A minor delay on the RBN has meant we had to skip a week or two, but now things are back to normal let the good times roll! This week saw the Xbox bolster up those leg muscles with a selection of 2x bass pedal tracks and the PS3 releases are struck down with Strikken. There’s plenty to choose from but, as always, these are our choices for this week. Add them to your library in anticipation of Rock Band Blitz!
Xbox 360: Trial By Fire – From the Ground Up
A pounding drum beat opens this week’s Xbox 360 release recommendation, kicking off the introduction to a well-produced song full of writhing energy. Even for those of you who might be put off by ‘scream’ vocals, From the Ground Up is still a worthy addition due to its charts alone.
Guitar revolves around a main chord riff and tricky instances where alt-strumming and constant fret changing must be mastered. The highlight of the song – on almost all of the instruments bar vocals – occurs during the bridge. The guitar is sparse but has a few tricky hammer-on runs that could cause you to slip up. A brief down period after these tricky flourishes introduces three-note chords, in a section that’s a little more relaxed than the rest of the song.
Drums are – as with many post-hardcore tracks – a pleasure to play. Snares as loud as gunshots, plenty of cymbal changes and a breakdown during the bridge provide drummers with plenty of variation. Bass follows suit – there are chugging, meaty notes to hit, providing a resounding texture that compliments the chaos.
Keyboards are in for a treat during the bridge – what can only be likened to Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells gives the song a surprisingly gothic edge. It’s also a pleasantly complicated part for Pro and Standard charts alike – difficult but attainable. Vocals round out the song with harmonies that can be divvied up depending on tolerance to constant shouting. The lead vocalist has to hit some lofty heights (while maintaining power) while the harmonies are given the chance to shout to their hearts content.
Post-hardcore couldn’t be described as under-populated, in terms of Rock Band Network content. However, this track has enough to keep you interested and that makes it worthy of a mention.
Sounds like: A little like some of the early MTV Pack tracks
Perfect for: Drums, vocals, occasional keys players
Playstation 3: The Motion Sick – Grace Kelly
For metal fans there’s a heaping load of Strikken to choose from – a band likely to feature in this column very soon. It would be a crime to pass up recommending The Motion Sick’s quirky and unique Grace Kelly. This isn’t that ditty from high-pitched songstrel Mika! Instead it’s a vaguely pagan sounding, dark anthem to the queen of the screen that’s infinitely cooler.
While their previous RBN release, 30 Lives, echoed the 1950s style in an ode to video game love, Grace Kelly is imbued with elements of folk that makes it sound occasionally like a ceilidh gone awry or a demented Professor Layton soundtrack.
Drums, the haunting rhythm that feels like it’s spiralling incessantly towards oblivion, are charted unlike anything else on the RBN. The chart puts a large focus on toms with the beat intensifying in speed and complexity as the song culminates. Some cymbal/tom pairings will have you flailing in confusion, but let the song take you and you’ll find the beat soon enough.
Guitar and bass begin restrained, yet with an air of menace. It’s not long before things really take off – quick strums and a wide selection of chords on guitar, a faster pattern for bass. Guitar moves on to a subtle, mandolin based riff for the finale while things reach a head. It’s a perfect song to play as a band – the instruments sound natural and raw, yet capable of creating a powerful sound. Even keyboard players are handed the accordion track – a fundamental (and fun to play) part of the song.
Vocals stay fairly consistent throughout but have some wonderfully strange lyrics as well as a melodic hook that you’ll be humming for week. Harmonies only add icing to the cake – a song that’s definitely worth it if you’re on the hunt for something a bit different.
Sounds like: A ceilidh in honor of Grace Kelly. A Grace Ceilidh!
Perfect for: Full band
You’ve heard this one before, guaranteed. If you’ve listened to the most recent podcast you’ll know the story behind this song’s journey to the RBN. What wasn’t mentioned was it’s familiarity to Rock Band 3 players – the song often crops up in truncated form to soundtrack the menus on the game!
The mix on this song is fantastic – starting up with a distorted, dub-step sounding intro it soon kicks in to a truly awesome track. Complete with guitar solos, a bizarre breakdown and great charts for each instrument, Everything I Hate About Myself deserves to be in your RBN library.
Guitar not only features a selection of solos near the end, but the main riff of the song itself is fun to play. Featuring piles of hammer-ons, the guitar track is constantly varied and really satisfying to play with some chord transitions that could cause tangled fingers. Bass is equally interesting, mimicking the guitar’s HOPO main riff well beyond the point where guitar has moved on to something else.
Drums can be both a workout and a pleasure to play – the fast hi-hat sections can be tricky but the reward has to be the breakdown. The beats are constantly changing during the track – if you’re put off thanks to a particularly difficult part, keep going. At times the track almost becomes akin to drum and bass, although the ending patterns are far more heavy rock. No matter what pattern it is, its all been expertly charted and stands as one of the best tracks to hit the RBN for drummers.
Vocals feature a lot of talkies (some of which are digitally manipulated; always fun to attempt!) as well as a chorus that sounds distinctly Trent Reznor-esque. Harmonies tend to follow the lead vocal to the note, but two is better than one so it doesn’t detract from the fun. Keys even get some fantastically weird note chains, such as the dubstep style opening and some odd synthesizer notes during the break.
The good news is that That Authoring Group are working on another menu song as well! For now, this is a must-buy; here’s hoping we see more Death of the Cool on the RBN soon.
Sounds like: Nine Inch Nails-esque
Perfect for: All instruments
Tune in next week for more RBN Highlights! Got a song you’d like to recommend? Post it below!