Games Meet Metal: July 2010

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Saturday, July 31, 2010


We just started our run of tour dates with Iron Thrones, and I must say I'm pumped to be sharing the stage with some like-minded musicians. We kicked off the tour at the Double Door in Chicago, and while the choice of booking two 80's throwback bands with ourselves, Iron Thrones and The Alaya Conscious, was interesting to say the least, the sound was great and we had a really good time. A large part of that good time was thanks to hanging out with Jason & Dave from our management group. We were also pumped to see our long-time buddy Mikey from iwrestledabearonce come out to chill. There was also free vodka, which I took part in heartily.

So far the van rides have had more Opeth jams and Lord of the Rings sessions than video game playing, but I'm sure we'll get some in. The dudes in Iron Thrones assure me that playing video games is in their top activities.

LCTR & Iron Thrones are playing the Summit in Columbus Ohio- 2216 Summit St Columbus OH 43201.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

His Disappearance. How Unsettling

You just got home form work. You have groceries in hand. You feel relieved to be home, but you have an unsettling feeling. When you called home earlier to talk to your hubby, he didn't answer. Maybe went down to the store, you say to yourself, as you continued your work day. Now you're home, but there isn't a sound in the house. Then you notice his computer desk. No computer. the cables look to have been pulled out in a rush.

Suddenly, fear consumes you.

"My, God! Were we robbed?"

"Where is he?"

"Is he hurt?!?!"

A million other thoughts run through your head, including one particular one: he had requested today off. But why? There was nothing going on, or he would of told me! I thought he was taking a day off to rest!

You rush through the house, looking in every room for him. Nothing. You return to the front room, flustered. You pick up the phone to call 911, when you see a shopping bag in your peripheral vision. You look in the bag. You find a receipt. You read it.

Suddenly, all your worries are abated. You feel relieved. You also feel slightly miffed that he didn't tell you why he was taking today off.

For you see wife/girlfriend/mother portrayed in this short story, your husband/boyfriend/son dropped the ball. He forgot to tell you that Tuesday, July 27th, is Starcraft II release day.

He is not dead. Or kidnapped. Or being tortured for his secrets. Nope, he just at his buddie's house killing Zerg by the hundreds. He's with other nerdy guys doing nerdy guy things. And as Stewart Smalley once said,"That's..... okay."

Although, now would be a good time to text him to remind him of his gaffe, and he's getting chewed a new one when he gets home.

Monday, July 26, 2010

8-Bit Metal Mondays: Seeing A Reunion

This past Wednesday, I got to see the return of Fear Factory, a band that has had some very silly line-up changes. First, they dumped guitarist Dino Cazares, made their bassist the guitarist, and brought in bassist Byron Stroud of Strapping Young Lad fame. Then, the drummer and guitarist are given the boot, Dino gets back on guitar, and superstar drummer Gene Hoglan is thrown in. Glen was also in Strapping Young Lad. Now, fear Factory is two halves of two bands put together. It works real good though. It's like a really brutal Reeses Cup, with a tinge of electronica thrown behind it.

So, since the band's on my mind, that's what y'all get for the bleepiness this week. Here's Zero Signal.

Passionate Musings of A Japanophile: Impressive Games That Need Localization

If you've seen my blogs on 1up, you'd know that I'm not quite comfortable with where the industry is heading. As I articulated before, I feel this is largely the result of the growing influence that Microsoft (and Western development in general) are having on console gaming. To clarify, I see a slow and gradating shift towards a Hollywood and dudebro centric market. As someone who is not only the exact opposite of that, but values gaming as a mode of escapism from real world stress and this insufferable American society, this would be a bonafide nightmare scenario for yours truly.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not saying that there aren't Japanese devs/games that take themselves too seriously (see: Metal Gear, recent Final Fantasy games, etc). Nor am I implicating that Western developers don't know how to get in touch with their psychedelic (aka creative) side, as the Rayman, Prince of Persia, and, love it or hate it, God of War series immediately stand out in that respect.

But I am digressing. These are games that I feel have the potential to be import-only gems on par with Secret of Mana 2, the majority of the Goemon series, and many, many others.


Admittedly, I did not think much of this game when it was initially revealed at E3 2009. At the time, I thought of it as the Conduit of Wii RPGs: an attempt to appease a desperate and starved fanbase with an exercise in sheer mediocrity, banality, and piss poor art direction. Of course, that was before I saw some of the trailers released earlier in the year. The sheer scale and polish on display (especially for a Wii game) had my jaw nailed to the floor. I saw the nigh perfect review scores upon its release in Japan and I was instantly hyped. But THEN I remembered who the publisher was, and subsequently became overwhelmed with feelings of cynicism and bitterness due to the fact that we'll probably never see it released here. Nintendo have an obscenely bad track record when it comes to localization these days. Hell, they've already shafted two relatively high profile Monolith games already! When I say bad track record, I'm talking Namco levels of horribleness. At least the high sales of the game in Japan could convince Nintendo to give it a shake.

Tales of Graces/Hearts/Vesperia PS3/or any future Tales games for that matter

Speak of the devil, Namco are arguably the undisputed kings of bad business practices. I'm seriously baffled that these guys haven't given up the ghost yet, when they have such a penchant for making idiotic decisions that are just jaw dropping in their utter stupidity. That said, Namco actually were not too shabby last generation. They finally gave the Tales series a serious push in the West (albeit with the help and encouragement of Nintendo), as well as adequately managing their contemporary roster of big hitters like Soul Calibur. And they even succeeded against overwhelming odds in making the unabashedly Japanese Katamari Damacy for PS2 a success in the States. Pretty impressive, if you ask me.

So what happened? Tales games were a pretty big success last generation, and it seemed like they were well on their way to becoming a serious contender for most popular JRPG in the West. Now they can't even bring over the PS3 version of a critically (and from what I hear, commercially) acclaimed installment in what is (err, was) probably their biggest franchise, when it would have cost them almost nothing to do so considering that it was already translated. It's like they pulled a Saturn-era Sega and just got so overconfident that they started throwing their best decision makers (not to mention logic) completely out the window.

TL;DR version: I don't have high hopes for any of the above Tales games coming out here. Sad, but the unfortunate truth.

Ninokuni PS3

The possibility that this might not come out here is giving me an aneurysm. Just watch the youtube video of the PS3 version, and you'll immediately see what I mean. I'm like a fish out of water without games like this. Although I do have reasonable doubt that they won't leave it in Japan, since Level-5 recently opened up an American branch to get more of their games out in the Americas.

The Last Story

Yet another Nintendo published JRPG, only this time it's from the legendary Hironobu Sakaguchi. It's true that he's had some missteps (particularly in recent years), but for all intents and purposes, I would consider him the Shigeru Miyamoto of JRPG development. The early concept art had me foaming at the mouth for a preview trailer and a release date. It had many of the things I sorely missed from the good old days of Squaresoft. Those things being a nice vibrant art direction, absolutely NO STEAMPUNK INFLUENCE, and a shit load of heart. Regarding the latter, the man himself said that he's treating this game as if it were his last, and is pouring at least 120 percent of his efforts into this title. The recently revealed gameplay trailer, although a tad bleak compared to the concept art, made the game look like it's gonna be a winner. I have mixed feelings on the potential of this being passed up for localization. While Nintendo of America's reputation does precede them, I feel like it would be perceived as a huge insult to Sakaguchi if they were to pass this game up.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blast Beats and Boss Battles w/ As I Lay Dying's Phil Sgrosso!


(Well, the "Cool" Tour may be a horrible tour name, but cool things did happen there. The coolest of which was GMM's first ever sit-down interview! Yours personally got to torture  chat with AILD's Phil Sgrosso about a few nerdy things. This is kind of a short interview, since like I said, it was my first in-person deal. But Phil was mega-cool and patient as I fumbled with technology, aka my voice recorder. Okay, enough yapping. Onto talking!)

As I Lay Dying are knee deep in touring behind your new album The Powerless Rise. How’s the crowd been reacting to the new material?

The crowd's been great! We've been playing a few new songs this tour, and they've been very receptive. It's fun for us to play some new stuff too.

It's goota be, a few years on the road, get tired of the old stuff, and then "NEW STUFF YES!"

Oh yeah, new excitement.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Cool Tour: The Riff Review

The Cool Tour, featuring As I Lay Dying, Underoath, BTBAM, and a whole mess of others
Sunday, July 18th @ Royal Oak Music Theater

Ugh, the "Cool" Tour. As long as I live, I will never get over that name. It just seems so rushed, like they needed a name for the tour THAT DAY, and this was the best they could come up with. Hey, they're playing air-conditioned venues, so that must be "coooooooollll." Yuk yuk! Yeah, we get the joke. Horrible tour name aside, the line-up is pretty good, save for a hiccup here or there.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Acacia Strain's Wormwood: The Riff Review

Me and the Acacia Strain have had a bit of an on and off relationship. The first time I heard them was when they were touring for The Dead Walk, and it was just what my ears wanted to hear. Angry, downtuned, and not as hardcore as some other metalcore bands. Then they released Continent, and things weren't looking too good. Continent just felt bland all throughout, like I've heard it a thousand other times. Plus, that anger went bye-bye. I felt like a jilted lover, where my wife and mistress decided to bail on me.

Now The Acacia Strain have released Wormwood, and I'm happy to report that the wife and mistress have both returned, Plus, they've learned to do a few new things with their tongues.

Monday, July 19, 2010

8-Bit Metal Mondays: Random Search Time!

Ugh, my head is throbbing. Kind of like I have a hangover, but I don't drink. It's all my fault though. I went out to the (ugh) Cool Tour last night, and made a tragic mistake: I didn't bring enough funds to purchase life saving fluids. In other words, I lacked water. So remember kiddies, if you're going to a show anytime in the summer, HYDRATE!!!

So now, I must pick a bleepy cover for 8-bit Metal Mondays, but my brain doesn't want to pick anything other than H20, so it's randomly picking something incredibly awesome. And would you look at that. Someone went and did some Children of Bodom in 8-bit glory! Thank you, anonymous person with no life!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

LCTR- tour blog 3- THRASH & BURN!

We just got the news that LCTR is going to be rocking a couple select dates on the THRASH & BURN tour. We'll be playing 8/13 at Peabody's in Cleveland, OH and 8/14 at Harpo's in Detroit, MI. The Thrash & Burn tour has some pretty sick acts like Periphery, Born of Osiris, and Through the Eyes of the Dead. These dates are on Friday and Saturday too so no excuses! Come out and see LCTR with a bunch of other kickass bands.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Important news about Games Meet Metal

Ugh, what a shitty week. Having to flip shifts to the morning really goobered up my inner clock. I was having to go to bed at 10PM. 10 dammit! I haven't gone to sleep that early since frigging middle school! As such, I wasn't able to do jack squat with the site, as far as blog writing is considered. I was able to get a few other things done on the business side.

One of the first things i did when I started the site is look into what it would take to get into things like E3 and PAX as media. That's when I was introduced to things like "doing-business-as" licences and employer identification numbers. Being the anally retentive prick that I am, I combed over all the legalities of these things for quite awhile and came up with an answer: take EIN and DBA to a bank to get a small business account. Then came getting the money. That took awhile. For a time comparison, I started the site in October of 2009. It's now July 2010. Yeah, money was scarce. No thanks to YOU, Mr. Recession!

Well, summer happens to have a positive effect on my cash reserves. With a few days, I was able to string enough bucks up to finally open up a small business account for the site. With this, I can start doing some advertising for the site, as well as put ads on Games Meet Metal. Don't worry, not too many. We're not IGN after all. Revenue from those ads can help fund a forum and even a site redesign in the future. Probably more importantly, with the DBA and EIN combined into one entity, this makes us a legitimate business in the form of music and gaming media. Combined with my just-purchased first round of business cards and letterheads, our writers and yours truly can now have media access to E3 and PAX!!!! I'm already thinking about going to PAX East, as long as ticket and hotel prices are reasonable.

While this may seem like a small step for most, it is a HUGE step for me and everyone who writes for this site. Who knows, maybe the site will become profitable enough in a year's time that I can quit my day job and do this full time! And even pay people! Oh to dream. Until then, I'm still flipping pizzas, hoping for a better tomorrow.

LCTR tour blog 2- crab bosses

So I remembered why I put down Castlevania Order of Ecclesia... A crab boss relentlessly kicking my ass.

I don't know if they're Alaskan king, but they sure feel huge...

Crab enemies must be so common due to crustaceans looking like ugly-underwater-aliens. Nevermind the fact that claws are about the most obvious weapon any pixelated monster can have.

It looks like I'm going to have to do some grinding for levels before I take this guy out. In the meantime, we're going to check out a sick waterfall around Albany New York. A little nature never hurt anyone.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

LCTR- tour blog 1- unfinished business

Day 1 of LCTR touring and we're hanging out with our good friend KC in Pennsylvania. Right now I'm looking for a place to charge my DS, because I've got a pretty decent backlog of portable goodness to get through.

It's been awhile since we've been on the road so I really haven't even looked at my DS. Seeing all these games I never completed is actually pretty nice since: 1) I'm broke so new games are probably a bad idea and 2) I'm going to be spending the majority of the next month in a van.

I'm thinking I'll probably tackle Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia first. I'm pretty sure I was toward the end of that where it opens up into something of a metroidvania.

In other news, the ps3 slim we brought with us doesn't play PS2 games. WHY?!
LCTR is in Williamsport PA tonight! Come out and see us if you're in the area.

The "I Can't Do Shit With The Site For A Couple Days" Video Dump

So, the bossman at my money job is taking a few days off to enjoy his anniversary with the misses, so that leaves me working shifts i usually don't. It also means I won't be able to do much with the site until after 8PM, but that's also after an 11-hour shift where I start at 9AM. After working that long, I'm generally surprised if I can remember my name, much less be witty enough to write blog articles. So, in my brief absence, enjoy this huge bunch of silly metal and gaming videos. Some are old, some are new, and some only I get so deal.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ov Hell's The Underground Regime and Insidious Disease's Shadowcast: The Riff Dual Review

Well, Dimmu Borgir has been in the press a lot lately. A new album, the album's artwork, members coming and going. I don't think there's been a day go by in the past week where I haven't seen multiple news articles about the band. Oh well, such is the hype when a big metal band are about to trounce the world yet again. This puts me in a good mood though, as Dimmu is one of my fave black metal acts, and seeing and hearing them again sure does appeal to me.

Until that happens, I decided to jump on into a couple of side projects a few of the members have been working on to help mend the time. So, are they worth your effort, or are they coffee coaster status?

Witchery's Witchkrieg: The Riff Review

Inspiration from other artists. It's what drives many a musician to pick up an instrument. It also gives said musicians a beginner's platform to start their trade. Be it covers of their favorite bands, or stealing a lick or two for their own creations. While the young artist may evolve their own sound, there will still be a tinge or two as to what inspired him or her in the first place. For Witchery's newest album, Witchkrieg, the inspirations are evident from song to song.

Monday, July 12, 2010

8-Bit Metal Mondays: If Dio Were A Game

All of my real world friends know how much of a dork I am. As such, sometimes I'll be sent little tidbits of metal gamey goodness to give me a laugh. Or maybe they just feel sorry for me, who knows. Last night, I was sent the mother of them all: the dream of an 8-bit Dio game! I can't embed it here like a Youtube video, but you can go to and listen to the intro. Sadly, there is no actual game to play as it's just the title screen. But oh, to dream a dream.

Thanks to a particular female Facebook buddy for sending it my way. I now officially owe you two "roofie surprises" and a very confused morning.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Last Chance to Reason and Iron Thrones Tour!

Hey guys I thought I'd let you know that my band Last Chance to Reason have a bunch of tour dates coming up with Iron Thrones. These guys are really cool- sound very influenced by Cult of Luna, Mastodon & Opeth. So come out to talk games and music with me and the guys. Should be good times! Here are the dates- there are more to come as well!

Jul 14 2010 The Pajama Factory Williamsport, PA
Jul 15 2010 Bogie's Albany, NY
Jul 17 2010 El N' Gee New London, CT
Jul 18 2010 Dover Brickhouse Dover, NH
Jul 24 2010 Voices Rock Club Lowell, Ma
Jul 31 2010 The Summit Columbus, OH
Aug 1 2010 The Hard Rock Cafe Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Aug 2 2010 The Charleston Brooklyn, NY
Aug 3 2010 Ground Zero Allentown, NH
Aug 4 2010 Tammany Hall Worcester, Ma
Aug 5 2010 M Room Philadelphia, PA
Aug 7 2010 Ground Zero Spartanburg, SC
Aug 10 2010 The Coup Clarksville, TN
Aug 12 2010 The Firebird St. Louis, MO

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hirax's Noise Chaos War: The Riff Review

Let's set the way-back machine to my metal incubus, a.k.a. 1989. It was the first time I heard Metallica's One, and was forever corrupted. Needing more metal goodness, I searched the airwaves and found Headbanger's Ball. Joy! More metal to fill my eardrums with! It was here that I discovered more of the greats outside of the big 4: Testament, Exodus, Metal Church, Cannibal Corpse, Gwar. Such a veritable feast! And boy, did I dig in. Any metal band that was new to me became food for my ears. It may of made me bloated, but I sure enjoyed it.

Strange, as my hunger was, that Hirax seemed to avoid me.

Shut up, buttmunch, I'm trying to type about boobs here.

If this shit actually goes down, I may have to start believing in Jesus.

First reported on REVIEWniverse and later lauded by Metalsucks, there's mega big rumors that Beavis and Butt-head are returning to a screen near you. 30 episodes worth of "huh-huh's" and "I AM CORNHOLIO!!", to be exact. There's still no word how these will be aired, since no one's really sure who owns the broadcast rights at the moment. Viacom? Creator Mike Judge? Hell, will it even get air time to begin with?

The most exciting part for me is that the original look of the show is gonna be retained, along with the video clips! B&B's commentary on any and all videos were the best part of the show and helped many young metalheads, like myself, get into some good stuff. Morbid Angel, Pantera, Carcass, and Death are just a few of the bands that B&B got my ears listening to. And let's not forget White Zombie. Hell, would Rob even be making money if Beavis and Butt-head never gave Thunder Kiss '65 the thumbs up?

I hope this goes through. Even if MTV passes (which I bet they will), then there's always the internet and it's wonderful distribution to help us get our "FIRE! FIRE!" on.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Zeus: The Cause Of My Internet Disruption

So, late last night, I finished chatting with a friend online, and was about to flip the Wii on, when ZAP!! The whole house looses power. Quickly checking the fuse box and seeing that it wasn't just a flip of a switch, I venture outside to see if any neighbors have any power. Sure as shit, the whole neighborhood has lost the juice. All thanks to the transformer blowing up. Namely, the one in my back yard.

Instead of just blaming the transformer's destruction on near 100-degree weather and local overuse thanks to air conditioners, I'll throw the blame at an imaginary deity. So, FUCK YOU ZEUS!!! Stop trying to kill your children and keep the lightning in check, k? Oh, and stop schtooping women behind Hera's back. Honestly, if there's anything a Goddess hates, it's a playa.

There's a repair crew in my backyard now cutting down a tree to get to the main problem, but these are city workers, and they're gonna take their sweet fucking time. God damn unions and their overtime wages. Until then, site articles may experience a break for a day or two, unless someone else chimes in with a bit to read.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Piercing Playstation Plus

By Nathan Werp, aka Riff, editor-in-chief

When Playstation Plus was first announced back at E3, I was genuinely interested. A service that kept online for free, but gave deals and exclusives on DLC content and full games. With the exception of early-to-grab demos and beta access priority, Playstation Plus was the mirror image of Xbox Live. Plus, at $50 a year, that could be a good amount of gaming goodness that I would spend an assload more for if I wasn't a member. So, when the service went live earlier this year, I laid down my $50 and dived on in.

And what did I find? A promising start, but not much for me yet.

An Update on Matthew Leone

Looks like there may be some justice in this world yet. as Matthew Leone's attacker has been found and arrested. 33-year old Justin Pivec was charged with aggravated battery causing bodily harm and injuries to his wife. She may also face charges for leaving the scene of a crime. Also, Matthew's condition continues to improve, as he is now awake and aware of the situation. He still has part of his skull removed due to brain swelling, and has an operation scheduled to reattach everything once the swelling goes down.

As a final bit of good will, a charity has been established through Facebook. Once again, Matthew doesn't have health insurance, so paying those bills is gonna be a real killer without any help. You can give whatever you can at the clickable link.

It's nice to see some good news come out of this situation, but I'd hate to be in Matt's shoes. Injured, no insurance, unable to tour for who knows how long. I just hope the dude gets well quick.

8-Bit Metal Mondays: The Reeses Cups Of Metal

Clutch is a band that has two very distinctive sides. One is their earlier post-hardcore,. nu-grunge, alt-metal, umm... er...  okay, I can't categorize it. I just know that I liked it. Their self titled release with Big News I and II got many spins on my cd player. Then there's the more grown up, flat-out blues band style that they play today. And I STILL love it! Beale Street to Oblivion and Strange Cousins From the West are deserving rock classics that will never get the respect they deserve.

Since I've been jumping back and forth through their catalog, you get a double dose of bleepiness this week. Well, it would be bleepy, but Youtube doesn't seem to have any 8-bit versions of any Clutch songs! C'mon Youtubers!!! Y'all be slacking! Oh, well, you get legit tunes instead. Here's Big News I and II and Electric Worry.

Tool w/ Dalek: Another Disturbyng Concert Review

July 4th is a day that holds a special place in a lot of people's hearts. It is most famous for being the day that the U.S.A. signed their independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. To me, it will be the day that I saw Tool for the first time and crossed another band off of my Concert Bucket List.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Shitty Thing To Happen To A Nice Guy

Madina Lake is a band that I generally don't care for. Their music is very emo-centric, as is their image, and that's a big  no no for me. Regardless, I met the band last year while I was doing some marketing for Roadrunner at Warped Tour, and they were awfully swell guys. Music tastes aside, the guys were very hospitable and treated their fans with tons of respect. I also found out that they hail From Flint, Mi., which is where I was born, so we have a neat connection. It was the right attitude for a young band to have when trying to grow their fan base, thus winning me over on their personality.

There is a bad side to niceness in that it can be turned on you, and sometimes it's in a a violent form. Madina Lake bassist, Matthew Leone, stepped into a beating that a man was giving his wife outside his apartment, and Matt ended up getting the worst of it. He's now in a hospital with a portion of his skull removed to try to reduce the swelling on his brain.

Fuck! I hate to see good people get shit on, and this is just that case. Not only did justice not get served, but paying those medical bills is gonna be  near impossible. Too bad the music industry doesn't offer cheap health care. In the end, this is just disgusting. Matt showed more balls than most, and he doesn't even get a thank you.

There's a Facebook club that you can join so that you can send him some good will. Hopefully, someone sets up a charity fund so that the guy can pay his massive medical bills.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Black Tusk's Taste The Sin-The Riff Review

And my stoner metal odyssey continues. From High On Fire to Bison B.C., and now onto Black Tusk. You know, I'm really starting to question my stance on me not smoking any of the sticky icky. It's a decision I'm fine with, but listening to all this down-tuned weed rock has got me thinking that I made the wrong turn at Haight and Ashbury. It's a decision I'm sticking with, but now I do get why everyone around me just assumes I'm a pothead by proxy. Admitting that you're a non-ganga smoking fan of Sleep really brings a large collection of silly looks from everyone around you.

Nachtmystium's Addicts: Black Meddle Part II: The Riff Review

As I've stated before, I'm not that knowledgeable in the world of black metal. My experience has grown greatly in the past couple months, but there's still a lot of it I don't get? Why are Emporer and Darkthrone so praised, yet sound like shit to me? Why does the stuff I do like, like Dimmu Borgir, get shit on for being symphonic? At least they're trying to be a bit different. Why can't everything just sound like 1349 or Watain?  This is the attitude I went into with Nachtmystium's Addicts: Black Meddle Part 2: wanting a bit of evolution in the music, but retaining some of what makes black metal so dynamic.

I should of known something was gonna be a bit different when I spied the spelling of "Meddle."