• 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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  • 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

    CD
    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

    CD
    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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Image: Shades Of Resistence, Pitriff, Cleveland, hard rock, heavy metal, veilShades Of Remembrance
VEIL

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Amazon
Concert Tickets

For years and years, there have been many progressive metal bands that have struggled to be heard.  For many, they never get the chance, and therefore never truly get out there.  For others, their sheer will to be known pushed them to be discovered by fans.  With progressive metal, it's difficult to really make a statement about your sound.  Everyone looks and claims to sound like the next Fates Warning, Dream Theater or Queensryche, but with such lofty names to put as an equal to yourself, the actual music behind it lets you down somewhat.  For Cleveland's Shades Of Remembrance, they can loosely claim the name Fates Warning as somewhat of an influence, but ultimately they are not a good counter to any of those named bands.  While VEIL is a very good release, it's not really comparable to big name progressive metal bands.  They are much more metal; more gritty and more raw then the uber polished approach the bands listed about have exhibited.  Don't take that as a bad thing either, as it's refreshing to hear powerful progressive playing without some studio engineer "cleaning it up".  This is a solid listen.

Listening to VEIL numerous times, the performance that sticks out the most to me is that of guitarist Al Bauhof and rhythm player Calvin Burgess.  In many ways, their raw and gritty, almost barroom sound has more of a very early Iron Maiden meets Black Sabbath combined power than what you get from most prog bands.  Listening to songs like "False Intentions", you can tell these guys have much more of a "metal lineage" than they do "prog".  On other songs like "Bad Memory", the crunch of the guiding riff feels ripped straight off an early Testament album, and that's all good with me.  They lay some dirty, fat groundwork for vocalist Elm Burgess to showcase from.  In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Russell Allen of Symphony X, in that he's not a pure, clean singer.  Instead, he adds a lot of grit to his clean vocals, which makes them sound tougher and more rugged.  There are times, like on "Scream", where the vocals do come off a touch flat around the high end, but overall you have as much attitude as polish throughout.  Elm additionally plays bass, and teams with drummer Todd Martin to provide a solid rhythm section that is so important to this kind of band.  While I'm not overwhelmed with the sound of the drums on VEIL (they do have a bit of a cardboard box feel on some songs, most notably on "Scream" where there's not as much music covering it up), it's clear that Martin can play.

PITRIFF RATING - 74/100 - These guys are an unsigned band, so the production things are somewhat expected based on budget.  But I have to judge on what I hear, and not what "could have been".  I haven't seen this band, but my assumption is that there's a lot of energy at their shows based on some powerful songs that are on display here.  VEIL does it's job to create interest in this band.  With any luck, it will produce enough residual income for the band so they can record in a better environment next time around.  Still though, this raw sound with progressive elements is welcomed.  Pretty good record.

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.

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