• Sweet & Lynch - ONLY TO RISE

    Image: Sweet & Lynch, Only To Rise, CD Review, Classic Metal, Pitriff Sweet & Lynch
    ONLY TO RISE

    CD
    MP3

    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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  • 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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    MP3

    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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Unisonic - UNISONIC

Image: Unisonic, heavy metal, pitriff, heavy metal news, reviews, interviewsUnisonic
UNISONIC

If you aren't a fan of Helloween, you might consider Michael Kiske returning to metal after over a decade of saying that he hated everything about it to be hypocritical.  If you are a fan of Helloween, you probably will look at it as a simple change of mind.

So Michael Kiske has changed his mind and returned to metal...:P

Seriously though, the great Helloween vocalist has joined forces with many of the best names in the current European metal market to form what has to be considered a supergroup of sorts; the new group Unisonic.  The band, which also features former Helloween and current Gamma Ray guitarist Kai Hansen, Krokus/Gotthard axeslinger Mandy Meyer and the former bottom end of Pink Cream 69 (bassist Dennis Ward and drummer Kosta Zafiriou), have just released their first effort - the self-titled release UNISONIC.  As a Helloween enthusiast, as well as a fan of every single band these guys are or have been with, this seems like a home run waiting to be hit.

Sadly though, it's more like a ground rule double than a home run.  There's excitement when it's first hit, but a lot of of the time you are left stranded without scoring.  The biggest problem here is not any of the individual performances, but the lack of dynamics to this release.  Ward, who is generally a brilliant producer, really dropped the ball on this.  Most of the songs just fall flat and don't jump like anything any of these guys have done before.  A prime example comes from the song "Never Too Late".  This song is the closest thing on the disc to a Helloween or Gamma Ray song, but it just lays there.  Kiske's vocals just don't have a ton of bite to them, and the guitars are very dulled back into the mix.  The guitar thing is a recurring problem on Unisonic.  Throughout the disc, there are really no big, arena rock, power metal guitar blasts to power the songs, which really renders tracks like "I've Tried" to come off a bit dull.  Meyer and Hansen, two guitarists that are generally a lot more dynamic, could not have been happy with the final mix of their parts.

As for Kiske, he sounds pretty good but not great.  Let's be honest here, Michael Kiske is one of the best metal vocalists ever to come out of Germany.  That said though, he hasn't done a whole lot with that talent since 1993.  He's still got the voice, but some of that fire seemingly burned out with those SEVEN KEYS he once sang about.  He's still good as far as the skill goes, but songs like "We Rise" and "Star Rider" have more of a "that sounds good, use it" sound than that of an emotional vocal that would make these songs so much better.

PITRIFF RATING - 66/100 - The sum of the parts here could turn this into something special, but UNISONIC doesn't pack nearly the punch you would want, or expect, from a lineup of this caliber.  I'd love to see this in a packed hall where the energy of a crowd would bring out a different performance, but taken from the studio, this is a fairly average, somewhat sale release.

Chris Akin


Unisonic - Unisonic

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