Games Meet Metal: March 2010

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

To Catch A Psychopath: Heavy Rain: The Riff review

I was such a nut for Se7en when it came out back in the days of VHS tapes. If I remember correctly, I wore that sucker out. Watching the detectives figure out the identity of the killer, having to see all these grizzly deaths, and the very unhappy ending. Oh, I was so hooked. Ever since then, I've watched a ton of gritty cop stories with mass muderers. Now, I get to take that love of the mystery and the catch onto a playable format, thanks to Heavy Rain.

When did the Borg develop rust?

You're looking at Whitechapel's album cover for their new album, A New Era of Corruption. Apart from looking like leftover Star Trek villains, Id love to know what the lead robot is holding. Human heart? Bloody appendage? Cherry tart? I bet it's a cherry tart, lucky rusty bucket of bolts. :(

Honestly, Whitechapel know how to do their metal, and I'll bet New Era of Corruption delivers big. Look for it on June 8th.

8-bit Classic Rock Wednesdays?

Okay, this isn't gonna be a regular column, but I saw this on Kotaku, and thought it was worth sharing. A bright individual has remixed Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon into bleepy form, and it sounds pretty damn good! You can get the whole remix job at his site, or just peruse Youtube. Here's Speak To Me/Breathe/On The Run.

Hey, guess what? I'm a sickly idiot!

While closing out my Bison B.C. review yesterday, I noted that they hadn't scheduled any U.S. tour dates yet, and that it would be keen if they toured with High on Fire. Well, I was under the blubber-filled weight of a massive head cold, and didn't check the band's own Myspace page. I was reminded of this by a cryptic comment left at the end of the review by a possible member of the band. And if it really was a band member, then that's actually pretty neat!

In the end, I goofed up. I could blame the virus that infested my head (which I am now almost recovered from, thank you very much), but, yeah, my bad. However, I was kind of pro-actively right, in that Bison B.C. and High on Fire are touring the states right now! That alone is pretty awesome. On a bummer note, there's no Detroit date. As a driver at my main job would say, "Awwww, sad face." Like Evan Seinfeld said, punishment for all my sins. Still though, the show itself will be so worth it. Along with the other two bands, you get Priestess and Black Cobra on the trek as well. So go buy a ticket already! Oh, yeah, tour dates might help. They'll be after the jump.

And just in case that mysterious poster was from the band or is at least associated with them, and they're actually reading this right now, I'd like to make it up to you guys. If and when Bison B.C. cruises into the Detroit area, I'll buy all you guys cookies. Like the Chips Ahoy with the big chocolate chunks. Or Double Stuff Oreos. And milk. Can't have cookies without milk, dammit!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bison B.C.'s Dark Ages: The Riff Review

Fun fact: the more I listen to Bison B.C., the more marijuana smoke seems to keep creeping my way. And I'm not even into the sticky icky!

Bison B.C. are a full-on stoner band from the harsh, demon plagued lands of British Columbia, Canada. Slaying all those vile creatures, avoiding the mounties, and puffing on that northern ganj must have invigorated these Canucks, as this is one of the best slabs of metal I've heard all year. Yep, they're going right along with Hypno5e and Fallen Martyr as "bands I weally weally wuv.

8-bit Metal Mondays: Oh Fucksticks, I Forgot!

Hey, look who got sick again? This time, I had the mother of all head colds. I swear, my head was so congested that I was having trouble standing. Plus, it was one of those colds where the ailments changed daily. First, it was the throat and hella cough, then the congestion, then my nose becomes Niagara Falls with my sphincter following suit. Now I'm much better today, but some congestion is still hanging around. You know what the most annoying part is? I can't pop my ears. That shit just bugs me like crazy.

anyways, since it's a Korn-y kind of day, how about we take that route for some bleepiness? Here's Blind.

Korn sign to Roadrunner, absolutely no-one surprised.

In one of the least surprising statements since Ricky Martin came out of the closet (sorry, heart broken ladies of the world, but all your boyfriends called that one YEARS ago!), Roadrunner has announced the signing of the kings of nu-metal, Korn. Of course, this has been old news for over a week, since guitarist Munky let it slip in a fan chat, then vocalist Johnathan Davis re-confirming it on a radio interview. It's just nice to see the label finally remembering and sending out press releases, just in time to surprise no-one.

In a strange power twist, this does put Roadrunner in charge of the two biggest acts on Mayhemfest, with Rob Zombie under their wing as well. You can even stretch it further with Lamb of God, who are signed to Roadrunner overseas. In other words, someone's got some big brass balls, and they're swinging them pretty wide right now.

Korn's new cd, Korn III-Remember Who You Are, comes out this summer. It's your choice whether to decide if you care or not.

Since Passover just happened,

How about a little something for our Jewish buddies, eh?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kingdom of Sorrow Reveal Title and Release Date For New Album, Make Me Go SQUEEEEEEE!!!

I've already professed my man-love for super sludge metal band Kingdom of Sorrow before. So much so in fact, that main members Kirk Windstein and Jamey Jasta have already ringed out enough towels of that love into multi-gallon buckets. I can't help it. Their debut cd was uber-epic, and the news late last year of the guys teaming up again made me hope for another tour. Incidentally, KOS were one of the bands that I had to miss, thanks to my car going kaput on me last year.

Now, my hopes have been revitalized all over again. KOS's new album, now titled "Behind the Blackest Tears" will see a statewide release on June 8. That means they can do a quickie little jaunt before Jamey hits Mayhemfest with Hatebreed and Kirk can get started on that new Crowbar record we've been hearing about for years.

Either way, mark your calendar, as the Louisiana sludge will return! Hopefully to a town near you.

Going post-hardcore with 16-The Riff Review

My experience with post-hardcore has been pretty limited. I got into the kings of the genre, Helmet, way back in my high school. I had no idea there was an entire genre based around this form and tempo of music. All I did know was that "In The Meantime" was one hell of an album and "Unsung" was a goddamn anthem! I also listened to another band on the genre, Quicksand, but beyond that I was pretty damn ignorant of the great music being put out by this underground movement.

Now, thanks to a renaissance in digitally cleaned-up re-releases, a lot of old post-hardcore albums are finding their way into people's hands in unheard-of clarity. One band, 16, is the current flavor of the moment, having two of their releases given the cleaned up treatment.

Unholy Sabbath Sunday: the Second Coming

This second Unholy Sabbath Sunday is taken from live footage of a concert in Paris, with the band playing Paranoid. I've always liked it when metal takes a break from extreme music theory, takes a page from punk, and gets down to brass tax by just laying down simple energy riffs. Nothing does that better than "Paranoid".

Friday, March 26, 2010

Those two would have a ton to talk about.

Thanks to the timely alert of Metalsucks, I was keyed in to a free Soulfly track available for download. The track itself , titled "Rise of the Fallen", comes off of Soulfly's new album Omen, but that's not the interesting part. For you see, The Dillinger Escape Plan's Greg Puciato makes a special unannounced guest vocal appearance! In fact, the whole track has a major lack of Max Cavalera, but you can use a break from yelling about tribes and power and conquering.

You can your own copy by clicking here, but you might wanna do it quick. This shit ain't gonna be up for very long.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My first live show in ages, and I'm blissfully content.

The Black Dahlia Murder, Obscura (?), Augury, and Hatesphere @ The Magic Stick in Detroit, March 24, 2010

The main thing that sucked about not having wheels for so long was that I had to miss a lot of good tours that rolled through the Detroit area. Show after show after sow sped on through, and there I was, left with a worthless bus pass and a frown upon my face. But NO MORE! For last night, I attended my first show since.... what, October now? Wow, 6 1/2 months without risking serious damag to my ears. No wonder my hearing has improved!

When the horde is allowed into the venue, we get some bummer news: Obscura had to go home early thanks to their drummer dumping mega hot water on his arms and suffering third degree burns in the process. Heh, must of been his pot of spaghetti ever. So, in their place, we get a Hatebreed clone so obvious to the band they're ripping off, that I expect Jamey Jasta to jump on stage and start yapping about calls for blood and staying true to one's self and making fists and proceeding to shake said fists.

At least Hatebreed Lite's set was short, and we can get on to the real show.

Poser or Powerhouse?: Fintroll - Nifelvind

Let's get this out of the way: I am a huge fan of weird shit. My main gripe with the past two albums I've reviewed was that they don't branch out from their tried and true formulas enough, despite the fact I think those bands (Dark Tranquility, 3 Inches of Blood) execute them extremely well. While Finntroll may have a formula, it's so far out there it doesn't matter, cause every song on this album stands out on its own. Phil Anselmo recently pointed out that bands rip the hell off of their 2 favorite bands, whereas they need to be ripping the hell off their ten favorite bands. With a sonic attack that reminds me of everything from Children of Bodom lead singer's Finnish punk side band Kylahullut to the symphonic textures of Nightwish, or the happy drinking music of Flogging Molly, Finntroll is certainly no slouch when it comes to mixmatching styles.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

......and maybe, if I wish really hard, they'll actually make this tour!

Arsis is a band that has missed more Detroit dates than I can count. Some dates have been the result of health problems with lead singer/thrasher James Malone, others just for entire tours being outright canceled. And each tme, Detroit fell under the chopping block. The one and first time I was able to catch them supporting God Forbid, I was blown away. Their big breakthrough cd, We Are The Nightmare, had yet to come out, but you could tell then that they were destined for heavy metal glory. The super techy guitars, the awesome drums, and vicious vocals were all there.

The attendance? Eh, not so much.

But now, Arsis have a chance to make up for their tardiness with a new tour that just happens to have an awesome line-up. Dying Fetus is headlining, with Arsis in lead support. Misery Index, Annotations of an Autopsy, and Conducting from the Grave round out the support acts. Sounds like one hell of a night for sweet tech-death metal!

Now, let's just hope they all come.

Dates after the jump.

So, they just had the acoustic on hand, or did Dino eat all the amps?

Fear Factory have been making the rounds in Europe lately, doing heavy promotion for their new cd Mechanize. At once such stop, lead singer Burton C Bell grabbed an acoustic guitar and performed a song from his solo group Ascension of the Watchers. FF guitarist Dino Cazares watched intently, probably while imagining chowing down on 20 beer-filled double cheeseburgers. Here's the clip:

Fear Factory über ihre hellseherischen Fähigkeiten

MySpace Music Mix | MySpace Video

While the clip isn't exactly great shakes, it did bring up a good question: would Fear Factory sound good acoustic? I'd imagine a few of their slower songs would sound okay, but anything off Demanufacture would probably end up looking silly.

Now, another thought: what other bands would you like to hear go acoustic? I'd pay good money to see Slayer go unplugged for Seasons in the Abyss. On the flipside, I've heard acoustic Metallica, and outside Nothing Else Matters or the first Unforgiven, that's just a horrible idea for them.

Poser or Powerhouse?: Iwrestledabearonce - It's All Happening Review

I did not at all want to do this review. I was about to ask Riff if it could be given to someone else simply because the music these guys play was just not at all my style. It was the kind of tripe screamo crap that was bound to stay on the club circuit until the teens grew up and wanted some real music. Then again maybe I'm just holding some weird hostility against Fall Hero Fall, a band of peeps I knew from high school that's played a show with IWABO.... only they're actually pretty decent, and I have no reason to grudge with them so back on topic: Then I gave it a chance, and it turned out to be a mind blowing 5/5 Slaytanic experience... depending on what mood I'm in. I want to warn everyone that despite the fact this is about to be a pretty glowing review, it's a glowing review of something I wouldn't be surprised or offended if someone told me was barely music. There is a LOT of screaming, and a LOT of nonsensical cacophony guitar work typical of bands that are only trying to start mosh pits.

God of War 3: The End Begins

God of War 2 finished on a torturing, hype-inducing cliff hanger that made it a very long, very hard 3 year wait for this juggernaut to be released. To recap, Zeus narrowly escapes death at the hands of Kratos during the finale of God of War 2, only to see him use his newly acquired time traveling ability to bring the titans to the present. Kratos, with the titans at his side, has waged war on the gods that betrayed him in an effort to destroy Olympus once and for all. Be warned, however, that if you could not stand Kratos and his ruthless, in-compassionate nature before, God of War 3 sure as hell won't change your mind. He is just as reckless and destructive as ever, and whether or not he's doing the right thing in his quest for vengeance is a whole 'nother question entirely. But again, this is Kratos, so who cares?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

HORSE the Band to release 6-DVD set, and you can name the price! Sorta.

HORSE the band, one of the progenitors of Nintendo-core, are embarking on one hell of an adventure. A marketing adventure, that is. They have documented their last world tour, and are going to toss out a 6-DVD set  of the whole endeavor. On top of that, each set is gonna be personalized for each person who orders with ticket stubs, set lists, and whatever ever else they happen to have lying around.

The book itself has a starting price of $79, but if you donate more, the band will make a note of it and maybe throw in a bunch more goodies. How are they able to do this? Because they're gonna put this thing together themselves. No labels, no management, no marketing executives. What you get is a product straight from the band and your cash will go straight to them, not a greedy record label.

More info, including purchasing info, can be found by clicking here. If I get the loose cash, I'd probably toss them a cool $100.

Poser or Powerhouse?: Orphand Land - Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR

Does having an album with 7 minute long songs that reaches almost 80 minutes in length make it epically awesome or just tiresome? The answer is both, depending on where you are in the thing and if you're planning on listening to it all in one sitting (not recommended). Luckily, for those not planning on devoting a whole feature length movie in time at any one point, Orphaned Land delivers a ton of Arabic inspired goodness in every individual song.

Sure, when I finally get a new DS....

Nintendo pulls this shit.

According to Kotaku, Nintendo is going to unveil a new handheld, the 3DS, as the next successor to the DS series at thsi\\is year's E3. Not much is known yet, but it will have 3D effects, dual cameras like the DSi, and full backwards compatibility with the old DS games.

I can't help but think of the shitty timing of this announcement, as the DSi XL is about to pop onto North America, especially since I JUST RESERVED THE DAMN THING!! Oh, sneaky Nintendo. Always trying to find a way to get my Benjamins.

Hey, you got my Killzone mixed in with my Brazillian beats!

Honestly, who in the Roadrunner art department has way too much access to a PS3?

This is the artwork for the next Soulfly album Omen, and if you're not thinking the Helgast, then at least think more Star Wars or those blue-eyed guys form Dune. Either way, this is a different approach for Max Cavalera and company, and I'm kind of liking it. Not the best in the world, but not totally bizarre either.

Oh, and here's the special edition cover.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Billy Talent w/ Alexisonfire, Against Me! and Cancer Bats: Another Disturbying Concert Review

Holy jeez, looks like the floodgates were opened today! At any rate, I went to a punk/hard rock/metal concert this past Saturday here in The Peg featuring Billy Talent. They're a punk/hard/whatever-you-want-to-call-them rock band out of Toronto who are probably the biggest band going in Canada these days. Following them on this tour is Alexisonfire, Against Me and the Cancer Bats. A pretty decent lineup of bands that cover a bunch of different genres for the kiddies. Here's a breakdown on how the night went:

Mike haggar wants you to control every inch of his body.

But he just wants to be friends! Honestly! Now hand him the lotion before he caves your skull in.

Okay, you do get to control American Zangief, and it'll be in a new Xbox Arcade/PSN game. Final Fight: Double Impact is a dual reboot of two classic Capcom fighters: Final Fight and Magic Sword. If you ever spent a lot of time in arcades in the early 90's, then you know what's in store here: beat up a bunch of dudes, go right, beat up more dudes, go right again, ect. It's hard to believe such a simple premise would eventually birth the Street Fighter games, but greatness can be born out of simplicity, I guess.

Anywho, back to the games. Both are getting a graphics and music overhaul, as well as some nostalgic features. Sure, you can play it normally on you TV. But, you can also go old school and play it inside a virtual cabinet, just so you can remember the smoke and booze filled arcade you crushed many an opponent in before. Let's not forget on-line co-op, as well as a drop-in feature, where you can join any game in progress. friend or stranger alike.

The game will pop onto Arcade/PSN and cost you 800 MS points/$9.99 respectively. Some neat screenshots after the jump. Also, to anyone complaining that I turned Mike Haggar into a prison rapist, let me just point out that I'm not the programmer who put in a post-op transsexual as a villan. Seriously, go look it up.

Poser or Powerhouse?: Winds of Plague - The Great Stone War

There's more to metal than just high octane lyrics about battle and chugging guitars, but we all know sometimes that's all we need. Winds of Plague certainly delivers in spades, with quick speedy tracks that are guaranteed to get you pumped for whatever sports event you're into.

That's not to say the production here is shitty, as there are certainly moments with lovely keyboard work like on "Soldiers of Doomsday" that add some depth and spoken word tracks like "Earth" and "The Great Stone War" have some neat organ work and help make the album more complete (even if "Earth" isn't really a song). For the most part though, chuggers like "Battle Scars" and "Chest and Horns" carry the album on good old fashioned heavy metal: nothing new, but still done well enough to get the adrenaline pumping.

This is why I now have multiple locks on my door

I got so into Mass Effect 2 when I bought it. The first was a damn fine game, but part two improved upon it so much. New upgrade system, great looking, awesome plot. Okay, so mining for materials for upgrades was tedious and hella boring, but the end justified the means. Notice how I'm referring to all of this stuff in the past tense? No, I didn't beat the game, nor did I have to shelve it for a bit. Oh no, the damn thing was STOLEN FROM ME! Note to self: don't leave your druggie cousin alone in a room, as you'll come back and find that you're a little less wealthy.

Now I'm betting my money that druggo cuz and EA are in on this just to get me to buy more copies of ME2 just so I can spend even more loot on ME2 DLC, The Cerberus Network has been pounding about a good chunk of free stuff over the past couple months, but now it's time to toss up the first bit of paid DLC. In this case, it's a new crew member named Kasumi, a thief who needs Shepard's help on a big heist. You'll also be getting a new gun and some new upgrades to fiddle around with. The DLC will run ya 560 MS points and be out sometime in April.

Not up to spending a few bucks? EA's got you covered, as they're also readying the Firewalker pack. It's a set of five missions over five planets that you can use your new Hammerhead hover-tank. Oh, and these mission will be for the price of nada and be available March 23.

In the meantime, wet yourself with some screenshots of Kasumi after the jump. Girl looks like she can handle herself, but needs lessons in how to apply lipstick.

One tour of awsome Vs. two tours of absolute suck

They say variety is the spice of life. I happen to think it's the chocolate-covered cheesecake of life, but constant thinking like that will make me a diabetic one of these days. Long story short, my favorite tour packages are ones with bands of varying genres. It keeps you interested the whole show and gives a less likely excuse to take a piss during a band's set: you just don't know what you're going to miss. 3 such "variety tours" have been announced. One matches the choco cheesecake, and the other two take a heaping crap upon it than stamp it out with army boots.

Let's get the suck out of the way. First, Kittie is going to be a support act for ICP, Coolio, Kottonmouth Kings, and Necro. I'm sure this makes perfect business sense, as the gals in Kittie will make a pretty penny off the disposable income of drugged up Juggalos. But it's just makes the band look so like the odd ones out. Plus, ICP and Coolio aren't really known for their politeness, so I predict Kittie bailing the second someone gets a little too touchy-feely. The second round of crap is Hellyeah, a band I totally support despite being very close to country music, will be touring with Seether and Five Finger Death Punch. FFDP are already verbal diarrhea to my ears, and Seether just adds the crusty dingle-berry of depression to the mix. Once again, great business sense, but I ain't touching this pile. At least no one's gonna bail, thanks to all the booze Vinnie Paul's gonna buy everyone.

And now, the awesome!

Poser or Powerhouse?: Dark Tranquility - We Are the Void

Dark Tranquility's We Are the Void is another album that takes the motto "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" to heart. If 3 Inches of Blood's Here Waits Thy Doom is all about the energy, these tunes are all about the atmosphere. And that atmosphere is why this band has one of the most appropriate names ever: it's dark and tranquil as shit.

First off, the vocals are almost always worthy of "hell spawn creature that it just so happens speaks English you can understand" territory, occasionally veering off into what sounds like Type O Negative's lead singer: a smooth, deep voice that is probably used to seduce gothic chicks at seances. Along with the fatalistic lyrics, it pretty much guarantees every song sounds like it could be used to summon the great Satan for Critter Christmas. Point is, whether he's screeching depressing platitudes or crooning to zombies, the lead singer keeps things dark.

Poser or Powerhouse?: Zombieland Movie Review

Yeah, it's a little late, but to celebrate Zombieland's release on DVD I figured I'd post a review. Here goes:

Zombieland was hyped by pretty much all my friends as a great comedy, and it mostly delivers on that front.

Acting: Woody Harrelson is hilarious as the Twinkie obsessed redneck Tallahassee, Jesse Eisenberg is perfect as the OCD nerd Columbus (though he sometimes seems to just be there because Michael Cera was busy) whose list of precautions has made him an unlikely survivor, and Emma Stone (Witchita) and Abigail Breslin are great as the sexy teen and cute kid that use their appearance to con unwitting horny or sympathetic men. Not to mention the cameo actor, which most of you have figured out by now but I won't spoil just in case, is pretty much the best part of the movie. 5

8-bit Metal Mondays: Health Care Reform Edition

So, Congress just voted in favor of sweeping health care. Sweeping, as in, "let's sweep all these people's loose moolah in by forcing them to get useless insurance!" I, being a staunt Libertarian and grumpy capitolist, isn't too fly on the idea of the government holding a proverbial gun to my head and forcing me to plunk my money down on crap I don't want. Kind of like car insurance. Or social security. Or traffic tickets. Eh, whatever, political rant over.

So, how about a metal song about the human body, since it's about health and all? Cannibal Corpse can do that just fine. Here's a surgical ditty in bleepy, Fucked With A Knife.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Unholy Sabbath Sundays

Just to add some more weekly goodness on top of 8 bit metal mondays, I figured we could use some Unholy Sabbath Sundays. Enjoy their self titled classic and look for more in the coming weeks (which I'll upload before night time next time I swear)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Allow myself to introduce...myself

What's up metalheaded gamers? Evan Sammons here. Since I'll soon be sharing my views on all things metal and gaming I thought an introduction would be in order. I've been drumming in metal bands for about 10 years now, the past 5 or so have been in the progressive metal group Last Chance to Reason. Videogames have been a part of my life for even longer, but it was only in recent years that they became something I would consider a passion. As my love for videogames has grown my band's direction has felt the influence...
Our first full-length "Lvl. 1" was an attempt to bring the ambiance and alien-qualities of Metroid to extreme tech-metal. It came out on Tribunal records in 07'. Unlike other "videogame metal" bands we never sought to cover the classic tunes of NES titles. Instead, we wrote original music inspired by the sounds and moods of videogames.

Our newest effort "Level 2" takes this idea and runs with it. Together with indie developer Tom Vine, we've created a concept album- videogame hybrid. Our goal is to create a new kind of album experience where the listener is at battle with our music in a fully interactive fashion. The music sets the mood and determines the action while the lyrics tell the story of the protagonist.

In addition to sharing views on the current state of metal and gaming, I will be posting updates on stuff going on with the band as well. Should be metal.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mega Man 10: Another Disturbying Review

The Blue Bomber returns for another 8-bit adventure after the over-whelming success of Mega Man 9. In this installment, Mega Man is working with Dr. Light and Dr. Wily to find a cure for a deadly virus that only effects robots. Only this time around, players can choose Mega Man or Proto Man before tackling Dr. Wily's newest Robot Masters (who've gone crazy). They've also added an easy mode for all of you babies out there. So, is this new classic adventure worth your $10? The short answer is yes.

Um, Ozzfest? Hello? Ya There?

I remember going to my first Ozzfest back in 1999, a primitive time when man was just figuring out how to start a fire and how to tip strippers properly. Nu-metal was the slice du-jour of the time, Ozzy wasn't a total parody of himself yet, and Ozzfest was something to be enjoyed. Hell, it was something to be proud of. Sure, you had to crawl your way through some drek (they had to put something there for everyone to take a pee break), but squint and you saw greatness. Slipknot and System of a Down long before the platinum albums, Rob Zombie and the Deftones sharing the same stage, and the Black Sabbath reunion we all dreamed about.

With the exception of a personally bankrupt 2000, I've attended every year since. for me, they were all a hoot (except for that 2003 lineup). The bands, the side stages, the vendors, the over-priced hamburgers, the humidity, the tanned shapely women who wear as little as possible. Oh, it was good times.

Then, in 2007, things got weird.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Music Rhythm Game Now A Bit More Accurate

You see that? Just another guitar, right? Oh no sir. What you see there is an actual game controller.

Originally reported over at Kotaku, The Power Gig guitar is a new peripheral from Seven 45 studios for their first ever game, Power Gig: Rise of the Six-string. The title itself should clue you in to the premise: Guitar Hero with way more skill. The even better part of the guitar/controller is that it can be plugged into an amp and played for realsies! Unfortunately, it's size is still scaled down for the video game crowd, as it only looks slightly larger than a Guitar Hero controller.

But think of the possibilities here. Learning actual guitar and not just pressing the same five buttons over and over. Learning scales and chords, which the game will assist you with via a Chord Play mode. Yep, your Xbox just became an artsy musical teacher. However, you may want to dash your hopes of tearing through Dragonforce anytime soon, as the original model of the Power Gig doesn't include a whammy bar. And what's Dragonforce with gratuitous whammy use?

No release date is posted yet, as the game portion is still in pre-alpha mode, but I can see the hard-core metal musician crowd totally gravitating towards this. It just seems like a more grown-up version version of Guitar Hero/Rock Band. Now, who wants to take bets on when a drum kit variation of this comes out?

Happy St. Patty's Day, Ya Drunks!

Well, it's that time of year again. A good percentage of the English-speaking world are going out tonight to get royally shitfaced (if they're not there already), and I'm not participating. Half because I'm working the day job, and half because I'm of Italian descent and today's just not artsy enough. Seriously though, take care of each other, don't drive drunk, and be non-conformist by NOT WEARING ANYTHING GREEN!! Honestly, I hate how all our holidays are color coded, like we're a bunch of special ed students and can only recognize stuff by the color of our crayons.

Anywho, I attempted to find something  metal and Irish to celebrate the day, and here is my result: passable Irish nu-metal.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Feeling The Old School: Armored Saint's La Raza: The Riff Review

Armored Saint is one of those bands that just totally missed my radar in my early metal days. Odd, since their live act consisted of lead singer John Bush, clad in armor, doing a sword battle with another armor-wearing baddie before the music kicked in. Since this was the late 80's/early 90's, I should of been all in that shit. I was already doing that stuff for pretend while playing old school Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy, so to see a "real" battle in front of me would of been tits. Instead, Armored Saint dissolved when John left to join Anthrax, and the band's name suffered from a severe case of Flotsam & Jetsam syndrome. In other words, they became the answer to the oft-asked trivia question, "What band was John Bush in before he left for Anthrax?"

Monday, March 15, 2010

8-bit Metal Monday: Shit That Doesn't Go Together

You know what doesn't go together? Me and a manual transmission. Push, the clutch, ease off and apply gas, BUT NOT TOO MUCH! Aw, fuck, too much gas, and you stalled it out, ya dumbass. That's pretty much been the past couple of days for me. 18 years of driving with automatics, and now I have to get adjusted to a third pedal. Well, at least I'm getting better by the day. The fear of grinding out the clutch has gone bye-bye. Now, I just have to master hills.

Now I'm stating to wonder if I should of got full insurance coverage.

You what else doesn't go together? Final Fantasy and black metal. Since I'm tying to plow through FF XIII right now and have it on the mind, I'd like to show you the final battle form part 10, er, X. Fast forward to about the 45-second part to get to the good stuff.

Just listen to those soulful melodies.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Riff Reviw: A Backward Glance On A Travel Road's Self Titled Debut

Ever since I first reviewed Hpno5e's Des Deux L'une Est L'aurte a few weeks back, I've been insanely hooked on it. It's had quite the coveted space on my Ipod, and has gotten me through many a long wait at the bus stop. It also makes me curse my luck for not being able to see them live when they rolled through the Detroit area this past January. Damn me for not having a car! I've been wanting to hear some more from these guys, and my wishes have been answered, just not in the form I thought. A way more surprising form.

A Backward Glance On A Traveled Road is the side project of Hypno5e's Emmanuel Jessua and "personal favorite drummer of the year so far" Thibault Lamy. Unlike Hypno5e, ABGOATR is a nearly entire acoustic affair, with very little vocals and more reliance on ambient sound effects and spoken word bits. It's very similar to what Opeth did with their Damnation album: take the heaviness out and let the softer side out. Immediately I was struck with how Pink Floyd-ish the whole Album sounded. Inventive, yet streamlined to perfection.

The concept is to emote a special emotion for each song, but the album as a whole felt dark and evil. Now granted, that a VERY good thing, but I couldn't help but think that I've felt this way with music before. Then it hit me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Harses! Harses! Harses!

Every now and then, Twitter can have an actual use. Today, it's use was a new follower called gfwatchingmetal. Normally, a name like this would scream "sex site bot." In reality, it's a very simple premise: a metal guy shows some heavy-as-hell videos to his non-metal girlie friend, and she jots down her initial thoughts. Let me just say this woman has comic potential. case in point, her thoughts on Iron Maiden's The Trooper:

- harses harses harses - this is a horse song?
- am i to understand that this is a horse song?
- i like his pantalones
- does this song have a chorus or NOT

Okay, so her spelling needs a tune-up, but the humor is there. The website, My Girlfriend Watching Metal Videos, and their twitter, @gfwatchingmetal, don't have too many entries up yet, but this is about potential.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Well, THAT took fucking long enough! Dragon Age Origins: The Riff Kind-of Review?

After having the game since early Novermber, I just finally defeated the archdemon in Dragon Age Origins, thus saving the land of Ferelden from the darkspawn Blight and letting the commoners go and be all common with each other and such. But why take so long to complete the game, you say? Over 5 months? The hell's wrong with you? You don't have a life, boy, thus you should of had this shit beat in a fortnight! What gives?

Well, just one sticking point was bugging me: I wasn't digging it one bit way back in November.

8-bit Metal Mondays: Smell that fresh used car scent!

So, after a 9-month drought, I am finally a car owner once again. Suzuki Esteem 4-cylinder, if you're curious. Gas friendly and a Japanese car not made by Toyota, so it's a win, right? Well, close. I got the wheels for dirt cheap, but "cheap" in the car world means "crippling repairs you must fix yourself." In this case, it's the engine crossmember which holds the engine up. If it cracks, then you're powering the car Fred Flinstone style.

Well, lucky me as I have family that aces in car repair. Good thing too, as a shop would charge me $1400 total. Um, no, you fucking charlatans! So, I ordered the parts, and in another day or so, the roads will be open to me yet again.

In celebration, I wanted something bleepy that wasn't titled "Metallica's Fuel", and Fear Factory's cover of 80's hit, Gary Neuman's "Cars", fits the bill. Even better, it has enough bleeps and bloops in the original to not have to warrant a search for an 8-bit cover. So enjoy!

P.S. I'll also have to learn how to drive stick. Pray for me.

Fear Factory - Cars - Fabrique
Uploaded by dagoba11. - Explore more music videos.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I think tits are a better improvement, but this is a great substitute.

Thanks to Metalsucks for this little piece of early morning awesome. There's  a new Facebook group called Any picture can be improved by adding Immortal to it. For those living under a rock, Immortal is a pretty famous Norweigan black metal band, not just for their music, but for looking absolutely ridiculous. Also, their lead singer Abbath, looks like a cartoon character. The band's looks have been cannon fodder for metal humor for years, and the Facebook group may just be the zenith of black metal parody.

And you know what? The saying holds true. Case in point:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

5 Quick Hit Reviews From Riff!

Because having a life is for wussies!

Seriously, this up and down weather in Michigan is playing hell with my sinuses, the parts shop out in California is taking forever to send my engine cradle (upshot is that they forgot to charge me shipping! $150 for free!), and I'm pulling mega brain farts due to time loss, thanks to the wonderful public transportation system of metro Detroit. And insomnia. Note to self: time to lower the caffeine intake, buddy.

Long story short, I meant to send out review stuff to people, but I forgot. Fear not, for I'm biting the bullet and doing five reviews right now! Hooray for advanced carpal tunnel!

I'm a big proponent for sludgy, hazy stoner metal. Odd, since I don't partake in the sticky icky myself. Yet, tons of the stuff sounds so good to my ear. Down, High On Fire, Sleep, The Melvins, and plenty of others. Maybe it's my mind telling me to not listen to blast beats every two minutes. So now and then, I brush my way past the green haze of bong smoke, step over an aging hippie or two, and look for some gold in them thar hemp-stained cd cases. And wouldn't you know it? I came out with a winner!

Maiden's 2010 North American Tour

Holy shit! Iron Maiden and Dream Theater?!? That's amazing. I can't really express myself any further than that. Here are the dates and venues:
Wed 09 Dallas, TX - Center
Fri 11 Houston, TX - Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sat 12 San Antonio, TX - AT&T Center
Mon 14 Denver, CO - Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
Wed 16 Albuquerque, NM - The Pavilion
Thu 17 Phoenix, AZ - Cricket Wireless Pavilion
Sat 19 San Bernardino, CA - San Manuel Amphitheatre
Sun 20 Concord, CA - Sleep Train Pavilion
Tue 22 Auburn, WA - White River Amphitheatre
Thu 24 Vancouver, BC - GM Place
Sat 26 Edmonton, AB - Rexall Place
Tue 29 Saskatoon, SK - Credit Union Center
Wed 30 Winnipeg, MB - MTS Center +
+Dream Theater will not be performing in Winnipeg(NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)
Sat 03 Toronto, ON - Molson Amphitheatre
Wed 07 Montreal, QC - Bell Centre
Sun 11 Holmdel, NJ - PNC
Mon 12 New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
Wed 14 Pittsburgh, PA - First Niagra Pavilion
Thu 15 Cleveland, OH - Blossom Music Center
Sat 17 Detroit, MI - DTE Energy Music Theatre
Sun 18 Chicago, IL - First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Tue 20 Washington D.C. - Jiffy Lube Live

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

3 Inches of Blood - Here Waits Thy Doom Review

For those of you who have never heard 3 Inches of Blood before, think the Lord of the Rings-esque themes of power metal or Brocas Helm (3IOB actually has a song called "Destroy the Orcs"), the galloping instrumental work of a fast Iron Maiden number, and the voice of Rob Halford if he was always in his super high range and calling on medieval murder in the name of metal. Or just look up "Deadly Sinners" on youtube if your imagination doesn't compute that, the internet's a hell of a place.

That formula has made 3 Inches of Blood one of my favorite newer metal acts since I first became aware of them at Ozzfest 2007, and saw them live at both The Door and Curtain Club in Dallas, where they became my favorite live metal acts for smaller venues. It also made their last album, Fire Up the Blades, one of my favorite things to blare through the speakers of a tiny Volkswagon Jetta.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oh, Harpo's, what has become of you?

Harpo's was the first music venue I went to that gave me the "dark and seedy" version of concert going. Before that, it was arena shows with Metallica and Pink Floyd, and it was also 1994. Now I'm in a shithole. My feet are actually sticking to the carpet, the air smells of fermented booze and bong smoke, and skinheads are walking around in gangs. The fuck? This is not a happy place to be! And to think it looked like this at one time.

And now, it looks like this:

8-bit Metal Mondays: A Quickie For Today

Blech. Woke up late, got tons of shit to work on, feel like shit. Fucking Michigan head colds are not a real pleasure, trust me. So, here's Meshuggah being all bleepy in a jiffy so I can get back to feeling sniffly.