MSD & Friends’ Riff ov the Week: The 1995 Edition (10/25/14)


Again, thank you Joe for this masterful artwork.

Today is our very first year-specific Riff ov the Week contest. We’re going back in time. To 1995. When my 5-year old peers were sucking their thumbs and making wimp villages out of Lincoln Logs, and I was already moved out, fully bearded, and crushing wave after wave of posers to Pierced from Within

Why did I choose 1995? Because there were a shit ton of good riffs in 1995, that’s why. And now we get to relive 15 of the best riffs the year had to offer. But first, let’s break last week down:

The deputy straight-up trampled us all with the highest scoring win of ROTW history. Nails “Unsilent Death” managed to round up 17 well-deserved votes. Or were they? In a dramatic, Shyamalan-esque plot twist, Leif Bearikson appeared from the woodwork, cut to the core by the crafty knife of injustice, to reveal that he submitted the very same riff in the 4th installment of the series. Worst of all, nobody cared back then. Such spellbinding controversy! Perhaps this wasn’t as clean a victory as it initially appeared? Should the deputy’s Nails fall to George Lynch’s Gojira?

Nah. That riff is fucking gnarly.

Last thing before we get to the riffs:

  • Next week has no theme. Bring your best riff or mine will break it to pieces.
  • Submit to The first 15 are in. Do it fast; they come in quick.
  • Got a good idea for a theme? Let’s hear it in the comments.
  • lolbuttz


Masterlord SteelDragon

By 1995, Dismember were determined to follow the footsteps of their countrymen in Entombed by embracing Death ‘n’ Roll. While some grieved that we would never again hear them produce Swedeath masterworks like Like an Everflowing Stream or Indecent and Obscene (actually untrue), it brought us some seriously deadly riffs. Massive Killing Capacity is a riff war machine with unlimited ammo. When they build back up to the main riff after the solo in “Hallucigenia,” worlds die. Start it at 2:50.


Joe Thrashnkill

1995 was a big year for metal but we can’t forget landmark hardcore albums like Systems Overload by Integrity and Destroy the Machines, the debut LP from Earth Crisis. The intro riff from “The Wrath of Sanity” isn’t quite right. It’s shaky, and amateurish. But the band builds upon it and convinces you it can work right up til 1:14 when shit pops OFF, son.


Leif Bearikson

NOLA is an album drowning in riffs (too soon?) so it was hard to narrow it down to just one. But I did just that! If this riff doesn’t get you jammin’, you are dead to me and I hope you live a life unfulfilled. 3:59.


Cybernetic Organism

Being a cybernetic organism, living tissue over metal endoskeleton, I’m particularly fond of this thrashy ’95 riff (starting at around 17 seconds) that kicks off a tale of humanity’s obliteration by way of divine abandonment. The more contact I have with humans, the more I learn, and I’ve learned that people simply can’t get enough of hearing about their species’ demise.


Howard Dean

A lot of great albums were released in 1995, and Dissection‘s Storm of the Light’s Bane is quite possibly the best of the bunch. A spell was cast, and the sky turned red, the angel’s heart froze to ice. This is no mean album, and this is no ordinary music. Before Jon Nödtveidt shot himself in the face for Satan, he was the undisputed king of the melodic black metal riff. In no better place does this supremacy rear its beautiful, anti-cosmic head than in the track “Where Dead Angels Lie.” You know what riff I’m talking about. It starts around the 0:30 second mark in this amazing live footage.



Metallic clashing greets you on this opener from At the Gates fourth and until this year, last album. A voice states “We are blind to the world within us, waiting to be born” right before the songs uncompromising riffage begins at 0:15, frantically opening your eyes and deafening your ears.


Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

Darkthrone‘s Panzerfaust includes many cold riffs. While “Quintessence” is a little slower than most of the bands work to that point, it’s all the more colder.



Strapping Young Lad was THE band for me. They are the reason I like metal today. It makes sense why this song was always on their setlist when playing live: it got people MOVING. From 3:10 to the end is a massive headbanger.


Mr. CustodialArts

While taking a leak the other day this riff (starts at :22) popped into my head. I know it’s common for many men to think of Mike Patton as they handle their penis, and I am no exception.



This intro riff is what all other intro riffs aspire to be. Not only does is get the head banging but it also serves as a great jumping point for the rest of the song. My neck and I are waiting the release of the new album.



1:09. *Mic drop*


Dan Burton

Riff of the week ’95 has to be Fear Factory‘s “Zero Signal.” Having first heard “Replica” on some Metal Hammer compilation I had my interest piqued. I borrowed my mate’s just released digipak version of Demanufacture and cranked it on my parent’s massive early 90’s stereo system. “Zero Signal” just completely floored me. Modern sounding, punchy, crunchy riffs, incredible Colin Richardson production, amazing electronics from Rhys Fulber. This was the future as far as I was concerned. It’s all about 3:04 to 3:31. Still makes the hairs on my neck stand on end nearly twenty years later.


Cock of Steele

Starting at 0:13 the guitar just goes in to this devilishly groovy/sludgy riff.  It’s pretty awesome, you should bang your head to it.



I could have easily chosen one of the many riffs from the 16-minute monster “Dante’s Inferno” but I decided on the album’s opening track as it’s pretty dark, in an 80’s horror movie type way. Iced Earth at their best.


George Lynch

Although Van Halen‘s Balance LP was not their most well know output, “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)” is a byahh-ching track. This weeks riff starts at 0:00 and runs until 0:27. It is great in its simplicity. Whatcha think? (FYI, don’t miss the solo at 2:14.)


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