Today in RIFF or RAFF, we’re looking for the best castle riff in metal. The combatants came prepared with heavy hitters from Obsequiae and Nocternity. We’re primed and ready to thrash.One riff will riff, the other will raff. Let’s do this.

LAST WEEK Gurp’s Megadeth riff just barely bested Leif’s Metallica selection in the great war for solo backing riff dominance. For his victory, Gurp is getting a prize from his Bandcamp wishlist. Congrats!

NEXT WEEK it’s an open theme! Submit whatever the fuck you want! I’m gonna be all boozy in San Francisco so I’m not particularly picky about what you send in. The prize is a selection from your Bandcamp wishlist! Want to be the riff wizard? Here’s what you do:

  • Write 100-500 words about why you love this riff, and why we should love it too
  • Include a link to a place where we can stream your song
  • Include the timestamp when the riff kicks in
  • Put “RIFF or RAFF” in the subject line
  • Submit your riff at

THIS WEEK is all about castles. Since ancient times, man has been obsessed with castles. “Look at that stone monolith!”, they said.  “It’s so big!” I bet they have maidens and booze!” “Probably a foosball table too!” Today we’re embracing our castlelust and choosing the best riff that captures the essence of these stony househeaps. You will choose the best riff, and vote the other party out of the sweet ass castle.

From the very instant the theme of this week, being Castle Riffs, was announced – my pick was revelealed to me in a prophetic vision. “Harps of The Ancient Temples” from Nocternity’s similarly titled album. Now, I have never been the biggest Nocternity fan – and HOTAT didn’t change this with it’s ever-permeating mid-tempo trod, but the simple awesomesauceness of the title track was, and is, undeniable. The entirety of it’s awesomeness it owes to that one riff at 1:10 (basically that riff pretty much makes up the whole song, but I tried to pick a good place). It’s weary circulation never fails to conjure up images of desperate defenders on castle walls, dreading the impending doom and a valorous, but vain, final stand. Of tourists trampling on the site of an ancient battle, now long forgotten – this riff still echoing into infinity. As we leave this existence, we leave behind nothing but the our memory. Eventually even memories fade, but Harps Of The Ancient Temples will riff on, into the eternity in void. -KARHU

Obsequiae are one of those bands that you can say “this band is not like the other bands in the band game”. But, surely, their uniqueness does not overshadow their expressive game. Deep into a hazy cloud of escapism and magickal enchantments, the fine musicians behind this mass funerary rites are one of the main warriors of the medieval and fantastic inspired scene of global metal.

With the first two regal releases, Obsequiae developed a strong identity that is continued in their impressive second full lenght album, and one of the most amazing albums of last year, Aria of Vernal Tombs. In today’s riff contestant, the dulcet touches of the vibrational and expansive guitar tone begins the occult dance of the title track with splendor, aided by the well-spot mood of the ambient sounds of nature and water. Everything onwards is on the same resonating level of wisdom and spellcrafting, Tanner Anderson heavily harmonized guitar riffing in :56 uses the same pattern of the introduction transforming, with mysterious resolution, the main topic into a black metal barrage. But, stop right there, infidel, if you trespass this threshold with pain in your heart you won’t understand that Obsequiae is turning this moment into a reflective exercise of beauty inside the chaos.

2:12 marks a particular heavy movement that is transmuted in the twists and ripples on the 2:27 mark. The plateau of this arcane knowledge of melodies and harmonies is on 4:07, with that delicate changing to the royal graceful explosion of alchemic perfection.

My ramblings about alchemy on this musical pick is not fortuitous, Obsequiae indeed made a philosopher stone with this record, embracing extremity, musical prowess and fantastical drawing of different landscapes and emotions into just one round piece. –LINK

It’s time for you to determine who RIFFS and who RAFFS. Choose wisely.

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 29-10-2016 09:00:00
end_date 04-11-2016 12:00:00
Poll Results:
Best CASTLE Riff?
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  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Lacertillian is going to have one helluva time choosing today.

  • Stanley

    The best part of Bear’s riff is when the bass finally kicks in at 5:26. I’m normally getting a bit tired of the repetitive riff at this point, and after the solo, the bassline adds another variation and reinvigorates me. Anyway, going running now and will back to critique Link’s riff. Probably have to play Obsequiae on the run now.

  • Easy.

    • Abradolf Lincler

      thought about buying the War.Cult.Supremacy with my copy of The Final Damnation but i had already spent too much money that morning. besides, its kinda like Stans opinion of Behexen: cant hear the riffs lol

    • Howard Dean

      That’s a lotta goat!

  • Howard Dean

    Shit, I forgot to submit my riff. This is the very essence of a castle riff in my book. It fits the bill both thematically and in terms of its sound. One helluva a dank riff. The best stuff Satyricon ever put out, in my opinion. Starts at 4:42.

    • Zeke

      I’m sure I’m in the minority, but rebel extravaganza is my favorite. It was a really different style of black metal back then. Too bad they went to shit immediately after

      • Howard Dean

        With Satyricon I’m pretty much a “first three albums only” type of guy, and my next favorite after Dark Medieval Times is definitely Nemesis Divina. I think they did pure second wave stuff pretty well early on, but when they started to experiment in the late 90’s and beyond, it wasn’t my thing.

        • Zeke

          They lost me when they went black n roll. I remember hanging out with some friends with headbangers ball in the background and a video for one of their “newer” songs came on. One of my friends asked me “don’t you like these guys?” And I was very embarrassed because the song was lame. Anyway, shadowthrone is my second favorite; probably because it was my first album from them.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Their black n roll stuff is painful. Dark Medieval Times is my favorite by far.

      • Ted Nü-Djent ™

        I like Volcano

        • Zeke

          I got a cd of volcano for free and listened to it once. I feel like I might’ve thought the first song was decent. Maybe I’ll give it another shot

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            The song Fuel For Hatred is pretty jamming, I mainly listen to that track only.I’ve probably only ever listened to the whole album a handful of times but yeah I still like it.

    • ME GORAK™✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ


      • Howard Dean

        Honestly, this version doesn’t sound bad. But I honestly prefer the rough and trebly guitar in the original recording. It’s just a quintessential second wave sound. Razorblade guitar sound >>>>>

        • Zeke

          Aside from dark medieval times, satyricon never really went for the super necro production

        • HD is an honest dude!

          • Howard Dean

            Honestly, this is true. Scout’s honor, Jimmy. I’m being completely earnest about this.


          • I see politics in your future, kid!

  • Eliza

    This is a pretty hard choice. I think the Nocternity riff is more memorable, so that’s the one I’m going for, even though I like the Obisquiae song better.

  • Count_Breznak
    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      Hooded Menace>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    Not metal, but who remembers this tune from the pill-popping 90’s?

  • Savor the moment, folks, a rare glimpse at something Karhu actually likes.

  • Never listened to Obsequiae before, but that riff is pretty tasty. A little interlude between Ulcerate and Anaal Nathrakh.

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa
    • CT-12

      Wow man, this is pretty fucking cool. I’ve never really been able to get into dungeon synth in the past so I usually avoid it, but something was definitely clicking with me here.

      • Señor Jefe El Rosa

        That is what I like to hear! This album is very magical feeling.

        Check out SK’s bandcamp page, you can get all of their albums for 7 bucks right now. You can always throw a few more dollars though, haha

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™


      • Señor Jefe El Rosa

        Damn Straight

  • Abradolf Lincler

    I like Obsequiae and all but Nocturnity just always does it for me

  • And YES FINALLY, VICTORY. This Bandcamp gift will ease the sting of losing to Stockhausen and his math.

  • Waynecro

    Excellent work, gents! I have to go with Link on this one. That riff at 0:56 is just super.

  • Ted Nü-Djent ™

    Karhu’s riff put me to sleep. Have a vote Link

    • I couldn’t get into Dungeon Guy black metal, no matter how hard Fharc tried to get me into him

    • more beer

      I thought the same.

  • Voted for Nocternity.

    Beargod, you’re an excellent Bearsir.