• Iron Maiden - THE BOOK OF SOULS

    Image: Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls, Review, Classic Metal, Pitriff, Chris Akin Iron Maiden


    They don’t do it that often anymore, but there’s always excitement when Iron Maiden comes out with new music. Knowing that they are closing in on the end of their career, you really do end up hoping that when they go out for good, it will be with a bang. I think it’s universally agreed upon that

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  • Slayer - REPENTLESS

    Image: Slayer, Repentless, Pitriff, Review, Thrash Metal, Chris Akin Slayer


    Probably more than any release in their history, Slayer came into releasing this album at a crossroads. This WAS the album that, in many ways, dictated if the band could continue on or if it was indeed time to drift off quietly to Hell. The loss of guitarist Jeff Hanneman and the removal of drummer Dave Lombardo had almost every Slayer

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  • Operation: Mindcrime - THE KEY

    Image: Operation Mindcrime, Geoff Tate, Reviews, Music, heavy metal Operation: Mindcrime


    Geoff Tate’s falling out and subsequent two years of lawsuits, multiple versions of the same band and overall craziness in the press definitely tarnished a legacy that once seemed untouchable. Think about it. Even with over a decade of arguably bad releases (Q2K, TRIBE, AMERICAN SOLDIER, DEDICATED TO CHAOS), it wasn’t until the now infamous spitting incident and the

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    Image: WASP, Golgotha, Blackie Lawless, Pitriff, Review, Heavy Metal W.A.S.P.


    W.A.S.P. is one of those bands that has a ridiculously loyal fanbase...and good for them, actually. Doing THE CLASSIC METAL SHOW, we get shit on repeatedly anytime we say anything that is less than glowing about W.A.S.P., Blackie Lawless or any of the band’s former or present members. Oh well...comes with the territory, I guess. After what seems like quite a

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  • Halestorm - INTO THE WILD LIFE

    Image: Halestorm, Into The Wild Life, Pitriff, heavy metal, reviews, interviews Halestorm


    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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Image: Michael Stanley, The Hang, Pitriff, CD ReviewsMichael Stanley

Throughout my lifetime as a Clevelander, Michael Stanley has been a musical pillar in my life. As long as I’ve been listening to rock music, Michael Stanley has been one of those artists that’s been a fixture for me. I’ve easily seen him perform 30 times, including all 10 of the sold out shows at the Front Row Theatre and the infamous party in the parking lot outside of old Cleveland Stadium. When I got my first walkman in 1982, the first three tapes that came with it were Genesis – GENESIS, Pat Benatar – GET NERVOUS and Michael Stanley Band – MSB. In so many ways, Stanley has been a better version of Bruce Springsteen for me – a storyteller with stories that I could more directly relate to along the way. “Thank God for the man who puts the white lines on the highway”. Indeed.


Stanley may have never made the splash outside of Cleveland that Springsteen did, but I’d argue that he’s been far more consistent than the Boss musically – especially in this stage of their respective careers where it’s starting to wind down. Listening to THE HANG, it’s absolutely stunning that Stanley has waited until now to put forth his most heartfelt, passionate and pain filled album to date.

To be very clear here, THE HANG isn’t ever going to be mistaken as a fun time anthemic rocker. There are no “He Can’t Love You” moments here. There’s not a “My Town” to be found. THE HANG is, simply, the most perfect musical description of time moving on and leaving a path of pain in its midst. It’s really not surprising, as Stanley has been through a great deal of personal tragedy in the last year, including his wife’s long battle with cancer that she recently lost. In a press release, Stanley tried to put into perspective how much loss he felt, but listening to THE HANG makes it a lot clearer. You can literally feel the emotion coming out of Stanley as he sings the chorus through songs like “Breaking Down”. Every time that your not around / everything is breaking down / You are the reason to be / someone to hold onto me. These lyrics were clearly written from the heart, and almost certainly came with tears and a punch or two of a wall in the studio. On “Fait Accompli”, Stanley brings it down more, as this piano ballad literally explores the emptiness he’s feeling coming home to an empty place each night. This song is, without question, the deepest song of Stanley’s entire career.

While the mood is overwhelmingly somber on THE HANG, this album does what so many of Stanley’s albums have always done. In many circumstances, the songs just paint the emotional landscape that so many of us share here in Northeastern Ohio. We’ve all had that day where nothing goes right around here, which seems almost taken right from our memory and put into song on “Down In The Suck”. With the way the world has gone to Hell in the last few years, we’ve all reminisced about how things were better “Back In The Day”. In short, THE HANG just touches the nerve; it’s a finger on the pulse of Northeastern Ohio and, specifically, on one of its favorite sons.

PITRIFF RATING – 93/100 - Unlike a lot of Michael Stanley’s albums, THE HANG isn’t going to lift you up a bunch. It’s the most serious album of his career, and I’d argue one of the very best. By far it’s the best thing he’s done in two decades. Whether it was a purposeful purging of the pain of his last year or just coincidental, Stanley has brilliantly drawn a picture of a very tough year. I’m sure almost anyone can relate to most of this release in some way or another.

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.


Buy Now:  Paperback    Digital

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.

Buy Now:  Paperback     Digital


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

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