Games Meet Metal: May 2010

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Friday, May 28, 2010

So, does Trent Reznor just have all this stuff laying around or something?

If there's any famous musician whose garage sale I would attend, it would be Trent Reznor's. At the rate of awesome stuff the man just gives away for free, you gotta wonder what awesome crap he would part with for a few bucks. I'm guessing the Ark of the Covenant, Jimmy Hoffa's body, and some really neat lamps!

Until Trent actually hosts a garage sale (and whenever i can afford a trip out to the west coast), we'll just have to settle for the free goodies. Today brings us a free track from the group him and his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, have formed called How To Destroy Angels. Their first EP will be available for free this Tuesday, but you can go to their main web page and get a song from the EP, "The Believers", right now! It requires you "pre-order" the EP, but that just means signing up for their email list. You can also plop down a couple of bucks for a high grade audio version, or an uber package with a shirt, poster, or stickers.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Game demos: the LIARS!!

Hello, one and all. As you may have noticed, activity on the site has cooled down for the past week. Well, things weren't going right in Riff-land, and I needed to take some time off from the site as well as from my day job to get my head straight. I also had to be like Warren G and regulate some asses who were causing me way too much grief. Well, times are better now, and I've been able to get a good 4-5 days of awesome sleep in. Finally! So now, it's time to get back on the horse and get shit rocking.

So, yeah, game demos.

At their heart, demos are just advertising. A publisher releases a sample of a game to the masses, in the attempt to get them to purchase the whole copy. Demos were actually quite a grand thing to get ahold of at one time. I still remember going through the God of War II demo for the PS2 many times before I had the full copy in my hands. That was when all demos were still on disc. Then, the only ways to get them were either inside magazines or signing up for promotions. One console generation later, and now demos are available at the click of a button. They've lost a lot of that special appeal and exclusiveness. Sometimes, they also tend to be absolute crap.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

R.I.P. Slipknot's Paul Gray

Slipknot's bassist Paul Gray (aka #2) was found dead in a Des Moines hotel yesterday morning at the age of 38. I read in an interview a while back that Gray had some serious drug addictions that he was battling, though I don't know if this was the cause or not and frankly I don't care. Regardless of how it happened, Gray has passed on. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Gray family as I am sure many metal fans we shocked to hear this headline.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Soufly's Omen-The Riff Review

Well, it's official. Omen is Soulfly's 7th album, thus eclipsing Max's album count in Sepultura. And it's been a weird ride since the first self-titled release. From close to copying Root's tribal instrumentation, to nu-metal wankery, then to a more traditional thrash metal style, all leading up to today. Not that I have a problem with Soulfly's past catalog. There's some great anthems in there, and Dark Ages is the bee's knees of the whole collection. But now it sounds like Omen is Max back full circle to his old Sepultura days, as well as giving it a hard dose of punk.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cave Story-The Riff Review

Man, I love having a Wii again. Not only does it complete my current generation console collection (which does wonders for my OCD), but I get to catch up on a bunch of games that I missed out on. There's the Konami Rebirth series, an official Final Fantasy IV sequel, and oodles of Virtual Console titles that I never got to play when I was a wee little child. Y's Book I & II, anybody? Out of them all, Cave Story was at the top of the list. After dabbling in the freeware version for a bit but hating the keyboard controls, I decided to pick up this spruced up version for the 1000 Nintendo points it was charging and dive right in.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ronnie James Dio: 1942-2010

You've all heard about it by now. You've shed a tear. You dragged out that old copy of Holy Diver and have given it a few spins. You remembered first hearing Dio's voice, and wondered how the hell someone could have pipes that amazing. I know this, because I've been doing it too.

What can be said at this point that hasn't already been stated in the past 24 hours? Just go on to Blabbermouth and read all the testimonials from artists big and small. From Lars Ulrich to Into Eternity, everyone is coming out of the woodwork to give their condolences and share their memories. You'll hear mostly about how kind the man was: how he would remember someone's name after meeting them for a split second a year ago, or how he would give the opening band a $100 bottle of wine just because.

I'll always remember him for his stage presence. I was fortunate enough to see Dio perform with Heaven and Hell twice, and both times it was a sight and sound to behold.

Good bye Ronnie. You'll always be our rainbow in the dark.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I'm finally getting a Wii again!!! Today! Praise be unto Satan!

Getting the black devil worshiping model, natch. Ans as such, things are gonna be light here today as I nerd up on some Wiiware and Virtual Console titles I've missed out on over the years. But, to not leave you hanging, here's some funny Mario creations. Now, to the door!

PS: Anybody who wants to can send me their Mii codes to my email, and I'll send you mine as soon as I get the little bugger dressed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

On the whole Limp Dick thing.....

So, everyone is up in arms about the Limp Bizkit reunion. Jokes have been made en masse. Total failure has been predicted. My God, the world might end! It's the rap metal Apocalypse! FUCK!!!!! RUN!!!!

Hey, I agree with most of you out there. It bites that this horrible band is giving one more shot, and we have to be constantly hearing about it. But we're gonna have to grin and bear it, as this thing isn't gonna stop any time soon, With a new album and tour on the horizon, there's a lot of money at stake here, and they're not gonna stop until they make at least a few bucks.

And ya know what? They will make a few bucks. Probably more than a few. And it'll be enough moolah to keep Limp Bizkit around for awhile longer. And it'll all be our fault.

Why? Well, look back to the Bush-Kerry presidential campaign.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Say, have you heard that the first half of Final Fantasy XIII sucks?

When I picked up my copy of Final Fantasy XIII way back in March, I was as excited as a teenage boy about to touch his first breast. FF 12 was one of my favorite titles on the whole series, and I have been jonesing for more of the same. A good chunk of the reviews at that time had warned about an extended learning time, as the game tended to pad out the acquisition of new skills. Hey, fine by me, I thought. I've gone through old school Dragon Warriors and not blinked an eye. A little extended edumacation isn't gonna kill me.

Fast forward to May, and according to the strategy guide, I'm finally about to reach the middle of the game. Over two months after the game is released. Why? Because it feels like FF XIII was supposed to be two separate games, and the first half is the most horrible prequel ever.

Monday, May 10, 2010

1349's Demonoir and Watain's Lawless Darkness-The Riff Dual Review

I was never the listener fan of black metal. Well, except for the more symphonic end of the genre. Dimmu Borgir and Satyricon were usually the bands that always got my ear, with Cradle of Filth somewhere off in the distance. These bands have a decent enough budget to give great production to their music, and the song writing skills to boot. Let's not forget equally great live shows. Beyond those bands, I'd be hard pressed to listen to much else from the black metal pool.

Oh I've tried cuing up old ass Emporer and Darkthrone, but one thought always kept creeping back to me: these bands sound like shit! Crap production values are the main culprit. All the instruments always sounded muddled together like someone fell asleep at the mixing table. Also, the vocals usually sound like a mess and damn near unintelligible. I know what most black vocalists are gonna say anyways. Usually something along the lines of "blah blah denounce God blah blah Satan's awesome blah blah time for cake." That's all well and good, as anything that pisses off the clergy is awesome in my book. I just wished I knew what they were saying that was pissing them off so much.

8-bit Metal Mondays: Pimping it for the awesomeness

I'm gonna go ahead and agree with Sturby and say that the new As I Lay Dying cd,"The Powerless Rise", is one hell of a listen. All of the tracks each have their own sound and can stand on their own. Which equals variety. And likes me some variety. Plus, Powerless is much angrier than AILD's previous release, thus making it a permanent staple of my car rides for the next few months. Angry music wards off car rage, after all.

So, to celebrate the release of "The Powerless Rise" for tomorrow, May 11, here a bleepy version of AILD's "Through Struggle", off my fave record by these guys, Shadows are Security.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Leng Tch'e's Hypomanic: Another Disturbying Review

How about some angry Belgium Metal for a Sunday? Well too bad because that's what you're going to get. Riff passed this album along to me to review and didn't really say much else about the record. I never heard of these guys so I didn't know what to expect. I checked out the band's Wiki article and it tells me that these guys are a Deathgrind band out of Belgium. What the hell is Deathgrind? Well apparently it's what these guys sound like.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

As I Lay Dying's the Powerless Rise: Another Disturbying Review

May 11th is creeping up on us so I should probably hammer this one out before the album hits the streets. As I Lay Dying (AILD just to make my life easier) is one of those bands that I'm not too crazy about. They have a great sound, they are really high energy and they have some of the best breakdowns out of any band out there. My problem with them (and a lot of bands) is that their music ends up sounding the same after a while. So it has been a while since I have listened to an AILD album in full. I've been listening to Tim Lambesis' side project Austrian Death Machine, which suffers from the same problem but it's fucking hilarious. Expecting much of the same I started listening to The Powerless Rise and found that I was pleasantly surprised.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Rebirth of EGM

EGM was a staple of my childhood. It was the first gaming magazine I read that didn't treat gaming as simply a kiddie thing. The reviews were alll done by adults, and the articles had a more mature theme. Compared to the main gaming mags of that era for me, Nintendo Power and Gamepro, EGM just seemed to have it's head in a better place when compared to the other mag's overly kiddie tone. My favoritism for EGM even extended to silly fanboy-dom, as I fiercely defended it. Myself and GMM contributor Amebix still get into spats over whether EGM or Gamestop-owned Game Informer was the better publication.

Like thousands of gamers world wide, I was sad, bummed, and pretty pissed when Electronic Gaming Monthly was officially given the heave-ho early last year. Thanks to the selling of it's online component to a new company that didn't want a magazine, EGM became a sign of the times. Press magazines just aren't making as much money as they used to, as most of their advertising revenue is running to the internet or geek-based tv channels to hock their goods. To earn a living, many gaming journalists have followed, leaving the newsstand periodicals in their wake.

And then, there was hope. Steve Harris, original editor-in-chief of EGM, bought the rights and all trademarks for the magazine, with the intent of bringing it back to the masses along with a hefty online component. Now, EGM, and it's internet counterpart, EGMi, have finally made their debuts on newsstands and the web. After taking some time to digest both ends of the new infrastructure, I can safely say things are looking pretty damn sexy.


Bwahhahahaha, I knew it. Mike Portnoy has a break in his touring with Dream Theater so the man is gonna play the skins for A7X. Now I really need to go to the Rockstar Uproar concert. Oh my poor bank account! Here's what Mike had to say:

After having had such an amazing experience recording my drum tracks for the new Avenged Sevenfold album, we all knew it would be awesome if I'd be able to do some touring with the band after its release...

I am happy to say that the timing worked out perfectly that my touring cycle with Dream Theater (and Transatlantic) was coming to an end just as A7X's was scheduled begin!
(well, perfect for everyone except my poor family!) : )

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I get to help out a fellow De-twat-er

That there's Angela Gossowski, a blogger on the female fronted Reign in Blonde. Her column, Straight Outta Detwat, is either the most offensive or hilarious thing you've ever read. Guess that depends on your opinion of stories about ripping on Hollywood Undead so effectively, that their entire fanbase decides to spam your comments section. Which in itself is pretty hilarious, and also proves her totally right.

Angela also happens to be a fellow concert buddy, and my must of won her trust or something while we were hanging out at the Dillinger Escape Plan, because she asked yours truly for a little blurb in her latest blog, "Bands Who Take Their Name From Other Bands' Songs". I get to wax philosophical about Bury Your Dead stealing their name from The Haunted, and well, I'll let you see the results for yourself. The article also has guest contributions from RiB's head ladies Elise and Julia, as well as Noah from Funny thought: that makes me the only male contributor. That makes a great ratio in my favor, or it's a sick joke on Angela's part to lump me with a bunch of women I'll never get to meet, and that gives me a sad. :(

Anyways, go check out the blog, and throw out your own song  that became the name of a shitty band. Also, why don't you also go ahead and follow Angela on her Twitter? You'll get to read her thoughts on alcohol consumption, Percocet snorting, and her near pornographic use of hash tags. #srsly

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

We're All Doomed-

Even though Toxic Narcotic have been around since the late 80's, they hadn't released a full album until about 8 years ago. Up until that point, it was all about the 4-5 song EP's with these guys. Their sound hasn't changed much over the years, and 2002's We're All Doomed is this Boston crust-punk outfits explosive first outing on the full length format.

TN were born out of the (dying) Boston hardcore scene, and had a relatively unique brand of anarcho/crust-punk. They had many of the genres trademarks; like screamed vox, politically charged lyrics, with gobs and gobs of metal influence. What also made them stand out was their extremely hateful and dare I say, "realistic", take on traditional anarcho punk ideology. In addition, they had the ability to fuse blast beats with musical chops and (here's the kicker) actual songwriting. They have plenty of speed, but never quite sink into an indecipherable cacophony either. Yep, you can actually tell the difference between each of the songs. *gasp*

The lyrics here are very good. Not in a poetic or artistic kind of way, but in the sense that they're smart, biting, and cut like a razor, which fits in well with their harsh and uncompromising sound. The topics range from misanthropy (something any punk/metalhead can relate to), beer, selling out, and anarchist politics, as mentioned earlier. Not a very broad pallette, but this is a crust punk record, so who gives a fuck?

The musicianship here is tighter and more proficient than any of their previous records, although that should go without saying. Unless you're GG Allin, I guess. One last thing I should mention is that the lead singers voice is bound to make you crawl under your bed and hide. That's how fucking loud he screams.

If you enjoy this, I'd also recommend picking up their '89-99' release which compiles just about everything they did prior to WAD. And for live performance/DVD enthusiasts, Live In Boston should whet your appetite until the next time they come to your town. I wish these guys would come back to NJ.

This album earns the honor of being my last Slaytanic reviewed product. I say this because the rating system for GMM will likely be overhauled soon.

Lamb of God's clock says it's time to buy more stuff!

If nothing more than to give the band something to tour behind while they're on the Mayhemfest this year, Lamb of God will be releasing an anthology set to commemorate their 15th anniversary. And boy oh boy, do they wanna rake in the dough. The anthology, titled Hourglass, will come in an assortment of bundles. Some cheap, others second mortgage worthy.

The whole shibang will be popping up on June 1st

Details and prices of each set , and my thoughts, after the jump.

Wait, didn't we just have a new God of War?

Yep. But the series sells a lot, so get ready for more. Pretty soon, actually.

God of War: Ghosts of Sparta, has just been officially announced for the PSP, and it'll be released sometime later this year. Christmas time, me thinks. Ready at Dawn, the peeps who designed the previous GOW PSP game, Chains of Olympus, are hitting up this version as well.

Set to take place between parts one and two, Ghosts of Sparta will follow Kratos and his rise in power as the new God of War. We're also being promised that a lot of Kratos's past will be explained, like his tattoo, his family, his weight loss program, and how he came to have such a cheery disposition. Personally, I want to know where he got that bitching goatee. That thing's sharp enough to cut glass!

Fun fact: there's already been a "between parts 1 and 2" God of War game, but it was a pretty bad looking 2D cell phone game. I've never played it myself, but from what I've heard, the quality of it ranks somewhere between vomit and diarrhea. And since Ready at Dawn, did a pretty bitchin' job on Chains of Olympus, I'll be more than happy to never play that cell phone game, since a good substitute is in the works.

We'll probably here more about Ghosts of Sparta at E3. Until then, hit up the jump to see some screen shots.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ya Jinxed Me!

Sturby wanted Tool dates.

Sturby gets Tool dates.

One's right near him.

None are near me.

I now hate Sturby.

June 19th New Orleans, LA – UNO Arena
June 20th Houston, TX – Toyota Center
June 22nd Cedar Park, TX – Cedar Park Center
June 23rd Oklahoma City, OK – Ford Arena
June 25th Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center
June 26th St. Charles, MO – Family Arena
July 01st St. Paul, MN – Xcel Center
July 04th Winnipeg, MB – MTS Centre
July 05th Regina, SK – Brandt Centre
July 07th Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place
July 09th Vancouver, BC – GM Place
July 12th San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic

When Nintendo Listens to Norweigan Black Metal

Now it just needs to denounce God and drink some goat blood to really disappoint it's parents.

Seriously though, this black Wii is pretty slick looking. About time too, as those lucky Europeans have been enjoying the blackest and bleakest of all consoles variants for too long now. Aside from getting Satan's favorite console with matching Wiimote and nunchuck, you also get a Wii Motion Plus. To top it all of, you'll get both Wii Sports and it's Resort sequel. The bundle price will remain $199.99, which isn't bleak or evil in any way. Honestly, that's a nice deal for someone who needs to get a Wii and has been waiting for a good while. Someone like me, perhaps.

Also, good news for all you God-fearing Christian folk, who feel that the black Wii will damn them to one of the lower circles of Hell. (Spoiler: IT WILL!!) All the goodies in the black package will also come in a Heavenly pious white version as well.

The black Wii starts cementing your souls on May 9th in the states with a Canadian release rumored for the end of the month. I guess the devil is having visa problems getting into Ottowa.

Rockstar Uproar: Another fest I'd pay money to see

Of course, that all depends if the damn thing even bothers to come around to my neck of the woods, that is.

So, another fest pops up wanting all your money, but this one has a twist. Uproar is going for a more totally main stream appeal, as there's not a single underground metal on the bill. No death, no speed, no grind, no thrash. Of course, this also means no Hot Topic support, but sometimes, you just gotta make sacrifices ya know?

So, let's take a look at this line-up first, and then rip it apart after the jump.

8-bit Metal Mondays: Oh, Canada!

Here's some fun site stats for ya. Last week, our Canadian correspondent Sturby posted his review of the Twosome Gruesome tour, featuring Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper. Well, you crazy Canucks must be starved for news about horror rockers, because y'all have made it the number one visited page in the site's history! Almost 800 hits for that page alone, and it's still growing.

Good for Sturby too, as he's a great writer, and I'm just looking for the next best way to talk about titties. Clothed or unclothed. Big or small. Just there, or perhaps flopping about. Maybe upon my face. And I do the motorboat.

And now, in a bleepy celebration of sight hits and the land of poutine, here's some Cooper for the tour and some ANVIL!! Non 8-bit Anvil, that is. Youtube seems to be lacking that right now.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ozzfest uses spike-studded dildo, millions literally butthurt

Finally, the Ozzfest announcement was made this past Friday night. And wouldn't ya know it? They fucked us all. I, myself, had to buy the super expensive ass cream as the burning wouldn't stop. No wonder they put this news diddy on Friday night when most of the world was either busy working (like me) or getting shitfaced and sexing up the ladies (unlike me). First off, let's go to what everyone is shitting on the most, the lineup.

Main Stage:
Motley Crue
Rob Halford

Second Stage:
Black Label Society
Drowning Pool
Kingdom of Sorrow