Rock Band Network insiders recommend songs ranging from "epic evil metal" to "upbeat blippy synth-pop" to "infectious, reggae-infused ska-pop." Read on for the HMX Picks from the past couple of weeks of Rock Band Network releases.
Dimmu Borgir - "The Serpentine Offering"
When I first started going to shows I learned a lot about new bands by listening to what other people at the concert were talking about. I distinctly remember waiting in line for the bathroom in some dingy basement club, when two burly, bearded, tattooed and terrifying gentlemen walked out, one yelling at the other “No, no! You’re not saying it EVIL enough… you’ve got to roll the R’s. DIMMU BORGIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!” That should be a good indication of what this track is all about: epic evil metal that scary dudes yell about in dingy clubs.
Kirby Krackle - "Vault 101"
A band named after a classic comic book effect from the 1960s singing about Fallout 3. What more could a nerd ask for? While they wear the geek rock label proudly, there’s some awesome strains of '90s radio rock here in the same vein as Gin Blossoms or The Refreshments. Only, you know, they’re singing about bottle caps and Pip Boys. Great stuff!
Freezepop - "Special Effects"
While you may know Freezepop from playing their songs in past Harmonix titles, "Special Effects" brings the band’s familiar brand of glitchy pop but with a slightly darker feel and haunting vocals that remind me of early '80s synth pop icons Berlin (pre Top Gun soundtrack, thank you very much).
She Bears - "What Morning Brings"
She Bears are one of those perfect discoveries that I never expected to make in a video game. By 10 seconds I was interested, by 20 seconds I was hooked and by 30 seconds I had ordered their CD online. The brilliant kind of emo / indie that Deep Elm Records have built their name on. Think Of Montreal by way of Modest Mouse and Pedro the Lion. - HMXHenry, Community Manager
A Day To Remember - "All I Want"
A Day To Remember released two songs on RBN recently, and this one quickly became one of my favorites to play. It's catchy and really fun to sing. It's one of those songs that I can't help losing myself in the music - where I forget for a moment that I'm playing a video game and not actually rocking out in front of screaming fans. Highly recommended.
HourCast - "Clockwork"
HourCast is one of those bands I'd seen in RBN before hearing them on the radio, and when I hear them on the radio, I had a moment like Buddy the Elf yelling at my radio, "I know them!" They have five songs in RBN and they're all fun bu this one is especially fun on drums.
The Material - "Stay Here Forever"
Recommended for fans of bands like Paramore or Fireflight - fun female-fronted rock. - HMXcj, Web Editor
The Pursuits - "24-7"
I'm a sucker for odd time signatures. But this isn't a convoluted prog piece; it's very stripped down piece of alternative rock with some excellent bass licks. And the bridge goes just about where you expect the vocalist to take it, with a subtle hint of reggae as it builds up.
OK Go - "White Knuckles - The Big Robot Remix"
Well, unfortunately my 7-minute experimental trance-prog remix didn't win the contest, this did. But that's fine, because this isn't a simple shuffling around of patterns - if you're not paying attention, it can easily feel like a whole new song, one that's somehow even more dancing and funky than OK Go's original.
Blanks. - "(Lone Wolf) Soccer Mom"
This is a Main Drag song. I know, factually, that's not the case - but the two bands do share some personnel and play similar music. And it's incredibly clear on "(Lone Wolf) Soccer Mom." The point is, if you like The Main Drag's erratic drums and jumpy vocals and want something even more rocking you should check this out. - Fairwood Studios, RBN community
We Are The Illusion - "The Podium"
Last year, I got addicted to the band Periphery when their song "Buttersnips" first entered playtest. I loved the complex, rhythmic guitar emphasized in their songs, and had to find out if there was more progressive metal like it. Turns out that sound is known as "djent," and We Are The Illusion is here to bring more of it to RBN. "The Podium" is an intense ride from start to finish, with complex strumming throughout that will keep guitarists and bassists guessing and an epic ending that emphasizes its prog roots. The best part is, this song and the rest of the EP is available for free download from the band's website, so if you like it, there's a whole lot more to love! - Xenigma, RBN community
BulletProof Messenger - "Control"
BulletProof Messenger's "Control" is predatory, restrained hard rock that belongs on the radio (and in Rock Band, of course!). Singing it feels good, and there's a fierce guitar solo partway through. I'm planning to use this as a warmup song in the future - it's not long enough to tire me, not hard enough to wear me out, and full of good energy to set me up for a great Rock Band session.
Blanks. - "Lodger"
I'm a singer, and I loved this song for the same reasons that I love The Main Drag songs - both because the music is catchy and because it presents an intriguing skill challenge to me as a vocalist. This particular song is off Infinite Lives, and the lyrics dance coyly back and forth between darker, enigmatic phrases and enthusiastic video game references. Blanks. is the sister band of The Main Drag, and if you'd like to try a post-punk dance rock version of The Main Drag, give "Lodger" a shot.
Incordiales - "No Pertenezco"
I speak about four sentences in Spanish, and most of them are things like "Es necesario para mover su vehículo, por favor." However, I'm planning to polish up my language skills because there are some fantastic tracks coming out in Spanish, particularly on the RBN. "No Pertenezco" is one of the latest. Every instrument has a chance to shine as the music shifts back and forth between loneliness, aloofness, and yearning. The Columbian rock band Incordiales has a sound unique to the RBN, and I'm very glad I picked this song up. - HMXLachesis, Web QA Tester
The Riptides - "Call Me"
The Riptides are a fantastic Canadian melodic pop-punk band, and their latest disc, Tales from Planet Earth, gets regular rotation in my car's CD player. RBN is incredible for discovering new bands, but even more incredible than that is when I see bands that I already love show up in the pipeline. Also, there's something really enchanting about grown men singing about high-school problems. - asiansteev, RBN community
Dirge Within - "Forever the Martyr"
Hard rockin' while still being accessible, this Rock Band Network debut from Chicago, IL's Dirge Within ends up being one of the most fun charts I've played in quite some time. Heavy riffs and tasty licks on guitar and bass alike trade off with some seriously intense, in your face drums. Definitely hoping to see more out of them in the future!
Freezepop - "Special Effects"
Freezepop is a name that should be familiar to anyone who considers themselves a devotee of Harmonix's rhythm games; with appearances in titles dating all the way back to the original Karaoke Revolution, they've been bringing their brand of fun, upbeat blippy synth-pop to video games for years now. "Special Effects" is taken from their latest album, and shows a maturity in style, as Liz Enthusiasm croons over electronic beats about rejection of the Uncanny Valley and not falling in love with a life-like robot. While there aren't keys in RBN material yet, playing this song's guitar chart on the Rock Band 3 keyboard is a very enjoyable experience. If you're a fan of the band, I highly recommend you pick this one up!
Judy Buendía y Los Impostores - "Rompecabezas"
Venezuelan artist Judy Buendía makes a second appearance on the Rock Band Network courtesy of Spanish-language authoring specialists AGLSolutions. It's another skankin' good time with her trademark brand of infectious, reggae-infused ska-pop. Even if you don't understand the language, you'll fall in love with her sultry voice and laid-back beats, provided by masked backing band Los Impostores. Even though it's absolutely frigid outside right now, "Rompecabezas" will make it feel like summertime in your house. - S1ckH4nds, RBN community