Friday, September 12, 2008
IGN Reviews "Shackler's Revenge"
Guns N' Roses grabbed the music world by the balls with their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, and then gave those balls a gentle squeeze with the two-disc follow-up Use Your Illusion. GNR was a band overloaded with talent and ego, the latter of which caused a split that would have seemed to mean the premature end to one of the great rock bands of the past 20 years. Somehow, Axl Rose and the GNR name survived. For more than a decade GNR has been working on Chinese Democracy, an album that could help the group regain its mantle as one of the kings of rock 'n' roll.
It's been rumored that GNR has written more than 100 songs for consideration on the album -- an album that with each passing year seems less and less likely to be released. But it appears Chinese Democracy may yet see the light of day. And the strongest evidence is that the first GNR single in a long, long time has made its debut… in a videogame.
While most of the 84 tracks on Rock Band 2 are previously released ditties, "Shackler's Revenge" is brand new from Guns N' Roses. Forget the GNR you remember from when you were in high school. "Shackler's Revenge" is a brooding, industrial riff with a catchy chorus and only a hint of Axl's classic high-pitched vocals that gets buried at times under heavy distortion. Once you get past the first 30 seconds, "Shackler's Revenge" picks up quite a bit, with one good hook that will keep it bouncing around in your head for at least a couple of weeks.
Everyone wants to know if the new GNR song is any good. I would say that it's an acquired taste and that the opening half-minute feels a tad self-indulgent. But the song gets better from that point. The more I listen (and play) "Shackler's Revenge" the more it grows on me. Plenty will be turned off by the fact that this doesn't sound at all like classic GNR, but if you want a classic, just go buy Appetite for Destruction. This is the new Guns N' Roses, deal with it or get off the planet.
Track Difficulty Ratings
Band 4 | Guitar 5 | Bass 4 | Vocals 2 | Drums 2
Of course, this is a music game we're talking about, so our real concern is what it's like playing "Shackler's Revenge." A word of warning: amateurs need not enter. While GNR's latest won't put you to the test to the excruciating level of Judas Priest's "Painkiller" or Dream Theatre's "Panic Attack," it is a definite challenge on Expert difficulty. You need your A-game here from all parties.
Though Slash is long gone from the band, the lead guitar proves a finger workout. There's really no respite from start to finish, so save your star power for when you're on the precipice of failure. Better than the guitar, though, is the surprising bass play. This is one of the fastest, slickest bass lines in the entirety of Rock Band 2. The drums are equally up-tempo, but are the easiest instrument for the song. The backbeat in general is pretty killer, both in terms of sound and gameplay challenge. And, of course, one member of the band has the unenviable task of trying to emulate Axl Rose. It's not as difficult as it might sound. At least, it's not that tough to do well in the game. Actually sounding like Axl? Well, it's hard to imagine many in the world will do his vocals justice.
Guns N' Roses' "Shackler's Revenge" is a great addition to the Rock Band 2 library. Whether or not you love listening to the song, is irrelevant. It's fun to play. And with Rock Band, that is ultimately what matters most.
Editor's Note: We're sorry we can't give you a sampling of the song. It remains under wraps until Rock Band 2 becomes available this Sunday.
posted 4:16 PM