Hands-on with Rock Band's first full album

Fans of Rock Band have seen plenty of download packs focused on a single artist, but none that boast the designation of being a full studio album. That'll all change today when Harmonix releases the entirety of Judas Priest's 1982 record, Screaming For Vengeance. You may be interested to know that...

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Fans of Rock Band have seen plenty of download packs focused on a single artist, but none that boast the designation of being a full studio album. That'll all change today when Harmonix releases the entirety of Judas Priest's 1982 record, Screaming For Vengeance. You may be interested to know that we (myself, Ricardo Torres, Chris Watters and a Harmonix rep) just finished up playing the majority of the album right here in the GameSpot offices. Early indications suggest Harmonix made a fine choice with this inagural album: my right calf is still sore from the manic drumwork and Chris Watters has elected to remain silent for the rest of the day to rest his hoarse singing voice.

The original studio album features 10 songs, while the Rock Band DLC pack features nine. Don't worry--they just combined the 41-second intro, The Hellion, with the album's second song, Electric Eye. That was the first song we went with. Like the rest of the songs, it started out tough and barely let up. On the drums, there's a fast pace and plenty of kick pedal trickery to deal with, but it's undeniably fun. For most of the songs, I alternated between medium and hard on the drums. Oddly enough, I found myself doing better on hard difficulty. I think that's because it's easier to stay locked into the lightning-quick beat on hard. For me, keeping my hands moving quickly meant I didn't think as much about hitting the drumheads, which let me focus more on the pesky, alternating bass drum parts.

The other songs we played included Riding on the Wind, Screaming for Vengeance, You've got another Thing Comin and Devil's Child. Rock Band novices might be tempted to go with You've Got Another Thing Comin first, since it's one of the Judas Priest's more popular hits. That's a good thing, because it was one of the easier songs we played. Relatively speaking, it wasn't a killer on any of the instruments. You can't say the same for Screaming for Vengeance, though. That one was definitely the toughest of the bunch. It was especially difficult on vocals for poor Chris Watters, who had to wail out a falsetto for practically the entire song. He "joked" about needing an oxygen tank right afterwards, but if you could see his face I'm not so sure you'd think he was really kidding. On guitar, the songs featured plenty of solos since Judas Priest isn't exactly a band noted for their creative restraint when it comes to the six-string.

As someone who has never been much of a Judas Priest fan, I still had a lot of fun playing the songs. The difficulty level definitely veers toward the hard end of the spectrum for most of what you'll find in this $15 download, but it's not prohibitively tough for those who've spent much time with the game. If nothing else, Screaming For Vengeance's heavy metal sound should provide a nice balance to the other upcoming albums. In case you haven't been paying attention, those will include the new wave stylings of The Cars' self-titled album and The Pixies' alternative fan-favorite, Doolittle.

Wanna see more? Check out our skills (or lack therof) in the form of a video montage.

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