• Winger - BETTER DAYS COMIN'

    Image: Winger, Better Days Comin', Pitriff, CD Review, Classic Metal Winger
    BETTER DAYS COMIN'

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    Of the bands that have come back into an active state from the 80s, it's hard to argue that any has created stronger music than Winger. Their IV and KARMA releases have been enjoyable to say the least, and have shown that there is still plenty of magic left when this collection of musicians gets together. While not as

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  • Black Label Society - CATACOMBS OF THE BLACK VATICAN

    Image: Black Label Society, Catacombs Of The Black Vatican, Pitriff, Review, Classic Metal Black Label Society
    CATACOMBS OF THE BLACK VATICAN

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    When Zakk Wylde decides to release new music, the metal world definitely stops for a moment and listens. They may not like it all, but they do listen. It's a testament to how unbelievable the man is on guitar; a true legend who stands shoulder to shoulder with the Eddie Van Halen's and Dimebag Darrell's

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  • Lacuna Coil - BROKEN CROWN HALO

    Image: Lacuna Coil, Broken Crown Halo, Review, Modern Metal, Pitriff Lacuna Coil
    BROKEN CROWN HALO

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    It's not really much of a secret that two of my favorite bands out there today are fronted by ladies. Those two bands are Halestorm and Lacuna Coil. While it took me awhile to latch onto Halestorm, Lacuna Coil was a band that I latched on the very first time I heard them. I remember getting a sampler

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  • Sevendust - TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES

    Image: Sevendust, Time Travelers & Bonfires, Review, Modern Metal, Pitriff Sevendust
    TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES

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    Sevendust are really a band for the fans, and the fans are definitely always there for the band. Case in point - their latest release TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES. This release is one paid for by the latest trend hitting the music business, pre-funding by the fans to pay for a project. The band asked for a lot for

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  • Various Artists: Ronnie James Dio - THIS IS YOUR LIFE

    Image: Dio, This Is Your Life, Pitriff, Review, Classic metal Various Artists
    RONNIE JAMES DIO: THIS IS YOUR LIFE

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    As much as I want to take this at face value, it's hard to not at least wonder just how many times Wendy Dio is going to visit the Dio well and mine more material culled from his past work. There's already been multiple live releases, deluxe reissues, an officially sanctioned band playing the

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  • Red Reign - CHASING SHADOWS

    Image: Red Reign, Chasing Shadows, Pitriff, Review, Classic Metal Red Reign
    CHASING SHADOWS

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    Amazon

    It's not very often that a band that has zero backing behind it sweeps in and just monopolizes my listening time. Generally, bands like Red Reign get 30 seconds as I quickly scan through their music and I'm on to something else that I'm getting pressured to review by a publicist. For Red Reign, I was asked to review

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  • Steel Panther - ALL YOU CAN EAT

    Image: Steel Panther, All You Can Eat, The Classic Metal Show Steel Panther
    ALL YOU CAN EAT

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    They certainly are the joke that just keeps on being retold and being funny, now aren't they? I'm sure there's a lot less people that remember them as Metal Shop, Metal Skool or even way back to the Danger Kitty days, but a whole lot more people have discovered this band since they adopted the name Steel

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  • Sebastian Bach - GIVE 'EM HELL

    Sebastian Bach, Give 'Em Hell, Pitriff, CD Review Sebastian Bach
    GIVE 'EM HELL

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    It seems like every time Sebastian Bach releases new music, the first thought that comes to my mind is "this dude comes off like a douchebag ALOT in interviews, but he just kicks ass musically." Amazing how that comes back around. Baz is back, and he's been saying some interesting things in recent interviews. Yet, just ignoring that

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  • Gamma Ray - EMPIRE OF THE UNDEAD

    Image: Gamma Ray, Empire Of The Undead, Pitriff, CD Review, Power Metal Gamma Ray
    EMPIRE OF THE UNDEAD

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    CD

    My affinity for Gamma Ray really predates the band itself, as it's much more of an appreciation for the vocal work of singer Kai Hansen. Be it with Gamma Ray or his legendary work with his previous band Helloween, Hansen has always been not only one of the most elite vocalists in power metal in my eyes,

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  • Vandenberg's MoonKings - VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS

    Image: Vandenberg's Moonkings, Pitriff, Classic Rock, Classic Metal Vandenberg's MoonKings
    VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS

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    Adrian Vandenberg and Jake E. Lee have seemingly the same career path. Both were great in super huge bands (Vandenberg in Whitesnake, Lee in Ozzy), recorded even better material when they broke away (Lee with Badlands, Vandenberg with Manic Eden), and then both walked away and just left music behind for awhile. Now, both are back. Lee's Red Dragon

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  • Pilgrim - II: VOID WORSHIP

    Image: Pilgrim, Void Worship, Pitriff, doom metal, review Pilgrim
    II: VOID WORSHIP

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    In the epic world of doom metal, there are a lot of pretenders. There are only a few that are truly authentic though. Pilgrim is one of the most authentic I think I've ever heard. Their grinding, slow moving sludge is such from which legends put on this Earth to slay anyone or anything in it's path. Made up

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  • Hatecore Inc. - NO HOPE, NO ESCAPE VOL. 1

    Image: Hatecore Inc, No Hope, No Escape Vol 1, Pitriff, Review Hatecore, Inc.
    NO HOPE, NO ESCAPE VOL. 1: WELCOME TO MY WAR

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    Being from the Cleveland area, I've seen a lot of bands get ignored for whatever reason. On the national side of things, most people look at bands north of Columbus as being from "Cleveland". Unfortunately though, that's not how it works. For as long as I've been in this scene, there

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  • KXM - KXM

    Image: KXM, George Lynch, Dug Pinnick, Ray Luzier, Pitriff KXM
    KXM

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    Some points of clarity before I write a single world about the new project KXM, in order that this review is understood and evaluated fairly by anyone reading it. This project features three guys - Dug Pinnick of King's X, George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, and Ray Luzier who is currently the drummer for Korn. Out of fairness, I'll

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Rush - CLOCKWORK ANGELS

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

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