• 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: Jeff Scott Soto, Damage Control, Pitriff, CD ReviewsJeff Scott Soto
DAMAGE CONTROL

Jeff Scott Soto is, by far, my favorite singer out there today. The guy has one of the strongest voices in the world, and his ability to use it in a multitude of ways stretches far past what most singers ever showcase. Let’s face it, you have to have incredible talent to be able to front a band that was defined by a voice (Journey), as well as fronting a metal band of prominence (Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force).

Even the great ones come back to earth occasionally though. While DAMAGE CONTROL is a fine album without anything that you’d look at cringe on, it lacks anything that really grabs you too much either. It’s fairly standard, and while it does feature a full plate of good songs, there’s not really a great or unique moment on it. The truth is that Soto pretty much spoiled fans with his last release BEAUTIFUL MESS. That album had so many twists, turns and unexpected moments that anything a bit more standard would feel like a step backwards. Still, DAMAGE CONTROL feels like a step backwards.

Even stepping backwards though, I’m happy to have DAMAGE CONTROL. Songs like the arena rocker “Afterworld” certainly will have your head bobbing and will tempt you to throw your fist in the air and scream “Hey” on queue. Other songs, like “Look Inside Your Heart” definitely find Soto channelling his inner Journey once again. For his part, Soto sounds fantastic as always on DAMAGE CONTROL. He’s a big time voice that knows when to croon and when to shout, and as always, he puts it together perfectly. Listening to songs like “If I Never Let Her Go”, it’s apparent that he’s very compelling as a singer.

The issue with DAMAGE CONTROL is that so much of the material is very formulaic. It’s kind of like listening to a Bryan Adams record with a better vocalist. With his last release BEAUTIFUL MESS, there were twists and turns from song to song. That really doesn’t happen here. Instead, you have 11 really strong songs that are all pretty similar stylistically. DAMAGE CONTROL fails to deliver something unique like “21st Century” or “Mountain” from the last album. While songs like “Give A Little More” and “Damage Control” are certainly good songs, they are very predictable AOR rock.

PITRIFF RATING – 80/100 - To reiterate, DAMAGE CONTROL is a solid album; completely listenable and entertaining. Unfortunately for Jeff Scott Soto, he raised the bar very high with BEAUTIFUL MESS to a point where a straight forward rock record was not about to clear that hurdle. I like it. I don’t love it. It’ll be in my Ipod for the next six months, so it will probably grow on me. For now though, it’s a solid, standard release from the best vocalist making music today.

Chris Akin

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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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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