• Wretch - WARRIORS

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


    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


    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


    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


    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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  • Sammy Hagar - LITE ROAST

    Image: Sammy Hagar, Lite Roast, NonMetal, Review Sammy Hagar


    I get it. You are Sammy Hagar. You've seen huge success in virtually every world you've entered. In music, he was the main focus of Montrose. He parlayed that into a very successful solo career. That wasn't enough, so he joined the world's largest band at the time (Van Halen), and took them to commercial heights that even they

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  • Cavalera Conspiracy - PANDEMONIUM

    Image: Cavalera Conspiracy, Pandemonium, Pitriff, Death Metal, Review Cavalera Conspiracy


    There's always good news and bad news whenever Max Cavalera gets busy with new music. The good is that you get a whole lot of new music, seemingly all in a very short time. The bad news is it's generally spotty at best, because he simply writes and releases too much music at the same time. His band Soulfly released

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  • Slipknot - .5 THE GRAY MATTER

    Image: Slipknot, .5 The Gray Matter, Pitriff, CD Review, Modern Metal Slipknot


    With a ton of speculation and even more wonderment on this band's ability to continue on without founding members Paul Gray and Joey Jordison, Slipknot has returned after far too long of a layoff with .5 THE GRAY MATTER. I've listened to this release multiple times a day for the last week or so that I've had it,

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Godsmack - 1000HP

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


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.


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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.

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

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