Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Double DLC week + the Reject is back!

This week we'll have another double dose of new DLC (Nickelback and Miley Cyrus weeks). We might also get a special visit by DMan, his first appearance with the Macas since our special New Year session.

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week (after playing them on solo drums):

3. "Jumper '09", by Third Eye Blind: This was an exceptional week for RBN songs on the PS3. Any of the 5 songs could easily have been my favorite of the week. This is a lesser known song for this group, but it is arguably the best of the 3 released so far on the RBN. The drum chart is great, with a challenging rolling beat, plus a few other fun beats.

2. "HTML Rulez D00d", by The Devil Wears Prada: This metalcore song with a peculiar name is very heavy and melodic at times, making it always interesting. It can sometimes be a bit disjointed on drums, but it has an amazing variety of beats and tempo changes.

1. "Creepy Doll", by Jonathan Coulton: Gool ol' Coulton is back once again on the RBN with a very unique song. The story is interesting and the mood changes quite often. The drum chart is fun with some occasional fast hits. I would put this one in my top 3 Jonathan Coulton songs in RB with "Skullcrusher Mountain" and "Re: Your Brains". Looking forward to getting his other RBN songs "Shop Vac" and "Mandelbrot Set" in the future (only on the 360 so far).

Honorable mention. "7 Things", by Miley Cyrus: I didn't know what to expect from the new Miley Cyrus DLC, but I was happily surprised by how fun some of the songs were. This particular song was the funnest on drums by far. It has 2 great beats: 1 unique rolling beat + 1 really fun faster beat.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New highest scoring song ("Jesus of Suburbia")

Last week we played more than half the remaining "Green Day: Rock Band" songs in RB2. Chrissy helped us out on Hard vocals, thanks!

Bongoo played only 1 instrument for the 1st time in a while (usually doing voxtar). It felt weird, like it wasn't enough of a challenge... In RB3 up to 3 of us will be playing 2 instruments at once due to the harmonies.

Highlights:
- Stars breakdown for the 20 songs: 5 stars (18), 4 stars (2)
- Bongoo was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (20), followed by Raikan (2)
- Chrissy was the "Worst Performer" for the most songs (18), followed by Phoenix (4) and Raikan (2)
- Bongoo had the only FCs of the night (5)
- Raikan's funniest wah-wah bass moments were during "Jesus of Suburbia" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
- We get 999,658 points for "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", oh so close...
- We get our 1st triple "Worst Performer" for "When I Come Around" (3 of us had 98%)
- We finally have a new highest scoring song, with "Jesus of Suburbia" surpassing "Down with the Sickness" (2.6M vs. 2.4M)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Voxass Green Day

This week our session is earlier in the week than usual, so because there is no new DLC yet we'll concentrate on finishing most of the "Green Day: Rock Band" songs in RB2. Playing so many new songs will allow us to continue our climb of the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

Bongoo is a bit sick, so Raikan will have to assume voxass duties (vocals + bass), or is it voxbass? ;)

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week (after playing them on voxtar with the band and on solo drums):

3. "Ikea", by Jonathan Coulton: Another week, another great Coulton RBN song on the PS3 (we're getting "Creepy Doll" this week). I didn't have a chance to read all the lyrics because I didn't play it on solo vocals yet, but the song sounded very good and had the usual subtle humour. The drum chart had a few fun fills.

2. "The Attitude Song", by Steve Vai: This rockin' song from another RBN regular was lots of fun due to it constantly changing. I really love the galloping main riff. Watch out for a crazy section on drums near the end.

1. "No More Tears", by Ozzy Osbourne: This metal pioneer doesn't disappoint in his RB debut, with some great new songs like "Let Me Hear You Scream" (catchy song with difficult guitar and bass) and "Diggin' Me Down" (love the Spanish guitar intro), plus some old classics like "Crazy Babies" (neat double bass pattern). But it is in his other classic song "No More Tears" that he shines the brightest. The song has great atmosphere, in part due to a great keyboard section that I hope is already charted for RB3. It also has a very lyrical guitar solo, a great bass intro, plus some very heavy riffs.

Honorable mention. "Day of Mourning", by Despised Icon: This deathcore band from Qu├ębec also has some very heavy riffs and some nice tempo changes. The breakdown section was very fun. The beginning of the song is one of the hardest Expert drum sections in the game. We'll be seeing them at Heavy MTL this summer. Hopefully the RBN tracks by other Heavy MTL bands "3 Inches of Blood", "Winds of Plague" and "Testament" will come out soon on the PS3.

Top and Worst Performer on same song

Last week we played all the latest DLC, plus a few "Green Day: Rock Band" songs. We gained 12M points, slowly moving up the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

Highlights:
- Stars breakdown for the 16 songs: Gold stars (2), 5 stars (8), 4 stars (5), 3 stars (1, for "Let Me Hear You Scream")
- Raikan was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (10), followed by Phoenix (6) and Bongoo (1)
- Bongoo was the "Worst Performer" for the most songs (10), followed by Phoenix (4) and Raikan (2)
- Raikan had the only FC of the night
- Raikan's funniest wah-wah bass moments were during "Let Me Hear You Scream", "Soul Sucker", "Diggin' Me Down" and "(Good Riddance) Time of Your Life"
- The toughest song for Bongoo to sightread voxtar was "Let Me Hear You Scream" due to the difficult guitar chart
- We finish "Day of Mourning" with exactly 1M points (+ a few points)
- Raikan gets "Top Performer", "Worst Performer", "FC" and a "#1 all-console band score" for his 42K performance on solo vocal song "Song of the Century"! :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ozzy + Green Day? Why not!

This week we'll start off by playing the new DLC, including the Ozzy Osbourne pack, plus the amazing group of returning RBN artists (Flight of the Conchords, Jonathan Coulton, Steve Vai, Third Eye Blind). We'll then start playing the new Green Day songs in RB2. This will allow us to move closer to 10th in the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week:

3. "Hole in the Earth", by Deftones: The Deftones DLC has some very atmospheric music with always changing vocals. As I mentioned last week, this made it really difficult to sightread on voxtar in last week's session. Out of the 3 Deftones songs, this one had the funnest drum chart. It is very dynamic, with 3-4 interesting patterns. "Cherry Waves" would be a close second, with its neat rolling beat.

2. "Mechanical Love", by In This Moment: This song comes from the band's more mainstream album, but it doesn't disappoint. It has good energy and a nice balance of hard/soft dynamics. The chorus sounds great, plus the drums are varied and fun due to the slow/fast beat changes. The guitar is fairly simple, but there is a fun part with singles near the end. This is another group that some of us will see at Heavy MTL this summer. Hopefully we can soon get the RBN tracks by 3 Inches of Blood, Testament and Winds of Plague, other bands at Heavy MTL.

1. "Collapsing", by Demon Hunter: This song is pretty heavy at times for a somewhat "pop-ish" metal band. There is an interestingly odd rhythm on drums, guitar and bass after the start section, with a tough double bass pattern. It definitely has the funnest drum chart of the week, with a really awesome part before the chorus.

Honorable mention. "The Mob Goes Wild", by Clutch: This is a rockin' song with a nice groovy beat from a pretty unique band. The main drum beat is fun to play, plus there are a few interesting fills. The guitar chart has quite a bit of movement.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Time to go Pro!

Yesterday's Rock Band 3 Press Release was a monumental event in rhythm game history. It will be remembered as one of the most important announcements ever, after the unveiling of "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band". Harmonix proves once again that they are the master innovators of this genre.

The most exciting part of the press release is the addition of Pro modes for all instruments except vocals. It pretty much gives us the ability to learn some real instruments (ex: 3 independent cymbals on drums, 6 strings + all fret positions on guitar). After getting comfortable playing Expert on all instruments over the last 3 years, it is truly a chance to rediscover rhythm games all over again. It will be lots of fun to slowly master each difficulty level like I did back in Guitar Hero for guitar and Rock Band for drums (Pro Easy -> Pro Medium -> Pro Hard -> Pro Expert).

If this wasn't enough, Harmonix is also adding a 2-octave keyboard, with a Pro mode that features all 25 keys! This adds an exciting new dimension to the gameplay, bringing the total # of simultaneous players to an amazing 7! Pro mode is seamlessly integrated into all the game modes, so we don't have to all make the transition at the same time, but I can see us eventually being an all-Pro band.

OK, enough salivating about the future... :) This week, after getting up-to-date on the new DLC, we played some "Green Day: Rock Band". Phoenix bought a 2nd mic stand so we were able to try the harmonies, which are lots of fun like in "The Beatles: Rock Band". We'll definitely get a 3rd mic stand before Rock Band 3 comes out so that Phoenix can join in as well.

We gained 18M points from the 20 songs we played in RB2, enough to move us up to 11th place in the "All Songs" Leaderboards. After we finish the Green Day songs in RB2, we'll improve on our old scores to increase our average points per song (currently 988K).

Highlights:
- Stars breakdown for the 20 songs: Gold stars (1), 5 stars (13), 4 stars (6, for "The Great Southern Trendkill", "Suicide Note Pt. II" and "Living Through Me (Hell's Wrath)", "Cherry Waves", "Collapsing" and "The Mob Goes Wild")
- Raikan was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (11), followed by Bongoo (7) and Phoenix (6)
- Bongoo was the "Worst Performer" for the most songs (17), followed by Phoenix (3) and Raikan (1)
- Raikan had the only FC of the night
- Raikan's funniest wah-wah bass moments were during "The Great Southern Trendkill", "War Nerve", "13 Steps to Nowhere", "Collapsing" and "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse"
- The toughest songs for Bongoo to sightread voxtar were the "Deftones" ones due to the constantly changing vocals
- It looked like we were doomed when we failed during the crazy solo section of "Suicide Note Pt. II", only to be saved at the very last second as Phil yelled "Descending down"... :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Day to be Green

"Green Day: Rock Band" was released this week so we'll give it a spin. This will be a 1 night only deal, as we'll concentrate on playing the exported Green Day songs in Rock Band 2 in future weeks.

We'll also play the Pantera DLC that we didn't have a chance to try, plus this week's new DLC (Deftones, RBN, etc...). This will allow us to continue moving up the "All Songs" Leaderboards, most likely passing "Ride Sally Ride" for 11th place.

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week:

3. "Get the Hell Out of Here", by Steve Vai: Last week the PS3's RBN offerings were great as usual, with 2nd RBN tracks by 4 bands. Steve Vai follows up on his slower and melodic "For the Love of God (Live)" with this faster rockin' tune. His guitar virtuosity is once again on display during the very technical solo. The drum beat is quite varied and fun. There are also some great bass sections.

2. "The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)", by Flight of the Conchords: This comedy duo is amazing as always. Their 2nd RBN song is very funny and has a neat groovy vibe on drums and bass. The frequent flourishes on guitar are also fun to play. Hopefully more of their comedy classics will come out on the RBN (ex: "The Humans Are Dead", "Issues (Think About It)" and "Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros").

1. "Forever In Your Hands", by All That Remains: This song has one of the funnest guitar charts that I've seen in a while. The main riffs with singles and chords are very dynamic. It also has a very melodic and technical solo as usual. The drum chart is also great, with lots of movement and bass pedal. Watch out for a section with lots of consecutive bass pedals 2/3rds in. This band seems to always find the right balance between melody and heaviness.

Honorable mention. "Trouble Comes Running", by Spoon: Some of Spoon's other songs are a bit bland, so discovering their more energetic side was a nice surprise. The drum chart is great, with constant pedal, lots of pad action and some fun fills. Watch out for the triple hits after the song ends. As for the guitar chart, it had a some fun chord changes.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pantera will have to wait

Our goal this week was to play 2 weeks of new DLC, but due to the length of the downloading, we managed to play only 15 of 25 new songs. That will leave the Pantera album for next week, along with the new DLC (Deftones, etc...), plus our first play of "Green Day: Rock Band".

We thought we had gained enough points (15M) to pass "Ride Sally Ride" for 11th in the "All Songs" Leaderboards, but they also played this past week. Our average points per song decreased to 990K. Once we finish the upcoming deluge of new DLC, we'll work on moving that up by increasing on our worst songs by rank, stars, or spread to #1.

Bongoo once again assumed voxtar duties, with Sylvie being on hiatus.

Highlights:
- Stars breakdown for the 15 songs: Gold stars (4), 5 stars (8), 4 stars (3, for "Forever In Your Hands", "The Complexity of Light" and "The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)")
- Phoenix was the "Top Performer" for the most songs (9), followed by Raikan (6) and Bongoo (2)
- Bongoo was the "Worst Performer" for the most songs (14), followed by Phoenix (1)
- Raikan had the most FCs (2), followed by Bongoo (1)
- Raikan's funniest wah-wah bass moment was during "Juke Joint Jezebel"
- The toughest song for Bongoo to voxtar was definitely "The Complexity of Light" (constant complex high-pitched vocals plus dynamic guitar)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Double DLC Week: Pantera and Spoon

This week we'll catch up on 2 weeks of DLC (Pantera and Spoon weeks). We'll also be moving up to 11th place in
the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

Here is my top 3 DLC from last week:

3. "The Complexity of Light", by Children of Nova: It's great to see more progressive music in the game. If we ever get the full Dream Theater catalog in the RBN it would be prog heaven, but for now tracks like this one are refreshing. The guitar and bass tracks are very dynamic. The drum rolls on Expert drums are crazy, but it is really fun on Hard due to the tempo changes. I didn't have a chance to try the song on vocals yet, but the somewhat odd high pitch section sounded difficult.

2. "We Are Not Anonymous", by Unearth: This is a Gothenburg metal-infused metalcore song that has some good riffs and a really fun drum chart. I liked the sections with double bass hits followed by triple bass. The guitar chart was really fun, especially on Hard during the tough riffs and the solo. Normally I don't like metalcore bands as much but when they mix in some extreme metal (ex: symphonic black, melodic death (Gotherburg), etc...), they can deliver some great tunes like this one.

1. "War Nerve", by Pantera: Being a big fan of the early groove metal-era Pantera, I was a bit bemused by this album choice, as it is faster and more chaotic than their previous albums. After playing it on every instrument except vocals, I have to say that I am happily surprised by the many fun moments. "War Nerve" was my favorite song overall due to the many great riffs and tempo changes, a really neat drum beat 2/3rds in, plus a great bass chart that gives me a better appreciation of Rex's talent. Other highlights include an amazing drum chart for "The Underground in America" (5-6 really fun and unique beats), plus 2 sublime guitar solos in the slower songs ("10's" and "Floods"). All in all, I truly enjoyed playing as Dimebag, Vinnie and Rex, and am looking forward to the eventual release of Pantera's other groove metal albums.

Honorable mention. "A Little Faster", by There For Tomorrow: This was another standout week for RBN songs released on the PS3. I could easily have picked the industrial metal song "Juke Joint Jezebel" due to its great industrial feel on drums and bass, but "A Little Faster" certainly deserves praise for an awesome drum chart. It is fun because it is constantly changing, with some great patterns and accents.