• 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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  • Lynch Mob - SUN RED SUN

    Image: Lynch Mob, Sun Red Sun, George Lynch, Classic Rock, Reviews Lynch Mob
    SUN RED SUN

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    On THE CLASSIC METAL SHOW, George Lynch is regularly a topic of conversation. Maybe that has to do with the fact that Neeley is a personal friend of Don Dokken and I work for Don on his website, but I like to believe that he becomes a topic because, first and foremost, we are big fans of the

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    Image: Arch Stanton, Karma To Burn, Pitriff, Stoner Metal, Reviews Karma To Burn
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    There are those of us who know. We will forever be known as the "fortunate ones". There are those of you that have no idea. You will be known as the "unfortunate ones". What is it we know that you don't? We know the sheer greatness of Karma To Burn. For those that are unfortunate ones, let me

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    Image: U.D.O. - DECADENT, Classic Metal, Reviews, Pitriff U.D.O.
    DECADENT

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    I'm sure I'm not in the minority here, but I'm glad that we now have a killer version of Accept with Mark Tornillo as well as the continuation of U.D.O. with Udo Dirkschneider. In short, it's led to both bands stepping up their game and creating great music. While neither side will admit competition with the other band, the fans certainly

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  • 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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    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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Image: Rush, Clockwork Angels, CD Review, Heavy metal, pitriff, interviews, newsRush
CLOCKWORK ANGELS

It's been five years since Rush unleashed their SNAKES AND ARROWS release, and to be honest, it's been longer still since they put out a release that was truly great.  Like most of their material outside of the 80s, SNAKES AND ARROWS was a little better than competent classic progressive hard rock.  For the diehards, always being good but not great leaves them wondering when the next great release will emerge.  For those that are just fans in passing (like this guy), the thought of a new release generates very little in the way of expectation.

Yet, what Rush have done this time is creating something that's going to be widely interesting to the average fan and adored by the hardcores.  CLOCKWORK ANGELS is a very tight, heavy conceptual opus that could possibly be the very best album this band has done since the middle of their career.  I'm not talking PRESTO or HOLD YOUR FIRE either folks...we're talking grand releases like SIGNALS or MOVING PICTURES.  Without question, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart have pushed their creative boundaries to the farthest edges with CLOCKWORK ANGELS.  Without breaking down the whole concept of things, Rush have captured the very best songwriting they have laid down in 30 years and combined it with their always tight, unquestionable musical skill.  Songs like "Caravan" are so much more heavy than anything these guys have been doing for years; specifically Lifeson on guitar.  While Lifeson has always been the forgotten man in the band between the unique vocals of Lee and the (arguably) best drummer in the history of Rock with Peart, he's long had a signature sound that balanced out between artistic and powerful.  He's noticeably less polished and much more raw and aggressive on CLOCKWORK ANGELS...in the best way possible.  Sure, there are songs like "Clockwork Angels" where Lifeson displays his more traditional flavoring to the songs, but these are exceptions more than the rule.  Lifeson sound is much thicker and heavier than anything they've done since PRESTO in my eyes.

As for the other two members of the band, what exactly are you going to say?  Peart is at worst one of the three top guys ever to play drums; widely regarded by many as the best ever to beat the skins.  His undeniable level of skill is on display as it always is throughout CLOCKWORK ANGELS.  His progressive meets rock drumming fusion on songs like "Headlong Flight" is a simple showcase of just why everyone from Tommy Lee to Mike Portnoy wishes they were Peart.  Like always, it's not that he's playing a zillion beats per second.  It's the level of precision and his ability to use his chops to develop each and every song instead of simply driving it like most percussionists do.  Lee's bass is thumping throughout; interesting louder and more impactful than on the last handful of albums.

Vocally is where Lee surprises though.  While he'll never reach the highest of high notes of the early days anymore, he proves that there's a lot left in the tank (at least studio-wise).  While their live album recorded in Cleveland showed a version of Lee who had lost a touch of his range for, at least, that performance, there are no signs of that here.  His voice is strong and loud throughout, with higher notes on songs like the aforementioned "Headlong Flight" than he's done in years.

PITRIFF RATING - 96/100 - I'm stunned at how good this really is.  By far the most creative album Rush has done in 30 years.  Certainly the best recorded sound they've captured as well.  Finally, the strongest musical performances this trio of great musicians have put forth in the bulk of my lifetime.  For so many rock fans that are 30 years old or less, they probably don't quite understand why so many have regarded Rush as an elite band.  CLOCKWORK ANGELS could be the album that makes them get it.  If nothing else, CLOCKWORK ANGELS once again brings shame on the Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame.  For them to be able to leave this band outside while welcoming far lesser talents like the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Guns N' Roses just proves how truly clueless the concept of greatness is to the curator and decision makers at that over-glorified Hard Rock Cafe.  CLOCKWORK ANGELS is the kind of work legends do.

Chris Akin

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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The shockingly honest and emotional first book from radio personality and rock critic Chris Akin.

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

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