abomstar's Third Man Records - The Dead Weather Pack 01 (Xbox 360) review

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Great as a change of pace, not for those looking for a challenge.

The Dead Weather, a collaboration (some would say supergroup) between Jack White (The White Stripes) and members of The Kills, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Raconteurs, made their Rock Band debut on the same day their first album, Horehound, hit the shelves. While the band is not as perfect a fit for the game as this promotion may lead you to believe, this three pack offers an interesting slice of grimy, lo-fi, female-fronted, garage blues very unlike anything we've encountered in the game up until now.

White's drumming (yes, you read that correctly) is the main attraction here, as the percussion is usually the driving force behind these songs with subtle shifts in the Beck-esque beats drastically influencing the mood. Plenty of fun and engaging drum patterns -- don't expect to break a sweat, however. It's all about the feel. "Hang You From the Heavens" features two roll-heavy drum solos, and some good fills throughout (some with moderately complex sticking, some just very fast.) "No Hassle Night" begins with a cacophonous intro, providing ten seconds of off the charts drum difficulty -- a flurry of pad hits centered mostly around the red, and practically random bass hits thrown in for good measure. It's totally failable, and this short "big rock beginning" alone is what puts it in the final tier for drums -- after that, the song is easy as can be and not exactly a whole lot of fun. A warning for those expert drummers who will be making their purchasing decision on the difficulty ranking alone.

Guitar on these tracks is simply okay, with some heavy, crunchy riffs and disorienting, experimental textures to add some ambience. There are many instances in "Heavens" and "Hassle" where guitarists take a back seat, as the music can get pretty minimalistic, subdued, and focused on band dynamics, but "Treat Me Like Your Mother", which I believe to be the all-around most solid song musically of the pack, rocks loud and hard for its entire duration and is consistently fun on guitar. Bassists will often find themselves playing the same fuzzed-out electro-riffs repeatedly. "Mother" offers an above-average chart by bass standards, but it just mimics the guitar more often than not. The ease and repetitiveness on the bass front is nothing new, so it is important that the riffs actually do rock with a sinister vibe and cool overpowering tone.

For vocalists, these are not your typical sing-alongs, with Alison Mosshart's vocals emphasizing dark, grungy style and obtuse lyrics moreso than melody. Fans of the vocal cuts on songs like "Kool Thing", "Brass in Pocket", and "Date with the Night" will probably take to these instantaneously and others may need some convincing. For Jack White fans, know that his only vocal presence is a trade-off on "Treat Me Like Your Mother", but it's some crazy fun.

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