Author Archives: RiffRaff

Tales from Bandcamp: Empress/Abscess by Immortal Bird


a2684052136_10I’m not the type of person who often remembers their dreams.  However, I do remember a few.  One of them was from when I was a teenager or something.  Probably after watching The Blob or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I had this dream where I was trapped in a dank sewer trudging through the sludgy sewage while Charon floated in his boat behind me and whacked me with his oars.  Listening to Empress/Abscess by Immortal Bird reminds me of that dream.  It’s dark, sludgy, and smacks you around.  Elements of black metal and thrash round out this roughly 30 minute romp.  The artwork is pretty rad too.

Check it out, share with you buddies, toss some couch change at the band, and let us know what you thunk.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Judging a Book by Its Cover


imagesIn my free time when I’m not attached to some video game or repeatedly listening to whatever album I’m currently hot on I like to scour through Bandcamp and Metal State’s Haulix promo pile (for those who don’t know, Haulix is a commonly used streaming/downloading platform for giving reviewers access to promo albums) and see if anything catches my ear.  With literally hundreds of records to choose from at any given moment I don’t have the time nor the will to listen to everything.  So, what do I do to narrow down my selections?  Well, first there are certain P.R. reps we have a good rapport with as well as the very rare, well written review request (for another article, but, independent bands, proofread your shit, keep it short, and use Bandcamp or some other super easy streaming service).  Otherwise, I break a Golden Rule.  I judge a book, errr, album by its cover.

Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Coma Ecliptic by Between the Buried and Me


Coma_Ecliptic_cover_art_by_Between_the_Buried_and_MeEver so rarely an album comes by that encapsulates the soul band.  From a group’s particular style to even their namesake, these albums showcase all that is and has propelled them into the leaders of their genres.  Seventh Son of a Seventh Son from Iron Maiden, Pelagial by The Ocean, and Panopticon by Isis are some examples of records that lay in this very small group with both fan and critical praise being forever lauded upon them.  But the big daddy of them all belongs to Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater.  It is of my opinion that no other album sums up a band as perfectly as that record does.  The music connected to the narrative, the ‘dream’, which is played out through the album, the ‘theater’, is executed so perfectly and passionately I had never thought no other album could ever achieve the multitude of musical accomplishments as deftly as it has done.  That is until Between the Buried and Me unleashed their latest record, Coma Ecliptic, unto the masses for me to listen, absorb, and consume ravenously.

Read the rest of this entry

Matt’s Top Ten Nintendo Games


11059954_10152894849946447_731675211293523623_nToday it was announced that Nintendo president Satoru Iwata had passed away on July 11th, 2015 due to a bile duct complication.  To say that myself and the rest of the gaming community were shocked and saddened by this would be an understatement.  What Iwata-san has done for video games is immeasurable.  Starting in the 80’s as a programmer for NES games such as Kirby and the almighty Earthbound.  He worked his way up the ladder eventually being named Nintendo’s president in 2002 spearheading the development and launch of the revolutionary Nintendo Wii.  Along with the visionary Shigeru Miyamoto and Reggie “My Body is Ready” Fils-Amie he put his face out there and became a very public face for the company.  Focused on transparency, making personal connections with Nintendo fans, and delivering high quality and above all, fun experiences, us fans looked forward to each installment of Iwata Asks and the Nintendo Directs.  In a gaming scene that was veering towards homogenization he took the wheel and steered the climate of Nintendo into one of innovation and genuine personality.  Even just a few weeks ago he responding and commenting on the feedback he had gotten from Nintendo’s E3 showing.

From my first NES console at age at 7 to last night spreading ink all over the place in Spatoon on the Wii U, Nintendo has been and always will be a huge part of my life.  From helping create and grow friendships over some rounds of Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros to easing my sadness with the bright and colorful Mushroom Kingdom and Dreamland to waxing philosophical and adventuring into the unknown with The Legend of Zelda series and Earthbound, Iwata-san has either directly or indirectly influenced some of the most joyous moments in my life.  The photo below is a shot of a bit of my current Nintendo collection (unfortunately things get lost and broken when one moves around a lot) and each piece there is more than just a game or character.  Each is a memory of a good time and good times to still be had.

20150713_190630

When someone dies I feel it is better to celebrate their life than mourn our loss.  So, in honor of Satoru Iwata I would like to make a Top Ten of my all time favorite Nintendo games.  Many will be obvious and maybe a couple out of left field will pop up and a looooooooot have been left out (I could have easily made this a Top Twenty or Thirty list).  All are among the best games I have ever played and have returned to countless times.  To put it simply, each game is fun.  Quoting Iwata-san “Video games are meant to be one thing.  Fun.  Fun for everyone.”  And with that quote he sums up why I love Nintendo and look into the future with nothing but positive vibes for the house he helped build.

R.I.P. Satoru Iwata.  Thank You!!!

Read the rest of this entry

Tales from Bandcamp: Absolution by Khemmis


a1903371115_10Who needs more doom metal in their life?  Everybody!  That’s who!  Doom is awesome.  Especially when there are so many bands doing cool and interesting spins on the genre.  My latest peruse of Bandcamp has let me to check out Khemmis (clicked on it mainly because that cover art is freaking awesome.  Do you hear that bands?  Even in the digital age, kick ass cover art still sells.)  A crusty layer of fuzzy stoner doom touched with spatterings of old-school hard-core, NWOBHM, and death metal will hammer your eardrums with some wonderfully chunky grooves.  At times you get a tune that is like Pallbearer’s tone crossed with Iron Maiden’s bombastic leads and solos other are a Candlemass’ stomping grooves meets Madball’s beatdown vocals affair.  As crazy as those cocktails sound Khemmis pull them off with ease, gusto, and panache.  Regardless of the stylistic mix they are jamming with Absolution simply rocks hard front to back and is a must listen for any discerning doom fan.  Listen, buy, support, share, doomstomp!!!!!  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Matt’s Favorite 2015 Albums… so far. In No Particular Order.


UCPFaIsAs expected, 2015 is shaping up to be yet another stellar year for us metal fans.  And with Iron Maiden, BtBaM, The Sword, Deafheaven, Avatarium, and Ghost releasing new material in the coming months, it’s only up from here.  Here’s a selection of some albums I’ve enjoyed quite a bit in the past half of the year.  Check ’em out and share what you’ve been digging on.  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Read the rest of this entry

Roundtable Review: Sleep at the Edge of the Earth by Wilderun


a1806077540_10Label: Self-released

Release Date: 7 April 2015

Songs: 9

Length: 54 minutes

Genre: Progressive Folk Metal

Studio Albums: Olden Tales & Deathly Trails (2012)

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Read the rest of this entry

Tales From Bandcamp: Mercy Brown by Mercy Brown


a0466822269_10The piss and vinegar of L7, the snarl of Kitty, the trippiness of Kylesa, and the brutality of a runaway train packed full of dynamite and peanut butter.  Washington quartet Mercy Brown’s debut, self-titled LP is flat-out beastly.  Teetering between sludgy riffs, punk rock attitude, shattering death metal, and psychedelic prog tendencies, this record really took me by surprise.  The vitriol that pours from vocalist Sera Hatchett’s lungs inject so much personality into the already top-notch performance’s of her bandmates.  Whether she’s crooning clean vocals or bellowing death growls, this girl is crushing someone’s skull into the ground while doing so.

Between memorable songwriting and diverse, engaging songs this is a record I wholly recommend you give your attention to and toss some couch change to.  Give it a listen and let me know what you thunk.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!!!

How Important are Lyrics in Metal?


Singer_Ozzy_Osbourne_30699c

It all makes sense… we’re capable of beauty.
Through sounds which make one cringe.  The dogs only hear us now.
For the first time tears came to my eyes while I was listening.
Noise brings so many things… make my tingling skin freeze.

I’m positive that nearly every metal fan, especially the lovers of the more extreme spectrum of the genre, have heard this before.  “But with all that noisy growling and screaming, how do you understand what they’re ‘air quotes’ singing?”  To which we usually reply along the lines of something like “You get used to it.” or “It’s like learning an accent.”  Yet regardless of how we break it down or try to explain it they just look at you with their head slightly cocked like a confused puppy and then you usually just give up and go about your day. Read the rest of this entry