MSD & Friends’ Riff ov the Week (10/18/14)


h/t to Joe for this work of art.

By the end of last Saturday, Pagliacci Is Kvlt and his Deafhaven pick were dripping with 13 (!) votes worth of poser ejaculate. Many of you fought well. Take a look:


18% of you suck. In order to curb my disappointment and postpone my truly inevitable suicide, I’m going to assume that you all did this just to spite me. You rascals!

This week is just a basic Riff ov the Week, so grease up those neck hinges and get ready to fling some of that hair around. To all the baldies and shorthairs with actual jobs: You can join in your own special, pose-heavy way. Also, can I borrow a few bucks? I need to buy a lawn mower. My yard is a primeval forest.

Listen up:

  • Next week I want more riffs. Here’s the catch: YOUR RIFF MUST BE FROM 1995.
  • Send them to me via Include your name. First 15 are in.


Masterlord SteelDragon:

One of the nastiest riffs ever, from one of the most influential death metal albums ever written. This is the sound of heavy machinery achieving sentience and purging the planet of every last cell. Fuck all life.



Metal is no stranger to catharsis, but few songs every truly reach transcendence. One such track is the achingly gorgeous “Glory” by So Hideous. Opening with a triumphant invitation into the sublime with beautiful orchestration and majestic composition, the song invites you to cast off the shackle of pain, sorrow, and guilt, and at the 4:10 mark, you are invited by the delicate strains into a full anabasis of the soul. Guided solely by the steadfast rhythm of the drums, as if beckoned by the heartbeat of the divine, you rise to ever loftier grandeurs until the riff returns at 5:10 like the twitch upon the thread from Brideshead Revisited, beckoning you into the gentle but firm embrace of the arms of manifold glory. Leave your burdens behind as you voyage into splendor.



There’s been some on-and-off talk of Between the Buried and Me ’round these parts, and how some of you have owned up to the fact that you aren’t cool enough to appreciate them (I’m pretty sure that’s how it went). Well I’m busting out a Between the Buried and Me riff, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. “Swim to the Moon” is a massive, multifaceted monster of a song, and I’m never not amazed at the development throughout this song. People talk about their songs being noodly and directionless, but with Swim to the Moon there is a distinct sense of motion and reaction, and the riff/lead line that kicks in at 12:56 sounds like a perfect arrival point that all started back at the very first section. Not to mention it perfectly encapsulates the vibe of our protagonist as he battles crashing wave after crashing wave in his impossible quest to swim to the moon.


Lady SteelDragon

This one is better — 8:37.


Randall Thor

At 0:49, one of the most glorious speed/power metal riffs of all time unfolds in a glorious waterfall of flowing notes. Bang that head, you know it’s time.


Cybernetic Organism

While the sickly, rainy-autumnal-day-lost-in-the-woods riff starts at around 29 seconds, the bleak gray noise at the beginning helps to set the tone for a downtrodden, muck-soaked auditory trudge through the crumbling abandoned house that you’ve been eyeing for months, the one you swore you saw someone standing in that one evening around dusk, the one everyone told you not to go near… but here you are anyway, and there’s no turning back now.


Cock of Steele

Ok, I admit I have a bit of an obsession with Razor, but it’s only because every song off of this album is one gimongous riff storm. Basically the riff starts off at 0:18, followed by an evil/deadly/fuckawesome banshee howl (a running trait throughout the album). So if you’re ever in need of a nice and good fix of unrestrained brutal thrash/speed metal. Welp, have at thee!



Building nicely with needling guitar, fuzzy bass and disturbed cries the song… um… well it erupts like a volcano, as the title implies. This Aaron Turner lead supergroup/side project tease the heavy at 2:42 and again at 4:48 before spewing every ounce of the remaining liquid hot magma (read in Dr. Evil voice) at 6:32.



My nomination is the closing riff from the title track of Obituary’s The End Complete album. The riff starts at 2:40, after the fast section, and carries on to the end of the song. The repetitiveness helps you pay attention to Donald Tardy’s interesting drum variations, but the riff itself does vary toward the end of the song with some nice stop-start action that would have blindsided the pit denizens bangin’ along.


Deputy Dipshit

In my opinion, a modern day Do not go gentle in to that good night mixed with hatred and scorn, “Unsilent Death” is one massive, angry, and hurt power-violent riff whose sole purpose in life is to chew your face off and wallow in the bath salts. Try not to head bang or tap your foot to this one, I fuckin’ dare you.


George Lynch

One of the reasons I am drawn to Gojira‘s music is their ability to to compose simple yet emotionally moving riffs. When it comes to riffs, “The Art of Dying” is a lunch box waiting to be opened. Although it’s a sin to chop the song into “riff sections,” I must do just that. The first is 1:10 to 2:15, the second 4:02 to 5:42, and lastly 5:55 to 8:45. The best of these sections is the second. For this riff section, the band unleashes an otherworldly wall of sound while Joe Duplantier bellows “I won’t bring no material in the after life, take no possessions, I would rather travel light.” Words to live, lifelovers! I can go on and on about the riffs, but I will let you make your own judgements.


Edward Meehan

Lumbar‘s The First and Last Days of Unwelcome was released last year, and while I saw a couple of positive reviews about it, it largely escaped the heavy metal zeitgeist. Too bad. It’s underrated, compact but powerful. Lumbar’s album tells the story about a man’s battle with multiple sclerosis, and what better way to do that than with down tuned, sometimes punk inflected riffs? Check this one out at 3:42 of “Day Six.”


Howard Dean



Pagliacci Is Kvlt

I didn’t put any deep thought into this submission this week. It’s October, and this is a song about October. The Northern Ontario Black Metal Preservation Society was a side project of David Gold and Aaron Palmer of Woods of Ypres. They released a two song, vinyl only EP which featured artwork by Fursy Tessier (Amesoeurs, Les Discrets). Reportedly they planned on doing more EPs periodically, but unfortunately we lost David Gold in December of 2011 due to a car accident. This song, “Northern October,” has a number of tasty riffs, but the one that really makes me want to take my shirt off, slap on some corpse paint, and run around the woods making metal faces and poses is the one that starts at 0:28.


Simon Phoenix

Humph. While I don’t hate Deafhaven as much as the rest of you wieners, it boils my blood that it was chosen as the winner of last week’s poll. So I’m bringing out the big guns. The riff starts at 3:12, and lasts THE WHOLE REST OF THE SONG. That’s right, these guys wrote the book on riffs. Edgy59’s droning voice only makes the shit even heavier. You hear that, lifelovers?  That’s the sound of your puny skull imploding on itself. Simon says despair.


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