Games Meet Metal: February 2010

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Judas Priest - Painkiller 20th Anniversary Long Review




Those who love metal are aware of its ability to walk on and blur the lines between cheesy and awesome, awe-inspiring and juvenile. With its soaring, sometimes screeching vocals, furious and flashy instrumentals, and lyrical themes that revolve mostly around war and death (with the occasional exception that sex, beasts, and religion are discussed), Judas Priest’s Painkiller album helps define an era of metal that is as furious as it is ridiculous. Ex-Racer-X drummer and new addition to Priest upon the album’s release Scott Travis keeps the beats coming fast and hard throughout this mostly speed metal record that let Rob Halford and crew go out on a bang before their seven year hiatus in 1990.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

DJ's Double Review: Negative Approach and Witch Hunt




Although their influence clearly permeates most of today's hardcore/punk, it seems that very few remember this classic Detroit HC band from the early 80's. These guys were a tight bunch who took the original hardcore blueprint laid down by Black Flag, made it simpler, and added an extra dose of hoarse vocals and pure speed. In this sense, they can be thought of as a precursor to skatepunk and even grunge. Total Recall is a compilation of most of their recorded output, including a myriad of abysmal sounding live tracks which could quite literally be compared to scratching nails on a chalkboard.

However, the first 21 tracks are some of the best HC punk I've ever heard. Tracks 1-11 (sans "Lost Cause", although that track might as well have been on there too) are taken from their self-titled debut EP released in '81. NA were fast, tight, and capable of writing some truly anthemic punk rock that sounds fresh and invigorating even if they don't stray very far from the 80's hardcore norm. The lyrics aren't anything special, they're very blunt and reminiscent of an angrier Faith. The topics remain consistent throughout the album; "people I hate", as singer Brannon puts it. However, they're sung (or shouted, rather) with an unmistakable passion that makes it easy to overlook this minor deficiency.

Tracks 12-21 are taken from the "Tied Down" LP released two years later on Touch & Go Records. The songs here show more of a heavy metal flair, while still remaining rooted in hardcore punk. Fans of Broken Bones should really enjoy this portion of the compilation since it sounds almost exactly like that bands "Dem Bones" album. The lyrics are a bit better, but still focused mainly on personal issues. That's not to say that this is a bad thing, but a little variety would be nice. Like the first 11 songs, the writing and musicianship here is killer, except for "Evacuate" which seems like filler to me.

The live tracks that fill up the rest of the album are horrendous, as I mentioned earlier. Now, I'm aware that this is a live recording of an 80's punk album, but the sound quality here is atrocious even by those standards! This makes the latter portion of the JFA compilation disc sound good, and that's saying quite a bit if you ask me. But considering how incredible the first half of this cd is, I'd still give this a roaring Slaytanic, but leaning more towards the lower A- minus/B plus part, I'd say.

Mini Review- Witch Hunt: Burning Bridges to Nowhere (no picture available, sorry!)

As for Witch Hunt, their career is more current but ironically, even more obscure than NA. They hail from Pennsylvania and have been around for a while, and over time have forged a rather unique sound. Witch Hunt are a blend of the hard edged, political basis of crust punk, the screeching male/female duo vocals of Nausea, and the lush and serene melodic embellishments of Metal Circus era Husker Du. Their latest album, Burning Bridges to Nowhere, bring these influences to the forefront of their attack. This cd contains some rather weak tracks, but songs like Everyday, Silence, and the self-titled song are good enough to warrant a Rippin'.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Blood and Metal EP for Gods Of War III: The "Pretty Much Everyone" Review

Finally, a moment I have been throffing for is nearing close. March 16 is the release of God of War III, and in absolutely pure nerdiness, I have already pre-ordered the super deluxe edition. Paid it all off too. (Thank you tax returns!) I'm also doubley stoked that GOW III is going to please all the metalhead gamers of the world and include a download code for the ultimate heavy metal video game tie-in EP in said collector's edition. You'll be getting new songs from Killswitch Engage, Opeth, Dream Theater, Mutiny Within, Taking Dawn, and Trivium. However, if you can't get the "emptier bank account" edition, Itunes will help you out with a digital download for $5.99 starting on March 2nd. 

Roadrunner have been kind enough to give us a sneak peak into all the songs. Since these are all different artists, we decided to split up the EP between us review guys for a more broad opinion. Impressions after the jump.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Need a reason to travel North-West this Spring?


That's right kiddies, these two legendary artists will bring their brand of horror-rock to Western Canada (and Washington, Wyoming) this spring. The tour will kick off in Winnipeg, MB on April 26th and then wrap up in Casper, WY on May 4th. It's a short run, but there's not a doubt in my mind that it will be memorable. Here's the link to the official announcement and I have included the dates and venues below.

APRIL
26 Winnipeg, MB (MTS Centre)
27 Saskatoon, SK (Credit Union)
28 Edmonton, AB (Rexall Place)
29 Calgary, AB (Corral)

MAY
1 Vancouver, BC (Pacific Coliseum)
2 Kennewick, WA (Toyota Center)
4 Casper, WY (Casper Events Center)


Monday, February 22, 2010

8-bit Metal Monday: SWEDES!

In Flames was the first Swedish melo-death band that i got into. They opened up for Slayer and owned that stage that night. Since then, I've bought all of their releases like religion and let the deluge open for other Swedish metal acts. (Arch Enemy, Meshuggah, At The Gates, ect.)

So it's with a little bit of sadness that I found out that founding guitarist Jesper Stromblad has exited the group. Poor dude's been having a lot of personal issues the past few years, as he's been in and out of rehab. This might of also been the reason that their last record was a pile of steaming spunk. Hey, if the guy feels he needs to break away to get better, and the music improves in the process, than so be it.

In memory of the man's career, here's a bleepy version of In Flame's Beyond Space.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Games Meet Metal is hiring!

Since starting in October of 2009, the site has grown very quickly, and we are now in need of a larger writing staff. If you have an interest in covering metal shows and cd's, or reviewing the latest games, then please read on!

What you'll be doing:
-review the latest cd's from some of the biggest metal labels like Roadrunner, Relapse, and Nuclear Blast
-blog about the latest game releases, before they hit store shelves
-attend and review metal concerts that roll through your area.
-interview members of bands
-blog about your own opinions in the gaming and metal industry, whether your opinion is positive or negative
-participate in our soon-to-be podcast

Requirements:
-18 years old or older
-general knowledge of the metal and gaming worlds
-access to internet
-a basic understanding of HTML code (text, posting pictures, ect.)
-your own transportation
-previous writing for websites or magazines not a requirement, but a definite plus
-a sense of humor and a cheerful disposition
-While this last bit may seem a little snobbish, it must be said: NO MUSIC ELITISTS OR GAMING FANBOYS! Nothing kills a site more than a bunch of people screaming (generic gaming system) IS BETTER THAN (other generic gaming system) FOREVER! Or (generic underground tech-death metal band) IS THE BROOTALIST PERIOD!

The one thing I must stress overall is that this is a non-paying position. In other words, an internship. But what you'll gain in expeience will pay off big time if the music or gaming journalistic industry becomes your career.

Interested? Then here's what you need to do. Ready an email with a little about yourself and a writing sample. Cd or game review or an opinionated article on either one of the industries is fine, as long as it is 4-6 paragraphs, properly formatted, and spell checked. Then send it to riff@gamesmeetmetal.com.

Thank you and good luck,

Riff

Friday, February 19, 2010

Just as an FYI

Avenged Sevenfold gets a new Drummer


Legendary drummer Mike Portnoy has been asked to fill the vacant slot on Avenged Sevenfold's upcoming album. Portnoy of course is the drummer for Dream Theater and winner of a billion Drummer of the Year awards. If you have no idea who Portnoy is, you should really get to know him. Now, say what you want about A7X, but I thought their last album was a huge step forward from previous releases. With the way that their drumming has progressed, I think Portnoy is a good fit for the album. But, this probably won't be a permanent replacement so that leaves A7X the task of finding a drummer out there who can recreate what Portnoy slaps down on the new record. I've got the official release notes after the jump:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ma'am? Could you please close your legs? You're scaring the children. Bayonetta: The Riff Review

Sexuality. In the right hands, it can make any man or woman instantly desirable and turn the person they're vying for into a quivering pile of lustful thoughts. In the wrong hands, it just turns into a sticky copy Hustler magazine. And that's what Bayonetta is, but with a much smaller head than the rest of the Hustler tramps.



Bayonetta is directed by the same guy who also oversaw the Devil May Cry series, so you know what you're walking into: super stylish over-the-top fighting with stylish over-the-top enemies, insane combos, beautiful scenery, and screen-filling bosses. However, this time around you control a heaping pack of lustful estrogen who goes overboard on the "Hey, I'm a sexy chick! LOOK AT ME DAMMIT!!" And as a potential spoiler alert, you'd think she might have some daddy issues.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wait a day, and you'll get what you want.

When I posted about Shadows Fall's cover of Ozzy's Bark at the Moon I was hoping there was a proper video for it, but I couldn't find one on Youtube. However, Myspace has become useful for once, as the Shads have posted their version in glorious digital video on their service today. And WOW! It's the early 80's again, except Ozzy's skinnier, taller, and has dreads. Also, bonus points for drummer Jason Bittner's Guy Faulkes facial hair. Extra lives if he actually grows it out in real life.

Here's the new version, along with Ozzy's original for comparison. You can get your hairy dog-mits on a copy of the cover by grabbing the deluxe edition of Shadows Fall's latest cd Redemption.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Two of my favorite things put together.

Ridiculous looking Norweigan black metallers have something in common with the 80's cartoons of my youth. Namely, the same make-up artists.

If you ever wanted Atari 2600 bleeps on your electric guitar,

then somebody somewhere had enough free time to do it.

8-bit Metal Monday: Bark at the Cover Songs

Shadows Fall debuted their cover of Ozzy's Bark at the Moon last week. Lead singer Brain Fair may not have the best set of pipes in the world, but he does a pretty good job with the most metal werewolf hymn ever. It also got me back into listening to the Shad's last album, Redemption, and remembering how awesome it is. Shame it didn't sell more, but that's what happens when your major record company screws you over on your first release with them, and then you go the independent route. Oh well, pay the bill and all.

Here's a bleepy version of The Light That Blinds from their other awesome cd, The War Within, and then the Bark track that has all the kids wishing for Likenthropy.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dante this, Inferno that. Will you all just stop it??!!??

I finally got my first taste of Dante's Inferno proper yesterday, and it's as hellish as I imagined. Inverted crosses, demons aplenty, boobies (albeit very veiny ones) and Lucifer being a royal ass. Then a thought occurred to me: how many times has The Divine Comedy or Dante himself been popping up recently in gaming?

8-bit Metal....ugh, Tuesday: Getting caught up in the shit

Yesterday was a busy day. Tons of laundry, looking at a car to buy (but getting nowhere with an actual purchase), and going to a midnight release for Bioshock 2 and Dante's Inferno. Add a bunch of other crap I already forgot about, and Monday just ended up being to cramped, so no columns that day.

However, Tuesday brought a wonderful bit of WTF?!?! news: David Ellefson has rejoined Megadeth! Well, fuck me up the ass with a spoon! That was one reunion I didn't see coming, or even thought would ever happen. Eh, if the money's right, I guess. Anyways, let's hit up some another bleepy Mega-song for ya.

Two weeks in a row for Mustaine? Man, I need a new topic.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Quick hits from the Axxeman



Carving Out the Eyes of God is the newest release from evilest band in the world, Goatwhore. Part of the Nola scene, Goatwhore shows you where the big boys eat with this CD. Starting off with the thunderous "Apocalyptic Havoc", this release has no let up. Just balls to the wall Metal. And something new, guitar solos! Believe it or not, there are guitar solos in the songs.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mutiny Within: Another Disturbying Review

Maybe it's just me, but I have a hard time summing up new metal acts these days. I'm going to be honest and say that it took me forever to come up with a way to describe these guys in a single sentence and here's what I've got:
"Mutiny Within is one of Road Runner's newest bands that are aspiring to take over the metal world with their blend of easily accessible progressive-death metal and technical insanity."
It seems like everyone is trying to include as many sub-genres into their sound to appeal to as many metal heads as possible. Usually this makes for a complete and utter failure, but in the case of Mutiny Within I say they've got it all figured out and have put together a solid album that has something for everyone.

Getting All Mopey And Stuff: Dommin's Love Is Gone: The Riff Review

I was never a big Goth person. Maybe it was the mindless fandom Marilyn Manson used to have, but I was always turned off to the whole scene. Sure, little bits popped up here and there. Type O Negative were able to get the spooky part down, but had enough self-awareness to not take themselves too seriously. Then there's H.I.M., but I guess they lean more towards the rock side. Maybe it's just the fact that Ville Valo can sing AND smoke a cancer stick at the same time, something no one else does these days. Finally, there's Robert Smith. Granted, I can't stand listening to anything The Cure has done, but Robert has shown that he has a wicked sense of humor outside of the band.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I like the personalities, but for the most part, the music never got a good hold on me. Except Manson, as both sides of the coin totally disgust me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rob Zombie: Hellbilly 2 Early Review



Rob Zombie
Roadrunner Records
Hellbilly Deluxe 2
Gamesmeetmetal.com Review
I’ll be honest. I was not thrilled when I heard “Sick Bubble Gum” the first time around while checking youtube in case riff was unable to get me the review mp3s. The second time around however, I was able to look past the simplistic lyrics and reintroduce myself to the hooky yet heavy grooves of Rob Zombie. This album grew on me fast.

Lead-off track “Jesus Frankenstein” sets the tone for the rest of the album as a heavily but smartly produced, interestingly experimental collection of hooks, catchy riffs, impressive John 5 solos, and Halloween-ready lyrics. Right off the bat, several guitar effects are heard, followed by a great Zombie riff and chorus that consists of the words “all hell, Jesus Frankenstein”. While the classic Zombie sound is heard, we also get a taste of the experimenting going on with acoustic guitar and piano breaks every couple of verses.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Spraying Hair Spray and Using Moose: Taking Dawn's Time To Burn: The Riff Review

Okay, confessional time. Long before I was enamored with blast beats, deediley-doo guitar solos, and "anything-core", I was big into hair bands. That's right, cock rock. I fully admit to owning cassettes for Poison, Warrant, Winger, Danger Danger, Whitesnake, and many more. Actually, my first bit of music I ever bought was a copy of Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood, and that's when it was NEW! But as all trends are, the hair metal faded away among the rise of Metallica and the grunge explosion.

For a long time, I tried to hide my past association with the 80's rockers due to the fear of not being tr00 or  br00tal enough. Yet, I would still hum Skid Row's Youth Gone Wild and a good chunk of the power ballads from that time (yes, even that thorny roses song). Now, that I'm approaching my mid-30's, I'm beyond the tr00 and br00tal labels and am able to look back on some of those bands of yore and even take a peek at some of today's bands trying to invoke that sense of 80's excess. Some crashed and burned (ever heard of Beautiful Creatures?) and others have made a killing off it. Buckcherry and Avenged Sevenfold are two good examples of success stories. Now I think I can another possibility to the list.

Hasting's Metal Sale and Rob Zombie Review coming Friday

Hey there people, it's genresrforposers here, just got invited by Riff to do some CD reviews; hopefully I'll have my review of the new Rob Zombie up on Friday, courtesy Roadrunner Records.

Also wanted to let interested parties know to check Hasting's in their area for metal album sales. Here in Nacogdoches, Texas at least the local Hasting's is giving out metal CDs for $5.99 a pop, and providing a free "Live Metal" t-shirt with the purchase of 3 selected CDs.

Just make sure to tell the cashiers what's up though, because they don't seem to read giant signs within eyesight of them describing the sales and may accidentally overcharge or forget your t-shirt. Interestingly enough, I have a complaint letter due for my Tech Writing class, and I'm contemplating whether to kill two birds with one stone (though I probably won't send it, cause it wasn't an earth shattering inconvenience, just annoying).

Anyway, my haul so far has included RATM's "last" live album, Judas Priest's Screaming for Vengeance and Painkiller, Danzig's self-titled, Dio's greatest hits, and Pantera's Live 101 Proof.

Hope you guys can get yourself some deals near you. Peace.

8-bit Metal Monday: Today Starts Off On A Good Note

When the American Carnage Tour with Slayer and Megadeth was postponed, i was actually relieved. The old date wasn't gonna be available to me to go to, and I was pissed! Half of the Big Four together for a tour, and I couldn't go because of poor scheduling. But today, word came through of a mess of rescheduled dates, and now August is gonna bring us the heavy stuff! As a bit of a celebration, here's a apir of 8-bit ditties from both bands. And after the jump, check out the new dates. Hopefully you'll be able to catch these acts the second time around.