Riff ov the Week: Atmosphere

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W. the Great has determined that this week will be a battle of atmospherics in metal. “Atmosphere” means a great many things to different people. To some, it’s achieved with a thick, pervasive layer of synth. To others, it has to do with a song’s production. To others still, it’s about feels. To people with bad taste, it refers to some shitty hip hop band (I’ll fight all your burning butts at once). It’s a loose term, and W. didn’t specify. So anything goes, really.

I don’t like the term. It reminds me of dark times struggling to learn the water cycle in Kindergarten and Mrs. Bonnie saying, “Holy shit. It’s not that hard. There are like three steps. Why couldn’t Mr. Hill have gotten stuck with you? Why me? I always get the dumb ones. God help your parents. Fuck teaching. I quit.”

Last weekPoseur Disposeur took it home, with the intro to High on Fire‘s Snakes for the Divine getting way more votes than anything else. 16, to be exact.

pdd

See?

Next week:

  • Joe has planned something a little special for you. He wants to see you push yourself and reach your full potential. Thus, your next riff must occur at 1:30 on the third track of a debut album. Have fun, dweebs.
  • Send your riff to toiletovhellriff@gmail.com. Include your handle, a link, and an explanation.
  • If you have an idea for a theme, let me know. If you can’t tell by now, it can pretty much be as fucking ridiculous as you want.

 

Masterlord

“The Passing of the Grey Company” starts with a simple dungeon synth march and builds slowly. Once the traipse of the drums and the trem-picking guitar kicks in at 1:00, I die, and my spirit is whisked away to the rolling hills of Tolkien’s high fantasy, where my shitty nerd soul belongs.

 

Joe Thrashnkill

I asked Dubya if the outro to “Floods” is more riff or more atmosphere. He decided atmosphere. I like the outro to “Floods”. I am not alone, apparently, because someone made a 2-hour-and-45-minute loop of it. Enjoy.

 

W.

The atmospheric section that starts at 5:00 is the embodiment of all your hopes, dreams, and aspirations collapsing as the world around you burns to cinders.

 

Howard Dean

The best use of atmosphere to create a tone is Deathspell Omega‘s “First Prayer.” Hands down. But honestly, that is too obvious and fanboy of me and I wanted to be creative. Isn’t that what atmospheric music is all about — creativity? Creating an abstract,
multi-dimensional and pan-sensory experience within a limited auditory medium? So I present to you, dear Toileters: Alexander von Meilenwald’s masterful The Ruins of Beverast. Click play on that track below. It hits immediately. You probably have questions. What is going on? What language is that chanting? Is this music the work of a human? Will I be alive at the other end of this? I don’t have any answers for you, because I’m just as creeped out and disoriented as you are. This sounds like the soundtrack to ritual murder, and– quite perversely –I can’t seem to get enough of it. We all need help.

 

Maik Beninton

Atmospheric? Burzum comes to mind.

 

The Redman

I feel like this might be cheating because there is no actual riff in the song itself, but I chose “Frost” because the atmosphere not only sets the tone for the song after it, but for the whole goddamn album. Right from the very beginning, it will wrap you slowly and softly in its cold embrace while you prepare yourself from one of the coldest fucking albums you will ever hear. I feel that without the opening track of “Frost”, the whole album would not have the same impact on fresh ears listening for the first time.

 

Ron Deuce

It’s too bad Obituary never went back to using samples after World Demise. They were really onto something and seemed like they were going to evolve into something greater. The use of this Caribbean drum and flute loop coupled with their trademark riffing on “Kill For Me” is like adding your favorite beer to go with your favorite meal.

 

Ted Nü-Djent

The use of the keys to accentuate the riff at 0:23 and furthermore throughout the song give “Kriegsphilosophie” an epic feel that just gets me right there.

 

Hotdog Clifford

I don’t really care much for atmosphere in my metal, but I think this is what you are talking about. (I also want to keep up the Dissection praise that I have noticed in the last couple weeks) 3:44.

 

Celtic Frosty

Celtic Frosty bringing that hot atmospheric fire. Alaskan is an atmospheric sludge band from Ontario. “Fiend” from their debut LP Despair, Erosion, Loss starts off slow and moody, then the pace quickens as the introductory riff kicks in. At around 2:20, the riff changes as the vocals begin, and it’s one of the heaviest, handbangiest things I’ve ever heard from a band that deals in atmospherics. Check it.

 

Nordling Rites ov Karhu

10:21. The crushing chords. The ripping growls. The pounding drums. Straight from a ‘flute’-laden verse to haunting section crowned with layers of keys. Kill me. Kill me. Kill me now and make it slow.

 

Zeke

When I think atmosphere, I think doom. This is my favorite doom album.  None of Celestial Season‘s other albums sound like this, but this album just has this very organic and stoner feel to it. No weird keyboard lines or anything, just lots of guitar layers and strings intertwining. Opening riff.

 

Esusmoose

Starts at at 0:07 and runs for almost 2 minutes, a melancholic bass riff holds down this beautiful part as the guitar layers increasing amounts of layers of delay saturated parts above it.

 

Stanley

I’m just guessing, but I reckon that a lot of the atmosphere of the music that will be submitted this week will be derived from synthetic sounding strings, horns and keys, along with a heavy dose of studio chicanery. The atmosphere from my submission is the real deal. Filmed live in one take at a dockyard in Helsinki, this stripped down version of the song is as bleak as it gets. The wind, the snow storm, the darkness, the simple and yet haunting melody, the glockenspiel and the vocals and lyrical content are all as real as it gets. If the hairs on your arms aren’t standing to attention after watching this performance, you’re frozen. Much like the guitarists’ fingers.

 

TheXenosapien

This whole fucking album, bitch!

 

Virgil the Ghost Poet

I have decided to participate in this thing. I love post atmospheric sludge and I almost went with The Atlas Moth, but we all listen to them so I chose A Storm of Light. The riff at 1 min and another at 6 mins. And yes, I will vote for myself. [Dork. — Masterlord]

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 14-12-2014 20:22:33
end_date 19-04-2015 09:00:00
Poll Results:
Choose ye
  • Sir Tapir the Based

    Wat?

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Great article!

    • Sir Tapir the Based

      The best so far. These riffs are sounding mighty tasty.

  • Dagon

    The only thing preventing me from adoring (what a “meta”l term, eh?) that The Amenta track was the drum sound. It’s too clicky for my tastes 🙁

    Still great atmosphere tho

    • Dr. Dubz

      The drums sound like machine guns to me. I dig the reversal in rhythms.

  • Dagon

    Thy Frosty Homie is getting my vote this week.

    The whole Alaskan album is great and a lot of people slept on it.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      I don’t think I will have time to listen / vote this week, but I did consider picking favorites and just throwing a vote at Frosty, lol

  • Choosing a victor was really hard this week because I liked nearly all the riffs. I think I’ll vote for Masterlord as Summoning > most things.

  • Shrimp ov Whatever

    Close one between Masterlhurrrrrrd and W., I was really tempted to not vote for ML because honestly fuck that guy, but my nerd boner tells me to do otherwise. Onorable mentions are The Redman and our beloved Beargod.

    • Dr. Dubz

      I’m always the bridesmaid.

    • Big Poppa Penis Pump

      I voted for Masterlord. *triumphantly clashes my nerd boner with your’s*

    • Deep down you know we have only sensual feelings for one another.

  • Oh man. So much tasty atmosphere here… But, I think, in the end, I’d have to go with HELL YEAH, BROTHER, GETCHA PULL!

  • D. Lee

    I’ve watched that Cult of Luna video countless times, it never gets old

    • Dr. Dubz

      I love it. That album was my favorite of 2013, even beating Colored Sands.

      • Edward/Breegrodamus™

        Damn it all, this is a painful reminder for me.

        • Dr. Dubz

          Ed, quit posin’

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            I wanna, I mean, I’m gonna.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            Tomorrow, that’s my word.

            Wanna also play Fantasy Empire from front to back.

    • Stanley

      I know what you mean. I’ve watched it about 20 times. The Mrs looks over at me everytime it comes on. She’s a good sport though and came to the CoL show with me.

  • The Beargod

    My guts tell me to vote for Summoning, but then again, it’s Masterlord…
    Good to see someone else dig Walknut and ASoL is ppretty good too.
    Rosetta and Celestial Season I haven’t much listened to, though I should. Both sound pretty good. Mine is stellar of course, though the ‘flute’-part right before might have been better after all.

    I like Alaskan and I like Dissection, both have awesome atmosphere,(love the hip hop band) but not today. Behemoth and Obituary are always more miss than hit but that Enslaved intro rules. So COLD!

    I wanna vote for Howard ’cause that is one dense atmosphere but then again the latter half of Det Som Engan Var is nearly unbeatable…

    The Amenta doesn’t do anything for me and this is the first time I wanna listen to Pantera for over a minute, but it’s still Pantera.

    Decisions, Decisions…

    • Zeke

      If you dig that Celestial Season song, it’s worth checking out the whole album. It’s one of those overlooked classics.

    • Stanley

      Sounds like you’re familiar with the location of the shoot. Quite an interesting choice.

      • The Beargod

        Yeah, I’ve been there countless times. Gotta lift a hat for the guys for filming that in snowfall and all.

  • Tyree

    FUCK! Burzum and Dissection. This is a rough.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Fucking death, Tyree.

      • Tyree

        I hate to betray Dissection, but that Burzum song is all sorts of goosebumps and atmosphere. There is a reason I have that on vinyl.

  • This Atmosphere video is great. How can you not appreciate an old Chinese man drinking a 40oz of malt liquor?

    http://youtu.be/3JrDVPsVbVA

  • Stanley

    This is taking a while to get through. You can’t just skip forward to the riff. You have to be patient and listen to the whole song to get the feels. Only up to Frost so far.

  • Tyree
  • Tyree

    Oh man, The Ruins of Beverast. Damnit.

  • Big Poppa Penis Pump

    I lurvs me some Summoning, so definitely voting for that one. And I’m a sucker for the Dragon Warrior village music intro! Or is that the music from Faxanadu?

    • Now casting HURTMORE.

      • Head Like A Glory Hole

        Is that the fire level 3 version of hemorrhoids?

  • Sir Tapir the Based

    If it ain’t Burzum, it’s bullpucky!

  • Dagon

    Oh and let’s make sure Joe gets 0 votes next week!

    #BoycottJoe

    • Shrimp ov Whatever

      He totally suggested that because he found an amazing riff that fits that description.

  • The Beargod

    Also, I bet a cubic buttload o’ money that Joe chose next weeks theme because he desperately wants to win and could not think of anything that could grant him victory, so he plays semi-dirty.

  • Big Poppa Penis Pump
    • more beer

      Number 1 answer!

    • Maik Beninton

      I’m expecting another one of this:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKnT1eVnnNA

      • Big Poppa Penis Pump

        LMAO!!! Just in time for tomorrow.

        • more beer

          It`s going on all weekend in Denver.

      • old_man_doom

        Goddamnit, Beninton! Now I’m watching all the related montage videos. Fuck.

  • Stanley

    After much pondering, the coveted Stanley vote goes to HD. Now I can get on with my day with true peace of mind.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      I’m fairly certain HD is RotW’s reigning champion.

      • Stanley

        He certainly has a knack for it. But this week, Stanley is going to pulverize his flesh and rip out his bones.

        • Big Poppa Penis Pump

          I misread that as ‘rip out his boner’.

        • EsusMoose

          He also enjoys the third person

          • Stanley

            How else would you refer to a deceased comic genius?

          • EsusMoose

            As a zombie

  • tertius_decimus

    Masterlord gets my vote by default. Dol Guldur is my favorite album!

    • Big Poppa Penis Pump

      Damn good album!

  • Big Poppa Penis Pump

    The official TOH tour bus has arrived (at least until they get the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile)!

    http://www.majorgeeks.com/news/file/6173_stoolbus.jpg

  • EsusMoose

    For once I shall attempt to listen to all the songs all the way through except Joe’s.

    • Lacertilian

      Sounds like you’re scared Floods would lure your vote..you heard me, scared.

      • EsusMoose

        I’d be scared what my mental state would be like 2 hours later.

        • Lacertilian

          Flooded with emotion

  • JamesGrimm
    • Head Like A Glory Hole

      This Crosses stuff is the bee’s knees! I listened to Jesu ages ago and couldn’t quite get into it though. The production was awful, and it just seemed to drone on (not in a good way) mindlessly through the whole thing.

      • Virgil the Ghost Poet

        Jesu is great. Especially the S/T, Conqueror, and Silver.

      • JamesGrimm

        I’m a stickler for CM’s vocals done right. Jesu is simply emotion, looking at the production is over thinking it.

        • Lumberjack Poopoo Tossin Ninja

          It just didn’t stick with me. I gave it a few tries, and it still didn’t do the trick for me, as much of a post metal/shoegaze fan as I am. To each their own!

  • Maik Beninton

    I was stuck with Masterlord, but I didn’t wanted to vote for him so I checked the Beargod who have showed me amazing music. It worked.

  • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

    Virgil gets my vote. That was some good shit.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      *Glassjaw gets my vote

      FTFY

    • Virgil the Ghost Poet

      Thanks.

  • Mother Shabubu III

    The atmosphere of impending doom. Celeste oozes atmosphere.

    https://youtu.be/QOAorELO_bs?t=4m26s

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Yo Celeste is playing Minneapolis with Primitive Man in June!!!!!

      • Mother Shabubu III

        They’re coming over here finally? WHY MUST I LIVE IN CONNECTICUNT?!

        • Edward/Breegrodamus™

          Pretty sure they are on the bill. I checked out some of their stuff a couple years ago and thought they more accurately reflected what people always wrote about Tombs, that blackened post hardcore black metal or whatever they said lol. Check out that PM tour, they might have a date you could drive to.

      • Dagon

        That’s a good bill. Any other bands playing?

    • BLOODBEARDE

      Glad to see other people showing Celeste some love.

  • Have not made a selection yet but have narrowed it down to the following:

    Joe – Since I enjoy that Pantera song it’s easy to lean towards it.

    W. – This band is interesting, I’m guessing they are considered black metal but they are incorporating other genres which allows me to actually enjoy it.

    Celtic Frosty – I saw the words sludge and Canada. They didn’t disappoint.

    Esusmoose – Haven’t heard Rosetta in a while, this brings back memories

    Stanley – I want to chill out in my backyard with a gentleman’s drink and listen to this

    • Stanley

      I would recommend closing all he curtains, turning the lights off and sitting down to watch it. It’s equal parts visual and aural.

  • Simon “Djentcrusher” Phoenix

    Another close call Masterlord, cause that Summoning riff is epic. But I had to choose Nordling cause Shape of Despair is life (or rather, non-life).

    Also, choosing First Prayer would have definitely been cheating, Mr. Howard.

    • Reichsmarschall Dean von Steel

      That’s why I couldn’t do it. I’m a sportsman and a gentleman.

  • Dr. Dubz

    Well, I guess if I am to be the perennial bridesmaid, I won’t begrudge a Stanley victory because I <3 CoL.

    http://i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/914/598/157.jpg

    • Dr. Dubz

      Although with my number of votes I suppose I’m more likely to be in the house party than a bridesmaid.

  • JWG

    I had an absolute ton of possible entries for this week. Couldn’t settle on one in time, so I didn’t submit. After the fact, though, I decided it would be this right here (start at 0:00):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McsH5PPufO0
    Aside: To my ears, it has the best use of banjo plucking in an atmospheric black metal composition outside of Panopticon (featured from about 10:30 just after the start of the slower, acoustic, bridge or second movement).

    • Dick Reply: Wolves in the Throne Room called. And, uh . . . since they don’t want their sound anymore, Radagast can keep it.

      Non-Dick Reply: Aside from the teenage tantrum metalcorish screams, I actually like this.

      • JWG

        There’s definitely even higher-quality WIITR-worship out there (Aylwin and Stellar Descent come to mind). Whether or not its ‘closer’ than them is debatable. But it is quite perfectly representative of the Cascadian BM “atmosphere”, while technically being on the fringe of what I’d call geographically Cascadian.

        I’d love to say their sound differed on other albums or tracks. But that’s the only tune I’ve been able to find from a band with that name from California, or tune by Mark Tierney in the genre.

        • What really rankles my cankles is that this bedroom-dwelling creep with one song to his credit has achieved a pretty stellar production, while fearless innovators of the Cascadian sub-sub-subgenre like Skagos go on releasing things that sound like they were recorded in my downstairs neighbors’ apartment . . .

          What gives?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pQVY_4rXSM

    • BLOODBEARDE

      band named after obscure minor brown wizard from LoTR? Yep.

      • JWG

        Made more sense than one of the two blue wizards, I presume.

  • JWG

    Question for if I try to submit for next week.
    Is it okay if the riff had an instance before the 1:30 mark, or must it appear for the first time there and no earlier?

    • Maik Beninton

      I think it can appear earlier.
      After all is a riff that is on 1:30, it doesn’t have to start there.
      Also Masterlord said that it can appear 5 seconds later.

  • Hotdog Clifford

    YES! I have received multiple votes!

  • Lacertilian

    Masterlord – Perfect
    Dubya – Does the trick
    HD – Epic (sorry @masterlordsteeldragon:disqus but I think that deserves the term)
    Maik – Not a bad choice
    Funk Dr Spock – Reminds me of the sort of music you’d here in a thriller film.
    Deuce – In the context of that song, that’s just weird.
    Ted – Spot on
    Hotdawg – Nice and subtle.
    Frosty – I enjoyed the song but in terms of the theme, I’m not feeling it as much
    Beardeity-How do you refrain from suicide when listening to this, perfect to welcome death
    Zeke – Interesting choice, I’ve never heard this
    Moose – The only reason I don’t see you winning is that it’s too beautiful for us scum
    Stan – If you listen closely, you can hear the echoes of a Bear vs Tapir rustle-athon
    Xeno – Woah! Don’t have time for the full album today though. Time-stamp needed.
    Ghost – You’re trying to get Leif’s vote with that cover right?

    Too tough to choose, so I went with Joe…getchya pull!

  • BLOODBEARDE

    This would have been my submission. Alas, I was too busy last weekend to submit. The fireside sounds in this song personify the essence of naturalist black metal. I’m aghast that there was no WITTR choice this week. Bunch of scrugs. Bonfire starts shortly after timestamp

    https://youtu.be/4lmjAgPAc0U?t=3m44s

    • My favorite track off Celestial Lineage. If you’d submitted this I would have voted all over your face, neck and upper chest. (Frowny face.)

      • BLOODBEARDE

        Sry brother. Everyone here is so concerned about the riff. I am a connoisseur of atmosphere.

        • I’d upvote you until my computer was obsolete if I could. I am the Maitre D’ of atmosphere. I feel you all over. Riffs are for rookies. It’s all about THE FEELS!

          • BLOODBEARDE

            Dem feels.

    • Óðhinn

      WITTR. Epic.

  • Sorry, Masterlord. Your submission was probably better but I’m such an irrational Dissection fanboy that I couldn’t help myself 😉

  • Stanley

    I love this place but it makes me pull my hair out sometimes. How on earth are people voting for Pantera when there are 14 excellent examples of atmospheric music being presented? My jimmies aren’t often rustled, but when they are, they are. I feel like some has opened and poured a ziploc bag full of ticks and fleas down the front of my undies.

    • Maik Beninton

      Because Pantera is great, and that part got into the taste of the Beargod.

      • Stanley

        I don’t want to get into a debate over whether Pantera are great or not as they ain’t. The theme of this week is atmosphere. That’s right, atmosphere. When I think of atmosphere in music, the first band that springs to mind is always Pantera. Of course, it’s not. There’s more atmosphere in the room after I’ve just dropped my guts then there is on any of their output. Should we just ignore the theme and submit Pantera each week? They’ll be winning the black metal riff of the week next. Strueth!

        • Lacertilian

          Raindrops keep falling on my head

          • Stanley

            You’re gonna have to explain that one. I know the tune but…

          • Lacertilian

            Just being a dick, the background effects in Floods are of rain falling combined with the lyrics to that song were a poor attempt to stir up more grief.

          • Stanley

            Believe it or not, I actually listened to that drivel twice to make sure I wasn’t missing something (not the whole 2 hours of course). On the second listen, I heard the sound effects. Strueth again.

          • Lacertilian

            In b4 @lmd666:disqus

          • Stanley

            Is Ted a huge Pantera fan like me?

          • Lacertilian

            It’s just that you’ve said strewth twice and I thought he’d be getting some Alf Stewart quotes out.
            Shitty aussie TV soap character ran for 30 years or something, always says strewth and flamin’.

        • Maik Beninton

          Actually this song came to mind.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeMCWg9esPM

        • I chose that riff because, on the surface, it seems so absurd to have Pantera be called atmospheric at all. I cannot tell you how tickled I am that others dig it as well. Hearty lols.

          • Maik Beninton

            Seriously, Suicide Note pt.1 would at least fit in the category more than that.

          • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

            There’s a lot of atmospheric prog such as Tangerine Dream and Renaissance.

          • Stanley

            Absurd both on the surface and infinite levels below. I’m laughing just thinking about it. It’s bringing the lols.

          • Tyree

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! SO FUNNY!!!

    • more beer

      That sounds uncomfortable! That is before the Lyme Disease set`s in also.

    • Tyree

      I’m completely with you on this one. Fucking bullshit.

  • KJM

    Atmosphere? The whole song is great but if the section that starts at approx 7:30 doesn’t put a lump in your throat then you may already be dead.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FujyTI6eAkE

    • In a similar but superior vein, I present to you this (maximum throat lumps begin at 5:48 and continue through the finale. Bzzzt.):

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jMSfdjXpOY

      • KJM

        It’s good, but it’s missing the Floydian grandeur of the TWK track, also the vocals are a bit dull.

        • Yeah, Rebecca’s vocals often have a hard time cutting through the volume of the other instruments. She just doesn’t have the lungs. But I think she makes heartbreaking melodic choices.

          True, the grandeur is not Floydian, per se, but it’s . . . I don’t know . . . Mahlerian? All I know is I was listening to this part of the track while driving to work once and I almost had to turn around and call out sick and spend the rest of the day on the floor, hyperventilating in the face of my two defining character traits: weakness and insignificance.

  • KJM

    The previous song should remind you a lot of this one.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVlL3gwVuoA

    • Tyree

      Excellent!

  • Lacertilian

    I can’t fucking believe that I have 19 bands on my short list for @joethrashnkill:disqus ‘s ridiculous theme for next week.
    Gotta go with my gut though

    • J.R.

      I know if I start searching within my tunes I will never stop.

      • Lacertilian

        I didn’t think I’d find many but there were some tough choices in the end.

  • Head Like A Glory Hole

    On a whole other subject, since I forgot about it yesterday……….

    News: The new roomy is getting kicked out in record time, mainly for being a douche/horndog toward’s my friend/roomy/landlord’s girlfriend (who stays here as well).

    ToiletOvHell: He works at Bdubs, and often wears their UFC-sponsored shirts. The plot doth thicken!

  • Óðhinn
    • BLOODBEARDE

      <3 beautiful trilogy

    • J.R.

      Every time I shuffle past Falling Snow I have to go back and blast it! Such a great album dude

    • Lumberjack Poopoo Tossin Ninja

      Amazing band, loved them since Ashes Against The Grain!

  • pïgchop™

    2 hour – 45-minute loop of Floods outro shall be on repeat all day long. Who knows what may come of this…perhaps perhaps something truly wonderful.

    In other thoughts: record store day on her face? http://metro.co.uk/2015/04/18/musician-paints-face-to-resemble-famous-album-covers-and-she-looks-awesome-5156220/