MSD & Friends’
Riff Solo of the Week (10/11/14) We’re doing things a little differently this week.
Edward Meehan and MoshOff, who just love to paint each other’s nails, picked the same riff last week. Knowing that it would inevitably win because None So Vile, they decided to share, and thus became our Diarchs of The Riff. All hail. How does it feel to share the glory? Do you take turns sitting on the throne, or does one of you sit on the other one’s lap?
This week we’re doing solos. Look, my sister’s wedding is tomorrow and I’m technically supposed to be building a gazebo or some shit right now, so I’m going to try to make this relatively quick and I apologize in advance for any errors or solo submissions I might have missed. DON’T MAKE THIS ABOUT YOU — THIS IS HER DAY, DAMMIT.
No but seriously she’s being a huge bitch.
- Next week is just going to be our basic, run-of-the-week Riff of the Mill.
- If you’d like to submit a riff, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I figured that you folks would submit plenty of classic solos, so I decided to go with something a little more current. Most bands that try to add a modern flair to NWOBHM just end up lolbuttzing everything up. Holy Grail do not. Ride the Void rules, and it’s loaded with killer solos. Here’s one of my favorites. They nailed this sucker live, too. Starts at 2:17.
The original version of this song is unflushable, but I’ve selected this cover due to the erratic and feral nature of the instrumentation. The whole portion from about 2 minutes to 5 minutes is a chaotic deluge of solos where the sax, guitar and drums are all battling for supremacy in a frenzied melee.
When one thinks of solos, one does not usually think of black metal. So it might surprise some that possibly the best heavy metal solo ever written and performed is located within a black metal track. Scratching your head? I can see your brains trying to work. You probably won’t guess it. The source of this mythical solo? “Sinn Koronation,” the last track off of the excellent album/EP Fourth Reich by German black metal stalwarts Katharsis. The solo starts at 6:45 and continues until 8:22. An absolutely menacing, crushing, demonic hatespawn of a solo. This is a “perfect fit” solo. No random fast notes. No spazzy screeching. No masturbation for the sake of showing off. Only pure, unadulterated emotion. If you can listen to this solo without gnashing your teeth in fervent, hermetic delight, you are a fucking lifelover.
Behemoth‘s The Satanist was an early favorite of mine from 2014. Some people frown on Nergal’s over-the-top theatrics. I am not one of those people. The Satanist is fast and heavy, but what caught me off guard were epic solos like the one found near the end of “Messe Noire,” about 2:49 on the track. This is a solo standout in the extreme camp in 2014.
Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple
My submission for Solo of the Week comes from the one and only album released by the band I (I believe it’s actually pronounced “Isa,” as in the Viking rune, but I could be wrong). The band is/was a “supergroup” that consisted of Norwegian black metal musicians, most notably Abbath of Immortal and Ice Dale of Enslaved. Unlike most music released by so-called “supergroups,” this album is actually a truly great example of epic melodic black/viking metal anthems. The song “Bridges of Fire” is one of the best on the album, and features a solo by Ice Dale that is the very definition of EPIC! It’s awe-inspiring without resorting to overly-technical fretwork-gymnastics. Everytime I hear it, I imagine Ice Dale in a power stance playing on a Norwegian mountaintop, wind blowing and lightning flashing, a battle raging in the valley below, and the Norse Gods themselves in awe of this mortal musician’s ability to exude both beauty and POWER with his instrument. Solo at 6:10, but listen to the whole song for the full experience. [Editor note: My original pick was “The Storm I Ride,” but I didn’t want two solos from the same album. You ass! –MSD]
The Satan Ov Hell
“Finger Paintings of the Insane’s” opening solo. A menacingly psychotic piece. Although rather short, it is repeated later in the song. It sets the tone of the song and album perfectly, and if you disagree you are a nerd.
Freak Kitchen is a painfully underrated band, both for their ability to write insanely catchy pop rock, and for Mattias IA Eklundh’s SKULL-FUCKING SOLOS. Seriously, the dude rips. You’d be hard pressed to find a solo by him that’s bad (read: it’s impossible), but some rise higher than others. In their tune “Nobody’s Laughing” he tricks the listener into thinking that he’s going to play a feel-good, happy-time-quarter-note bullshit solo, and then he takes your hopes and dreams and shoves them up your ass whilst making out with your girlfriend. Prepare for your soul to be crushed at 2:18.
You all were probably expecting a tech death solo. Well, you expected wrong. Chimaira may be dead and gone, but this song is one of my all time favorites because of that solo. Rob Arnold is a fucking beast. I starts around 2:33.
This solo from “Floods” is a great example of feel and phrasing replacing the sometimes overly wanky solos from Dimebag. Doesn’t hurt that the song rules, either. Goodness starts at 3:50.
John Petrucci’s solos are usually the opposite of tame, but I think he truly shines when he shows some restraint. Case in point: the solo in “Learning to Live,” 7:09 to 7:40 in the video. Tell me that’s not the solo that the song called for, I dare you.
Pagliacci Is Kvlt
My solo of the week comes from: Deafheaven [Fuck. — MSD]. That’s right motherflushers, I went there. Motherflushing Deafheaven. And I’ll be looking down smugly at all of you who don’t vote for this over the rims of my hipster glasses and through the blinding sheen from my beard oil. I like a lot of post-rock/post-metal, but after awhile, a lot of it sounds like songs that are building up to something, but never deliver. “Vertigo” delivers. After a 4:30 second post-rock build up, this solo soars up to the 5:00 minute mark. This one isn’t about technical prowess or shredding, this one is all about the feels. And feels are kvlt.
Aurora had a tough time. They were fighting an EDM band with the same name. Melodic death metal wasn’t big. Their 3-disc catalog is very good (save for a few songs). Their riffs and solos are darn near FLAWLESS (and props to the drummer — how come nobody knows this amazing band?). I think if they were a thing now they’d make money, but you know… Hey I could throw out a classic and win this thing, but I’m an underdog kind of guy. Check out the solo in this song: it’s fancy yet classic. It’s got the right number of notes, PERIOD! 3:20.
Nordling Rites Ov Karhu
Excuse me for yet again promoting this band, but a band that has been more or less active since 1998, has practically no fuss about it in the underground AND is this good deserves it. Besides, the solo in “Maximum Sentence” is pretty good. I mean, maybe not solo of the year, but solo of the week definitely. Right? It begins at 3:57.
Over a minute of technical yet melodic, varied yet cohesive auditory gold is poured into your ears as Andy LaRocque (of King Diamond fame) kicks things off at 2:02 before Death mastermind Chuck Schuldiner (R.I.P.) bursts in at 2:50 with a flurry of tapped notes. Both guitarists’ styles and skills are on full display here, providing icing on the cake to a song that wouldn’t look out of place on a Riff of the Week list.
Although it is not Dokken‘s most well know song by any means, it is a fine piece that shows GL’s blistering and unique leads. One thing that I happen to find most interesting about the solo is the melody that he maintains throughout. Holding onto the melody and growing it is something that many guitarist just plain suck at.