Posts Tagged ‘game’

Fleshgod Apocalypse – King

Italian symphonic death metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse have gone through phases that encapsulate the entire careers of normal successful artists in less than a handful of releases. Their debut Oracles was raw and promising and the follow-up,  Agony, was a masterpiece that propelled them to the top of their game. However,  Labyrinth  didn’t take their music to the next level and some listeners were fatigued with their antics at that point, and their fourth album, King , is now anticipated but also slightly dreaded. This is readily understandable, as it is expected to be the album that either breaks the fatigue or leans further into it. What can be heard from the band on King is very characteristically Fleshgod, but also very different from how we’re used to hearing them. Right off the bat, it’s pretty clear that, for better or for worse, King is a bit of a divergence from Fleshgod’s previous work. Not in terms of the band’s general sound but in how they approach that framework. While Agony and Labyrinth both ramped up the intensity in terms of production and orchestration backed by death metal, King takes a more subdued approach. With Jess Bogren’s production and heavier emphasis on blending symphonic elements into metal and less “everything ramped up to the max”, the focus on the band’s fourth album is decidedly different. That description deserves more elaboration though, as it comes with some benefits but also with some trappings. The first thing to be tackled is the production, as it is both the most noticeable difference and also the one that defines the rest of the traits of the album by its nature. While on their previous work the band opted for production that was excessively loud and overbearing, on King they’ve worked with Jens Bogren, who has provided them with a sound that is quite similar to his previous effort with Devin Townsend ‘s Deconstruction . What this means is that guitars are a lot less overdriven than the band’s usual standard, which takes away quite a bit of punch from them. The drumming is also similarly neutered, with the kick drums sounding a lot less prominent and the snare lacking the visceral characteristic it had on their previous work. The end result of this change in the approach towards the “metal” instrumentation is that blast beats sound a lot less heavy and generally rather weak. Considering the one constant tool in Fleshgod’s arsenal has been tremolo-picked neoclassical riffs over fast drumming throughout their career, having that sound nowhere near as energetic and crushing as it used to be takes a lot away from the band’s sound. To compensate, the orchestral elements are a lot more prominent in the mix. While this approach gives the band more room in their sound to work with composition, it also fundamentally changes their entire identity. The wall of sound emanated by the band is a lot wider and encompassing, but more breadth comes at the expense of depth, as there are no heavy-hitting moments like “The Violation” from Agony , or “Elegy” from Labyrinth , or “In Honour of Reason” from Oracles.  In these, the compressed sound, clear cut drumming and powerful guitars just hit the listener with a one-two punch and brought out the primal urge to headbang, whereas King is more of a “sit and nod in appreciation” album. The songwriting doesn’t ignore the change in the sound, which would make the disparity a lot worse. Instead, the band have significantly reduced their technical death metal leanings and instead opted for a more symphonic metal approach. Sure, there are still blast beats and fast riffs, but whenever they occur, they’re blunted by the weak drum sound and less-driven guitars. What the band have clearly devoted more attention to is the orchestration. There are a lot of slower moments where the guitars take a step back and let the orchestra shine. The criticism towards the band’s previous work was that they always pushed everything too far, with the drumming being too extreme, with trem picked guitars accentuated by constant orchestra hits, which made listening to them rather overwhelming. This is definitely a step in the other direction marked by varied and subdued usage of instrumentation. In contrast, this makes another problem with the band’s writing more exacerbated. Since the orchestral elements always have the same melancholically kind-of-epic tone, it results in another kind of listener fatigue where the album listened to as a whole starts to lose freshness. Throughout the first listen of the album, the more creative and proper usage of symphonics is interesting and attention-grabbing, but the lack of over-the-top epic moments which the band are known for start to drag it down. In addition, the punchline to every song being essentially the same feeling with the same setup greatly reduces the album’s repeat listening appeal. That isn’t helped by the fact that, like most of the band’s discography, the album feels way too long. On paper, the album is definitely more interesting compositionally than the band’s previous work, but that extra effort is inherently wasted by still trying to adhere to the band’s neoclassical death metal framework. To be honest, Fleshgod’s riffing was never really that interesting and it could barely carry an album by itself in Oracles , and after that album what the metal section of the band had to say was essentially exhausted. The addition of synths was keeping the band interesting, as at the time there weren’t a lot of artists doing technical-ish death metal with string sections and choirs emphasizing the rather rote drums and guitars. On King , that conceit really falls apart, as at times it feels shoehorned and the need to bring everything back to death metal takes away from the music on most songs, with “Mitra” being one notable exception because the orchestra and the band really play together on that track instead of fighting each other. The album’s leading single, “The Fool” is the closest the band get to their established sound, but as noted, these two tracks are the exception and not the norm. Overall, King is a concerted effort by the band to develop themselves, even though the end result is quite flawed. Fleshgod Apocalypse are suffering from an identity crisis. Being a death metal band whose prime appeal was balls-to-the-walls riffing and over-the-top synths then having your audience be fatigued by how hard you push that meant they had to reinvent themselves to some extent. Trying to take a step back and focus on a more nuanced sound is the approach they’ve taken on King , but they’ve taken away what really defined them. With production that is more well-realized yet significantly less flattering to the band’s death metal roots, they instead focus on their symphonic side, but in doing so they reveal the weakness of their formula. While in early listenings the album is a lot more varied than the band’s previous work, that veneer wears off quickly as the band aren’t diverse enough to pull off being a symphonic metal band, and their death metal presentation isn’t strong enough on King to carry the album by itself. King is definitely competent, and the orchestral work is what really shines on it (in fact the second bonus disc of the album without the metal parts might have more lasting appeal), but as a metal album, and defined by the band’s previous standard, it falls flat. It’s just not as invigorating to listen to as the band’s heavier work, and it’s not novel or ingenious enough to listen to as a more progressive effort. Fleshgod Apocalypse – King gets… 3/5 -NT

Godsmack’s Sully Erna Revisits Poker Passion

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Godsmack ‘s planned year-long break in the schedule is not only giving frontman Sully Erna a chance to pursue his solo career, but he’s also taking the time to revive one of his other passions — poker. The musician tells ESPN that after stepping away from the card game for a few years, he’s gotten the itch to compete in poker tournaments again. In 2006 and 2007, Erna took part in the World Series of Poker competitions, winning $17,730 his first year and banking another $45,422 the following year. Then he took home $307,325 in the 2007 Five-Diamond World Poker Classic. But Erna says that his mindset wasn’t right to keep it up. He explains, “I was finding that I was very impatient and playing crappy hands. I was losing patience every time I was playing. I had to take a break. [But] I’m making a comeback! I’ve studied the game. I’m getting the itch to play poker again. In fact, I’m in Los Angeles today and I’ll be playing tonight. I need to shake the rust off. I’m ready to go deep and win a lot of money!” Erna says he felt the timing was right to pick up poker again. “I’ve been bouncing around testing out my game,” says the vocalist. “That’s why many of my venues for the solo shows are in casinos. I love that environment. It works to my advantage, also it’s a transient audience. I can’t wait.” Sully has booked a solo tour later this spring, promoting both his ‘Avalon’ solo disc and the works of Godsmack. Check out the tour dates here . [button href=”http://loudwire.com/favorite-godsmack-song-readers-poll/” title=”Next: Favorite Godsmack Song – Readers Poll” align=”center”]

Godsmack’s Sully Erna Revisits Poker Passion

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Godsmack ‘s planned year-long break in the schedule is not only giving frontman Sully Erna a chance to pursue his solo career, but he’s also taking the time to revive one of his other passions — poker. The musician tells ESPN that after stepping away from the card game for a few years, he’s gotten the itch to compete in poker tournaments again. In 2006 and 2007, Erna took part in the World Series of Poker competitions, winning $17,730 his first year and banking another $45,422 the following year. Then he took home $307,325 in the 2007 Five-Diamond World Poker Classic. But Erna says that his mindset wasn’t right to keep it up. He explains, “I was finding that I was very impatient and playing crappy hands. I was losing patience every time I was playing. I had to take a break. [But] I’m making a comeback! I’ve studied the game. I’m getting the itch to play poker again. In fact, I’m in Los Angeles today and I’ll be playing tonight. I need to shake the rust off. I’m ready to go deep and win a lot of money!” Erna says he felt the timing was right to pick up poker again. “I’ve been bouncing around testing out my game,” says the vocalist. “That’s why many of my venues for the solo shows are in casinos. I love that environment. It works to my advantage, also it’s a transient audience. I can’t wait.” Sully has booked a solo tour later this spring, promoting both his ‘Avalon’ solo disc and the works of Godsmack. Check out the tour dates here . [button href=”http://loudwire.com/favorite-godsmack-song-readers-poll/” title=”Next: Favorite Godsmack Song – Readers Poll” align=”center”]

Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Stars in Wrestling-Themed Ad for Furniture Store

YouTube Here’s a video that will scramble your brains … Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has just filmed a commercial for furniture and design company Walter E. Smithe. Set in a wrestling ring, chaos unfolds as a game of musical chairs goes awry. Of course, chairs are a staple of any legit wrestling organization, which leads to a strange dilemma in the mind of Corgan, who is a rabid wrestling fan and promoter. Billy Corgan launched Resistance Pro wrestling with brothers Jacques and Gabe Baron in November 2011. Since its inception, wrestling legends such as The Sheik, Raven, Colt Cabana and Teddy Hart have graced the threshold of Resistance Pro, and although the promotion acts as the main focus for Corgan’s new commercial, the ad eventually reveals itself to be for Walter E. Smithe furniture. We’ve all played musical chairs in our youth, and both casual and seasoned musical chairs competitors understand the intensity which exists within the game. Thus, when Billy Corgan bested another musical chairs challenger, an all-out brawl took place in the middle of the squared circle. Though Corgan stood outside the ropes maniacally enjoying the impromptu fight, he was forced to quench the in-ring fire as an ill-faded wrestler was about to smash a lovely Walter E. Smithe chair over an enemy. “Wait!,” Corgan warned. “That’s a Walter E. Smithe chair.” “I am proud of Resistance Pro’s growing popularity,” says Corgan. “Tim Smithe and his brothers presented us with the opportunity to share our brand. I’m grateful to the Smithe brothers for their $50,000 donation to PAWS, a charity that is important to me.”  PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) is a Chicago-based no-kill shelter for homeless pets, which Billy Corgan has raised over $140,000 for in 2013 alone. Billy Corgan’s Resistance Pro wrestling organization is set to host their fourth event, ‘Obsession,’ on March 23. To see the frontman’s new commercial, check out the video player below! Billy Corgan Appears in Walter E. Smithe Commercial [button href=”http://loudwire.com/james-iha-on-smashing-pumpkins-reunion-never-say-never/” title=”James Iha on Smashing Pumpkins Reunion: ‘Never Say Never'” align=”center”]

Axl Rose’s ‘Guitar Hero’ Lawsuit Against Activision Blizzard Dismissed

Ethan Miller, Getty Images Guns N’ Roses ‘ Axl Rose may wish to distance himself from Slash as much as possible, but the proximity of the frontman to his former guitarist will stand in the ‘Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock’ video game. A judge dismissed Rose’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard Inc. in which he claimed the gaming company broke a promise made to him when he agreed to license his music. According to the San Marino Tribune , Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Palmer heard more than two hours of arguments Jan. 31 concerning the lawsuit’s contract claims before taking the case under submission. On Thursday (Feb. 7), he affirmed his tentative ruling and tossed out the remaining causes of action in the case. Back in August , Palmer threw out Rose’s initial fraud and misrepresentation claims because they were filed beyond the statute of limitations, but left the vocalist with the ability to pursue the contractual causes of action . In the time since the last court date, Activision filed another dismissal notice and this time Palmer ruled in their favor. Rose alleged that he had agreed to allow usage of ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ in the video game only if Activision were to disallow any images of his former Guns N’ Roses bandmates or their current band, Velvet Revolver . However, Slash appeared as a character within the game itself. Even though Rose voiced his displeasure during production of the game, the company moved forward with their usage of the guitarist’s image and the band’s song. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/guns-n-roses-third-headliner-new-york-governors-ball-festival/” title=”Next: Guns N’ Roses Announced as Headliner for 2013 Governors Ball” align=”center”]

Metallica To Rock National Anthem + Throw Out First Pitch at San Francisco Giants Game

Metallica.com With a new album in the works, a 3D film set to arrive in the summer, plans for a second Orion Festival and a headlining gig at Revolver’s Golden Gods Awards, Metallica  have a busy 2013 ahead of them. And now the year got even more awesome with the announcement that the band will step up to the metal plate by performing the National Anthem and throwing out the first pitch at the San Francisco Giants game May 3 as part of the first ever Metallica Night at AT&T Park. The World Champion Giants will be playing against their arch rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers in a game that will even be more explosive with Metallica’s performance of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ Special event tickets for the game go on sale this Saturday morning, Feb. 9, at 8AM PT. Go here to purchase your tickets. The special event ticket package includes a limited edition Metallica/Giants hat (which, as you’ll see in the poster below, is pretty dame awesome). A portion of the ticket sales donated to the Bill Graham Foundation, which strives to give grants in the area of music, the arts, and education, while also supporting social work, environmental protection, and spiritual and compassionate projects in our community. The pairing of the Giants and Dodgers is even more appealing considering that Metallica formed in L.A. but ended up settling in San Francisco during their early years. For more information on the event, go here . ? [button href=”http://loudwire.com/best-metallica-songs/” title=”10 Best Metallica Songs” align=”center”]

Metallica vs. Papa Roach – 2013 Loudwire Rock Bowl, Quarterfinals

Loudwire Rock Bowl Quarterfinals The quarterfinals of the 2013 Loudwire Rock Bowl gets under way with this powerhouse matchup — Metallica ‘s ‘Seek and Destroy’ against Papa Roach ‘s ‘Last Resort.’ Metallica had a rather decisive victory in the first round with ‘Seek and Destroy’ earning 71 percent of the vote over Volbeat’s ‘A Warrior’s Call.’ Their stadium-ready anthem amps up the listener and get them ready to “start up a fight.” What better way to get ready for some gridiron action? Their competition comes from Papa Roach, who had a much more difficult road in advancing to the second round. ‘Last Resort’ earned 53 percent of the vote over Godsmack’s ‘I Stand Alone.’  Jacoby Shaddix  & company can move listeners with this hard-rocking cut, and it’s the perfect song for that two-minute drive at the end of the game. Take a listen to both songs below and vote to determine will advance to the semifinals of the 2013 Loudwire Rock Bowl. Then click on the red button at the bottom of this post to vote in the next matchup. You can vote for your favorite between Metallica and Papa Roach once an hour between now and Wednesday morning (Jan. 30) at 10AM ET. Listen to Metallica’s ‘Seek and Destroy’ Listen to Papa Roach’s ‘Last Resort’ Sorry, you need to have javascript running to see this poll. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/disturbed-vs-avenged-sevenfold-2013-loudwire-rock-bowl-quarterfinals/” title=”Next Rock Bowl Matchup: Disturbed vs. Avenged Sevenfold” align=”center”] ?

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