Riff ov the Week: Skronk-Off


Artificial Brain’s Labyrinth Constellation was declared the best album of 2014 by the Toilet ov Hell community, something that made me reasonably proud notwithstanding some of the other. . . less-correct choices preceding it. Skronk is so hot right now, we’re devoting an entire Riff ov the Week to it. Plus W. asked for it, and you just can’t say no to that face. Fucking adorable. My offer still stands, by the way – find a better name for skronk, get a prize of ambiguous character. 

Last weekJoe (Ghost Bath) lost to Link (Asphyx) by a single vote. Careful comment readers might note that if Ted Nü-Djent didn’t fuck his vote all the way up, it would’ve been a solid tie and I would have another two envelopes full of tie-breaking cash in transit to my house right now. So thanks.


Next week:

  • As per someone (Maik I think?), next week we’ll be doing riffs that provide the rhythm under a solo. The riff might start before the solo, it might start at the same time as the solo, whatever. Remember, you’re not submitting the solo, you’re submitting the riff under the solo.
  • Send your solo-riffs-but-not-solos to toiletovhellriff@gmail.com.
  • If you have an idea for a theme or category, send an email or let me know right here in the comments.
  • Go with Schubert.



Not skronk in the strictest sense, but definitely dissonant enough for this contest (resident skronk connoisseur W. gave it the okay, so BACK OFF, BUTTHOLE). A few of us have been making quite the to-do about Devouring Star’s debut during the past weeks, and this first riff should explain why pretty quickly. Right after horse-quartering your brains.


Joe Thrashnkill

The riff that opens “43% Burnt” (and returns at 3:08) is like breakdown that requires a calculator and ancient dwarven mesh shorts to properly pit to.



As the Toilet’s Patron Saint of Skronk, it is my sworn duty to reach deep into the past to conjure up something hideously dissonant. The riff at 1:22 is skronk incarnate.



Someone is going to submit a killer Gorguts riff and win. Therefore, I’ll just promote something I only recently discovered and have been jamming consistently. There is a lot of dissonance in this album and the baritone guitar contributes to the skronky tone. The riff starts at 1:20, but you should listen to the whole track.



Thanks go to W. (who gave thanks to Hubert) for introducing me to the spectacular Dimesland.  The first track “Are They Cannibals?” contains an immense skronk jamming session from 1:00 to 2:00.  So get out your birkenstocks and patchouli oil and let’s play hackey-sack! BTW, best song title ever.


Ron Deuce

I was delighted to find out the Noisear is putting out a new record this year. Check out the opening riff from their new track below and you’ll hear that they skronk with the best of them.


The Xenosapien

The first riff. It’s skronkadelic!



King Crimson invented the skronk. The Mars Volta would sound like Kenny G if it wasn’t for these weird Englishmen. To that end, here’s the skonkiest of them all, “Lark’s Tongues in Aspic Part II.” The riff that kicks off the song is fucking jarring, atonal, and just plain awesome. Dream Theater covered this one, but they can’t touch the Crim’s originality (welcome to ’73, boys) and harsh tone. Also of note is guitarist Robert Fripp, who plays through the whole song utterly expressionless while sitting on a stool.



I’ve been on quite the Mastodon kick lately and, as it turns out, the opening riff in “We Built This Come Death” (from Lifesblood/Call of the Mastodon) is quite the skronky one.


Evan Cluston

I have no idea what the fuck a skronk riff is but that’s kind of feeling my brain gave me when I first heard this riff from Altar of Plagues. It warped my brain so much I had to rewind it and play it over and over. Starts at 8 minutes.


Guacamole Jim

Few things are as cool as skronk suddenly busting out a killer groove. Blastronaut, a recent discovery of mine, kill that particular transition on their song, “The Maker.” Get groovy at 6:04.


Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

First twenty seconds are agonizing, flush this album, flush this song. G’night.


Simon Phoenix

What do you get when you take Obscura and Covenant, put it in a blender and add a sprinkling of old school doom? You get a single classic album that serves as an ode to despair and destruction. These oft forgot skronk pioneers were masters of crafting riffs that filled you with dread and smacked you in the face with insanity at the same time. Simon says peep 1:16 and say goodbye to everything you love.



In my early merol days, I was drawn to Progressive Death bands because of their unique approach to diverse genres without losing the heavy edge. I’ve encountered this band twice before, and I didn’t get it. But, now I’m rediscovering them and I must say that their use of both melodic and dissonant structures made their music a puzzle to dissect and still enjoy. This isn’t just technically accomplished music, it’s also that “thinking” type that gets to you. Go to 1:20 to experience the real embodiment of dichotomy.



The establishing and spinning out of the nasty, grating chord is straight up hypnotic. It makes you want to skronk real good, until all the donk gets the fronk. You know what I gronk.

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