A Masterpiece Album That Translates Fairly Well
Anyone who knows what Rush is about, knows that Neil Peart is without a doubt one of the greatest drummers alive today, Alex Lifeson can play the absolute hell out of a guitar, and Geddy Lee has a truly unique and captivating voice. All these things in combination make Rush unlike any other band in existence. In terms of consecutive platinum albums, Rush currently sits in fourth place among rock bands behind the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Aerosmith. The fact that Harmonix was able to bring their most popular album "Moving Pictures" to Rock Band is amazing for music fans. But what about music game fans?
This question ultimately hinges on which pseudo-instrument you prefer playing. If you are a fake drummer, you should not even think another moment about spending those hard-earned Microsoft points. This album is tailor made to drummers. However none of the songs will take things easy. Every song in Moving Pictures features Neil's complex drumming style and can be very tricky to get the hang of. Especially "YYZ", which almost certainly is the hardest song of the bunch to manage on drums. The lack of a steady bass pedal beat with complex sticking thrown in, can be mind bending and will challenge even the most experienced drummers. Other songs such as "Vital Signs", "Red Barchetta", and "Limelight" all have long drum roll sections and seem to have a good balance of manageable, and crazy parts that make them a whole lot of fun to play. None of these songs are boring on drums and once you get the hang of them, they feel really great to play. Especially when you nail a particularly tricky section, that's just awesome.
When the player is not rocking the drums is when these songs can get a little iffy. The main problem isn't with the songs themselves, they're generally considered fantastic songs. However, playing the guitar and bass parts just simply aren't as fun. This album just isn't as ambitious when it comes to guitar and bass as some of Rush's other work. If the player is a huge Rush fan and enjoys listening to the music more so than playing the notes, these songs remain great. But If you are the type of person that enjoys the type of finger action that causes the frets to burst into flames, you will find slim pickings in this pack. In fact the only song that will provide a real challenge for wannabe Alex Lifesons is yet again, "YYZ". It's not as unmanageable as it is on the drums, but it provides a good challenge for experienced shredders and is probably the most fun as well as the toughest. There are plenty of lightning fast hammer-ons and pull-offs to be had in "YYZ" that simply aren't present in the other tracks. That said, the guitar and bass parts really aren't bad at all for the majority of players. They feature some nice riffs and can be great fun. Just don't expect to be challenged much.
The release of this album is great for singers due mostly to the fact that any wannabe Geddy Lees can now sing along to the master recordings of "Tom sawyer" and "Limelight" as opposed to the covers that were featured in the original Rock Band and as DLC respectively. Geddy's voice is one of a kind, and although the guy that Harmonix got to record those covers was fairly close, the real deal makes singing these songs a lot more rewarding. Of course to complete the trifecta and single out "YYZ" in every instrument category, it has to be mentioned that "YYZ" is of course unplayable on vocals due to it being an instrumental track. In order to even play the song, any potential vocalist you may be rocking with has to leave the band. There is no option to even just hang out while your bandmates play the song which is a bummer. But if you are up to the challenge of replicating Geddy's high pitched vocals, these songs are a whole lot of fun.
Rush is a band that has released literally dozens of gold and platinum records. For Harmonix to bring the most iconic of Rush's albums to Rock Band is a real treat that most people will probably enjoy. If you aren't a Rush fan before listening to this album, you just may be afterwards. The reason I am giving this album a 4.5/5 is because of two things. One of those things is the lack of a vocal track for "YYZ". I fully realize why it has to be that way and why Harmonix chose to handle the situation the way they did, but that doesn't change the fact that it is disappointing to be left out as a vocalist. The other reason is as I mentioned before, the guitar tracks not quite being engaging enough. I went back and forth about whether or not to go with the 4.5 star rating as opposed to the whole star system the Giant Bomb staff uses. In the end, I decided I didn't feel right giving this 4 stars. It is so close to 5 stars that I think the 4.5 rating is about right. Bottom line, you should at the very least give these tracks a good listen in the Rock Band Music Store. Rush on everyone!
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