BEST DRAGON RIFF? Anaal Nathrakh VS. Keep of Kalessin


Today in RIFF or RAFF, we’re chasing the dragon, catching him, mounting him, and riding him through the skies like a fucking fighter pilot. Also, we’re deciding once and for all the best riff from a song about dragons in metal. The combatants are Anaal Nathrakh and Keep of Kalessin One riff will riff, the other will raff. Let’s do this.

LAST WEEK Elegant Gazing Globe’s Municipal Waste riff pulled out a narrow victory over Gurp’s Tankard selection in our battle of the booziest riff. As a prize, EGG is getting a prize from his Bandcamp wishlist. Congrats!

tankard-municipalNEXT WEEK I want you to send me your best MESHUGGAH RIFF. 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 I asked you to submit your finest riff about the humble descendant of the mighty Bearded Dragon, the Regular-Ass Dragon. Though I expected to be flooded with aural cheese from concept records about the fashion choices of cosmopolitan elves, I was surprised to see my inbox hit with metal of the black variety. Enough talk, let’s riff.

TL: DR – Buildup at 3:29, riff at 3:44. Real talk, finding a song about actual dragons without entering weea- I mean power metal-land is hard mkay, so here is a song that uses dragon metaphorically and that is not power metal. With a new album on the horizon it’s always fun to reminisce about the good old material. Anaal Nathrakh‘s combination of extreme and super melodious elements has always hit a soft spot in me. The way they go from just smashing faces and dicks to switch too super melodic on a dime can draw one into a song in a way that rarely is replicated in any other artist. Today on the other hand we are just crushing the peen. The transition from the melodic chorus to the buildup at 3:30 into just pure headbanging at 3:44 brings pure joy to my simple metal heart. I have yet to see them live, but if they ever pop up on the calendar for any of my local venues, this will be the moment in their catalogue that will top my wishlist. Unless they’re not a good live band, idk. –Vegglampe

Historically, dragons have been worshipped, revered, and feared throughout history and within myth. Their power, nigh-immortality, and gluttonous, ravenous greed has been the subject of countless tales of morality and heroism, leaving an indelible mark upon the collective consciousness of man. Unfortunately, paeans to the great wyrms are typically withheld to the flowery realms of power metal; few bands from the blasted extreme metal lands of Mordor ever offer praises to the mighty Nidhogg or Fafnir.

Thankfully, black metal(ish) progsters Keep of Kalessin are so enamored by dragons that they penned an entire album as tribute to our reptilian overloads. The entirety of Reptilian is about dragons, their preeminence in myth, and their alleged influence over mankind even now. Though this album is typically considered one of the weaker KoK records, any one of the tracks could be chosen to select a killer dragon riff. For this Riff or Raff selection, I’ve opted for “The Awakening” and its slithery, slightly melodic riff that begins proper at about 2:50 while the drums assume a stop-start pattern that perfectly echoes the choral chants causing us to lift our hearts upward (in time with the slightly ascending scale) and declare, “Hail! Dragon! Majesty! Grant us power! Hail!” After the first chant of the chorus, Obsidian C adds an additional guitar harmonization with a fiery tone that perfectly matches the subject matter and provides even more flaming force to the nuanced drum accents. Say it with me! “Hail! Dragon! Majesty! Grant us power! Hail!”–Dubya

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

[yop_poll id=”213″]

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