Riff Of The Week: Water Edition
Grab a towel…
Last week Cruciamentum shredded the competition in our Opening Solo edition, proving that 38% of you either have extreme short-term memory loss and forgot the 5 songs preceding it or have excellent taste and have somehow maintained functional hearing, despite the constant barrage of metal we’re all so fond of. I’m leaning towards the former, because pretty much every submission was of exceptional quality.
This week our theme is water. Somehow, contrary to what was widely predicted last week, not a single Mastodon submission was received. Although, the band have spent all week releasing teasers and videos for their upcoming album, so there is the possibility that all of their fans were left dizzy and distracted by the simultaneous expansion of their respective mastodongs. Whatever the case, a bunch of you plumbed the depths and dragged up a pretty diverse aquatic assortment for us to wet our whistle with. Here be they –
Revocation – “Leviathan Awaits“
So this song is about a group of researchers descending into the depths of the ocean to find a giant sleeping creature only to awaken the sob and die by its tentacles. Anyway I’m picking the opening riff as I think it captures imagery of the vessel descending into the watery abyss. You can also hear this riff again at 2:25 accompanied with a bomb ass solo which I think also captures imagery of the beast awakening and the crew trying to turn around and gtfo.
Alice In Chains – “Dam That River“
I think most of you will agree that Alice in Chains – Dirt is one of the best albums ever made. If you don’t it’s because you are a fucking dumbshit reprobate who probably likes Godspeed You! Black Emperor and fixed-gear bikes. Seriously, they fucking make bikes with more than one gear, you know. It’s called fucking mechanical advantage, and tens of thousands of slaves (or willing workers, depending on who you ask) didn’t build ancient grain elevators by pushing gargantuan pieces of limestone up ramps so that you could throw that shit back in their faces with a fucking fixed-gear bike like you are a motherfucking 4-year old child. Man up, listen to Alice in Chains, and buy a fucking 10-speed (or a 24-speed if you were born after 1968).
Anyhow, “Dam That River” has a monster riff that cuts its way across the soundscape like a serrated pig sticker with a built-in 24-speed Shimano gear system. Riff starts right at the beginning of the track. Shift into 3×7 or 3×8 and get this party started (or use 1×1 or 1×2 if you are on steep ass hill).
The Sword – “Black River“
Say what you will about The Sword, but this track off their sophomore album Gods of the Earth, brings the headbang. Opening with dual leads and plodding drums, “The Black River” quickly devolves into monstrous riff after riff, lead licks floating on top of chugging rhythms. This riff plays throughout the song before it finally brings it to a whiplash inducing halt. Couple this track with the stellar instrumental, “The White Sea”, and you have two of the greatest aquatic themed songs ever written this side of the Euphrates. (Riff @ 1:25)
Orange Goblin – “The Death Of Aquarius“
Aquarius is the eleventh astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation Aquarius. The water carrier represented by the zodiacal constellation Aquarius is Ganymede, a beautiful Phrygian youth. Orange Goblin’s ‘A Eulogy For The Damned’ is one of my favourite albums and something I consider to be a modern classic. For mine, Orange Goblin reached their creative peak on this release and it will take one mighty effort them, or any other band of their ilk to top it.In an album chock full of stellar riffs it would be too hard to pick one, luckily, this week is a water theme which made it easier for me pick the riff that starts at 0.38 (I do recommend you listen from the beginning for full effect). “Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty”
Son Ov Wolf
The Ocean – “City In The Sea“
Lyrics adapted from the Edgar Allan Poe piece, “The City in the Sea”, The Ocean Collective is at their best on this track (and personally I think Aeolian is their best album).
While I prefer the album version with Mike Pilat and Nico’s vocals, this live video perfectly encompasses the energy and passion of The Ocean (both figuratively and literally) .
Bastard Sapling – “Subterranean Rivers“
(Riff @ 0:15)
Fantastic album from 2014, for those who don’t know this is Inter Arma’s black metal project more or less. It fits the water theme cause river’s definition according to google is “a large natural stream of water flowing in a channel to the sea, a lake, or another such stream”, so just picture that but red, iron-y, and blood instead of water, and also underground cause that’s where blood goes. The chorus chords and riff are pretty great but probably easier to sell the claustrophobic main riff which fittingly sounds like you’re getting drawn into the depths of the earth blood stream (if it had one). This riff may not be the some ripping lower register chug but crawls just above the atmosphere created by the blasting drums and otherworldly bass, creating a feeling lovecraftian madness. Also it’s the best riff, I’ve been told it’s the greatest riff and I know great riffs, just look at my track record.
The Ocean – “Benthic“
Benthic: The benthic zone is the ecological region at the lowest level of a body of water such as an ocean or a lake, including the sediment surface and some sub-surface layers.
As the closer to 2013’s Pelagial, this riff perfectly illustrates the crushing pressure and absolute darkness as we finish our descent to the bottom of the sea. A perfect counterpoint to the earlier, more open tracks, the caveman-simple instrumentation and slowing tempo embody the loss of hope as your body settles onto the bottom of the ocean, never to see the light again.
And come one, it’s a song with an ocean layer for a title, from a concept album about water, by a band called The Ocean. It’s like, how much more wet could this be? And the answer is none. None more wet.
Korovakill – “The Shadow Hordes“
Korovakill (née Korova) was Austria’s answer to the bizarre sounds coming out of Norway at the end of the previous century. Waterhells is a concept album about a drowning sailor entering a Neptunian underworld of duplicitous sirens, sexy sea-nymphs and sunken horrors. Of the many oceanic riffs which crash across the album, this one hits the hardest. Break yourself at 0:00.
Next week we’re going to be taking submissions from Canadian bands only. We might have done this theme once before, but I just ate some maple-glazed bacon and now I can’t remember anything that happened in my life before this meal. There are plenty of killer bands from that neck of the woods anyway, so let’s hear ’em. To submit simply
– Send a link to the track to firstname.lastname@example.org
– Include your screen-name, a time-stamp for the riff and a short description.