Posts Tagged ‘RBN DLC’
It’s been a strong month for official Rock Band DLC, but the RBN has been keeping pace with an astounding selection of high quality releases. This past week saw a broad slate of metal tracks released for the Xbox 360 alongside this week’s pop-rock recommendation, while Ziltoid the Omniscient has taken over the PlayStation with four tracks from Devin Townshend’s concept album. Delve in, take a listen and see what tickles your eardrums!
Xbox 360: Melissa Otero – Angels and Demons
Amongst the metal onslaught this week resides this 80 MSP gem. Hailing from Puerto Rico, Melissa Otero’s newest single is a track that packs a hell of a punch. Recalling bands like Evanescence and even Lisa Miskovsky’s ‘Still Alive’, written for Mirror’s Edge, Angels and Demons has a fantastic vocal parts alongside a keyboard chart that’s as varied as it is satisfying.
The vocals, complete with understated but thoroughly enjoyable harmonies, are definitely front and center in the mix. The instrumentation is fairly sparse, giving the vocals prominence. An electronic drum beat pounds out the rhythm, deceiving you into expecting a thumping club classic. Once the first chorus hits you’ll realise that it’s a well-produced, catchy tune – the shiver down your spine as the chorus washes over you is what reminded me most of Mirror’s Edge and it’s main theme.
Keys are definitely the other highlight here – there’s enough variety to keep you interested. It’s always good when you can pick out melodies that might otherwise go unnoticed. Drums, bass and guitar shouldn’t be discounted, however – they all present a fairly easy set of note patterns but are well worth playing, if only to hear them boosted in the mix. I was pleasantly surprised with the song – something I’d probably pass over by name alone. However, on listening and playing Angels and Demons is a definite recommendation for those looking for more female-fronted vocals or just good songs in general.
(On the Lisa Miskovsky note, here’s hoping Still Alive makes it on the RBN someday!)
Sounds like: Evanescence, Lisa Miskovsky
Perfect for: Vocalists, keys
PlayStation 3: Devin Townsend – The Greys
There’s no denying it: Ziltoid the Omniscient is one of the wildest, wackiest concept albums out there and having it included, every track, on the Rock Band Network is a stroke of genius. Devin Townsend knows how to write songs that vary in style and content, but that retain a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.
We’ve covered the track Hyperdrive before and The Greys ranks slightly higher on the wackiness scale than that song. Whereas Hyperdrive is easily approachable, thanks to its pop sensibilities, The Greys nudges things slightly towards the weirder end of the scale. Starting out with a heavy riff, the transcendent vocals that enter bring a little of the approachability of Hyperdrive. The occasional screamed phrase gives the song a harder edge but the soaring guitars still lend the song an ethereal quality. A few minor riffs give guitarists some variety amongst the chugging rhythm, while drums sound simple but have the occasional quick fill.
The Greys isn’t the only song to recommend from Ziltoid the Omniscient – all of the others have enough range and difference that there’s bound to be a song to suit your tastes. If you’re looking for variety, the entire album is well worth picking up (especially for the meta-commentary on gaming that’s been exclusively added).
Sounds like: Ethereal pop mixed with prog metal
Perfect for: Vocalists, drummers
Throwback Track: Paul and Storm – Nugget Man
Who would have thought that an ode to the inventory of chicken nuggets (and other reconstituted poultry products) would make such a fantastic RBN song?! Well, with Paul and Storm behind the lyrics and composition, any subject can become a hit! Nugget Man, taken from their 2007 record Gumbo Pants delivers a tribute to Robert C. Baker, complete with a gospel-style ending to really send him off in style.
The main highlight has to be the harmonies – Paul and Storm are well known for the complexity of their vocals as anyone who tried to hold that note in Opening Band will attest. This time they are really hard to nail, with one melody doing significantly different things to the other. By the end, with it’s raucous gospel outro, you’ll be all over the place trying to hit the correct pitch but likely having too much fun to care about the difficulty. The outro also proves to be a game-changer for all of the other instruments. The increased tempo and different rhythm could come as a surprise, especially for drummers and keys players.
From the mid-song snare march to the carefully constructed (yet no less hilarious) lyrics, Nugget Man is a left-field song choice for your RBN library. No other song has harmonies quite like it and that alone makes this one a good choice for inclusion!
Sounds like: Gospel meets chicken
Perfect for: Vocalists, harmonies, keys
We’ll be back next week with more RBN Highlights. There’s a big hitter on the way so keep your ears open and eyes peeled!
It’s a momentous week for Rock Band players with the release of Rock Band Blitz revitalizing their DLC libraries with a new style of play. While there isn’t a set of DLC per se, the 25 song strong Arcade title should satisfy most fans looking for official new content. Meanwhile, the Rock Band Network continues apace, releasing a great selection of tracks this week including a smorgasbord of prog for the PS3! So, tear your unblinking eyes away from Blitz for just one second as we present this week’s recommendations:
Xbox 360: Francisco Meza – The Restless Mind
A track from an outstanding guitarist, The Restless Mind manages to cover a wide range of styles, tempo and difficulty. From chugging metal to beautiful, quiet solo parts, this song has everything a Rock Band guitarist could need.
First and foremost this is predominantly guitar-focused. From the outset it’s the guitar chart that gets most of the solos although that doesn’t diminish the bass and drums part at all. Guitarists will find a song that has multiple solos, often with an entirely different feel to each. Although it sounds a tad metal near the beginning, a diversion into a contemplative, quiet solo midway through reveals the song is closer to prog than your typical fret-shredders. The solo soon evolves into a blistering run of trills, hammer-ons and wild alt-strumming but that’s all part of the fun. The dynamics of the song as a whole are a pleasure to discover and the sheer number of solos make this a must-buy for any guitarist.
The bass chart is surprisingly fun to play as well, including some tricky movement and a few occasions where the bassist is permitted a few seconds to show off. Again, the chart is unpredictable at times making it all the more fun to play. Bass can often be a bit of an exercise but The Restless Mind has a thoroughly entertaining part that merits a look. Perhaps the weakest part would be the drums but they are by no means a chore. Compared to other prog/metal songs they are a little on the easy side but there are enough fills and tempo changes that the chart remains interesting.
Francisco Meza is a brilliantly talented guitarist and Rock Band was made to highlight these skills. The Restless Mind, taken from the album of the same name, is a wonderful introduction to Meza (in addition to the track Rage and Pain already on the RBN) and we can only hope to see more, should our guitars withstand it!
Sounds like: A little like Metallica at times, minus James-ah Hetfield on vocals
Perfect for: Guitarists, bassists
Playstation 3: Eurobeat Brony – Discord (The Living Tombstone Remix)
The PS3 has a stunning week of releases, including previous recommendations from both Kaipa and Children of Nova, but this track is more of a leftfield choice. There’s a nice trend with remixes on the RBN – they tend to be awesome. (Consider the White Knuckles remix as previous evidence.) Not knowing anything to do with the band or remix artist, this track is catchy and sounds a little like Panic at the Disco spruced up with some upbeat rhythms. The band behind the music – Eurobeat Brony – are part of a record label almost solely focusing on tracks from said band. A ‘brony’, according to Urban Dictionary, is primarily an adult (usually male) fan of the G4 My Little Pony series which I haven’t seen myself but, hey, cool. If that means more catchy tunes like this one then I’m all for it!
There are a lot of fun charts with this particular song; the harmonies are nicely balanced, while the electronica means that keys and bass get fairly nifty parts to play. The drums have real punch to them, making up for the fact it’s a fairly standard beat throughout, while guitar focuses on chords buried in the mix. Meanwhile, the bass plays the lower synth melody while the main chiptune is charted to keys. It’s not hard on any instrument but the upbeat groove keeps things moving briskly along, meaning it isn’t a drag to play on the lower difficulty parts.
There are so many different genres and bands on the RBN that you can find almost anything, from novelty songs to the hardest metal. Eurobeat Brony’s song is another fantastic addition and that melody will hook into your brain like no other. It may not be to everybody’s taste but you might still find yourself humming it days later.
Sounds like: Panic at the Disco on speed
Perfect for: Harmonies, keys
Throwback Track: Iron & Wine – Flightless Bird, American Mouth
And finally, a track distinctly different to the others available this week. Iron & Wine were a much anticipated band to hit the RBN, back in the days when Subpop artists were lined up to add their music to the service. Unfortunately it looks like the Subpop ship has since sailed (although there’s been no official confirmation or denial…) but at least we have this gem.
With its lilting melody, nostalgic melancholy and poetic lyrics, Flightless Bird, American Mouth is the perfect song for a slightly gentler Rock Band session. Vocalists have a fairly easy tune to follow, although later phrases are a little harder to define, having to discern the sung part from the harmonies. You might also have to consider circular breathing due to the length and frequency of some of the held notes! Guitarists have a slow start but once the band enters there are plenty of chords with which to strum along.
Drums and bass have quite sedate contributions to the song – if there was ever a perfect song for the campfire it would be this. You’d need a generator or an extremely long extension cable but outdoor Rock Band could be the next rhythm gaming trend! Don’t let the easiness of the song dissuade you, though – this is well worth a look, especially for those looking for quieter songs. Also, this song was on a Twilight soundtrack, be that a plus or minus depending on your taste in movies.
Sounds like: Subpop is to alternative as Roadrunner is to metal
Perfect for: Vocalists, players looking for something a little more to listen to rather than play.
Three more songs to contemplate! Starting next week we’ll try and include a little note on how each song plays in Rock Band Blitz as well. Until then, add your suggestions and recommendations in the comments.
Unless otherwise noted, all songs are 160 MSP ($1.99).
- Leadership By Assault – Stop Staring *
- An Endless Sporadic – From the Blue/Point of No Return (2x Bass Pedal) *
- Eiffel 65 – Move Your Body
- Francisco Meza – The Restless Mind *
- Look Left – But Then I Fell In Love *
Songs marked with * are 80 MSP ($0.99)
It was a quieter week on the Rock Band Network due to some server shenanigans, but that doesn’t mean there’s a drop in quality. Amberian Dawn lead the charge in terms of Playstation releases while the Xbox 360 had a pair of gems to choose from. With Rock Band Blitz coming over the hill it’s time to stock up on DLC and there’s no place better to look than the RBN!
Xbox 360: Vargas – Hoy
This song is unique in so many ways that it begs to be in your Rock Band collection, even if you can’t speak a lick of Spanish. Combining a swing style, potentially even ‘big band’ sound with breathy, raw vocals, Hoy immediately sounds different than most other Rock Band tracks. Couple that with the fact it’s in Spanish – complete with some brilliant harmonies – and you’ve got a song that’s fun to play, lively and just plain cool.
Keys take precedent throughout the song, with a jaunty feel that translates well into the Rock Band charting style. Anyone brave or talented enough to attempt it on Pro Keys mode will find a challenge that is especially rewarding – there’s so much to play that you simultaneously feel like the root and focus of the band as a whole. Chords, fiddly melodies and even a brief change in keyboard type make the keys track numero uno for fun.
Drums feature a swing beat that’s rarely seen in other tracks, meaning drummers will find something that isn’t necessarily tough but remains fresh to play. Meanwhile, bass offers a subtle yet pleasantly complicated accompaniment, with a few hammer-on patterns that’ll catch you out. Given the relative lack of guitar in the song, trumpets and sax are charted to guitar – something that always seems giddily silly but never fails to be guiltily enjoyable. Hoy can occasionally sound like a mash-up between a Bugsy Malone getaway chase and the Casino Night Zone track from Sonic, but that’s wholly a compliment to how awesome it sounds.
Vocals are tricky for non-speakers of Spanish but the harmonies are too good to ignore – the highlight being the bridge section with its extended and intricate sustains. Round up a couple of friends and you’ll be replicating the luscious sound in no time!
Sounds like: Closest RB approximation could be Brian Setzer, but it’s a little different.
Perfect for: Harmonies, keys, full band
Playstation 3: Amberian Dawn – Circus Black
The long-awaited release of a Nightwish track through official Rock Band channels should hopefully boost interest in Amberian Dawn this week. Three tracks coming to PS3 will undoubtedly help increase the band’s exposure and, being the most prevalent supporter of the RBN in terms of song quantity, Amberian Dawn are well worth your time. We’ve already had their song Talisman as a previous recommendation but Circus Black, from their latest album, is equally mentionable. Taking everything that makes Amberian Dawn awesome and then multiplying that by ten, Circus Black is a track of pure symphonic metal with all the trimmings.
Guitar and vocals are the main highlights here, although the other instruments also have outstanding charts as well. Operatic vocals are tough to replicate at the best of times and Circus Black features a stunning lead, in addition to demonic choirs, for singers to attempt. It’s all about range so gargle some magic Daltrey-brand mouthwash and put those vocal chords to good use. Meanwhile, guitar is varied in difficulty – there are downtimes where a slow alt-strum will get you through but the solo near the end adds a degree of challenge to the mix. Playing guitar with such an over-the-top orchestral accompaniment always feels special and Circus Black does not disappoint in this respect.
Drums are a relentless barrage of bass pedal and tom rolls. Steel those leg muscles for the challenge ahead – it’s a good selection of different patterns but that pedal will be a nightmare for most players. Bass and keys round out the track with charts that are equally difficult, especially the keys part that gives the song its demented circus atmosphere. For those looking for even more bass pedal punishment a 2x Bass Pedal version is available as well!
Sounds like: Recognisably Amberian Dawn, just on steroids
Perfect for: Vocals, guitar, keys
Throwback Track: Stan Bush – The Touch
With the buzz surrounding Transformers: Fall of Cybertron at peak levels, there’s no better time to remind people that Stan Bush’s classic track The Touch is available through the RBN! The song initially featured on the soundtrack to the 1986 Transformers: The Movie, although the version in game is a fantastic sounding re-record. If you hate the new direction Transformers finds itself going in, or are a fan of the series looking for a little history, then check out this slice of 80’s cheese. If you couldn’t care less for fighting robots then the track is still a contender for your digital bucks, given that it rocks!
Dripping in glorious eighties positivity, The Touch has everything: a no holds barred vocal anthem, soaring guitar solos and that special nostalgic feel, even for those who have never heard the song before. While the instruments aren’t always difficult to play – bass and drums aren’t particularly challenging – it still manages to feel fun, especially as part of a band. For some it might be a tongue-in-cheek piece of silliness, for others it has all the same ingredients that make Journey songs iconic.
The song was previously featured in Guitar Hero: World Tour as downloadable content but made its way to Rock Band with the help of fans and charting group The Authority. With two solos that are difficult but not impossible, solid charts for bass and drums as well as a vocal part that has been subsumed into popular culture, The Touch is a great song to have and now is as good a time as any to buy in!
Sounds like: Your childhood
Perfect for: Guitarists, vocals
Another week, another awesome batch of tracks! Will you be picking up any tracks this week? Are there any you’re looking forward to playing that have been announced?
Unless otherwise noted, all songs are 160 MSP ($1.99).
- Alestorm – Back Through Time (2x Bass Pedal)
- All Shall Perish – Rebirth (2x Bass Pedal)
- Asking Alexandria – To the Stage (2x Bass Pedal)
- Halcyon Way – Our Finest Hour *
- Saint Vitus – Blessed Night
* Denotes 80 MSP song pricing.