• 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

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    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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  • Dream Theater - THE ASTONISHING

    Image: Dream Theater, The Astonishing, Pitriff, Chris Akin Dream Theater
    THE ASTONISHING

    CD
    MP3

    So, Dream Theater is back with a release that many are calling their most in-depth, and yet polarizing release. Fair enough. With 34 tracks and clocking in at over two hours in length, it’s certainly the most challenging on a listener to fully grasp and comprehend. Along with THE ASTONISHING, you are expected to read the book of lyrics

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  • Megadeth - DYSTOPIA

    Image: Megadeth, Dystopia, Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Kiko Loureiro, Chris Adler Megadeth
    DYSTOPIA

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    MP3

    More than any other metal band in history, being a hardcore Megadeth fan is truly a rollercoaster ride. This is a band with multiple duds in their catalog, and yet they always seem to rebound. Think about it, they’ve truly had some bad releases in their catalog. RISK was terrible. THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO wasn’t a lot better. And yet,

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  • Anthrax - FOR ALL KINGS

    Image: Anthrax, For All Kings, Pitriff, Chris Akin Anthrax
    FOR ALL KINGS

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    MP3

    Depending on your perspective, Anthrax is either having a career resurgence or floundering at the end of their career. I’m stunned how many people actually didn’t like their last effort, FOR ALL KINGS. In these ears, that was the best effort of their career. What made it great, to me, was the mixture of crushing heaviness combined with some

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CD Review - Helloween

Image: Helloween, Straight Out Of Hell, Pitriff, Heavy Metal News, CD Reviews, InterviewsHelloween
STRAIGHT OUT OF HELL

When you history is as long as stoic as a band like Helloween's, people tend to come into each release with a series of expectations. They also tend to judge anything new they release by comparison to the rest of the catalog instead of as a standalone release. Certainly, that's justified. For me, I first remember discovering Helloween when I was stationed in Korea. They used to play their videos in a bar called the "MTV Club" in Itaewon, Korea. I watched for a year as videos for "I Want Out" and "Halloween" played over and over in this club. I remember buying KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS: PART 1 in some bootleg shop in Seoul, and literally wearing that tape out in only a few months. From that point on, I've never missed a release of a disc by Helloween, and I've compared every release to KEYS 1. Some have been hit and some have been miss, but all have pretty much maintained the core sound of the band. Even changes in core members hasn't derailed Helloween...at least to my ears.

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Firewind - FEW AGAINST MANY

Image: Firewind, CD Review, Heavy Metal, PitriffFirewind
FEW AGAINST MANY

I know I wasn't alone in worrying that guitarist Gus G. joining Ozzy would ruin Firewind.  Sure, we all get that it's a great move for Gus.  Further, we also understand that it is an unbelievable opportunity that that has propelled every other guitarist except Joe Holmes to stardom.  In short, we get why Gus did it.  That said though, Firewind has been, along with Primal Fear, the most consistently great power metal band of the last decade.  Seeing it become a part time project behind a very high profile gig could have spelled disaster.

Thankfully though, this has not happened.  While it's not the best album Firewind has ever done, FEW AGAINST MANY is very much in tune with the greatness of previous efforts and continues to show development of the band as songwriters.  To say the least, FEW AGAINST MANY kicks ass in the tradition the band had previously established.

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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.

Read more: Unisonic - UNISONIC

Review - Sabaton

Sabaton, Carolus Rex, Pitriff, news, interviews, reviews, heavy metalSabaton
CAROLUS REX

There's really two kinds of German metal out there.  There's the traditional power metal; stuff like Primal Fear or Scorpions that just kicks your ass with rhythmic playing and powerful vocals.  Then, there's the other variety that sounds like the metal version of a battle at a renaissance faire.  Bands like Blind Guardian come to mind.  This kind of music has an appeal, but you'd better be brilliant if you want to pull it off.  For years, Sabaton has been on the cusp of that greatness.  With CAROLUS REX, they fall far short of not only that standard, but their own standard of excellence as well.

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Review - Shadowside

Image: Shadowside, Pitriff, interviews, reviews, newsShadowside
INNER MONSTER OUT

When it comes to traditional metal fronted by women, there's really two bands to pay attention to and a whole litany of bands that want to do this, but are just missing something.  The two bands that "get it" fully are Benedictum and Shadowside.  While both are different musically and sonically, they both do one thing very much the same.  Where most female fronted metal bands these days try to highlight the woman thing over the music (example: Hydrogyn, Nightwish), these two bands really just create metal and do not go out of their way to promote the womanly  wiles of their lead singer.  It works for both bands, in my eyes.

Read more: Review - Shadowside

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.

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.

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

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

 Image: Keel, pitriff, heavy metal, news, reviews, interviews

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