics as well. "Don't cry or sympathy," Sully sings on "Locked & Loaded," "All your whining, it fuckin' tires me." Interesting words from a guy who's never shied away from trite, talk show-style self-examination.

PITRIFF RATING - 71/100 - It's Godsmack. You know what you're getting. 1000hp might overestimate its engine specs by about half, but fans of the band have no reason in the world to be disappointed. Having said that, if you've moved on at all on your own personal musical odyssey, no one could blame you for not being bowled over. There's a definite sense of having heard it all before. I prefer the Godsmack of the first two albums, back when, if they did a ballad, it was the creepiness of "Voodoo," and not this album's "Something Different." Godsmack do what they do, and do it well, so to give them a lower rating would be unfair. And in their own active-rock world, I'd take 'em in a heartbeat over Three Days Grace or Papa Roach.

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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