Games Meet Metal: September 2010

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Remembering a Great Musician

24 Years ago today Cliff Burton met his tragic end. Metallica's tour bus was travelling through Swedan when it hit a patch of black ice which caused it to lose control and eventually flip over. Cliff and the band were enjoying the success of Master of Puppets which is arguably Metallica's best album to date. Money was starting to roll in and Metallica was slowly becoming a house hold name when it came to metal. Cliff's sudden passing was a big blow to the band as he was a primary writing force and inspiration to the rest of the guys. Before joining the band, Metallica was mostly concerned at playing hard and fast and Cliff introduced them to a classical music approach to make some of the most iconic metal songs of all time.

Cliff's legacy still lives on with "RIP Cliff" shirts being seen at virtually every metal show you go to as well as Metallica playing his signature songs like "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Take some time out of your day to raise a shot and salute one of the greatest bass players of all time.

8-bit Metal Mondays: Head Cold Condition

Be glad you don't live in Michigan right now. Autumn began overnight last Friday,as the temperature went from 88 degrees to 49 in the span of a few hours. It's made my internal barometer go SWEET FUCKING JESUS!!!. Of course, when that happens, the congestion comes right along with it. Then the sore throat. Than the coughing. Then me downing throat lozenges like a hillbilly in a meth lab.

The not-so-fun offshoot to this is a simple formula: when Riffie sick, Riffie no able to thinkie. So this week's bit of bleepiness is literally the first thing I find on Youtube. Then it's off to the store to bulk up on Dayquil and vitamin C.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Band Of Orc's Warchiefs of the Apocalypse: The Riff Review

After interviewing lead singer Gogog, I was asked by A Band of Orc's PR guy if I wanted to take a stab at their debut ep. Sure, I said. Hell, I'm not gonna turn down free tunes any time soon! Well, the package containing said cd was something of a, well, surprise. Long story short, it was meat. Stringy, disgusting meat. It probably wasn't even of this earth. Taking the "wrapping" off, I encountered a glob of puss, that smelt faintly of carrots and vomit. In the center of this puss, lay the cd, thankfully factory wrapped. But in the cd case was a note. A bit of a warning. The writing was nearly unintelligible, but I could vaguely read out that if I didn't review the cd in time, I would be introduced to the wilds of several orc women. Not wanting to see or smell the netheregions of  a lady devil, I decided to type up my review post haste. The things you do to protect your naughty bits. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sony thinks I'm a girl.

This ad popped up in my inbox today.

Guess it's time to start losing weight. The manboobs are beginning to fool some people in the worst possible way.

Chimaira's Coming Alive DVD: The Riff Review

I am, what you call, an unapologetic Chimaira fanboy. I became a fan of theirs on their first U.S. tour, and have been following them ever since. I still say their best show was when they co-headlined with a not-yet widely known Lamb of God. I've bought every cd and dvd of theirs on the release day and have only missed a couple of their shows in the Detroit area. So, yeah, me likey them very much.

Monday, September 20, 2010

8-Bit Metal Mondays: Not a Good Week, Opinions, and an Anniversary

Wow, what a messed up week last week turned out to be. First was the return of my insomnia, coupled with the usual goofy work schedule. But the big metaphorical sledgehammer came when I found out that my father, who I haven't seen or talked to in a good 16 years, was found dead earlier that week. That pretty much took the wind out of me. The rest of my time was spent trying to get my head straight while our family tried to figure out what our next step was.

Big ups to Sturby for covering me on the Metroid: Other M review, as my thoughts were truly elsewhere. Still, I was able to play through it,  so here's my two cents in bullet point form:
-Good story marred by bad voice acting
-Good graphics, yet vanilla scenery
-Excellent combat!!!!!
-Challenging boss fights
-Still didn't feel like a true Metroid game, thanks to how you earned your power-ups
-Too short!
Also, good on Team Ninja for holding back on the jiggle physics. I suspect they'll compensate for that in Ninja Gaiden 3.

During all the drama, I missed that Games Meet Metal is officially a year old! You may throw the colored confetti of your choice into the air now. While there were bumps along the way, I am glad what the site has accomplished so far. Building relationships with the bigger record labels, getting to know some good pr people in the music business, and giving a few of my buds a chance to spout their opinions. In the coming year, I hope to build the website to an even bigger status. Maybe move to Wordpress, a dedicated server, and maybe even get that damn podcast going that I've been wanting to do for so long.

The real big thing I hope to accomplish would be trips to both PAX events and E3 next year. PAX would be the easier route, as they're not press exclusive. E3 is, and that might take a little more work to get into.

Okay, time for this week's bit of bleepiness. Since I'm still on a bit of a Metroid high, I might as well throw out some Metroid Metal yet again. Here's the band doing a live live dealio at PAX 2009.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Metroid Other M: Another Disturbying Review

I talked it over with Riff and he wants me to take the take over writing a review of Metroid Other M for the site. I suggested we try doing recording a video of the two of us talking about what we liked and didn't, but the might Riff is a little busy these days. So, that will have to wait until we're a little more organized and I take it we'll have to test a few things first to get all the kinks out. Aaaaaaaaanyway, on to the review.

Metriod Other M is the latest game to be released in the Metroid franchise of video games. This game is meant to be a return to form after Retro Studios took the classic platforming of Super Metroid and turned it into a FPS/Platformer Hybrid type of game with the Metroid Prime Trilogy. I don't think this game was meant to disrespect those games as they were all critically and commercially acclaimed. Nintendo handed the game over to Team Ninja which I think surprised the hell out of a lot of people. Team Ninja is of course known for the Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive games. A lot of people cracked jokes that Samus would be getting larger breast enhancements instead of suit and weapons upgrades and I admit that I was really wary of what would happen to my beloved Samus this time around. So how did Team Ninja fair exactly? I'm glad you asked.

Monday, September 13, 2010

8-bit Metal Mondays: Hail to Halo

Well, the day has finally arrived.At 12:01 AM tonight, every 360 owner worth their salt is going to their gamer dealer of choice to get their copy of Halo Reach. It's an ever-lasting battle between 80's macho heroes complete with one-liners, against an evil alien force who happens to know the English language a little too well. I will be joining the masses tonight, but not until I complete a 10-hour work shift that will guarantee my suckitude on multplayer tonight.

In honor of Halo's release, here'a a bleepy version og the game itself.

Friday, September 10, 2010

DJ's All Time Favorites: Kid Icarus

Arguably Nintendo's most overlooked IP, going nearly 2 full decades without a new installment. It got its start on the original NES, released alongside Metroid which was met with more success. The two games were designed by the same team, had similar game infrastructures, and even shared an enemy. One thing Kid Icarus lacked was the sheer isolation and haunting atmosphere that Metroid is known for. In its place was a cartoony, Nintendo-esque spin on Greek Mythology, having as much in common with its source material as Legend of Zelda did with Celtic Mythology and Medieval European culture. It had the aesthetic and imagery, but it had almost nothing else in common with Greek Myth. Pit fought many absurd creatures that you will never find in the Odyssey or Illiad, such as Eggplant Wizards (i.e. annoying bastards that could turn Pit into a walking eggplant), and he even had his own credit card. All this works in its favor, because what fun is life without a little imagination?

I was introduced to Kid Icarus about 3 years ago. This was around the time that the series was beginning to receive more recognition, largely as a result of Pit's inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I already had a soft spot for Greek mythology, as well as platformers and Nintendo's more whimsical approach to game design. So despite its age, Kid Icarus seemed to be right up my alley. What made it stand out the most was its varied level design, including its vertical scrolling platforming levels, and lopsided difficulty. Pit may have a pair of wings, but he is not able to fly until much later in the game. The first 3 stages are pure brutality, with enemies flying at you from all directions as you carefully leap across tiny ledges. It can get pretty frustrating, but the subsequent levels do a good job of justifying the uphill battle, as they are vintage 2D platforming bliss. The music is really bouncy and fun too. The game shifts back to sheer madness once you reach the fourth and final section of the game, though. Also, Pit's arrows won't travel very far in the beginning. You can get upgrades later, much like the aforementioned Metroid.

The game was only a mild success and was almost completely eclipsed by Metroid. There was a sequel, titled "Of Myths and Monsters", released for the Game Boy in 1992. It seemed as though it would become a regular series for Nintendo, just like Zelda and Mario before it, and they even had an SNES version planned. However, the plans were aborted, and the series lay dormant for nearly 2 decades as Metroid became one of Nintendo's biggest properties (despite its limited popularity in Japan). But as of this past E3, it looks like Nintendo is once again taking its criminally neglected franchise seriously, even going as far as positioning it as a flagship title for the 3DS launch window. I remember the big stupid grin I had on my face during the Uprising trailer as Pit lept into action, apologizing for his long absence ("sorry to keep you waiting!"), and then proceeded to kick all kinds of ass on screen. It's about damn time, Pit, ya fuckin' jerk!

On another note, can anybody come up with a better name for my blog series than "all time favorites"? It just seems really plain and corny, in my opinion.

So, remember that Powerglove cd review?

You know, the super advance copy? The one you can go to by clicking here? Well, Saturday Morning Apocalypse finally has some cover art to show for it, in the form of a teaser Youtube. The video makes me think of three things:

1. The change-up look makes me think about Halloween III. You know, no Michael Myers, but plenty of pumpkin masks that produce meal worms.

2. That's about the distance I usually sat from the tv while I watched my Saturday morning soaps.

3. That distance is also how I ruined my eyesight, thus why the kid's seeing all that messed up stuff in the room. Or maybe he just smokes crack.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Riff's Rants: Duke Nukem Vs.... Axl Rose?

Well, it's finally gonna happen. Announced at PAX Prime in Seattle over the weekend, the biggest piece of vaporware in existence,  Duke Nukem Forever, will be released in 2011 for the 360, PS3, and PC. Finally, after 13 years of original developer 3D Realms doing fuck knows what with all the money many a publisher gave them to finish the damn thing, Duke was ripped from their arms and gracefully given to the tech heads of gearbox Software. And look at that! They had a playable demo! You had to wait two hours to play the thing, but it does truly exist.

Wow, 13 years for the development of anything these days feels like a lifetime. Unless it's a mission to Mars, NOTHING should take 13 years to make, especially when the product in question is mostly about one-liners and titties. And yet, this did. The real funny thing is that Duek Nukem Forever is actually arriving quicker than another famous doomed project. One that cost a record company $13 million. One that made all but one of the band members leave. One that took 17 FUCKING YEARS!!!!!!!

You might of heard of them.

And you might also be shocked that both project's pasts are eerily similar.

Holy Shit!

From Dream

To all of our loyal fans and friends: It is with profound sadness -- regret -- we announce that Mike Portnoy, our lifelong drummer and friend, has decided to leave Dream Theater. Mike's stature in the band has meant the world to all of us professionally, musically, and personally over the years. There is no dispute: Mike has been a major force within this band.

While it is true that Mike is choosing to pursue other ventures and challenges, we can assure you that Dream Theater will continue to move forward with the same intensity -- and in the same musical tradition -- that you have all helped make so successful, and which is truly gratifying to us.

Fans and friends: File this episode under "Black Clouds and Silver Linings." As planned, we begin recording our newest album in January 2011, and we'll follow that with a full-on world tour. "The Spirit Carries On."

All of us in Dream Theater wholeheartedly wish Mike the best on his musical journey. We have had a long and meaningful career together. It is our true hope that he finds all he is looking for, and that he achieves the happiness he deserves. He will be missed.

This makes me a very, very sad man.

Portnoy has said a few times that he was thinking about walking away and a part of me still thinks this is a joke, but another part of me knows that it is true and Portnoy will no longer be a part of Dream Theater. One of my friends thinks that Dream Theater's future will be fine as their sound tends to change a lot with each album. But I am more concerned with their live performances as Portnoy was a huge part of each show. He would gather video to use during the songs, and he even came up with the setlist before each show. And nevermind his stage presence. If you've ever seen Portnoy perform live in concert you know what I'm talking about. The guy gets the crowd going more than everyone else in the group. I don't think Dream Theater will ever be the same.

I wonder if the money that he's making with Avenged Sevenfold is the reason why he's leaving. I joked that Portnoy has probably made more money with A7X than he has with Dream Theater (and all the other side projects combined). Consider that A7X's newest album debuted at No. 1 and that their latest single has been at the top of the rock and metal charts since it's been released. Dream Theater never had anything like that, even in their glory days back in 1991-1993.

EDIT: I retract my statement about the money. Link to Mike Portnoy's statement on his website:

Monday, September 6, 2010

8-Bit Metal Mondays: It Can't Be Blast Beats All The Time

Sometimes, you just gotta turn the guttural vocals down, chill with the insane guitar solos, cool down with the praise for Satan, and listen to some non-metal. I generally turn towards the English prog-rock stuff, like Radiohead or Muse. Lately it's been more Muse, as I've been listening to Black Holes and Revelations a hell of a lot lately. But give me two days, and I'll be digging for my copy of OK Computer.

Anywho, bleepy Muse it is this week. Knights of Cydonia is a go!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dead Rising 2 Case 0: The Riff Review

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

I hated the first Dead Rising. Literally, I despised it. What I thought was going to be a mass zombie extermination turned out to be a game of dress-up written my George Romero. Go on, get yourself looking like a silly Japanese robot to clean out the undead! Fun, right? At first, yes. Then, the crap starts shining through. Super-hard bosses, an unforgiving time frame, that damn picture-taking gimmick that I loathed, and my biggest complaint: no great variation in weaponry. Our poor war photographer was left with a major lack of varying weaponry, thus making every encounter feel way too similar. Apparently, dressing up like a clown ad other things was supposed to make up for it all. Not for me, it didn't. After trying my hardest to stick with it, I gave up. I was bored. I was apathetic. I didn't want to see zombies for a long time.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blast Beats and Boss Battles w/ A Band Of Orc's Gogog!

(Ladies and germs, the height of "metal" has been reached. I give to you A Band Of Orcs, and they are, well, a band of orcs. With lead singer Gogog leading his hellborn minions, expect mass eviscerations across the country sooner rather than later. Yet, surprisingly, these blood-soaked warriors seem to like their video gaming! I decided to shoot a few Q's to Gogog, and here they are, in all their answered and  misspelled glory. But first, how about a video for their track, Into The Maelstrom, eh? Just to show you what you're getting into.)

1. Can you give a quick history of how the band came to be?

Many, many moonz ago, more than 2, father’s father’s father
stole many she orcs and traveled to a part of Hirntodia where the land
was not dry and the elf not all hunted out, there the gore stained ax
tribe was formed and the goblins living there were all enslaved or
eaten.. After that orcs discovered metal and band wuz only choice.

2. Band of Orcs is the total opposite from other fantasy
character-based bands. Normally, its a princely looking fellow with
nicely quaffed hair and a glass shattering voice. A Band of Orcs is
totally the other way: looking like the bad guys and giving praise to
bands like Suffocation, Morbid Angel, and Slayer, What made you want to
sign to the evil side?

This human describe food. Why he think orcs not want evil? Us orcs!

3. Band of Orc’s video for Into the Maelstrom is of the most epic
displays of metal I’ve ever seen. Fire, lava, blast beats, hot chick
sacrifices, and plenty of legions of followers. How were you able to
cram so much awesome in there with out the universe imploding?

There are at least seven universes inside the video. It more hard to
keep extra universe from exploding out than all going in.

4. The orc costumes look pretty intricate, especially the armor and
teeth. Who designed the outfits?

Orcs take armor from dead enemies on the battlefield. Who design your
ugly human costume?

5. Alright, gaming questions time! You guys make no mystery of your
gaming past, listing D&D, Blizzard Software games and Gary Gygax on
your band’s Myspace page. How has gaming in general influenced the

Gamers not run fast. Many have nice extra layer of fat that crisp so
good when you roast it. And many gamers already come pre-scented, no
need to add any more seasoning.

6. Speaking of Blizzard, there’s a whole mess of stuff coming from
them lately. Starcraft II, the WOW Cataclysm beta, and Diablo III
sometime before the end of the world. Had a chance to get into any of
the new Blizzard goodness?

Gore stained axe tribe has survived many blizzards and will always do
that with much fire and, meat and blood.

7. How does a busy band like Band of Ors even able to get in valuable
Dungeons and Dragons time?

It like chess. We capture nerds and geeks and put them in the dungeon
to play D&D. You human wizards all have horrible magic. Not once
has human used the magic scrolls we give the wizards or cast any
spells. They just cry and get eaten by the otyughs. If that was not
funny it be boring, humans try so small.

8. Any console gaming being done? Maybe slashing apart legionnaires in
God of War III? Perhaps killing a high dragon or two in Dragon Age?

There was, but orcs not have enough TV. Them keep break when us kick

9. Pop quiz: You’ve been given the pleasure of knocking off one of the
good guys from the Lord of the Rings novels. Who do you kill, and how
would his evisceration go?

Edward Cullen. Slow.

10. What are the immediate future plans for A Band of Orcs? A full
U.S. tour, hopefully.

Orctoberfest, finish writing album, conquer Nevada and take all the
gold from the casinos.

(Feel like you need more orc-laden bloodlust in your life? How about travelling on over to, and check out oRc tower? While you're there, nab yourself a copy of their debut ep, Warchiefs of the Apocalypse. Do it, or your sister becomes dinner!)

Sturby Returns! Part 2: Video Games

Summer is usually a slow gaming time for me as I tend to spend a lot of my time outside instead of in front of my TV. However, Winnipeg has had some pretty terrible weather during these last couple months so I have had the chance to sit down a burn through a few games that I've been meaning to play. I have yet to get my hands on a copy of Super Mario Galaxy 2 or Sin and Punishment 2 but those are on my must play list so hopefully I'll be able to get to them sooner rather than later. But, here's a break down of what I played in the mean time.