• Black Stone Cherry - KENTUCKY

    Image: Black Stone Cherry, Kentucky Black Stone Cherry
    KENTUCKY

    CD
    MP3

    This collection of southern boys are not the most original band in the world. They’ll never be accused of being the most musically gifted fellas in the world. Certainly, no one will ever listen to them and think, “wow, that’s really cutting edge music”. To the contrary though, release in and release out, the same thought comes to mind

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  • Zakk Wylde - BOOK OF SHADOWS II

    Image: Zakk Wylde, Book Of Shadows II Zakk Wylde
    BOOK OF SHADOWS II

    CD
    MP3

    Sequels to albums, at least in my listening experience, are generally poor. The two that immediately jump to mind for me are Rob Zombie’s HELLBELLY DELUXE 2 and Meat Loaf’s BAT OUT OF HELL 2. Both releases were pretty lame, and garnered attention solely because they were named after much more historic releases in their creator’s career.

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Image: Battle Beast, Pitriff, Reviews, Power MetalBattle Beast
BATTLE BEAST

CD
MP3

With the overabundance of traditional and power metal bands out there, it's not surprising how many of them just sound the same. Without question, Finland's Battle Beast takes their influences from the classic tones of power metal. Unfortunately for them though, they take a bit too much influence without incorporating much of their own style into it. After multiple listens to BATTLE BEAST, I'm yet to find anything at all that separates them from the bulk of the European metal bands that are finding their way to our shores these days. While there's nothing terrible here, there's not a single "wow" moment either. In short, BATTLE BEAST is the kind of release you listen to in between bands that you just like better.

This is not to say that they are technically bad in any way. Their sound is defined (as much as there's definition to it) by vocalist Noora Louhimo. As a female vocalist, she reminds in a lot of ways of somewhat of a combination of Leather Leone and Kate French of Chastain fame. Songs like "Out Of Control" showcase this snarling feature proudly from Louhimo. On other songs, like "Out On The Streets", she goes a bit more with the Nightwish-like ambiance in her crooning.

Louhimo is backed ably by the band. Guitarist Juuso Soinio and Anton Kabanen are able players that bring crunchy riffs to the material. Songs like "Necromancer" are solid and have that strong driving guitar riff that makes them work. This song is really the definition of the problem with this band. For as good as the guitars are here on this song, the overabundance of keyboards from Janne Bjorkroth and the electronic drums mixed in by drummer Pyry Vikki just take the raw energy away and leave it feeling very fake and processed. It's too bad too, because there's a lot of opportunity for much of this material to be far stronger. Tracks like "Raven" rage for the most part, although once again the atmospheric keyboards take away a bit of the power. The electronic drum fills are terrible, and should absolutely be removed from future releases. They are a major distraction.

PITRIFF RATING - 55/100 - While there's a lot of potential for this band to develop into something good, there's as much chance of them becoming a b-level Stratovarius that's about as uninteresting as it gets. BATTLE BEAST has some cool riffs, but they are not countered well with the song structuring or full instrumentation that will set them apart from the pack.

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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