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.

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