Game: Magic Barrage – Bitferno
Developer: Gameguyz
Release Date: Jan 2015
Price: Freemium

Where do I even start with this game?

Magic Barrage – Bitferno is a MMORPG created by Gameguyz. The game is technically free, but it uses the same tactics that most mobile games are using. You CAN play the game for free. Will you enjoy it if you play for free? Nope! According to Steam, I played the game for 19 minutes. Before I stopped playing, the screen was already filled with “Go VIP” and “Purchase Diamonds”. I get it, you have to make money off the game. The way you do it is just terrible.

 

Classes

One thing that Magic Barrage – Bitferno has going for it, is that it has eight different player classes. The only class that I played as was the Archer. I can’t really say what classes are good. The Archer was cool I guess.

Classes in Magic Barrage – Bitferno

Classes in Magic Barrage – Bitferno

 

Gameplay

Before going into this, the gameplay part of this review is based only on the Archer class. I assume that other classes play at least a little different. The gameplay is simple, you move around using WASD and you shoot with the left mouse button. The game plays like a tamer/less-hectic version of Geometry Wars. In Geometry Wars, you actually have a reason to avoid getting hit. In this game, I didn’t really feel like I had to avoid any of the enemies’ attacks. Yeah, you’ll get hurt if you get hit by their attacks, but the damage that is done to you is so low that it doesn’t even matter.

 

Story

I don’t even know what the story is about. The game doesn’t give you a reason to care about anything that goes on in it. For some of the quests, you can just click on the name of the person or place that you have to go and it’ll warp you right there. I don’t know how the world is set out. They didn’t give me a reason to explore in the little time I played the game.

 

Visuals

I actually like what some of the art in this game looks like. The player characters are designed well. The monsters look like they were designed at one size and then blown up to at least twice as big. The UI is pretty decent looking, but it looks very similar to the UIs used in other free to play MMOs.

 

Audio

This is weird. I actually like the music in this game. They must have let someone outside of the company make the music, because it was actually good. Some of it almost sounds like they just took music from Doom and put it in.

 

Pros:

  • The music is good.
  • The player character designs are at least half decent.
  • The loading screen between zones is cool.

Cons:

  • Just about everything in this game.
  • Gameplay is boring.
  • The freemium play model.

 

Verdict

I know 19 minutes playing a game is probably not enough time to review it, but this game is an exception. There are better free to play MMORPGs out there. Please do not waste your time playing this game.

[yasr_overall_rating size=”large”]

[yasr_visitor_votes size=”medium”]

 

Artist – The Black Dahlia Murder

Album – Ritual

Genre – Melodic Death Metal

Date Released – June 17, 2011

“The album sold 12,960 copies in the United States in its first week of release and debuted at position #31 on the Billboard 200.”

From the very first song I could already tell this was going to be a better album than Deflorate.  Mainly because the producer did a much better job with the mix, I personally hated the mix on Deflorate.  But on this album the drums aren’t getting pounded into your ears like they used to be, this actually seems to be MUCH more guitar driven.  They also used a lot of orchestral intros to a couple songs and personally I love that aspect of the genre, you can just go from classical sounds to really fast and aggressive music.  If I had to choose one song to tell you to hear just to get an idea about how this album sounds you probably would have to listen to the single they released back in January called “Moonlight Equilibrium”.  Honestly, Ryan Knight is a beast I don’t know how he comes up with all of these guitar solos that still wow me.  Usually an album might have one AWESOME solo but this one has a great solo in each song and that really gives it a boost.  Now to the obvious, a lot of people know about this band by their signature vocals and drums (or at least that is how I differentiate them from other Death Metal bands) and both the vocals and the drums are expertly crafted and expertly played, my favorite part is it isn’t overplayed if you know what I mean.  For example Shannon Lucas doesn’t only do blast beats, he still does them but not nearly as much as he has in the past and I think that is an improvement.

Now I know I changed the format and style that I review things, but it will still come to the same result…. A score of 9.8/10  I just loved this album since I’ve gotten it.

The Joy Formidable are a band that have been around for a few years but recently they’ve started to get more and more attention thanks largely due to word of mouth. Over the past year or so they’ve been hitting up festival after festival from Glastonbury to Coachella to Reading/Leeds to Lollapalooza. Even though they’ve always been slotted near the beginning of the day at these festivals, they make sure to put on a memorable performance each time so that attendees can ask their friends/go on message boards and say “Did anyone else see The Joy Formidable? Holy crap”. It certainly doesn’t hurt that some of the people talking about them are names as big as Dave Grohl and Hayley Williams.

When The Big Roar is at its best, all of that hype is completely justified. Their music is unlike just about any other band going today — there’s a wall of sound that is reminiscent of shoegaze groups such as My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive except the vocals in The Big Roar are much clearer and catchier. This is almost pop-shoegaze. Some of the tracks on this album are just flat-out incredible, such as “Whirring”, “A Heavy Abacus”, “Cradle”, and “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade”.

Unfortunately for every song that’s amazing on this album there’s one where I’m completely indifferent to it. There are some tracks where they go the more traditional alternative rock route and while it’s certainly passable there’s nothing really remarkable about it. As far as I’m concerned with The Joy Formidable, the louder the guitar the better. This album just really isn’t that consistent throughout.

My rating for this album is a bit lower than the rating I’d give this band in general. They’re an immensely talented young trio and their live performances are much better than the (already very good) music they make in the studio. There’s no doubt in my mind that The Joy Formidable will eventually release an album that I’ll give a 9.0 or above — they just aren’t there yet.

Rating: 7.25/10

My first real exposure to The Naked and Famous was when I went to their (fantastic) Lollapalooza set. Before that I pretty much only heard their singles “Punching in a Dream” and “Young Blood”. Those two songs have a LOT in common with each other so I expected their other songs to sound pretty similar to those. I ended up really surprised with the other stuff Passive Me, Aggressive You had to offer.

The two songs I mentioned above are poppy songs with heavy emphasis on synthesizers; they sound like they could have been ripped straight out of a teen movie from the 1980s. As singles I think both of those tracks are nearly perfect. The catchiness of those songs hooked me onto this band but the rest of the album is what makes me keep coming back.

Soundwise the rest of the album is all over the place. It’s all indie rock with lots of keys and synths but after that the songs sound so different from one another. “All of This” has a bit of a dream pop/shoegaze feel to it where both singers (one male, one female) harmonize throughout. “The Sun” starts really slow and reminds me of Phoenix’s “Love Like a Sunset” with how much it just builds louder and louder as the song goes on. “Wolf in Geek’s Clothing” sounds like a noise pop track a la Sleigh Bells. For the most part these different styles all work to great success. Some of the songs like “Jilted Lovers” and “No Way” took longer to grow on me but now I really like them.

One of the things that makes The Naked and Famous stand out to me is their use of two vocalists that often sound so different from each other yet complement each other perfectly. Thom Powers probably has the better voice of the two for the most part. His voice is used for a gentler effect, a foil to Alisa Xayalith’s energetic (and usually louder) vocals. There’s no way I’d like this band as much as I do if either of these members were missing and the other one did 100% of the vocals instead. Even though their two “big” singles have Xayalith leading the way, there are a few songs here where she fades into the background and just provides backing vocals (her soft backing vocals are what really make the song “Girls Like You” awesome). There are also tracks where the two harmonize the whole way through.

I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone out there but I’m a big fan now and I really want to see what they’re going to do in the future. This band’s only going to get better as they get more experienced and figure out how to put a fully cohesive album together (Passive Me, Aggressive You sounds like a bunch of singles just thrown together at parts). If you like 80s pop or indie rock in general, at least give this a shot.

Rating: 8.5/10

Wiz Khalifa – Rolling Papers

The closer and closer we got to the release date for Rolling Papers, the less and less excited I got. The first single from this album, “Black and Yellow”, is an awesome song and a great example of how a rapper can go pop without completely selling out his style. Everything I heard after that song (specifically “Roll Up”) was a great example of how to completely change your style for the worse just in an attempt to go pop.

While this album as a whole doesn’t really sound like the singles, unfortunately it’s closer to “Roll Up” than “Black and Yellow”. In fact, “Black and Yellow” feels completely out of place on Rolling Papers. There’s a lot of relaxed melodic singing/rapping on this album that I think works wonderfully on an album like Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon; it doesn’t really work on this.

Khalifa’s rapping and subject matter throughout the album just bored me. There was little variation from song to song and most of the tracks on this album sound exactly like the one that came before it. Usually I want features on a rap album kept to a minimum but here I was wishing for more. The best song on this album is probably “Rooftops” which is one of the very few tracks that features another rapper (longtime Wiz collaborator Curren$y).

The production doesn’t really stand out either so this album as a whole is just “meh”. I think this will probably please hardcore “Taylor Gang or die!” Wiz fans but for just about everyone else this album is really easy to skip.
Score: 4.0/10


Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

I’ll just come out and say it right off the bat — Wounded Rhymes is a freaking god-tier indie pop album. If CunninLynguists didn’t exist this would be my front-runner for album of the year and nothing else really comes close at this point. If this came out last year I would’ve had to seriously consider making it my AOTY for 2010. So yeah…I really like this.

When you compare Wounded Rhymes to (her previous album) Youth Novels, Lykke Li might as well be two completely different people. In that album she sounded quieter and more timid; here her voice is more or less in your face. Make no mistake about it — her new style is miles better than how she was on her previous album.

There’s also more going on in the background here than on Li’s first LP. It’s not a HUGE difference because the minimalist sound of that album is still the foundation here but now a few more instruments are added and more “stuff” is going on. In addition to that on a lot of songs Li’s voice is multiplied so she’s singing lead + backup vocals. This helps flesh out the album a little more.

Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes (Hype Machine Album Exclusive) by LykkeLi

Even though I’m making it sound like every song is upbeat and energetic that’s really not the case. It’s almost split 50/50 between the faster catchy songs and the slower more atmospheric stuff. I think I like the energetic songs more but both types of songs complement each other well and make this a really solid all-around album.

Even after saying all of that, I don’t love every second of this album. In particular I have issues with “Unrequited Love”. There are parts of that song I enjoy but I really do not like the chorus. She shrieks really loud during the chorus of that song and it comes close to hurting my ears.

Unrequited Love aside, this album is fantastic from start to finish. The rest of the album more than makes up for the problems I had with that song. Maybe I’m getting too easy with my review scores — after this my last two reviews add up to a combined 19.75/20. It’s a good thing Wiz Khalifa is coming along to bring that average down.
Score: 9.75/10

Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (D.R.U.G.S.)

D.R.U.G.S.

February 22, 2011

Post-Hardcore

D.R.U.G.S. is the new post-hardcore band, Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows’, debut album.

Track by Track:

“If You Think This Song Is About You, It Probably Is”

This song shows a lot of similarities to vocalist’s past band Chiodos.  But this shows quite a bit of musical maturity and progression from Craig Owens.  It has some catchy lyrics, but nothing to special.  This isn’t a terrible song to start an album off with but it may not have been the best choice.  Well done, 7.5/10

“The Only Thing You Talk About”

A little generic, but that is just the whole post-hardcore genre in its entirety.  Even though it is quite a entertaining song to listen to, it is just exactly like everything else in this genre.  Not bad, but not special 7/10

“Graveyard Dancing”

I am a big fan of the intro for this song.  This song demonstrates how musical hardcore music could actually be, and even if you aren’t a “Hardcore” fan, I would recommend this song.  Great Job 9.5/10

“Mr. Owl Ate My Metal Worm”

Even though this song is very simplistic musically, the vocals and effects make it entertaining.  One thing that made this song as good as it is would have to be the build-up for the whole first half of the song.  Not something you are used to hearing, 8/10

“Sex Life”

This is the low point of this album so far.  It usually happens around this point in the album, track 5-6.  Just a really annoying chorus, it just seems a little to stressed on “Sex Life”, it just seems like those are the only words he says.  Not so good, 5/10

“Laminated E.T. Animal”

This one gave me a surprise with the acoustics at the beginning.  Then it went towards “Hardcore” land again.  That is one thing that really annoys me about a lot of songs, this group has the potential to actually change the genre, but it just seems like they can’t progress to that next level consistently.  It is still pretty catchy if you are a hardcore fan, but I wouldn’t be able to suggest this to fans of other genres. It doesn’t show that quality 7/10

“Stop Reading, Start Doing Pushups”

More HARDCORE, another low point, it just ruins all they had going in this album so far.  If there was one song that just seemed to ruin the flow of this album, it IS THIS ONE!  Terrible song compared to the rest, if anything I could have seen this being an “unreleased” track from this album that they could release after a year or two.  Bad choice, 4/10

“I’m the Rehab, You’re the Drugs”

They show a little more musicality in the intro, but once the actual song starts that fades pretty quickly.  It slowly makes a comeback in the chorus.  Every part of this song shows some theory except the verses, they are just the same power chords over and over again.  But that is music, 7/10

“I’m Here to Take the Sky”

No. 0/10

“The Hangman”

The intro sounded pretty cool, a nice effect on the keyboard.  Finally more musicality that I knew they could utilize.  It just seems they only fulfill their full potential once or twice and album.  Pretty good, 8.5/10

“My Swagger Has a First Name”

Why do they have to end the album like this, REALLY?  They go from a pretty good song, to this?  It doesn’t seem to flow very well, making it not the right choice.  It slowly makes its way back to a better zone, but I don’t know if it has a chance to redeem itself.  They show some more musicality about 3/4 of the way through.  Ok, 7.5/10

Chart Positions:

US 200 – 29

US Hard Rock – 1

US Digital – 14

Alright well that is it, thanks for reading. Overall this album got a 6.5/10, not bad but not great.

-Brad

(email me suggestions)

bk89810@gmail.com

CunninLynguists – Oneirology
Stream the entire album for free via bandcamp

I was probably looking forward to this album more than I’ve ever looked forward to an album before. It got to the point where I was starting to feel some “reverse-hype” because I thought I was hyping the album up too much and setting myself up for disappointment (which is exactly what happened with albums like Slaughterhouse’s LP in the past). Not only did Oneirology meet my expectations, it surpassed them. If you like hip-hop at all (and especially if you like amazing production) you should listen to this album.

Kno’s production is generally the first thing people think of when talking about CunninLynguists and deservedly so. I know there are some who are afraid to say this since he got his start in the 21st century, but Kno really deserves to be in the conversation with DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Dr Dre as one of the best hip-hop producers ever. Some of the beats on Oneirology sound (almost literally) out of this world. Many of these beats have a spacelike/dreamlike sound to them (fitting since Oneirology is the study of dreams) and sound to me like they’re more complex and layered than anything Kno’s done before. I know more complex doesn’t necessarily mean better but the production on this album is some of the best I’ve heard.

That’s not to say Kno is working with a couple of bums here. Deacon the Villain and Natti probably won’t be in any “greatest rapper of all time” conversation but I don’t know of any other rappers who could mesh with Kno’s production as well as these two can (…maybe Tonedeff can). This really is a group effort all the way around and everyone in the group knows how to complement each other perfectly on Oneirology. Take any one of the three members away from the group and there’s no way this album is anywhere near as good as it is.

There are a lot of interesting lyrical concepts on this album but I’ll single out and talk about one of my favorites. At the end of “Phantasmata” a voice talks about how many of our basic desires are taboo and these things don’t appear directly in our dreams. Instead, they’re modified by a variety of devices that disguise them. This leads into “Hard as They Come” where each rapper’s verse is a metaphor for a different “evil” in society. Natti is talking about alcohol, (featured guest) Freddie Gibbs is talking about cocaine, and Kno is talking about AIDS. It’s pretty deep and I absolutely love stuff like that.

Speaking of the features, all of them deliver. There are four guest rappers (Freddie Gibbs, Big KRIT, Tonedeff, and Tunji) and I have no idea how I’d rank them 1-4 because they’re all outstanding on Oneirology. There are a few guest singers as well; while they’re all good the standout of these singers is definitely Anna Wise from Sonnymoon (who appears on a couple tracks). To be honest I had no idea who she was before this album but I’m really glad they included her. Rappers everywhere should take note, this is how you add a female vocalist to your songs.

I’m embedding a couple songs on this review but they really don’t do the songs justice. This isn’t your typical hip-hop album where you’ll have some singles and the artist randomly fills up the rest of the album with other songs. Oneirology plays like one long single and you’re really better off if you listen to the whole thing from track 1 to track 15 because of how every song flows into the next.

Most hip-hop artists are content with staying the same throughout their careers but every once in a while you’ll get some groups that always look to try new things. Over the past decade CunninLynguists have been a perfect example of a group not afraid to experiment and evolve; Oneirology is unlike anything these guys have done before. Is this better than A Piece of Strange (which I believe to be their best work)? I can’t really say. They’re too different from one another and I can’t make my mind up on which one I enjoy more. I’ll just say this – APOS is an incredible album and so is Oneirology.

Score: 10/10

Pac Div – Mania!
Free download here

March is a pretty stacked month when it comes to hip-hop releases I’m looking forward to hearing. I’m hyped for seven releases this month – Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers, Pac Div’s Mania!, Curren$y’s Muscle Car Chronicles, Raekwon’s Shaolin vs Wu-Tang, Travis Barker’s Give the Drummer Some (which isn’t exactly hip-hop but most of the guests are rappers so I’m counting it), CunninLynguists’ Oneirology, and Wiz Khalifa’s Rolling Papers. I’m planning on reviewing all seven of these albums. The fourth is Pac Div’s Mania!.

This mixtape really just feels like something to make existing Pac Div fans happy while we’re waiting on their album. They really aren’t doing anything groundbreaking here but they’re sticking to their style of being good rappers with Cool Kids-style minimalist beats.

Mania! feels a bit inconsistent compared to Pac Div’s previous two releases (Church League Champions and Don’t Mention It). They set the bar pretty high with those releases and they didn’t quite meet my expectations with Mania!. There are some great tracks here (Anti-Freeze, Somethin’, Still a Knucklehead), but there are also a few songs that sound bland and as if I’ve heard them before.

One thing that annoyed me a little bit was that it was hosted by Don Cannon; Pac Div’s last two mixtapes had no DJs yelling but Cannon’s yelling just about ruins the first verse of Anti-Freeze on this one. For the most part throughout the tape he’s pretty bearable, but when will retarded mixtape DJs like Cannon learn that shouting your name just gets everyone to hate you? I get that he wants to get his name out there but all he’s doing is being remembered as the guy who ruins everything.

So overall, I thought this was a solid mixtape that will hold over existing fans of the group. I don’t think it will make that many new fans – Church League Champions is the best mixtape to go to if you’re looking to get into these guys.
Score: 7.25/10


Travis Barker – Give the Drummer Some

March is a pretty stacked month when it comes to hip-hop releases I’m looking forward to hearing. I’m hyped for seven releases this month – Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers, Pac Div’s Mania!, Curren$y’s Muscle Car Chronicles, Raekwon’s Shaolin vs Wu-Tang, Travis Barker’s Give the Drummer Some (which isn’t exactly hip-hop but most of the guests are rappers so I’m counting it), CunninLynguists’ Oneirology, and Wiz Khalifa’s Rolling Papers. I’m planning on reviewing all seven of these albums. The third is Travis Barker’s Give the Drummer Some.

Let me get this out of the way before anything else – when it comes to Give the Drummer Some, it really makes no difference if you are a blink-182 fan or not. I’ve seen people who love blink-182 really dislike this album and at the same time I’ve seen people who don’t care for blink-182 say they really liked this album. To give you an idea where I’m coming from, I think blink-182’s alright but I’m not a huge fan or anything.

Give the Drummer Some is not a pop punk album at all. For all intents and purposes this is a hip-hop album that has a big rock influence. Since Travis Barker himself doesn’t rap or sing and since an instrumental album probably wouldn’t be all that interesting to most, these tracks all have guest appearances. The guests on this album are mostly rappers but after that they’re about as random as you can get — guests range from Kid Cudi to Tech N9ne to Lupe Fiasco.

Since every track has different featured artists on them, this album is a bit hit-or-miss for me. My favorite tracks are the ones where the rappers on the track are aggressive and complement Travis Barker’s style well. One track in particular that really stands out is “Carry It” where Raekwon and RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan team up with Tom Morello (Morello just sticks to guitar). RZA’s aggressive delivery throughout most of the track really fits with Barker. Another track I enjoyed was “Can a Drummer Get Some” which features (The) Game, Rick Ross, Swizz Beatz, and Lil’ Wayne – Wayne could’ve derailed this song but he delivered one of his better verses in recent memory.

On the flip side of that are the guys who aren’t known for being in your face. I really like The Cool Kids but their laid-back delivery doesn’t really work on “Jump Down“. Snoop Dogg’s verse on “Knockin” really didn’t interest me. One laid-back rapper that I did like on this album was Kid Cudi on “Cool Head“. It’s a strange song and sounds like Travis Barker remixed a track that could be on one of Cudi’s Man on the Moon albums – the combo of Barker and Cudi is a disaster on paper but it worked surprisingly well for me.

Generally speaking the good on this album really outweighs the bad. It’s different compared to most of the stuff I’m used to and pretty enjoyable. After listening to four of the seven March releases I was looking forward to, this is surprisingly my favorite of them (I haven’t reviewed Pac Div’s Mania! yet but this is slightly better). That said, I’ll be shocked if it stays my favorite by the end of the month. I’m guessing that Curren$y will get an 8 or higher from me and it looks like CunninLynguists are about to drop an atomic bomb on the rest of hip-hop. Let’s not talk about Wiz Khalifa.
Score: 7.75/10