abomstar's Judas Priest Pack 01 (Xbox 360) review

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Priest's miscellaneous live offering disappointingly unnecessary.

Judas Priest have set the bar reasonably high for Rock Band, with the two great speed metal anthems The Hellion/Electric Eye and Painkiller, not to mention the rest of Screaming for Vengeance (RB's very first full album) which provides a broad range of musical styles and challenge. It's shocking then, just how slow, plodding, and ultimately irrelevant these three live tracks are in comparison.

In an effort to save the best for last, let me get the biggest flop out of the way first: "Dissident Aggressor." Guitarists will play the same two basic hard rock chug riffs, the defining feature notechart-wise being the numerous R to RY chord hammer ons which give them a hint of originality. The three-minute song features the weakest of the solos in the pack; mostly just long squealing sustain notes. While guitar is just mediocre, "Dissident Aggressor" has arguably one of the worst drum charts of all time. Pad hits approach at a laughably slow rate, with practically no rolls or fills throughout. Meanwhile, for a significant portion of the song, the bass requires you to be stomping on the pedal consistently, with no breaks, at a pace that's just enough to not be doable comfortably with one foot. I'm able to keep a combo through all of Painkiller's triple bass hits, and somewhat against the Disturbed three-pack's typical onslaughts, but I struggled to reach a 4x multiplier for any length of time on this one. It might as well be an advertisement for Harmonix's double bass add-on (which would make it an effortless FC), albeit in a much less interesting way than the recent Mayhem pack was.

"Eat Me Alive" and "Prophecy" both bring excellent guitar solos to the table, with EMA throwing every combination of descending scale and zig zag pattern at you, but at a speed well below "shredding." "Prophecy"'s, while not as interesting or enjoyable, is ultimately the more complex to FC with a trill and a tricky tapping section at the end. There's nothing worth mentioning outside of the solos (or for bass, for that matter), except look out for the trill towards the end of EMA. It caught me off guard on my sightread. On drums, these songs were alright, but unusually sparse and uneventful for metal songs. "Prophecy", the longest song, has a very low BPM making the drums just too easy.

Given that these are new live recordings, Halford's voice is showing some signs of wear, so don't expect any displays of his trademark inhuman high notes, but the songs are anthemic enough to be enjoyable. "Dissident" shines the most on vocals, but lost some steam on this live version compared to the master. "Prophecy" even has some fantasy spoken word dialogue sections which are pretty funny to sing.

I'd say pass on this unless you're a really big Judas Priest fan.


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