• 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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  • Sammy Hagar - LITE ROAST

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

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    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
    PANDEMONIUM

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    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
    .5 THE GRAY MATTER

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    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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Review - Walking With Kings

Image: Walking With Kings, Modern Metal, Christian Metal, Rich Ward, Pitriff, CD ReviewWalking With Kings
WALKING WITH KINGS

I’m a big Rich Ward fan - huge, actually.  I think he is the one guitarist out there that’s never been given his just due.  Stuck Mojo was a tremendous band that never got the credit they deserved while lesser bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn rose to dominance for a decade.  Ward has a large body of work with Stuck Mojo, as well as other bands like Sick Speed, The Duke and Adrenaline Mob.  While he’s teetered in and out of Christian-like themes for years, Ward has now put together and recorded a full Christian Rock album with Walking With Kings.  Past Stuck Mojo, this may be his best project to date.  

Let’s look at the positives here.  First, at least for now it’s free!  That’s right, if you want to sample this but the “C” word (Christian) is scaring you into thinking this will be some uncool, Stryper wannabe album, you can at least find out for yourself without spending more than 5 seconds to click the download link over at www.walkingwithkings.com.  

Second, singer and primary lyricist Terry Chism.  Chism is indeed devout in his worship of the Lord, but more importantly to me as a music fan is that he’s a damn good singer.  In a lot of ways, Chism reminds of Alter Bridge’s Miles Kennedy.   Listening to him sing on songs like “Change The World”, you hear a real sense of vocal excellence coming from him.  Further, Chism’s phrasing of lyrics is that of a 20 year professional.  It’s not sing songy, six syllable garbage where the last word rhymes from line to line.  To the contrary, Chism shares his spiritual feelings like a masterful storyteller on songs like “Home”.  Finally, guitarist Rich Ward is on the record, which automatically makes it a lot better.  As I stated, he’s never gotten his due as a player.  While his playing is not as over the top metal as he’s shown in Stuck Mojo as recently as on SOUTHERN BORN KILLERS, his modern rock riffs that he lays down on songs like “Friends” are juicy and fun; easily leading the listener through a fun experience of the songs.  

Now, the negative.  While I get that Sick Speed and the Stuck Mojo album THE GREAT REVIVAL were not successful, massively received projects, they do exist and were heard by hardcore Stuck Mojo fans like...well...like me.  Further, it’s hard to complain about anything that’s given to you free, as again THE GREAT REVIVAL and now WALKING WITH KINGS has been, but free or not, it’s a bit lazy to use the same songs from multiple releases here with virtually no rearrangement other than different vocals.  “Friends” was by far my favorite song on THE GREAT REVIVAL, so hearing what seems like the same musical tracks with different vocals thrown in just doesn’t feel right to me.  The same with Autumn Brings, which also was better when it was a Sick Speed track than here.  These criticisms are not a huge deal mind you, but these tracks just don’t feel good compared to other songs like “Leap Of Faith” or “Here I Stand”.  

PITRIFF RATING - 88/100 - There’s some great riffs on this album; some great songs, great performances and honestly a great message.  It’s definitely a harder Christian rock than I might otherwise look to listen to, but the music itself and the fact that it’s more telling a story than beating the listener up for not walking His path makes it OK with me.  Walking With Kings is a seriously solid band, and this effort is a fun listen to say the least.  It’s got it’s flaws, but it’s far from easily dismissed.  If more Christian Rock bands did this, the message would be easier to get out there to the modern aged kids.

Chris Akin

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