Thursday Throwback – “Heart Shaped Box” by Nirvana

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This weeks throwback hails from one 90’s biggest, if not the biggest, Grunge groups. With the release of Nevermind, Nirvana cemented themselves in Rock and Roll history. While there were plenty of grunge acts around during this time, you’d be hard pressed to find one that had as much influence. Nor would you easily find a grunge act that has inspired so many.

“Heart Shaped Box”, while not everyone’s go to song from Nirvana, has had a fair amount of airtime in Harmonix’s previous projects. Anyone from the Guitar Hero era will remember their appearance on Guitar Hero 2 and their release on the Rock Band Store back in 2011. This release also saw this track get a pro upgrade. This song was also available as an export for other Guitar Hero games and featured on Rocksmith 2014 Remastered’s setlist.

For the pro upgrades, it’s use of HOPO’s throughout on both instruments presents the player with a slow beat that’s tricky to hit. For pro guitar players, the song presents you with a combination of chord arpeggiation throughout each verse, then throws HOPO’s that are slightly off the arpeggiations during the chorus. The solo isn’t too much of a threat if you can play the remainder of the track. Bass is a mirror of guitars basic rhythm, but without the chords or solos. An easy transition if you can play the pro guitar chart.

In terms of it’s core band line up, it’s definitely a great crowd pleaser. It’s a solid track throughout and definitely one the vocalist can belt out. In terms of range, it doesn’t jump too much. That being said, keep an eye on the chorus. Those “Hey”s can definitely through you off. Drums are best described as slow but full. Plenty of kick action and doubles throughout, but it never throws a wave of notes at you at any time. It’s consistent and constant. For guitar and bass, the mix of arpeggiation and HOPO’s make for a thoroughly entertaining chart. The solo for guitarist’s doesn’t really show off anything special or give any kind of challenge, but solos don’t have to be overly challenging to be fun. If you’re a fan of grunge or fun charts you can chill out to or belt out you should definitely pick this up if you haven’t already.

 

DLC for 3/9: Macklemore & Paramore

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It’s been a long time since we’ve not had any artist or song information to go on for a month. As for what we’ll see, I personally think that we’re going to have some of those exclusive VR songs released in small doses over the next few months. That said, you can just check below to see what we’re actually getting!

  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton – Can’t Hold Us
  • Paramore – That’s What You Get (Rock Band Rewind)

All songs are $1.99.

[Official announcement]

New Rock Band VR Scoring Details, Partial Setlist Reveal

Rock_Band_VR_key_art.0Hey gang! We’re slowly approaching the release date of Rock Band VR for the Oculus Rift, which is March 23rd. Yet we only know 3 songs in game with just over three weeks till launch. That is, until tonight. And it’s an interesting reveal to say the least. Oasis haven’t been seen in game since 2009. And it’s a heavy hitter to boot.

  • Aerosmith – “Walk This Way”
  • Against The Current – “Running With The Wild Things”
  • Alice In Chains – “Man in the Box”
  • Arctic Horror – “Black Seas”
  • AudioDamn! – “Lights Out”
  • Avenged Sevenfold – “Beast and the Harlot”
  • Basement – “Promise Everything”
  • The Black Keys – “Gold On The Ceiling”
  • Bon Jovi – “Livin’ On A Prayer”
  • DragonForce – “Through The Fire And Flames”
  • Foo Fighters – “Everlong”
  • Ghost – “Cirice”
  • Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – “Bad Reputation”
  • The Killers – “When You Were Young”
  • Megadeth – “Hangar 18”
  • Oasis – “Champagne Supernova”
  • OneRepublic – “Counting Stars”
  • Paramore – “Ain’t It Fun”
  • The Shelters – “Rebel Heart”
  • Spirit Kid – “To My Romeo”
  • Van Halen – “Panama”

That’s nine new songs in total coming to the franchise. As an added note, it appears that the on disc setlist will support a similar total of songs that Rock Band 4 did. There’s some great additions being added to the list. Some well knowns, some classics, some lesser knowns and some returns of on disc songs but it all adds up to a very varied but fun list of content.

What we now also know is a more detailed description of how the game scores. While Harmonix have already confirmed that a traditional note highway will be present in game, this wont be the base of the core gameplay. The main mode of Rock Band VR has an entirely new scoring system. Forget traditional note charts, because in VR, you’ll primarily be using this chord structure to play.RBVR_Chord_FormationWhat may seem quite daunting at first, for those who have played Rock Band 4 and freestyle guitar solos in particular should recognise these patterns quite well. Although the implementation is somewhat different. Rock Band VR’s core mode has three difficulty levels that task you to play these chord structures.

Rock star mode tasks you with creating combo’s of chord shapes in time with the music, which the game grades you on. These shapes however can be on different sections of the fret board and is the easiest of the three levels. The game will break the song down into specific sections and ask you to make combos of these different chord shapes. Virtuoso mode ups the ante from Rock Star mode and makes you move your hand every time there is a chord change in song, which it judges based on the location on your index finger. So if you’re playing a bar chord on yellow blue orange and there’s a chord change in song, you need to move your hand. Monster mode removes all visual cues and makes you play the song entirely from memory.

This is a very basic overview of some of the changes, but if you’re looking for more information, check out their how to play video and  head over to Harmonix’s blog. Their original post goes into the new gameplay at great lengths and is a fantastic read. If you’re excited about Rock Band VR, let us know!

 

Thursday Throwback – “Hysteria” by Muse

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It’s about time the lone offering from Muse in the Rock Band store was given some attention. And this week’s crew challenge gives you the opportunity to enjoy what was one of the highlights of May 2008’s DLC releases. Or the original Rock Band disc if you’re European! And of all the songs we could have got, Harmonix picked one of their best, or at least, suited for a rhythm game.

For those of the community who’ve been around since the dawn and/or are Muse fans, you’ll be well versed in the history of “MOAR Muse”. At its peak, it spawned over a thousand forum pages of comments asking for their return. And for the entire time the app was live (save for 20 minutes) were the most requested band on the Facebook Rock Band World App. Yet no more content. The Musers have died down and crept back in to the shadows. And after almost 9 years of waiting, we continue to wait, hoping for literally anything at this point.

So why are Muse fans so crazy for new DLC? Aside from the obvious fanboyism, Hysteria’s note charts are some of the most fun charts out there. There isn’t a dull part of this track. At all.

Let’s start with the Vocals. Muse are a bad that aren’t exactly renowned for their expansive or deep lyric craft. Almost the opposite, but what they are good at is penning lyrics that, at their soul, get you to stand up and chant them out. Look at Uprising for example. Not complex at all but a perfect example of protest and enough to make you punch the air. The lyrics for Hysteria don’t really do Matt Bellamy’s vocal range justice (That guy can sing!) but it changes up enough to challenge you for those gold stars on Expert.

As for the drums, it’s not your typical chart. While there are maybe three or four different patterns throughout, those beats are tricky and awkward. It’s a rhythm that’s tough to get the hang of but mightily satisfying once you get the hang of it.

The guitar and bass charts are the real reason to play this song. Easily some of the best charts in the entire game, the guitar switches it up on the regular, switching between relatively quick chords and HOPOS. The bass on the other hand is a total HOPO fest throughout and, while it doesn’t differentiate from its’s base patterns too much, it’s incredibly fast.

Give it a try, go buy it and pray for the Moar Musers in the community.

DLC Playthrough for 3/2 (Lit & Staind)

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We’ve got two Y2K-era tracks coming to Rock Band this week courtesy of Staind and a rewind song from Lit! Be sure to take a look at these full band playthrough videos courtesy of the totally awesome Spectro’s Rock Hero! Definitely check out and subscribe to their YouTube channel!

Links to purchase DLC songs online at Xbox.com and Playstation.com are included below for each track. All tracks are $1.99.

Lit – My Own Worst Enemy (XB1/PS4)

Staind – Outside (XB1/PS4)

11 more free songs coming to Rivals owners!

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Well this is a nice surprise! It was announced today that Harmonix is partnering with non-profit music incubator The Record Co. to bring 11 brand new free songs to Rock Band Rivals as part of the March update. This brings the total number of Rivals songs to 24, and Rock Band 4’s base setlist can now be argued to have 89 songs!

Here is the full list of tracks coming as part of the March update to Rivals:

  • Animal Flag – Sink
  • Bent Knee – These Hands
  • Black Beach – No Place for Me
  • Creaturos – History Repeats
  • Dutch ReBelle – RudeBoys
  • Julie Rhodes – Hurry Up (& Wait for You)
  • Littlefoot – Casablanca
  • Michael Christmas – Cross That Line
  • Ruby Rose Fox – Skydiver
  • STL GLD – Good
  • Tigerman WOAH – Alone Time

Just like before, these songs are ONLY available to Rock Band Rivals owners, but if you are, they’ll come included in the update so no need to search the storefronts!

[Official announcement]