• 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

    CD
    MP3

    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

    Read More
  • Lacuna Coil - BROKEN CROWN HALO

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

    CD
    MP3

    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

    Read More
  • Sevendust - TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES

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

    CD
    MP3

    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

    Read More
  • 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

    CD
    MP3

    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

    Read More
  • Red Reign - CHASING SHADOWS

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

    iTunes
    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

    Read More
  • Steel Panther - ALL YOU CAN EAT

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

    CD
    MP3

    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

    Read More
  • Sebastian Bach - GIVE 'EM HELL

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

    CD
    MP3

    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

    Read More
  • Gamma Ray - EMPIRE OF THE UNDEAD

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

    MP3
    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,

    Read More
  • Vandenberg's MoonKings - VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS

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

    CD
    MP3

    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

    Read More
  • Pilgrim - II: VOID WORSHIP

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

    CD
    MP3

    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

    Read More
  • 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

    CD
    MP3

    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

    Read More
  • KXM - KXM

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

    CD
    MP3

    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

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12

Dream Theater - DREAM THEATER

Image: Dream Theater, Pitriff, CD Review, heavy metal, hard rockDream Theater
DREAM THEATER

iTunes
Amazon
Concert Tickets

...and once again I prepare for the argument that I always have when writing a review of a new Dream Theater release. It's the argument that I always make, and that every one of you musicians out there that worship this band always fight me tooth and nail on. That argument is simple - that Dream Theater are the most talented, and yet most undisciplined band in the history of recorded music. There is no person in their right mind that will say that they aren't a collection of some of the most talented virtuoso performers on the planet. With all their talent though, they are simply not disciplined enough to write songs that aren't bloated, pompous and designed to be more of a showcase of their musicianship than to creating something instantly memorable to anyone but their hardcore fans. There's a reason that casual fans don't know that they ever had another song after "Pull Me Under" - it's the lack of discipline in their songwriting to write concise, brilliant songs. They have brilliant performances all over each and every release, but few brilliant songs. I'd argue that Mr. Big was a much better band. They are a band of equal talent individually, but were also a band that honed their individual talents to create a lot more memorable songs. Let the hatred begin!

So, after what was a really solid effort with A DRAMATIC TURN OF EVENTS, Dream Theater falls backwards with their new, self-titled effort. Like always, there are some big, lush songs here. The slow moving ballad "The Bigger Picture" is an absolutely grand song that could act as the soundtrack to a very long movie preview. While I will give them some credit for shortening up most of the songs (with only 1 tune breaking the 8 minute mark), the band once again spend far too much time noodling around instead of creating anything that's easy to grasp. I get it...that's their thing. They want people to dig deep into the tunes to fully "get" what they are doing. I also get that I'm not one of those guys. There's too much other music out there that's more fun and doesn't require months of dissection to appreciate. While I can listen to a song like "Enigma Machine" and appreciate the brilliant performances from guitarist John Petrucci, drummer Mike Mangini, keyboardist Jordan Rudess and bassist John Myung, none of it is peripherally memorable at all. In fact, listening to DREAM THEATER, the only instantly memorable part of the entire experience is the somewhat simple and raw guitar lead from Petrucci on "Behind The Veil". As for the rest of the material, it just doesn't stick at all. Maybe I'm just too dumb to get it.

I know this though. I'm not too dumb to understand the complete and totally useless experience that ends this release - the over 22 minute long opus called "Illumination Theory". There's never, ever a need for a song this long, and the reality is that it's not one song. It's three or four fused together. Again, it's that lack of discipline I was talking about.

PITRIFF RATING - 60/100 - I get that this is what Dream Theater does, and I get that it's just not my thing. I appreciate the talent of the musicians in the band. Even trying to judge this against their past catalog though, it's a letdown. It's certainly not as good as A DRAMATIC TURN OF EVENTS. It's certainly not as good as TRAIN OF THOUGHT, or even SYSTEMATIC CHAOS. It's closer to BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS in my book, and that isn't great. If you are a hardcore, you'll add 40 to my score anyway and claim it as perfect, just like the rest of their catalog. To me though, DREAM THEATER is fairly blah.

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

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

Want Streets Of Rock N' Roll Radio On Your Phone - CLICK HERE To Download The New App