RIFF OV THE WEEK: Christian’s Pedal Point Edition


It’s Riff ov the Week, Christian Molenaar style. Jump on in here and jam a number of interpretations of what he has dubbed “The Riff” — a true heavy metal classic. 

But first, let’s discuss last weekHoward Dean won again and is hereby disqualified from entering Riff of the Week competitions or any of its variants. It’s like a fucking grizzly bear in a cockfight for fuck’s sake.


Honorable mention to one Jimmy McNulty, whose Megadeth was only one vote behind HD’s Demoltion Hammer, making him the least worthless and loserly of all us worthless losers. The rest of us sucked. Better luck this week.

Which brings me to this week. Christian Molenaar selected the theme here. I’ll copy-paste it for those just tuning in:

“Next week’s theme is a special kind of riff: one that has stood the test of time, one that every great metal band has played in some form at one point or another. We’re talking about The Riff. If you’re in a so-called “metal” band and you don’t have a song containing some semblance of this riff you are a poser and will never make it anywhere but deep down the Toilet ov Hell and straight past the Sewer ov Obskurity. This is the riff that opens “2 Minutes to Midnight,” Riot’sSwords & Tequila” (great combination), Accept’sFlash Rockin’ Man,” Madam X’sDirty Girls” and TNT’sDeadly Metal” (go ahead and submit those if you can’t be bothered to find one yourself, hack). The Riff is generally based around a pedal point on the open A string of a guitar in standard tuning with brittle, treble-y 80s distortion. It’s also the foundation of a thousand forgotten mid-80s glam, hair metal and AOR hits. Everyone from Judas Priest to Motley Crue to Saxon to Anthrax has played some variation of this riff. Give us your best.”

Now, it’s clear to me that some of you failed — ranging from somewhat to miserably — in selecting the right kind of riff. Rather than not include them, I’ve resolved to post them and allow you to incur the wrath of Christian Molenaar for befouling his sacred theme. I wash my hands of you all. Let’s get started.



  • Next week is special. VERY SPECIAL. Riff ov the Week will be replaced with Riff ov the Year. So spend some time digging up the nastiest riff you heard in 2014, and submit it. Think long and hard about this; there will be scrutiny (but not too long, because this is going to fill up fast).
  • Once you’ve decided, send it to toiletovhell@gmail.com.
  • If you have an idea for a themed ROTW, just let us know.



“Clarity is filling my mind; I am refined!”



This riff may be a slightly deviation from the category, but I was given Christian’s infernal blessing for it. So screw it. Vader rules butts, and this opening riff is the best.


Christian Molenaar

For what is hands-down the heaviest permutation of this infamous riff, look no further than the inimitable duo of Broadrick and Green on 1994’s Selfless. Like Circle’s entire career, “Anything is Mine” is based around subtly altering and repeating this riff into oblivion.


Zeke… or Isaac; whatever

“Painkiller” came in second place a couple of weeks ago; and I see no reason why it shouldn’t win this week.  That’s because it doesn’t just have one of “the riffs,” but it has two.  The opening riff rips also, but I’m submitting the riff that starts at 1:22.  They squeal basically every note that isn’t the A peddle tone, and it just sounds sick.


Satan ov Hell

I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT MUSIC THEORY, I AM A TERRIBLE PERSON. I think “Hellion” and the opening riff to “Electric Eye” is what you mean though.



Deal with it metalheads, Lady Gaga is here to stay [Christian note: “Ed is a poser hvkk and only submitted this song because I told him to].



THE RIFF as performed by Vivian Campbell, Ronnie James Dio, Jimmy Bain and Vinny Appice.



This week, my submission is the live version of “Genocide” from Judas Priest’s Unleashed in the East. A slight variation on the “trebly, A string pedal point riff” first appears at :42 and lasts for pretty much the whole fuckin’ song.


Howard Dean

A classic “the riff” moment. It’s Mercyful Fate, motherfuckers!


Janitor Jim

Among the people who have ripped off the beginning riff from “2 Minutes to Midnight” I think Raven did it best.


George Lynch

Don’t get me wrong, Def Leppard can suck my left testicle, twice. They are the epitome of sell-out/poser/lifelover/middle-aged-women-who-love-“heavy metal”. FLUSH. BUT, even though dreadfully true Def Leppard did at one time release one of the greatest LP’s ever: High ‘N’ Dry. Not heard of it? Somehow Steve Clark and Pete Willis made two utterly terrible Gibson guitars (has anyone ever heard a “heavy” Gibson guitar tone [prepare for rustling!]?) sound out-of-this-world. Though, it pales in comparison to Van Halen’s Unchained of the same year. Regardless, this weeks ROTW is the opening track “Let It Go”. The riff starts at 0:00 and goes until 0:31. The E string is only used 4 times. All hail the mighty A string!


Something that spams the A string like its going out of style? Check. This song, despite not being as polished as some of their later works, as well as having the d-bag of a second vocalist, still riffs very hard.

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