Well, I've managed to get the site back to functionality finally. The issue that was pretty much causing me all my problems SEEMS to be down to something much more manageable but I had to sacrifice certain things to get there. It was either that or rebuild from scratch and I disliked that option.
First, there will no longer be any anonymous reviews accepted on site. I'm sorry but the issue was with form cache and that was one table getting up to 1 GB + in under an hour. From now on all comments on articles and posts will be handled with disqus, and all reviews on stories MUST be done by registered users. It's just the way it has to be frankly. I also removed fivestar ratings on the stories as that was also causing a massive issue.
Search is no longer integrated into the site and google search is our only access to search capabilities. I know you probably might not like that but it is how it is. Sorry, I wish I could offer more search based features but I can't afford the database bloat right now.
I'm hoping this has solved our biggest issues with stability and will keep things working slowly over time. If I find a way to integrate something later I'll try it out but no promises.