Vexus's Hypothetical Rock Band 5! (91 songs + wishlist DLC, Rivals challenges = 200+ songs within)

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  • edited May 16
    This week, another kinda rough one for the guitarists (and the drummers too!) and the "other reasons" I alluded to in this week's The Strokes/Warning DLC announcement.

    This week’s DLC:

    A fusion of groove metal, samba and Amazonian tribal rhythms? It could only be Sepultura.

    Sepultura 01:
    Roots Bloody Roots (Spotlight) | Band Tier 5: Nightmare
    Refuse/Resist | Band Tier Devils: Impossible
    Ratamahatta | Band Tier 5: Nightmare

    Similar tiering for all five songs, with each having a different take on that mix of metal and world music. The most balanced of the three is Roots Bloody Roots. This song's carried the most by its solid groove, with a brief guitar solo followed by breakdown. All three songs would have a mix of the drumkit and additional percussion charted, though this has relatively little of the latter.

    Refuse/Resist is the most straight-up metal song of the three, coming straight out of the Rocksmith 2014 DLC list. The standout part here is the guitar, which gets a double-time solo part way through which pushes this up to the impossible tier for the band as a whole - gotta keep up with that (illusion of) speed, yo. Similarly to Roots Bloody Roots, there's little additional percussion apart from towards the very end - not that it'll help all the drummers out there!

    Ratamahatta is the one with the most world music influence, and the only one to not be all-talkies on vocals. Even if it were, the speed of the vocal delivery and lack of pause time for some of it would put it at about a one alone. It has the least going on from the guitars, but there's that much going on with the vocals and percussion that it keeps the song as a whole at a 5 in band intensity.

    Rock Band 5 Rivals Season 2 Week 8: It's A Small World After All
    Play songs by bands from anywhere that hasn’t been in a challenge yet


    Babymetal: Road of Resistance
    Sepultura: Roots Bloody Roots
    The Warning: Survive

    I was struggling a bit with what to include in the final slot. Initially, I was thinking of picking a Santana song (Black Magic Woman in particular), but that would have made two weeks where the guitarists get nothing but hard songs in the spotlight. While I do believe that Rivals should reward skill, it shouldn’t be that specific to an instrument. I thought about other acts from Central and South America we've got already but there wasn’t much that really leapt out at me. I even considered Shakira at one point, but I already said that putting one of my own DLC songs in the legacy DLC slot seemed cheap. Then this week’s actual DLC announcement happened...

    The first song is pretty much a DragonForce one in disguise - not surprising since the guitarists from DragonForce play on it! As such, this would technically have been eligible for the UK week too. Sam Totman is the only musician to be from a location previously covered, however, as Herman Li’s originally from Hong Kong and Babymetal are Japanese. I may have overtiered the vocals a bit, but it does push the vocalist trio more than most Babymetal songs seem to. For the rest of the band, I refer you back to my first sentence.

    Sepultura are of course Brazilian, hence their inclusion here.

    Finally, from Mexico, we’ve got a freebie that comes out this week. Survive is the second song from The Warning that I’ve heard, after Free Falling, and based on the latter I wasn’t expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised to get a good strong alternative rock track, with plenty going on for all instruments. It feels weird putting a song that's not quite out yet here but like I said, I wasn't really feeling anything else.

    That wraps up my second Rivals season. Next week, we’re taking one more trip: to my spiritual home!

    (Might as well just make Wednesday my main posting day tbh)
  • edited May 22
    The Warning: Turns out that Survive is a nightmare-tier drum song. I would say sorry to the drummers if last week's post were to happen, but I made the guitarists suffer in the European week. Plus it's a moot point since it's all hypothetical!

    RBN: Drowning Pool's "Bodies" was on my top 20 RBN tracks, and it's confirmed. So... kind of a confirm from my wishlist? It's not in the Spotify list and I didn't tier it since it's kind of a rewind, though Harmonix aren't treating it as such.

    This week’s DLC:

    I keep putting these earlier and earlier in the week, but I promised something big in the "More Metal" thread and I'd say I delivered.

    @FritzyKatz did a pack based on Coachella. Harmonix gave us a free pack based on Firefly. I’ll do you four packs based on this year's edition of a festival I’ve been going to for a few years now. Even though everything here fits into the Metal genre in the game, it’s actually really diverse and eclectic - an argument, I’d say, for including subgenre tags and more base level genre tags.

    Bloodstock: Ronnie James Dio Stage Headliners Pack
    Gojira: Silvera | Band Tier Devils: Impossible [Progressive metal]
    Judas Priest: Lightning Strike | Band Tier 4: Challenging [Heavy metal]
    Nightwish: Élan | Band Tier 3: Moderate [Symphonic metal]

    Gojira is a French band and the most traditionally heavy of the three headliners - as you might expect from seeing the tiers being very close to the “every br00tal thing ever” (impossible everything except warmup vocals with harmonies optional) tier. I don’t think many of the vocal lines would actually be charted as talkies, but Joe Duplantier’s range in the song isn’t huge and the chorus does follow the guitar melody at what’s probably the trickiest bit to sing. Otherwise, there is a lot of tricky riffing and frantic drumming for the rest of the band, though the bassline does have a few light parts that just keep it out of impossible.

    Judas Priest need no introduction, and this single from their latest album is proof that they’re still amazing. Lightning Strike is fairly high-tempo but constant. Production aside, it sounds like it could easily have been a song Priest released back in the late 70s or early 80s. It’s a callback to the NWOBHM era, yet still sounds fresh. Totally love this song and the new album.

    Finally, with Élan we’ll have one song with each Nightwish lead singer. By quite a margin the easiest song in the pack on instruments and hardest on vocals. The lead single from the Endless Forms Most Beautiful album, it’s somewhat like Amaranth in terms of the arrangement, with a much lighter sound compared to the rest of the album and Nightwish’s discography as a whole.

    Bloodstock: Sophie Lancaster Stage Headliners Pack:
    Arkona: Yarilo | Band Tier 4: Challenging [Pagan metal]
    Doro: Raise Your Fist In the Air | Band Tier 3: Moderate [Heavy metal/hard rock]
    Watain: Malfeitor | Band Tier Devils: Impossible [Black metal]
    Orphaned Land: All Is One | Band Tier 4: Challenging [Oriental metal]

    A track I can see some alt-charting in, at least until the guitars kick in, Arkona mix metal with Russian folk music and in this particular song, give us some fun up-tempo music with a good balance between heavy and light parts, acoustic and electric instrumentation and an overall fun and bouncy little song. I actually wish it was a little bit longer!

    Not the best video, admittedly. Doro’s arguably on the fringe between metal and hard rock, but I think the overall point I’m making with this post works better if I put her as the former! There’s a fairly straightforward groove on this one, with the lead vocals proving pretty much all the challenge for the vocals. Guitar gets a few somewhat lengthy solos to add some difficulty, but they shouldn’t be too tricky.

    Watain actually does get the “every trve kvlt choon evahhhh” tiering, as well as bringing some much needed black metal to the series. Admittedly it’s a bit of a low impossible, as the guitars have sections with long, held notes that make things a bit easier and a bit more atmospheric with the drums going at half-time to match. Then there are the full throttle parts with the vocals which would really make this a stamina and timing challenge.

    Trying to pin down Orphaned Land’s tiers was tricky, with the choir vocals and what I think is either bouzouki or oud (which would likely get alt-charted at points, and is close enough to a guitar that I’m totally okay with that fact - when it’s not just replicating the guitar part anyway). As for the choir, it’s used somewhat sparingly and the vocals otherwise aren’t too broad in regards to range. As such I think a 4 is a happy medium between the two. The song as a whole has a bit of a power metal feel to it mixed in with the Israeli folk elements. Great, powerful-sounding music,

    Come back tomorrow when I'll have the second half of my Bloodstock gigapost up.
  • edited May 23
    For the other two packs, I picked a mixture of bands from the two main stages.

    Bloodstock: Ronnie James Dio Stage Miscellaneous Bands
    Combichrist: Maggots at the Party | Band Tier 2: Solid [Industrial metal]
    Suicidal Tendencies: Institutionalized | Band Tier 5: Nightmare [Thrash metal/hardcore punk crossover]
    Alestorm: Drink | Band Tier 3: Moderate [Pirate metal]
    Amaranthe: Drop Dead Cynical | Band Tier 4: Challenging [Pop metal]

    Who says industrial can’t be party music? Maggots at the Party is a somewhat repetitive song, with the bassline being a synth bass rather than a bass guitar. It’s a great party kick-off song though, especially if you’re in the company of people whom might find Andrew W.K. a bit on the light side. Drums get some tricky bits later on in the song. Audio link above since the video’s edited in such a way that it doesn’t convey the song too well for our purposes - link here.

    Institutionalized is… interesting! Vocals are mostly talkies, but get knocked up a tier for some of the rapid-fire lyrics without a pause during the choruses. Guitar’s got a lot of improvisation in it, and there are tempo changes throughout the song that make it quite difficult to keep up with, in a fun way of course! As for genre, I could see the argument for classing this as punk rather than metal, but I'm not done with Suicidal Tendencies and genre tags seem to be consistent across a band's work for the most part.

    Alestorm’s a tough band to nail down stylistically since their attitude and style changes considerably depending on the album (partly due to them having so few constant members), but they’re one of the few “gimmick metal” bands (I’ll likely do a rant on those one day) where I can definitely consider their gimmick a full-on subgenre. Drink is a straight-up drinking song with nods to their previous songs. While it’s one of their easiest songs to date, it’s still got some pretty snazzy metal guitar arrangements and a solid rhythm to it.

    I’ll admit that Drop Dead Cynical’s chorus does have a bit of Imagine Dragons in it, but I vastly prefer this. Amaranthe draw influences from all over the place, from power metal to melodic death metal to dance and pop music. Guitar and bass are very riffy, while the clean vocals take on some very interesting melodic and rhythmic patterns that make it tricky to keep up with. Amaranthe’s entire discography is a very intriguing mix, and well worth checking out.

    Bloodstock: Sophie Lancaster Stage Miscellaneous Bands
    Lovebites: The Crusade | Band Tier Devil: Impossible [Power metal]
    Bloodshot Dawn: Shackled | Band Tier 5: Nightmare [Melodic death metal]
    With the Dead: Isolation | Band Tier 1: Apprentice [Doom metal]
    Pallbearer: I Saw the End | Band Tier 3: Moderate [Progressive metal]

    Star-shaped cymbal attachment for pro drums when? The Crusade is fast, has numerous key changes, has duelling guitar solos and soaring Halford/Dickinson-esque vocals. Lovebites as a whole draw quite a bit from NWOBHM-era bands, as well as more recent power metal, with The Crusade being no exception. This song is badass, melodic as all heck and utterly relentless, and my number one choice in this entire post.

    So, Shackled. The choruses just keep this out of the impossible tier for bass and drums, but the solos firmly place it in the impossible tier for guitar. Still, I’m glad that it’s not quite impossible for the rhythm section. Otherwise, I’d have to break out the “literally anything extreme af” tier again. Not saying that this Bloodshot Down song doesn’t utterly slam, but it lets up just enough to keep things fresh throughout.

    Do not let Isolation’s low tiers fool you for a moment - this is musically one of the heaviest songs in this double post, with utterly crushing guitar and bass tone, and loads of speedy drum fills for an otherwise slow song. The fact it’s just over seven and a half minutes long brings the intensities for the guitars up a tiny bit. Otherwise, there’s not too much that should pose a challenge. Yet, I love this anyway.

    Atmospheric and melancholic, I Saw the Dead kind of reminds me a bit of Dead Black (Heart of Ice) (itself one of my favourite discoveries from RB4) but with clean singing and less of an emphasis on the heavy shredding. I’ve said it before, but I would love to see more atmospheric songs in Rock Band.

    I think after Sepultura and that little lot, next week I’ll give you something lighter, along with a bit more of a preview of my next Rivals season.

    EDIT: Bloodstock's official site.

    Also, I updated my 20 RBN requests - Bodies is out (because we're getting it) and replaced by Kittie's "The Truth".
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