• Winger - BETTER DAYS COMIN'

    Image: Winger, Better Days Comin', Pitriff, CD Review, Classic Metal Winger
    BETTER DAYS COMIN'

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    Of the bands that have come back into an active state from the 80s, it's hard to argue that any has created stronger music than Winger. Their IV and KARMA releases have been enjoyable to say the least, and have shown that there is still plenty of magic left when this collection of musicians gets together. While not as

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  • 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

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    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

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  • Lacuna Coil - BROKEN CROWN HALO

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

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    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

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  • Sevendust - TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES

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

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    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

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  • 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

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    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

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  • Red Reign - CHASING SHADOWS

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

    iTunes
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    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

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  • Steel Panther - ALL YOU CAN EAT

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

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    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

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  • Sebastian Bach - GIVE 'EM HELL

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

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    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

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  • Gamma Ray - EMPIRE OF THE UNDEAD

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

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    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,

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  • Vandenberg's MoonKings - VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS

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

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    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

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  • Pilgrim - II: VOID WORSHIP

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

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    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

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  • 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

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    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

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  • KXM - KXM

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

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    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

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Havok - UNNATURAL SELECTION

Image: Pitriff, CD Review, Havok, Unnatural SelectionHavok
UNNATURAL SELECTION

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I'm really not sure how Havok has done it, but they have once again topped themselves musically and creatively. While creating music with a pretty rigid framework by purposely claiming themselves to be playing "90s era Thrash", Havok finds ways to improve from release to release. On UNNATURAL SELECTION, they just may have peaked. There really can't be much further they can go to get better. A seething cauldron of frenetic rage, UNNATURAL SELECTION finds Havok creating a thrash metal opus that would stand proudly and deservedly next to any Exodus, Overkill or Anthrax release from the past that you want to line it up against. Without question, this Denver band has their shit REALLY together these days.

While they have always been solid in this arena, Havok have gotten their production chops honed on UNNATURAL SELECTION. Without question, this release has some of the best recorded production of anything I own in my catalog (a catalog that is built on a foundation of all the classic Bay Area sounding Thrash of the last 35 years). The lead guitar sound from Reece Scruggs on "Waste Of Life" is just ripping. he and fellow guitarist David "Dirty" Sanchez provide some nasty riffs to drive each song, and yet Scruggs rips off some killer solos throughout the release. The recording quality of their work is masterful, as it's huge sounding while still having that raw "fuck you" aspect that made guys like Gary Holt into legends.

Vocally, Sanchez returns and brings his guttural rage with him. He's regularly compared to Zetro Souza of Exodus. While that might be fair as a comparison, the truth is that Sanchez has developed away from that a bit and has a bit more depth and a bit less high end squeal than Zetro featured in Exodus or now in Hatriot. Instead, he just sounds like a pissed off guy thrashing around a room enraged as he attacks on songs like "Give Me Liberty...Or Give Me Death". He's grown vocally in the last 9 years as a vocalist, and it shows on UNNATURAL SELECTION.

Some credit has to be given to drummer Pete Webber and bassist Michael Leon as well. Specifically with Webber, these guys create a raw bottom end that hasn't been featured so prominently in a long time in the world of Thrash. While his kit sometimes sounds like something off the shelf from a music store, his playing more than makes up for it. This guy is a monster who controls tempo changes throughout most of the songs. More than a lot of thrash acts that let the guitars drive, Havok is completely driven by a rhythm section that's only too happy to light the way.

PITRIFF RATING - 97/100 - UNNATURAL SELECTION is a DAMN solid effort; by far the best by a band who's praises I've been singing since the moment I heard them. Hard working (as they are always on tour), it's clear that all that work has been the reason they have surpassed every other like band that came out at exactly the same time as them. Havok is here to stay, and UNNATURAL SELECTION is one of the best albums the thrash genre has seen in years.

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