Games Meet Metal: June 2010

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Final Frontier North American Tour: Another Disturbyng Concert Review

So because of Winnipeg's "awesome" concert promoter Dream Theater was actually cut from the June 30th Winnipeg show. Upon hearing this I talked it over with my friends and we all decided to get tickets for the June 29th Saskatoon show which is only an 8 hour drive north west from here. Nothing like a good ol road trip to go see two of the greatest bands on one bill! But why was Dream Theater cut from the show? The promoter arranged for a local act to open for Maiden instead. I think there was a battle of the bands type contest going on in the local rock/metal scene to decide who gets the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But it's not like they couldn't allow both the local band and Dream Theater to open. I guess that's a little too complicated. At any rate we got our floor tickets for Saskatoon and left bright and early yesterday morning to get to the show on time.

Hip to another reviewer's style.

As I've said before, I work with a collection of gamers. Some are Madden nuts, some are WOW nuts. Some are just discovering God of War for the first time. But for the most part, we're generally pretty easy to please. Nothing gets our panties in a bunch, unless it's something really god awful. Even when that happens, it's a pretty simple explanation for us: it just sucks. However, sometimes, if something really needs to be elaborated on as to how bad it is, I can generally be wordy enough to express my feeling on the matter, if not really all that witty. I've been trying to increase in the "wit" category to various degrees of success.

Then I was shown how to do it right.

I present to you Yahtzee, video game reviewer for Escapist Magazine. His review program, Zero Punctuation, pulls no punches. When Yahtzee hates something, he'll let you know in as many expletives as possible. And he's brutal. Oh so brutal. Linked below is his E3 recap. It's an ingenious mix of wit, sarcasm, and curse words that just make me feel small and insignificant. Truly beautiful work. Yes, I know I'm giving him a tongue bath, but he made me laugh and he also likes Silent Hill 2 a lot, so at least we would have something to talk about if we ever bumped into each other.

After watching his butchering of E3,  you should skim his entire library. I suggest his reviews of the aforementioned SH2, as well as his throttling of Too Human.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

And Hell Followed With's Proprioception: The Riff Review

A little over a week back, GMM interviewed And Hell Followed With's guitarist Kyle McIlmurray, and posed to him the situation of the local Detroit music scene, a scene in which AHFW was born. Kye stated that it was in a state of flux, and it will recover as the economy recovers as well. The Detroit scene may not be back on it's legs just yet, but And Hell Followed With have shown that they're here to help it back up.

Hey, Tom Araya's in your pocket screaming at your nads!!

I'll give y'all a second or two to let that image dissolve from your brain.


Okay, feel cleansed? Good! Because Tom Araya will be screaming at your nads, if you happen to bump your iPod Touch or iPhone the wrong way.

Slayer have gone and done released their own pinball game for all Apple devices, Slayer Pinball Rocks! It's as simple as it sounds: a demonic pinball table, satanic bumpers to earn points off of, tracks from World Painted Blood being played through your earbuds, and Tom egging you on.

Normally, I'd avoid any purchase on the iPhone or Touch. During the short time I had a Touch, I barely used any apps and I never bought a game for it. The screen was too small, the touching seemed off, yadda yadda yaddda. But this is Slayer, DAMMIT!! Thus it requires your purchase. Even then, it's only $2.99 in the iTunes store, thus making it the cheapest Slayer merch you'll ever buy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

8-Bit Metal Mondays: I Guess I Do Like Whiny Singers

Early last year, I got to see Slipknot play their first proper arena show at the Palace of Auburn Hills. They had done Cobo Arena a few times, but Cobo barely qualifies as an arena. Now it's just a place that stuff happens to be planned there three times a year. Anyway, Slipknot at the Palace was one of their best shows ever, but they brought along an odd opener: Coheed and Cambria.

What little I had heard of C&C, I just didn't like one bit. It was too simple. It was radio friendly. It had the most annoying singer I had ever heard. And the cited Iron Maiden as their one of their main influences? Maybe of they mistakenly put a Shinedown cd inside the case for 7th Son of a 7th Son, but Jeebus! Did I hate these guys going in.

Well, Coheed must of known that I was coming and had a bag full of hate with me, because the band played their heavier songs exclusively for their entire set, thus making me a partial convert. I'll listen to their hard rock, but their poppy crap can go lick an orifice.

And thus, that leads me to this week's bleepy tune, Coheed and Cambria's Welcome Home.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Chuck Schuldiner Sure Did Like Them Hot Shorts

Like everything else in life, I got into Death way later than every other metal head in existence. Chuck Schuldiner is primarily responsible for bringing a progressive edge to death metal, thus being so far ahead of the curve that most bands are still catching up. After listening to "Symbolic" for the first time many years, I had to have more Death, and to find out more about Chuck himself. That was when I discovered that he had already passed away from brain cancer and terrible pneumonia in late 2001.

Ever since his death, Chuck's estate has been releasing more and more tidbits from back catalogs. Unreleased Death and Control Denied recordings, rough demo's of Chucks first band Mantis, as well as releases of Death's classic albums. Now, a new documentary is being released. Filmed around the making of Death's video for "Lack of Comprehension", the as-yet-untitled doc shows Chuck and the then current members of Death in a very laid back and comfortable state. Just the guys being themselves. A 3-minute clip has been posted above.

Now I say this with all respect: Chuck was an innovator and a legend, but the man needs help with his pants. Those shorts he's wearing while taking the amp out of his trunk are more suited for a bachelorette party. At least he changed into pants for the video shoot. Imagine those things trotted out on Headbanger's Ball back in the day? Yeah, me neither.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Short E3 Opinionated Editorial From Some Schmuck Who Didn't Get To Go

So, it's been a week since E3 was upon us, and everyone is still pouring over preview coverage. They're still bugeyed at all the surprise announcements. They're still waiting on all those booth babes they handed out their numbers to. If you asked any of these guys what they thought of E3, they would probably say that it was amazing, awesome, all encompassing, and probably a few other words that begin with "a".

.....but only if you there.

Being someone who is stuck on the outside looking in, I could only look on in pure jealousy at everyone who got to go to L.A. and bask in the gaming goodness. The ones who got free Xboxes from Microsoft and tons of swag from everyone else. They got to play an asston of games and demos that we won't see for months. They get to report on their experiences on their news sites or blogs. And we have to live vicariously through them, as they flaunt their awesomely fun time. It kind of makes me hope that a few pf these guys were bitch slapped by a few booth babes during their fun "experience."

If this is starting to sound jaded and assholeish, then you're right. i was planning on attending E3 for the first time this year, but priorities ended up being my undoing. A dead car ain't gonna get you anywhere, much less out to L.A.. Buying a new car ain't gonna help you afford a trip either, but that was the hole I got stuck in. Money went this way when I wanted it to go that way. Thus, my E3 plans were scrapped, and I ahd to assume the position of gawker of those lucky enough to go.

Next year? Different story. I'm already getting my paperwork together to give it another shot. I'm looking at flights and seeing prices. I'm checking out hotels and seeing if they offer free breakfasts. I'm also contemplating going to PAX East and using that as a dry run to plan E3 upon. I'm prepping early so that the fruits of my labor can be enjoyed a year later.

I just hope E3 doesn't pull another freaking hiatus and gets ripped apart by the industry itself. Because that would be shitty timing.


I'm a big slavering fanboy for Chimaira. Ever since I first saw them as a nu-metal band back in their early days to the metal monolith that they are today, I have always stuck with the band. For me, it's a deeper connection than just their music. I've met all the dudes in the band several times, and there's not a douchebag in the bunch. Plus, bassist Jim LaMarca is a fellow gamer, so the connection is also extremely nerdy.

What I appreciate them most for is their honesty. When they released their first dvd, The Dehumanizing Process, the band decided to take a different route than what other bands would put out. That would usually be nothing but good times and lots of partying. Oh, but not Chiamira. They let you see the other side of the business: band members leaving, replacement members being erratic dickheads, lack of label support, and the band nearly breaking up. It was one of the most true portrayals of the heavy metal touring life, and is considered a must-see for any young metal band with stars in their eyes who need a dose of reality.

Fast forward to today, and things have worked out for Chimaira rather nicely. A new label, their original drummer back in the fold, CD's selling, tours-a-plenty, even a few marriages and kids in the mix. Yep, it's a good time for Chimaira. They've even released a couple more doc's for their previous two albums, and those showed a much more upbeat attitude. Too bad they were rather short in length.

Well, looks like Chimaira are fixing that length problem with Coming Alive, a 2 DVD/1 CD mega package of goodness. Not only do you get a 17-track live performance of great Chimaira hits on DVD and CD, but you also get a whopping 3-hour documentary covering all the touring the band did promoting their last outing, The Infection. Three fricking hours. That's a mandatory meal of a turkey and swiss on rye with mayo and a tall glass of ice tea. Might as well have something to nibble on and sip while the awesome is displayed.

The whole shibang drops on July 20th. You can pre-order the sucker at the official site. Check out the trailer while you're there. That chanting crowd in the beginning just gets me all jazzed up.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blast Beats and Boss Battles w/ Powerglove's Bassil Silver-Hajo!!!

Blast Beats and Boss Battles returns  to probe various metal musicians for tidbits of band news as well as nerdy gamer talk. Today's edition is a humdinger, as we got a few words out of Powerglove drummer Bassil Silver-Hajo! Read on about being signed to E1, his thoughts on E3, and the final answer to a scary incident when he last came through the Detroit area.

1. Why "Powerglove?" Why not "U-Force?" Or "Sega Activator?" "Super Scope 6" perhaps?

An old friend of ours, Ben Durgin who we used to play in a couple bands with, came up with the name Powerglove after the Nintendo controller that came out in '89. We all liked the name because it had an epic metal ring to it, but also pays homage to Nintendo. Did you know anyone who owned a Sega Activator? 
(Ed. Nope, and thank Satan for that!)

2. Powerglove just signed it's first big record deal with E1 Entertainment. Honest question: did you think someone was yanking your chain when you heard a record label wanted you on their roster?

Hahaha! Yeah it's still a bit of a surprise to us that things have come this far. But as tongue-in-cheek as we are with our stage show and image, we've always put our hearts into the music. This actually wasn't the first label we've spoken to. We've talked and negotiated with many different labels up to this point, and E1 definitely felt like the right home.

Metal gets it's own Hootinaney

I got into metal right around the time the Big 4 were experiencing their golden age. That was the late 80's, and it was a joyous time. Metallica, Megadeth Anthrax, and Slayer were all still young and belting out the awesomest tunes in all of metal. Sure, they may have been more medicated than Scott Weiland on a smack binge, but they had the talent to back up their drug budget. The main hiccup was that they hardly ever toured together. There was the Clash of the Titans, but apart from that, can you think of one single instance where they shared the stage? I sure as hell can't.

Fast forward to today, and the ever holy Big 4 are doing the end-all be-all of tours right now in Europe. Just to make us in the Americas feel meek and unloved, there's been a collection of photos and videos of all the bands in picture ops and performing on stage. Now, I'm a skeptical bastard, and I'm gonna say that they're not getting along as good as they say they are. Actually, anybody with a knowledge of metal knows about the tenseness between the Big 4. But seeing them all together on one stage is still an unbelievable moment. It's like if Star Trek and Star Wars merged, and Captain Kirk gets his groove on with Leia, and we get to see it all! Well, "we" as in, the people of Europe.

As an even bigger tease, there's a Big 4 movie circulating amongst American theaters right now. It's a ton of concert footage, but there is one scene that sticks out. It's a full-on all band jam for Am I Evil! Most of Slayer isn't there, but Dave Lombardo does help out on drums. The rest of the bands are all accounted for though. Take a peek at what someone secretly taped while in a viewing.

8-Bit Metal Wednesday: I Get To Blame Work Again!

Big emergency at work for the past few days. Boss had to take off, and I got left holding the rope. Also got left with an asston of hours to cover. So, yeah, the usual schpiel. Anyway, on to tunes.

In a bit of boredom, I surfed the waves of Youtube looking for something different for the weekly 8-bit column. Then an idea hit me: has anyone ever done a vocalized version of a Mega Man Track? Well, praise be to Satan, someone has done such a thing. Actually, quite a few people have, thus adding to the trends that I just keep missing. Plus, since Mega Man is always and even made out of metal, it can count for 8-bit Metal (insert day of choice here).

So, revel in the bleepiness that is Mega Man 3 with silly lyrics.

Monday, June 21, 2010

In Anticipation of Epic Mickey

I give you THIS.....

Behold! Gallopin' Gaucho, the second cartoon in the original Mickey Mouse series of shorts from the late 1920's. The Mickey you see here is probably not the one you're familiar with. To the surprise of many people, this very first version of the iconic mouse was a mischievous, amorous thrill-seeker with an unquenchable thirst for danger, not to mention a refreshing alcoholic beverage every now and then. Far removed was this primordial mouse from the goody-goody two shoes we now know, whose overall presence has been limited to childrens toys and baby outfits. However, a man named Warren Spector plans to bring his less family-friendly attitude to the surface, whether the public wants it or not. And going by most of the reactions I've heard, we want it pretty badly.

Epic Mickey (yes, that's the name) is the latest undertaking for good old Mr. Spector, whose resume includes the much revered Deus Ex series. It is a Wii platformer that pits Mickey in the grim and grimy Cartoon Wasteland, home to many forgotten Walt Disney creations like the notorious pre-Mickey Disney mascot Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The latter isn't exactly thrilled that he's been usurped in popularity and importance by his younger half-brother Mickey, and not surprisingly, will serve as the main villain of the game.....if you want him to. Not unlike many other titles created by Western game companies, the game will also give you the option to be a good guy or a bad guy, and his choices will impact the world around him in a variety of ways as he progresses through the game. Oh, and did I mention it has glorious 2.5D side-scrolling sections based on classic Mickey toons? Well, now you know.

This is actually the first Mickey Mouse platforming game released on a home console since the 16 bit era, which produced some of the best licensed software known to man. TMNT, Tiny Toons, and of course, Mickey Mouse games in those days were surprisingly high calibre compared to what would come later (see Capcom's GC Disney games), but I digress. In any case, those old platformers ROCKED, although they are much more in tune with the moder, warm-hearted version of Mickey. One particular memory I hold dearest to the black swirling void that I call my heart is World of Illusion Starring Mickey and Donald, which was one of the first games I've ever played. It is an experience that I have an intense longing to reacquaint myself with, especially now that there is more Mickey goodness to come at the end of the year.

Well, I've blabbed on long enough. Time for bed.

Edit- Errrr, I'm having a bit of trouble with the "embed video" feature.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blast Beats and Boss Battles w/ And Hell Followed With's Kyle McIlmurray!!

 Well, holy hootenanny, it's an all new column! Interview column, that is. Blast Beats and Boss Battles is where we at GMM find a member of a prominent metal band that just happens to also be a gamer, and we grill 'em on his or her nerdiness. For our first installment, we're going local with Detroit deathcore band And Hell Followed With! Guitarist Kyle McIlmurray was kind enough to halt his World of Warcraft level grinding to answer our questions. AHFW's Earache debut, Proprioception, is dropping on June 29.

1. To start, can you give us a quick bit of history about And Hell Followed With? How you all came together, recording your first album, ect.

Basically we are derived from the best of the best locals bands from Michigan.. We all knew each other through mutual friends and one day we decided to combine and create AHFW.

2. Your latest album, Proprioception, is a concept album about a drug-laden girl who is losing her grip on reality. Are there any real-world influences to how the story came together?

All over the place.. Government Corruption is one of the biggest ones along side of drug addiction.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And in the midst of all the E3 hoopla, Crowbar decided to pop up.

While scanning through the GMM email box, I noticed a press release that I skipped right over. That's the problem with E3 week. Everything else gets regulated tot eh side, and sometimes you just miss important shit. The important shit in this case is that CROWBAR'S FUCKING BACK!!!

It wasn't too terribly long ago that I reminisced about the band and dreamed of Kirk not doing Down so a new Crowbar record could be done. Well, either I was way psychic or my timing was just off by a bit, but Crowbar are truly releasing a new album this fall. Not to mention they just signed a new record deal with the label that is signing everyone right now, E1 Entertainment.

Damn, I'm really liking that label now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Riff's Quick Notes: Sony E3 2010 Press Conference

Killzone 3: i know there are a ton and a half of people who love this series, but I just can't get past the blandness of it all. The new jetpacks add a bit of new gameplay, but it's just not enough for me.

LOOOOTS of 3D talk: Not gonna do anybody any good if they can't fork over the thousands of dollars for a 3D tv. Sly Cooper collection looked nice though.

Sorcery: The first game played on-stage using the Playstation Move. Preety much a Harry Potter ripoff, but looks a lot better than anything that was played with Kinect.

Tiger Woods Golf with Move: hitting a ball with an imaginary stick. Yay.

Heroes on the Move: More Move stuff, but a super collection with Ratchet, Sly Cooper, Dax, and their buddies. Just a teaser, though.

Kevin Butler brings the AWESOME!! Then my connection craps out.

Move launches in the U.S. on September 19 in several configurations. Just a cntroller for $49.99, or a full-on starter kit for $99.99. Cheaper than I thought.

Invizimals: Fucking hell, guys! Little late to rip off Nintendogs, isn't it?

God of War Ghost of Sparta: Damn it, just a teaser trailer.

Little Big Planet 2: Knew this one was coming. Still not interested, as I have no design skills for the life of me.

Playstation Plus: Uh oh, a tiered pricing for additional PSN content. Not too bad pricing, as it mirrors Xbox Live. Plus, on-line playing remains free. We'll have to wait and see if the content is worth the price.

Medal of Honor: Hey, a single player video! Looks much better than the multiplayer demo from last night.

Dead Space 2: A continuation of the demo from last night, with a boss character and the announcement of a special edition. Extraction for the Move? Intriguing.

OH SHIT!! PORTAL 2!!! FOR PS3!!! Well, I'm hard.

Final Fantasy XIV Online: I don't care how pretty they make it look, I'm not playing an MMORPG.

Mafia II and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood: Exclusive crap for the PS3. Looks like I'll have to change my AC:BR reservation.

Gran Turismo 5: Finally coming out. Go nuts, car racer fans.

Infamous 2: Crap, I gotta get to work. Why do they have to show the good stuff when I have to bail out the door?

Twisted Metal: With David Jaffee!! Woo!!

Final thoughts: Sony get the middle position. Better than MS, but not able to beat Nintendo in big announcements. Portal 2 was a jaw dropper, as was Twisted Metal, and the Move is looking a lot better than Kinect right now.


Nintendo's E3, just WOW.

It looks like the Big N has finally decided that they've had enough of the atrocious 3rd party treatment they've had to endure all generation long. On Wii alone, they introduced brand new iterations in the Kirby and DKC franchises, in addition to full video demonstrations of Zelda and Epic Mickey. That's not even bringing up the awesome DS support (Dragon Quest 9, Golden Sun) and unveiling of 3DS and Kid Icarus (no, I'm not joking). My shorts began to stink really bad when the latter was shown, if you know what I mean. This is a showing that Nintendo really needed, if you ask me. Let the horrible memories of the past 3 E3's forever be wiped from your memory, and bask in the joy and bathe in the joyful tears. The only disappointment I have is that they didn't mention Xenoblade or Last Story, leaving me to worry about whether or not Nintendo will bring out these massively anticipated Wii RPGs. Pikmin 3 and Dragon Quest X were also absent, which I predict will show up at next years show, or possibly at TGS in the fall.

I may sound like a slobbering fanboy right now, and that's because that's precisely what I am and I make no qualms about it. As a long time Nintendo fan, I am very pleased.

Riff's Quick Notes: Nintendo E3 2010 Press Conference

Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword: Now with official subtitle! Aside from the technical gaffe's on-stage, I'd say it looks pretty playable. Still looks way too early in development to make a final opinion. Flying beetle looks pretty nifty, though.

Wii Party: Eh, whatever. Next.

Mario Sports Mix: More casual crapness.

Goldeneye: Well, slap me on the ass and call me a bitch! It wasn't stated if this would be a sequel or a full-on remake. I'm just hoping the multiplayer is as fun to play at it was many years ago.

Epic Mickey: It looks better than I thought it would, but I'm still not sold on it yet. Maybe it's because I'm pretty sure that Disney is Swahili for Lucifer.

Kirby's Epic Yarn: What's with everything going "epic" all of a sudden. Wonder if Epic Games feels a little slighted. Kirby looks like the "epic" game I'd rather play. It's uber cuteness is outdone by stage design in my eyes.

Donkey Kong Country Returns: Looks pretty much like the DKC games from the SNES, just prettier. I'm sure the retro fans are going gaga over it right now.

Metroid Other M and Dragon Quest 9: Not even really sure why these were even shown, as they're both a heartbeat away from being released. I guess if it sells a few more copies, the better.

3DS: Well, more talking about 3DS, since you can't really show proper 3D on a big screen without glasses, and Nintendo really hates those damn glasses. Even then, NEW KID ICARUS!! Plus, a hella bunch of stuff from 3rd party developers. Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Saint's Row (?), and a ton of other interesting games.

Final thoughts: Nintendo just redeemed themselves from two years of lackluster showings and have stolen the show. Unless Sony says the Move is a joke and gives every PS3 owner a thousand dollars, then they don't have a chance in hell of following this one.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Riff's Quick Notes: Ubisoft E3 2010 Press Conference

Child of Eden: Holy crap, a Kinetc game that I'd totally play! Think Rex as a FSP, but your hand controls the sight and fires. Good techno beats. Don't know if it'll make me buy a Kinect, but we'll see.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood: DO WANT!!

Shaun White Skateboarding: You play as everyone's fave stoner Olympian as he skateboards the world out of the greyness of jobs where you support your family to a colorful, graffiti filled funplace. Like as X-treme version of the Red Light District. Wow, such an insult to blue collar workers.

Battle Tag: Hey, it's Lazer Tag! With self-imposed checkpoints and your PC keeps count. Yeah, I'm chucking this one and 3D into "technologies the 80's did better."

Innergy: Huh? What? Fuck no! Don't the cops have a monopoly on breathalyzers as it is?

"Generic Wii Sports and Wii Fit Ripoffs for Kinect": Seriously, why hasn't Nintendo started suing everybody so far?

Raving Rabbids Travel In Time: So, Rayman's dead, huh?

Ghost Recon Future Soldier: Think Metal gear Solid meets Modern Warfare meets cyborg technology. Never got into the series, and this doesn't change it.

Driver San Francisco: A teaser trailer showing a bunch of driving that will never be playable in the real game.Then some gameplay footage proving me right.

Dust: A teaser trailer for what looks like an up-close Populous. Too little to make an opinion.

RAYMAN ORIGINS!! Okay, he's not dead. But he has become a bit of a perv. Still, it looks totally fun old school 2d game.

Mania Planet: It's Little Big Planet taken to the extreme. Now you can create racers, RPG's and FPS's. I predict recreations of the first levels of Mario and Sonic with AK-47's and experience points.

Michael Jackson: I'm guessing a dancing game, but who knows? Literally, who knows? No game footage was shown.

Final opinion: AC: Brotherhood is a lock, Child of Eden looks great, and Rayman lives. The rest can take a pass.

Riff's Quick Notes: EA E3 2010 Press Conference

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit: So, the series roots were "douchebag jock speedy car driver" verses "roided out po-po with a spoiler on his ride". At least the forest they were driving through looked nice.

Dead Space 2: Ah, more my thing. Looks like it has way more graphical depth than part one. I'm just hoping they don't re-clone too many of the old baddies.

Medal of Honor: Looking a little too much like a modern day Killzone, and boy, did I fucking hate Killzone. I'll give the demo a try, but I'm being hella pessimistic.

MMA: This would be more Amebix's cup of tea than mine, but it looks playable and will give UFC some competition.

EA Sports Active 2: Oh, fuck off!

Madden 11: Oh, fuck off! Part 2: the sequel. And boy, did Joe Montana look like he was just trying to earn a paycheck or what? I haven't seen anyone give less of a shit than that kid snoozing at the Obama speech.

Crysis 2: I passed on the first one since it was PC exclusive, but I'll give part 2 a crack. That's even if this game looks generic as all hell. Pretty graphics though.

Sims 3 for consoles: If they ever map out the path to Armageddon, I think this would be an appropriate starting point.

Bulletstorm: D'oh! Forgot this one. A comic strip turned into a FPS, eh? Seemed pretty dull to start, but having that 20-story rolling monstrosity coming after the protagonist jazzed me up a bit.

Star Wars: The Old Republic: PC exclusive, so not for me. Although, Jedis seemed to have learned to do Hadokens now, so that should make for some neat PvP.

Conclusion: Dead Space 2 is a keeper, the rest is a big fat "meh." And nothing about Dragon Age 2 or Mass Effect 3? Weak.

The Night Before Gamer Christmas

It's the most wonderful time of the year. If you're a gamer, that is.

Actually, that's only partly true. Like any 7 year old brat viciously opening his or her gifts on Christmas morning in a manner that would make the Tasmanian Devil proud, gamers are not always satisfied with what the day (or days, in our case) brings. You're either gonna love your gifts, or you're gonna throw them in your poor mothers face. And gamers are the same way, a fact that's both disturbing and no surprise to this mediocre journalist. We need only remember E3 2008 for a quintessential example of what happens when our favorite bloated corporations don't give us exactly what we want. This is precisely why people should keep their expectations low, so as to avoid any further embarrassing temper tantrum throwing. In any case, most of us at GMM will be heading up to LA for next years show, therby injecting the normally peaceful surroundings with a bit of thrash metal spirit.

What I mean to say is, don't expect any hands-on impressions from us this year. That's gonna have to wait another 365 days. Sorry, kiddos.

Riff's super-fast opinions on Xbox's E3 2010 press conference.

Kinetc: Boy, I hoped you liked the Kinect a lot before going into the conference, because Microsoft was shoving that thing down our throats as quickly as some perv's dick racing towards the open mouth of a toothless, diseased whore. Yep, ole MS wanted to really push the Kinect, and to their end they succeeded. Not for me, of course. The idea of doing that much exercise in front of a HAL-like device just doesn't go good with me. The people around me with kids and wives were hella interested, so I guess they nailed their demographic pretty well.

Call of Duty: Black Ops: Nice to see Treyarch isn't just copying Infinity Ward again. The graphic detail is beautiful, and blowing up bridges in 'Nam looks pretty exciting.

Metal Gear Solid Rising: So, we're going from sneaky to slicing. And a LOT of slicing. Scenery, people, fruit, whatever happens to be in your way. Graphics look on par with MGS4. Just not too sure how they're gonna get the "slice" controls to work.

Gears of War 3 and Halo Reach: Just what I expected. Two good looking games that keep their main strengths going. Although, GOW3's running javelin kill looks super brutal.

Exclusive Crytek game: Call me when you actually get some game screens, k?

Fable III: Looks like more of the same pretentious crap from 1 and 2. Pass.

Xbox 360 re-design: I'll admit it. That thing looks SWEET! Plus, it would go well with my black Wii and PS3. But I already have a perfectly fine 360 that hasn't red ringed, and shelling out $300 for a new console color and wi-fi just isn't in my budget right now.

Final opinion: Looks like I'll be buying MGS Rising and COD: BO now. Already did a reserve on Halo, and will pick up GOW3. Kinect? Well.... your kids will like it.

8-bit Metal Mondays: A Quickie with V.O.D.

Not much free time today, as I've got a bunch of stuff to do, and the Microsoft E3 press conference is on at 1:30pm, so I gotta hunker down somewhere and watch the awesome. In the meantime, take a gander at a band that I've been re-discovering, Vision of Disorder. They came out of the NYHC scene, got kinda big, then broke up. The lead singer and guitarist went on to form Bloodsimple, but that didn't really work out, V.O.D. have been doing the reunion thing fr a bit.

Sadly, there are no bleepy tidbits on Youtube that I could find, so instead, just listen to some regular old tracks. Don't worry, it's still some good stuff.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The early days of Green Day

Chances are high that unless you've been living on Mars for the past 2 decades (or your name is Steve Diggle), you know who Green Day are. However, what most casual GD listeners don't know is that their major label breakthrough "Dookie" is not their first album. In fact, it's actually their 3rd album, released after putting out 2 full lengths and 3 EPs on Lookout Records. 1,039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours is a compilation, not to mention an amalgram in reference to the title, of their earliest batch of releases. Green Day, known as Sweet Children in their early days, were a product of the late 80's/early 90's East Bay punk scene; clearly influenced by older pop-based punk bands like Husker Du (especially apparent on their first EP), Buzzcocks, and Descendents, in addition to local favorites like Operation Ivy (whose song "Knowledge" is covered here), Crimpshrine, and Sweet Baby.

The first thing many people introduced to the band through Dookie and beyond will notice is their heavier sound (mostly attributed to the lower production budget). Unless this is the first independently released album you've bought, it's not something that will surprise you too much. Also noticeable is the disparity in attitude concerning their later releases. Unlike the juvenile, snide, and often humorous themes found on Dookie, what you'll find here is a younger (obviously), more innocuous version of the band. There's nothing here that will strike you as particularly bold or rebellious, besides the rather vague reference to marijuana in their self-titled song. Instead, what you get is a collection of poppy punk (sorta) songs about love, insecurity, and a yearning desire to belong. The lyrics are adequate, yet simple and nothing really out of the ordinary. Basically, if you've ever read a diary written by a lovelorn teenage geek, you know what you're getting.

The songwriting is where Green Day shines the most. Guitarist Billie Joe shows an early knack for writing infectious, melodic, and sometimes even beautiful melodies filled with exuberance, yearning, and angst. There's a couple of stinkers here, like Rest and the aforementioned Op. Ivy cover song "Knowledge", but songs like Going To Palasacqua (I have no idea what that means either) and Disappearing Boy are among the best punk-pop songs you'll ever hear. If you're already a fan, just getting into them for the first time, or even just a fan of pop-punk in general, you can't really go wrong here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

ANOTHER Mortal Kombat Trailer? Jimminy Jesus H. Christ!

Well, if they ever hope to get another Mortal Kombat movie off the ground, having a new game from the series to go with it ain't a terrible idea.

Just by guessing from the trailer, Mortal Kombat: Unknown Subtitle looks like a return to the MK2/MK3 play style, but in a 2.5D fashion. Proper fatalities? Check! No silly 3D arenas? Check!No more "make your own fatalities" crap? Check! No DC characters? Super double check!

You know, me thinks that the MK guys got a little butthurt over Street Fighter IV returning to the basics of it's gameplay and being successful with it. So now they're gonna copy it, but with way more flying intestines.

I guess tits and horror do go together.

Just got a press release from Capcom about Dead Rising 2. Now, i normally don't care about tiny additions to games that get a gazillion-worded praise letter to tell the world. However, this tickled my funny bone. Long story short, playboy has bought advertising space in DR2. and they're using it to excess.

 Now, I get why Capcom and Hugh Hefner's Totally Awesome Life Dream teamed up for this. Horror and boobies always go great together. Plus, tits sell anything. Got a 20-gallon vat of fecal matter with a nice slimy layer of vomit on top? Put a pair of tits next to it and someone will buy it! I just feel that this team-up seems quite shameless. It may even be telegraphing the idea that DR2 isn't so good, so they're putting a set of baps next to the poo and puke to make it look more attractive.

We'll all know the quality of Dead Rising 2 later this year, but my expectations have now gone from "meh" to "blech."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How To Destroy Angels-The Riff Review

But first, how about another pic of Mariqueen Maandig? Warning: it's kinda sorta NSFW.

Now Stone Sour wants to go the free single route as well.

So, I guess the bubble has broke on bands offering a free track for their new album for free. Now everyone's doing it! Already this week Iron Maiden tossed a 7+ minute opus for the price of zero, and now Stone Sour are doing the same.

The track in question, "Mission Statement" is off of Stone Sour's next cd Audio Secrecy, out September 17th. I just listened tot he track, and it's what you would expect. Poppy radio-friendly metal with a much harder edge than Godsmack or Disturbed could dream about nowadays.

You can pop on over to and download it right now. But you might wanna do it right quick, as there's a 48-hour time limit. I know, I know, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is hella addicting, and you don't want to pull yourself away from the tv lessen that star just flies away. Well, it won't, and the download just takes a few seconds.

Mortal Kombat + Grittiness = Zuh?

Okay, I'm real late on this one, as the new MK video went under my radar for a few days. I blame my lack of new glasses or anything else I can throw the bad joo-joo at to deflect any blame from me.

After watching the movie pitch a few times, I can safely say that I'm skeptically optimistic. A gritty Mortal Kombat remake has shitloads of potential. I'm just not too positive if there's enough people out there who even give a crap about the adventures of Scorpion and Sub-Zero anymore for a guaranteed audience. Maybe it would have better life as an internet show.

If either do get the green light, then I just ask that Seven of Nine not be in the final product. Jeri Ryan may have some great casabas, but her acting is atrocious and she's got quite the fugly horse face. there's got to be somebody else that can fill that role. Shit, doesn't Winona Ryder need a check these days?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Whitechapel's A New Era of Corruption-The Riff Review

Whitechapel and I have always had an odd relationship. I've seen them live quite a bunch of times, and have always enjoyed them. However, I never did listen to their first cd, This Is Exile. That's probably because I got sick of all the hype and anti-hype. I was either "THESE GUYZ R GUNNA RULZ METALZ!!1!!" or how they were the worst thing since Bananarama. So, to prepare myself for their newest work, A New Era of Corruption, I got a copy of This is Exile and gave it a good spin. What I found was a pretty good death metal band with bits of grindcore and black metal, as well as sprinkles of doom here and there.

Kittie must like their Tarantino flops

So, Kittie have released a new video for their obvious Misfits tribute, "Die My Darling." Let me clarify that I actually like the song, but the lyric lift just isn't all that subtle. I actually like the band quite a bit too. Their past couple cd's have been some pretty solid slabs of metal that got pushed aside by a lot of manly metalheads. Maybe it was too much estrogen for them, who knows.

Anywho, their new vid takes a big bite out of Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, which was his half of the vastly underrated Grindhouse double feature. Chicks chase down guy, beat the shit out of him, but our torture victim doesn't get a Kurt Russell-style fatality and just has to settle for a ball gag instead. It's a simple video with a simple theme that gets the point across.

I'm just glad that they didn't end up ripping off Inglorious Basterds. I don't care what anybody says, as that movie was a shit-flavored burger with spunk instead of mayo.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Iron Maiden Release New Song For Free, Sturby Gets Mile-Long Stiffy

You just gotta love Iron Maiden album artwork, right?

So, Maiden has a new album called The New Frontier coming out on August 17 in the states, and a tour to help promote it. How better to promote both events than by giving their fans something for nothing? Well, maybe an email address to get Maiden spam. Still, Maiden spam is much better than penis enlargement spam.

Maiden is giving away the first single from The Final Frontier, El Dorado, absolutely free from their home website,! You may have to try a few times for the download to kick in, as the site is getting mega-heavy traffic right now. But hey, c'mon! FREE MAIDEN!! The wait will be worth it. At least I'm pretty sure it will be. I'm still in the waiting process myself.

After the jump, check out the track listing as well as all current Maiden dates.

Know Your Place, Nerd!

Penny Arcade gave an interesting link yesterday: a flowchart written by a Scandinavian fellow named Lore Sjolberg. The chart itself lists the Geek Hierarchy, a sort of quick guide as to who's truly geekier than who. A quick look states that I'm in the "video gamers" category. that's equal to anime fans and amateur science fiction writers, but not as dweeby as ren-fair attendees and, ugh, furries. And to think that there are levels below furries just gives me less hope for the human race.

You can view the chart at Lore's website, as well as a much larger unabridged version.

I kind of wonder what a heavy metal version of this chart would be like. Where would "guys who yell SSSLLLLAAAAYYYYEEEEERRRR at any concert they're at" rank with "chicks who still bang Vince Neil"?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Alan Wake: The Riff Review

I always liked the idea of being a well established fictional author. Work from home, your own office, and easy access to the fridge or the crapper. Hell, if you're lucky, you can have the fridge and crapper at the same time! Unfortunately, being a writer of fiction is a pipe dream for me as I can't write make-believe for the life of me. Every time I try, it always begins and ends the same way: somebody armed to the teeth with enough guns to make the NRA blush, then it ends with some poor guy's ding-a-ling getting chopped off via nefarious means. So, yeah, the fictional stuff is better left to those who can do it some proper justice.

One of the most metal moments in all of gaming

The review for Alan Wake is gonna be popping up in a few here, but before then, how about a bit of a teaser?

Late in the game, you enter a desolate farm. As you are running from the blackened enemies, you encounter a strange sight: a fully built concert stage in the middle of the field. With evil still right behind you, you hightail it to the stage. Just in time, as lightning hits the pyro, and suddenly the stage comes alive! Tons of light (the main weakness of enemies in the game) fills the area from all the fireworks going off. Lots of baddies get incinerated in the blast. You collect a heaping pile of ammo to waste the rest of the oncoming baddies from on stage. All while an old school metal track with a faux-Ozzie singer is played over the loudspeakers.

Basically, it's an Axl Rose simulator: beating and killing the shit out of his own audience.

Here's a video of said destruction. Then, Axl trying to do it for real.

The Return of 8-Bit Metal Mondays!

Quick family update: my uncle's out of the hospital, but it's good news/bad news. Looks like there was no stroke, but he will have to get a big operation on his neck. He had lost partial feeling in his right hand which sparked the stroke fears, but it turns out he has three bulged discs in his neck which were pushing on his spinal chord. At least we now know the correct diagnosis, but that operation is not going to be pretty.

Now, with a good chunk of the drama out of the way (for now at least), I can now get back to being all nerdy! This weeks 8-bit Metal Monday topic? Powerglove!

I was introduced to Powerglove when they played support for Dragonforce the last time they came through Detroit. The fact that a bunch of nerds can go on a national tour and play metalized versions of video game tunes both impressed and intrigued me. Well, it must of intrigued the guys of E1 records, as Powerglove have a brand spanking new record contract and are doing up said record as we speak. I'm gonna be putting in a request to interview one of the guys via e-mail, so we'll see if we can get their nerdiness for the site.

In the meantime, enjoy some of their bleepy goodness.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Crime :1st degree: Severe abuse of a gaming system

This is Evan. No, not our Evan from Last Chance to Reason. Oh, no no no. This is a different and much more disturbed Evan. He's a teen werewolf(HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!). He hates some kid called Josh who keeps making fun of him. But most of all, he despises the joys of electronic entertainment. Watch the video, enjoy the epic LOL's, then get ready to be mortified at the end. MORTIFIED I TELL YOU!! Honestly, I hope Josh bitchslaps Evan's ridiculous amount of eyeliner off his face.

P.S.: Just in case he's reading this, it's okay to call yourself emo, Evan. I know that the whole werewolf thing seems like a convenient loophole to avoid the emo sting, but it's not working. Plus, by this point, no one can possibly think any lower of you by this point.

E3 2010 Anticipation

About a week from today we will all be glued to our computers reading about the latest and greatest in video gaming. For the uninformed, E3 is the biggest platform in North America where video game companies and developers show off their plans for the future. Usually this is where you'll first hear about the biggest games and hardware updates from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony. And leading up to the event, there are a lot of predictions and whispers about what will be presented. So here's a little breakdown about what we might see according to various video game journalists across the web.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

An explanation

As all of you have noticed, there's been little to no input here on the site for the past week. Once again, I've had some personal issues to deal with. Not only has the household problems boiled over from last week, but my uncle also suffered a mild stroke. Kind of like what Bret Michaels just had, but with no hole in the heart and a pretend job from Donald Trump. He's doing okay now, but he's still going to be in the hospital for a bit until he's given the thumbs up. So, yeah, really bad week, and the site had to take a back seat once again.

Next week should be a different story, as I hope to return to the old schedule. I'm already doing some rough reviews of cd's by Black Tusk, How To Destroy Angels, and Whitechapel. I just completed the 360's Alan Wake, so expect a review of that as well. Picked up Super Mario Galaxy as well, but we'll see how long that one takes me. I also was offered an interview with a member of local Detroit dethcore band And Hell Followed With who have their Earache Records debut popping up real soon, so I'm gonna try to squeeze that one in as well. E3 is also closing in on us, and Sturby is writing up a nice little preview for y'all.

Barring any more interruptions or family emergencies, next week ought to be pretty hopping. So stay tuned!

Thanks for sticking around,