Metal Game Review: Judas priests Road to Valhalla

The existence of this game makes me happy. This is a game in which Rob Halford is playing guitar on top of the bike from the painkiller album whilst riding through hell on the way to valhalla. It’s a game revolving around classic Priest songs, it’s so metal it might physically make your iPhone heavier. It’s also utterly, hilariously awful.

The idea is you rhythmically tap your way to success by jabbing at your screen in time to tiny cogs lining up with tiny circles on the ground. Get enough cogs lined up with circles and you add another layer (guitars, vocals etc) to the song and get fun animations of attacking zombies and monsters magically combusting or getting knocked back. I’ll forewarn now though,keeping an eye on tiny cogs does not a fun game make. They all move at different speeds and end up in different places and, even more frustratingly, aren’t always in the same time to the music as you think they should be.

Add to this the somewhat forced looking cutscenes between levels of Rob Halford himself addressing the player about how awesome the whole thing is and it becomes an exercise in trying your best not to visibly cringe.

The saving grace here is of course the music. This is a rhythm action game with the song’s turbo lover and painkiller on it, no dodgy game systems, level design and cheesy cutscenes will ever take this simple fact away. And yes, it will make you continually smile about how ridiculously fan pleasing everything is, right down to the main menu having the cover of redeemer of souls where the figure in the foreground is playing a riff on a superimposed guitar. At £1.99 your not going to feel too ripped off anyway if your a big fan of Judas priest, just don’t be expecting the game of the year here.

 

2 Screaming for Vengeance Eagles out of 5

 

Album Review: Expulsion – Nightmare future

An orgy of extreme metal played so fast and full on that the entire album is only thirteen minutes long. Well you know what your getting here, musically assaulted for the duration. If you like your traditional death metal in particular this is a great listen, with such a short running time it can’t possibly really outstay it’s welcome and without any filler whatsoever it’s just a pure slice of metal. There’s almost a municipal waste sense of fun to proceedings as well, at no point are expulsion taking themselves too seriously. If this band aren’t starting circle pits in gigs in the next year or so something has gone terribly wrong.

4 exploding heads out of 5

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Album Review: Ewigkeit – Cosmic Man

This album really does chunter along nicely. Black metal mixed with prog rock makes for a brilliantly entertaining listen. At times intense, at others almost a relaxing sojourn, this is one album that can never be accused of boring the listener. You’ll figure out pretty quickly if you’ll love it or loathe it as tracks surreally slide between satisfying thrash guitar and otherworldly synth patterns from the first two tracks onwards. Whilst only occasionally getting to truly spectacular heights this album remains very satisfying throughout, with Fogarty making barely a misstep throughout. Give it a go, if only for the almost shock rock like track of ‘Neon ghoul ride’ and a cover of Iron Maiden’s ‘two minutes to midnight’ that has all the crazy deep purple style organ you never knew it needed.

4 space constellations orbiting in reverse out of 5

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Album Review : Next to none – Phases

An interesting release this one, it certainly flips about it’s styling often sometimes even during the same track, but maintains a consistent level of quality throughout. For younger musicians the level of technical skill on show here is extremely high, however songs can feel cobbled together from rather disparate parts, not all of which work so well together, even if they are impressively played. This lack of maturity in the structure of songs unfortunately extends to other areas and at times the vocal style and lyrics can feel a bit like whiny teenagers railing at the world and how they aren’t understood. This would be fine if in a different genre of music but it certainly doesn’t lend itself to lengthy progressive metal and at times during longer songs (and they do get long, the final song clocks in at almost 20 mins) it can get tedious.

This album isn’t a bad listen, but it’s overall lack of maturity may have many reaching for the stop button long before it’s over. As they get older and more experienced we could see some much more impressive stuff coming from this band.

2.5 angsty youngsters out of 5

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Try some Black Metal with your rally

So after setting off on the first track in dirt rally, a rather realistic in handling and straight up rally sim, it suddenly dawned on me. I was driving a rally specced 1960s mini through the cover of a Winterfylleth album! Of course it was only a matter of time before the ignominious directions man was turned off (theres handy diagrams of upcoming corners anyway) and wonderful pagan black metal was turned on. What a fantastic combination it proved to be.

Suddenly hurtling through the snow in Sweden turned from fiddly stress over sliding tyres into an epic journey through long lost fantasy woods with the simple addition of last years Borknagar album. The surrounding forests in the Finland based tracks became deep cavernous mazes of impenetrable darkness when Waldgefluster or Hyperion was added to the ears. Adding metal to this game feels like your seeing it in the true light it was always meant to be, imbuing each carefully rendered track with loneliness and personality far beyond the screech of your car’s engine included in the regular audio. Driving through a wooded valley in Wales as night encroached along to the Skuggsja masterpiece “A piece for mind & mirror” was truly one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had in recent times.

Even if pagan black metal isn’t your cup of tea (although it does seem odd that it would be) try some melodic death stuff instead, I tried Insomnium’s masterpiece concept album “Winter’s gate” along with some fast paced snow based racing and it really hit the spot.

So try it now all you racing game and/or metal enthusiasts. Your experience will be sublime, I can promise you that.

 

 

 

Album Review: Vintersorg – Till Fjalls Del II

Progressive / Folk Metal

Anyone who has been following Vintersorg for any length of time will already know what this be like and in truth it doesn’t really stray too far from previous efforts, it is still however an absolute treat. Sounding nothing short of epic at any one moment, the consistency of quality across the entirety of the album is astounding. Hedlund’s vocals vary throughout, at times clean and mournful, at other’s heading towards a black metal screech, both complementing the music expertly. The more progressive length of the tracks actually complements rather than detract here, giving each song it’s time to shine and never feeling rushed. The only criticism that could really be levelled is that songs can sound indistinguishable from each other, particularly towards the end of the album. However when the overall quality is this high it’s doubtful you’ll be picking out some songs over others anyway. In fact it’s arguably best as a long player one can simply put on and drift away into the soundscape of. One of the best folk metal albums of the year.

4.5 melancholy fantasy landscapes out of 5

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Single Review: Marty Friedman – Whiteworm

For those in the mood for a bit of classy guitar wankery this one will appeal. Although in danger of occasionally disappearing up it’s own backside with it’s own showmanship this new song remains a good listen and is yet another showcase of Friedman’s exceptional skill. Plus, mixing polka dance with heavier thrash guitar is certainly a novelty.

3 overly drawn out guitar solo’s out of 5

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Blog is now open for your reading perusal

In case the name wasn’t making things too obvious this blog will be dealing with two of life’s major joys. One side of the site will be devoted to all things Metal music related wherein many reviews of new albums and songs will be going up. The other will be gaming related. Feel free to only ever go on one side and scoff and sneer at the dirty Metalheads /  loser gamers on the other, or be an awesome human being and do both. The choice is up to YOU, and choice is a beautiful thing. Enjoy.