I have always been impressed by Muse. Ever since I first experienced them live as an unknown support band for Skunk Anansie back in 1999 they have blown me away. Over the years the epic scope of their music has expanded into ever more cosmic realms demonstrated by their amazing set at Reading Festival in 2006 and the brilliant recent live CD/DVD H.A.A.R.P. I love how a band producing complicated space rock can become one of the world’s biggest acts, though I imagine more hip people than I would refer to their sound as alternative or something even more cool.
Anyway I digress, the Muse DLC pack for Guitar Hero III was recently released and seeing as I received a free 500 MS point voucher with my copy of GTA:IV I decided to give it a go. Knights of Cydonia is one of my favourite tracks to play in GH III, even if I can’t 5 star it on medium. (The arpeggios at the time change kill me, and they are played on a synth not a bloody guitar dammit!) The three tracks offered here are culled from their last two albums, we have Exo-Politics and Supermassive Black Hole from 2006′s Black Holes and Revelations and the blistering speed riff of Stockholm Syndrome from 2003′s Absolution.
Without a doubt Stockholm Syndrome is the most fun to play. The pace is fast and the notation is tight and precise. This in particular is true of all three songs, you get more of a feel of playing notes in a song rather than the needlessly complicated quick ascending and descending hammer-on/pull-off runs which have marred my enjoyment of GH III. These tracks feel more like the transcriptions Harmonix did for GH II.
Supermassive Black Hole starts with a bluesy guitar riff which tests your little finger dexterity against a tight rhythmic pounding and seems another good choice, it sounds good loud and you can rock about in your chair playing it, or even throw some shapes if you stand up.
Exo-Politics is powered along by a nice hook riff that again feels authentic with the note tracking and some good muted powerchord chugging. To my mind it’s probably the weakest of the three tracks in the pack, it’s a great song but as the releases tend to be 3 tracks I would have preferred something from either Showbiz or Origin of Symmetry with the classically tinged metal lick from Plug-in Baby off the latter as a potential gem for GH III.
All in all though I am not complaining, all the tracks are fun and they have prompted me to take GTA:IV out of the 360 and play something else. I even went back and started the career mode again on Hard afterwards with 16 songs of 42 completed in one evening!
Whether this will appeal to you obviously depends on your fondness for Muse, if you like them I don’t think you will be disappointed, if you like melodically arranged rock with a schizophrenic edge and have a fondness for time-signature changes and strange spacey noises then it might help introduce you to a wonderful band. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea then this won’t change your mind. To me though it’s 500 (free) MS points well spent.