Wednesday, 23 May 2012

DLC 5/22: Iron Maiden Epics

So, what do we know about this week's DLC? One song is over 12 minutes and it's not a good week for people who like songs under 5 minutes. We also know that HMX forum moderator Der_Lex is excited about it and that a lot of people will be excited for the announcement. With that in mind, let's see what's coming this week!

Iron Maiden - "Phantom of the Opera"
Iron Maiden - "The Prisoner"
Iron Maiden - "Flight of Icarus" - Pro Available
Iron Maiden - "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" - Pro Available
Iron Maiden - "Infinite Dreams"
Iron Maiden - "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son"

Iron Maiden is pretty awesome news if you ask me! Now if only they'd change the albums from Flight 666 on the old DLC...

Phantom of the Opera

The most interesting part of the guitar track was the intro and verse. Not to say that the other bits weren't good (although some of them did drag on a bit). The guitar part is incredibly difficult. Not necessarily Through the Fire and Flames difficult but still a good challenge. It will require lots of skill with HOPOs, lots of skill with shifting across the frets quickly and a bit of skill in alt-strumming too. The first solo is one of the easiest bits of the song but the second solo is one of the hardest. The bass part for the most part mirrors the guitar part with the exception of the solos. It also is just as difficult as the guitar part. It features the same intro and the same verse charts and the HOPO section in the middle is even longer on bass! There are very few vocal songs I feel warrant being Devil tier. Good Vibrations and Bohemian Rhapsody are two examples of what I conciser worthy of that tier. This song is NOT worthy of it at all! Outside of one note very little of the song went out of a reasonable range for most people and 4 of the 7 minutes of this song are spent just hitting vocal percussion notes (I think it's tambourine) and that gets to be rather boring after a while.

The Prisoner

While playing this on I was constantly thinking "why is this devil tiered?!?" Until I got to the bit just before the solo, that is. You see, what happens there is just a whole slew of HOPOs played across the frets at an increasingly quick speed before eventually just going fully into the solo. The rest of the song is tier 4 at best though so I'm torn as to whether or not it's over-tiered. The bass here was an overall more enjoyable experience than the guitar. It featured a lot of shifting across the fretboard while the guitar was doing a much less interesting thing on it's end. Compared to Phantom this song is much, much harder. At least for me it was. See, I feel that's one of the biggest problems with reviewing vocals (and why I hadn't done so for a while) because everyone has different vocal skills and range. With that being said, I found this song to be much harder than Phantom of the Opera because of the fact that the song encompasses many different ranges that I found hard to hit.

Flight of Icarus

As I had said about The Prisoner, outside of one little section the song is tier 4 at best on guitar. Coupled with the fact that this is the only song of the week under 6 minutes, this song is definitely more accessible to a more casual Rock Band player who's friends are pressuring them to get MOAR METAL!!!!! The part is actually pretty solid, even if it lacks the complexity of previous Maiden songs. As I'd mentioned before, pretty much all the complexity comes from the last bit of the solo at the end. That bit is still long enough for you to fail out though so if you're not on No-Fail and aren't good at hitting fast HOPOs then you should save your Overdrive until then, you're going to need it! The bass was unfortunately rather boring. Just 4 minutes of the same pattern with the only change coming during the chorus. Really disappointing after how much I liked the guitar. The vocals were rather difficult, for the same reason that The Prisoner was very difficult; Bruce Dickinson's range.
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
One of the only long songs I like playing in Rock Band is 2112. This is because my primary instrument is guitar and most long songs have a long, boring middle section where barely anything happens. On Child in Time it's anything that isn't a solo. Do You Feel Like We Do (Live) has the talk box section. The Who Super Bowl S-mashup has See Me, Feel Me. Rime of the Ancient Mariner has Bruce Dickinson reciting poetry. Don't get me wrong, all of those songs are really good to listen to but as I'm sure you know, just because a song is good to listen to doesn't mean it's a good song to play. Just look at Terrible Lie, it's one of my favourite Nine Inch Nails songs but I have it rated at only 2/5 on Rock Band because it's just 5 minutes of playing the same two notes for the most part. Once you get past the boring bit in the middle of this song it's actually pretty good to play. It's got a fun riff and a great solo. Ladies and gentlemen, I have got two words to summarize why this bass part is awesome: BASS SOLO! It's a pretty fun solo too. This song is actually one of my favourite bass songs on Rock Band. It features everything that I love in a Rock Band song, lots of changes to the pattern to keep it interesting, a challenging section and most of all, a solo! This song isn't bad to sing, but I think you all know what my main critique of it is! There just is WAY too much downtime for it not to get boring. I'd say that for about 9/13 minutes you're doing nothing or playing the cowbell. Also, who on Earth decided that this song was Family Friendly?!

Infinite Dreams

The guitar on this song should be at least tier 5. It's not as fast as the other songs in this pack by a long shot. It's filled with difficult HOPO sections, a rather hard solo and just an overall difficulty. It's tier would lead you to believe that it's only as hard as (Don't Fear) The Reaper, Monkey Wrench and Basket Case when in reality it's as hard as songs like Ace of Spades. It's also makes you think that it's the easiest Iron Maiden song, and while that may be true it's certainly not an easy song and you're surely going to be kept on your toes while playing it! While I liked the bass part, it didn't really stand out to me as being anything special. Sure, there were some challenging sections but the whole part just seemed a tad underwhelming compared to some of the other ones in the pack. The keys on this song are overtiered at tier 1. They'd be overtiered at tier 0 though. The problem with them is that the part is already rather boring and then add in the fact that there is about a total of 4 minutes where you do absolutely nothing and it makes for a really disappointing experience. The vocals on this song are incredibly low at first and then they make the jump up to incredibly high. This makes them incredibly difficult to hit and like most of the other songs in this pack, there is a large gap where you do barely anything.

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

If you were to take any one of these sections on guitar alone, there would be nothing worthy of Devil tier. As a whole however, it is completely worthy of one because I can almost guarantee that there is no way you will make it past that bridge without your hand cramping up. The bridge is virtually all HOPOs played at the same pace as a song like Landslide but for a much longer time. Because of how much stretching your fingers will have to do for this rather long time you're going to start to have difficulty playing them because your fingers are just cramping up constantly and will stay that way right up until the solo! It seems as though the guitar and bass are taking different strategies during the bridge. The guitar is going to make your hands cramp up so much it'll hurt to play where as the bass seems to be going with the bore you so much that you just want to stop playing strategy. In all seriousness though, the bass was pretty meh throughout the whole song. The whole time it just felt like a dumbed down version of the guitar track. Shame I really, really wanted to like this one. The keys on this song suffer the same problem as Infinite Dreams in that there just isn't much going on and when something does happen it's after a 3 minute break. The only interesting part of the track comes at about 9 minutes in where you get to play (somewhat) quick notes across the keys. Outside of that, it's a great big pass. Yet another vocals song with a rather large gap in between phrases. I think this one lasts for about 5 minutes. The actual vocal parts though are fun to sing, it's just a shame that you have to sit through 5 minutes of nothing after the fact.

Instrument of the week: Tie between Guitar and Bass
Pick of the week: Rime of the Ancient Mariner
What should you buy: ALL OF IT!

1 comment:

  1. Another great and thoughtful review. Keep going. I can understand what the other guy in the house is going through.