Riff Of The Week: Canadian Edition


Some poorly arranged string of words typically used to imitate Canadian dialect that will come across as contrived and completely humourless, causing people from that region to either cringe or feel vaguely offended, invariably concluded with an ‘eh?’“.

Last week, our combatants battled it out amidst the deep blue to determine the victor in our Water themed riff-off. And analogous to the pace that combat plays out underwater, the struggle was a slow moving affair, but as the weaker riffs ran out of air and had to return to the surface with the bends, we were left with the final 5. In the end HD claimed the prize with that sweet Collective Soul riff from “Where The River Flows”. Well done to everyone involved.


This week our theme is Canadian riffs, and even though we ended up with a couple from the same artists, the variety is still reasonably good. There are 12 of them to get through, so let’s just get right to it shall we?

Old Man Doom

Bison BC – “Quiet Earth

Bison BC is a goddamned riff machine of the highest order, churning out all the sludgy, punk-inflected riffs your heart could ever desire.  It was quite difficult to pick a favorite, but I think the final minute of “Quiet Earth” reflects the kind of heavy that these Vancouver dwellers have to offer the unwashed and crusty masses.  Hit play and mosh your cubicle co-worker to death. (Riff @ 4:00)


The Devin Townsend Project – “Stand

I could do the obvious DT submission of “Canada”, but I enjoy the overall feel of Deconstruction better so here we are. The riff in question is the one at 5:10. This riff is foreboded throughout the song before blowing up leading into Mikael Åkrefeldts solo.

God Emperor Ov Mankind

Razor – “Eve Of The Storm

Oh my Me I have been waiting ages to use Razor.  First of all for those left wondering yes this is a Canuck band and not and this particular album happens to not be an album, but a comprehensive study into the nature of dick-crushing, ball-busting, neck-shredding riffs.  One of the finest examples is this track right here.  Now, naturally, this whole track is just 3 minutes and 20 seconds of pure aggression, pure noise, and pure execution of all heretics, xenos, posers, etc.  However If I were to pick just one magical second where everything seems to align, it would be at 0:30 seconds into the song, where Sheepdog’s legendary banshee howl gives way to a rhythmic Blitzkrieg laying waste to posers and heretics alike.


Voivod – “Psychic Vacuum

I’m happy to say that I live in an era where the importance of Voivod has finally been recognized, albeit not to the degree that I feel they deserve. Regardless of this fact, it’s undeniable that Piggy has created some of the best riffs this side of the universe. While I could have picked any number of mind-bending dissonant riffs, I decided to go with what I feel is the climax to “Psychic Vacuum” at 3:10. NOTHING CAN STOP THE PSYCHIC VACUUM. R.I.P. Piggy.


Blasphemy – “Fallen Angel of Doom

While I was going through my select, but reasonably diverse collection of Canadian metal classics, I was asking myself the following question: what in the actual fuck am I going to submit? Will I take off into outer space with one of Voivod’s records: Killing Technology, Dimension Hatross or Nothingface? Will Considered Dead, The Erosion of Sanity, Obscura, From Wisdom to Hate or Colored Sands represent Gorguts? Am I going to pick something from either Strapping Young Lad’s City or Alien or something from Devy’s “solo records” Ocean Machine or Terria? Is Nadja’s Touched too drone-y and not riff-y enough? How the hell am I going to decide which riff I’m going to submit from Cryptopsy’s None So Vile?
And before I decided to just give up and drink myself to death while listening to the soothing tunes of Roy Orbison instead, all of the sudden one album in my much beloved collection of metallic goodness caught my eye: another true and “trve” classic of Canadian filth – Blasphemy’s one and only motherfucking Fallen Angel of motherfucking Doom! An album that has been scarring souls and scaring posers since its inception through a steroid-addled sonic hurricane of murky instrumental noise, infernal sound effects and gurgling, vomiting growls. Case in point: the album’s face melting title track, which contains one of the album’s most bone crunching riffs at 1:28. Go!

Special Agent Dale Cooper

Alexisonfire – “Old Crows

Say what you want about mid 2000’s post-hardcore, but I will hear no bad things about those glorious Canucks in Alexisonfire. They were by far the best of their genre, and had some pretty siqq riffs to boot, more than any band in this genre had any right to. Honorable mentions go to the chorus riff in ‘Hey, It’s Your Funeral Mama’, the pre-chorus riff in Old Crows and pretty much all of Accidents, but I think the opening riff in Boiled Frogs is the best of that period in general. It gets me pumped every time I hear it, and it practically kept me sane throughout my last years of being trapped in the Black Lodge.


Voivod – “Warriors

Being a die-hard Annihilator fan, that was my immediate go-to, but I’ve used them before and I’m sure someone else will… So what about our OTHER Canadian Thrash gods?  You could argue Voivod did what other thrash bands DIDN’T, becoming even weirder and more progressive as time went on, rather than more polished and commercial sounding. Regardless, their tastiest, noisiest riffs come from their early Speed Metal work.  This track from their debut is right up there, diving right into that cacophonous, trashy mess from the get-go, crashing cymbals and Punk stylings and all, then briefly dropping into a gallop at 0:50 before the tasty main riff at 1:07, tossing the gallop back in regularly throughout. And that ridiculous Piggy D’Amour solo at 2:00! Many a stubby-bottled Molson was consumed to this in our youth.

Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

I know this is a metal blog and all but here’s a riff from Canadian hero Bret Hart. This song was featured on the third WWF album called Wrestlemania. It’s so good. The riff from 0:00 to 0:30 second is one of the greatest Canadian riffs ever [Ed. Note: Riffs written by Englishmen].

Ted Nü-Djent

Strapping Young Lad – “All Hail The New Flesh

The theme for this week made me realise how little Canadian metal I had in my collection. Apart from Voivod, Anciients, Annihilator, 3 Inches Of Blood and SYL there’s not a whole lot more in my collection from the land of Maple Syrup and Mounties, anyhoo what was I talking aboot? Oh yeah, I never have been the hugest Strapping Young Lad fan (Or Devin Townsend in general) which is weird because when I first heard the riff at 0.23 (which is also main riff of the song), that shit changed my life. Cheers hosers.


Martyr – “Warp Zone

I nominate a killer riff from the title track of Martyr’s sophomore release. The riff begins at the outset of the track but it doesn’t really start in earnest until 0.33.


Bison BC – “Primal Emptiness Of Outer Space

This week’s slab of Canadian riff-bacon comes courtesy of Bison BC.  Kicking off at 1:30, this is the kind of riffage that makes you want to pound back your beer, join your buddies in the pit, and fuck some shit up.  The lads we’re even nice enough to bring it back around for round 2 at 4:31.  Somebody’s gonna get hurt, and it better be you.


Besieged – “Death

Considering Tomb Mold‘s debut was supposed to be released yesterday but no other new tracks have been made public as of yet, I’ve had to revert to the second drawer of the TovH branded Dunny Desk™ (*) to call upon the sealed folder marked “Contingency Riffs” in order to source a worthy alternative, and Manitoba-based thrashers Besieged fit the bill perfectly. Combining a razor sharp sound with the rabid intensity that made bands like Sepultura and Demolition Hammer so potent at the start of the 90’s, Besieged’s only album (thus far) Victims Beyond All Help is the soundtrack to ripping your enemy’s face off and turning it into a patch for your next denim vest. The maniacal riff starting around 0:24 will get that exact job done. It will also crash at your place after a loose night out at the pub, drink all your beer, pass out and piss on that new lounge your missus wanted for years. This riff is the one pretty much all your mates agree will need to sober up real fucken soon or will end up dead at 38.
[*- Dunny Desk does not actually exist...yet.]

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Next week we’re going to be looking for BRUTAL DEATH METAL riffs. Pretty self-explanatory.

To enter simply send a link to your chosen track along with your screen-name, a short explanation and a time-stamp of the riff you’ve chosen to toiletovhellriff@gmail.com before Friday.

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