Periphery II: Back With a Vengeance

Here we are with Periphery II, the second album from melodic djent-metalers (I know they probably hate that term by now) Periphery. I’ve been following Periphery for a while now, through all the different singer changes, and I have to admit that somehow this release had fallen off my radar a bit.

Maybe the lack of enthusiasm stemmed from the last album basically being a bunch of Bulb (guitarist Misha Mansoor’s alter ego) songs being redone. To be honest, I can’t even to begin to count how many times I’ve been let down by new releases by some of my favorite bands. Call it the sophomore slump, or whatever else, but it almost seems pointless to build anticipation for an upcoming album these days.

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Eclipse Leaves Listeners in the Dark

My first thought upon hearing the first few minutes of Veil of Maya’s new record: “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!” I couldn’t tell if this was some kind of joke. It sounds exactly like the last record. And the last record sounded exactly like the one before that. I’m really at a loss as to how the band could put this record out and not think it sounds too much like their previous albums.

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Mass Effect 3 Demo: First Impressions

With the release of Mass Effect 3 just around the corner, I’ve gotten the opportunity to get my filthy mitts on the ME3 demo. My early impressions of the demo? Disappointment. Maybe I’m old school, but I used to think that the next game in a series is supposed to provide something, well…different.

Mass Effect 3, so far, feels like the exact same game as Mass Effect 2. I was never really a fan of the combat/action portions of the game. The reason I play it is for the story.  For the record, I thought ME2 was a disappointment. It seemed like the game developers “dumbed down” the RPG elements of the game, and it seems that trend continues in ME3. With that said, let’s get right into the demo.

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February Underground Update

It’s February! You know what that means: Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day, Black History Month, and most important of all…another edition of the Underground Update!

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Vicious Circles

Veil of Maya have just premiered the song “Vicious Circles,” the single from their upcoming album Eclipse.

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ATDI Are Back Together!

If you haven’t heard already, the internet is abuzz with the news that At the Drive-In have reformed. The message on their official website reads: “This Station Is…Now…Operational. ” This obviously is a reference to a posthumous compilation they released titled This Station is Non-Operational, as well as lyrics from their song “One Armed Scissor.”

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January Underground Update

With the new year, I present to you the inaugural edition of the Underground Update! Hear what’s coming out from the world of metal and hardcore in the Bay Area (and beyond).

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Mission Improbable: Standard Protocol

“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” is a high-octane thrill ride that will have you on the edge of your seat for all 133 minutes of its runtime. This is an intense movie that never lets up, and leaves you exhausted by its finish. It’s not action all the time, but it plays out like a constant chase.

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Merry Christmas from WRECKED!

It’s that wonderful time of the year again and Santa has made his trek across the globe. All across the world, people are celebrating the true meaning of Christmas: PRESENTS! Were you naughty or nice? Did you get everything you hoped for? Check out what these kids got:

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Preview and Predictions: UFC 141

Dec. 30, 2011@ The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

Main Card

Heavyweight bout: Brock Lesnar v. Alistair Overeem

Oh boy. The poster says it all. 521 pounds of pure manhood in the octagon. I can’t remember the last time seeing two giants/athletes like this in the cage. This is the first fight in awhile that I really have no idea as to what’s going to happen. Overeem clearly has the advantage when it comes to striking technique. Even though Brock can’t match Overeem’s technique, he still has power. Brock has the grappling/wrestling advantage. Brock hasn’t fought in over a year, since he lost the title to Cain Velasquez (watch here). Overeem last took Fabricio Werdum to a decision win in a pretty lackluster fight. He has won his last 10 fights, with 1 no contest. Can Brock handle the technical striking of Overeem? Can Overeem avoid being taken down by Brock?

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Get Some ‘R&R’

Mureau play a style of music that’s familiar yet uncommon. They mix what I’ll call “djenty chug-core” along with hard rock choruses. Separately, these genres are extremely common. However, I’m hard pressed to think of many bands that sound like this. The first one that comes to mind is Bad News era Ligeia. For whatever reason, this is a style that hasn’t gained a lot of popularity, but Mureau are quite successful at executing it.

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The Elder Scrolls V: V for Victory?

I have logged 115 hours in Skyrim, and I still have one major questline to complete, along with a bunch of miscellaneous ones. I should probably sign up for gamers anonymous. With the amount of time I’ve spent playing it, you’d probably assume that I absolutely loved the game. Well, you’d be absolutely wrong.

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The Legendary Secret

Have you seen this man?

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The Witcher 2: There’s A New King In Town

“Wow!” is the first word that comes to mind when describing CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 2. This is simply an awesome game. If you’re a fan of RPGs, this game is a must-play. I honestly can say that it’s been a long time since I’ve played a game this enjoyable and this expertly made.

In The Witcher 2 you play as a Geralt of Rivia, a witcher. A witcher is basically a genetically modified monster hunter. It is highly advisable that you play the original Witcher game as the sequel is a direct continuation of that story. You can even import your save from the first game, and your choices will carry over. While it’s not necessary, it will definitely add to your enjoyment and understanding, as there are a ton of characters and backstory to keep track of.

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Sinners and Saints Row: The Third

Before we get into Saints Row 3, I have talk a little a bit about my experience with the last game. It might sound blasphemous but I actually liked Saints Row 2 better than GTA IV. I had an absolute blast playing it. As I was playing it I would think to myself “Yes! These guys get it. This has everything that I wished GTA IV would be and more.” I don’t play videogames to have realistic experiences. That’s what my front door is for. I play video games as an escape; to let loose and just have fun. That’s an element the last GTA game was sorely missing. There will always be a place in my heart for the GTA series, but SR has managed to carve out its own path.

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Preview and Predictions for UFC 140

Dec. 10, 2011 @ The Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Main Card

Light Heavyweight Championship: Jon Jones v. Lyota Machida

It wasn’t the Jones v. Evans fight we were expecting, but this should be a very interesting one. Two very dynamic strikers. Jones is on a complete tear right now, he’s basically unbeaten (I refuse to acknowledge the DQ  against Hamill as a loss). He hasn’t even  been threatened up until this point in the octagon. He basically looks unstoppable. However, Machida is coming off the brutal Karate Kid style knockout of Randy Couture. If you haven’t seen it, or need a reminder, here’s the video (kick is at 7:33).

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For The Hundredth Time

For fans of: It Prevails, Counterparts, Saints Never Surrender, Life in Your Way, Shai Hulud

From Myrtle Beach, SC comes Hundredth, a melodic hardcore band whose roots can be firmly traced to the punk/ hardcore genres. Their second full length, Let Go, shows tremendous growth from their previous release. When Will We Surrender was a solid album, but felt fragmented at times. Hundredth have rectified the mistakes of their past, and delivered a very cohesive record. It never feels forced or contrived.

This emphasis on cohesion actually starts from the very beginning. The intro “Let Go” has a similar picking/chord pattern to the beginning of the last song “Hurt” (a cover of Johnny Cash version of the Nine Inch Nails song – DOUBLE COVER!). The album ebbs and flows through a variety of musical and vocal styles. You’ll hear traditional hardcore breakdowns, epic buildups, as well as punky uptempo parts.

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Preview The Harvest Wombs

If you’re a fan of bands like The Faceless, Between the Buried and Me, and Cynic you have to check out Fallujah. Born right in our own backyard, these dudes from San Francisco write some seriously impressive tunes.  They’ve posted two of their songs from the forthcoming debut The Harvest Wombs (coming out Nov. 22 on Unique Leader Records). “Become One” features Francesco Artusato of fellow Bay Area shredders All Shall Perish.

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Speaking Volumes “Via” Breakdowns

For fans of: Periphery, Meshuggah, After the Burial

From Los Angeles, CA comes a group of young genre-benders called Volumes. Their sound can be described as a mix between chuggy “djent,” and post-rock flavored melody. Upon first listen, I found the album to be rather frustrating: the band’s chugging sections became very monotonous compared to the more melodic sections. My interest would be briefly piqued, but then I’d sit around waiting for the next memorable section.

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Get L.A.’d Tonight with Rockstar Games’ Mystery Epic

From the same company that brought you the Grand Theft Auto series comes L.A. Noire. It’s a homage to film noir; think Dashiell Hammet’s The Maltese Falcon, or even the 2005 film Sin City. The game is set in 1940’s Los Angeles and you play as Cole Phelps (played by Mad Men’s Aaron Staton), an up and coming detective with a dark past. You follow his career as he works his way up through the ranks of the police department.

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