RIFF OV THE WEEK: The Fade-Out Riff
It is with utmost pride and without any semblance of permission that I officially proclaim Stockhausen’s cat the official mascot of TovH’s Riff ov the Week. May his reign be as long as his distant gaze is stupid-looking. This week, Simon says focus all your attention on these fade-out riffs.
Would you like to guess who won last week? I’ll give you a hint – it was Howard Dean again. You guys better get your shit together. HD’s trophy room is filling up faster than your gross face at the local McDonald’s and you’re not even putting up a fight. Except Brock Samson.
I received one vote last week. Either my taste blows or I’m way too vndergrovnd for you casuals. Guess which one I’m pretending is true.
- Next week we’re bringing back the highly controversial SOLO OV THE WEEK. Don’t you dare even think about the fucking D-word this time.
- Send thine solos to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, a specific time, and some explanation.
- If you have a good idea for a theme, let me know. I love themes.
- Hail Schubert.
When I hear the words fade out riff, two words come to my mind (the same two words that come to my mind in pretty much any given situation) – Bolt Thrower. I had some difficulty choosing between this and “World Eater,” but I finally settled on the riff at the end of “The Killchain.” At 3:45 the treads of the riff machine pulverize you into a nice, red purée, leaving you a faint stain in the dirt and slowly vanishing over the horizon.
“No chance of escape / caught within the mainframe Killchain!“
To be honest, this classificates more as fade out solo rather than just a riff. However, the structure of the song comes into play: like Czardas Dance or Obituary’s classic song “Slowly We Rot”, this piece starts with slow tempo and smoothly becomes faster towards the end. The riff starts at the 4:25 mark and runs to the bridge before culminating in a solo, then repeats again until the song fades out.
Amon Amarth, a name synonymous with Viking metal. Some say they keep making the same albums. I don’t believe that’s true. Fate of Norns is an album that helped solidify the melody-driven Amon Amarth of old. The title track, which revolves around a warrior and the loss of his son, gives insight into the belief system of the Norse pagans. It also gives us one hell of a riff. Start at 5:27.
Link D. Leonhart V.
That grandiose closer. Injected with Bach and with the tastiness of metal-infused jazz. Augmented with powerful, contemplative lyrics. With top musicianship and execution. It’s a perfect song on a perfect album with the perfect elements. While some proggy bands extend their songs with unnecesarry wankery, the Cynic boys delivered one of the most concise songs every written in the metal genre. My pick is goes to Master Masvidal. You can hear it circling in 3:51 onward to the final minute. Sense the infinite musical harmonization.
The first time I ever listened to Emperor’s final album, I hated it. After time though, it grew on me and now it is one of my favorite albums of all time. The fade out of “The Prophet” is monstrous and proggy and starts at 4:30.
Old Man Doom
Worship the witch, hail the riff. Go to 2:48 to slay posers with steel, or—if you’re not a scrug—then listen to the whole song. Satan.
This riff immediately came to mind when I read Simon’s theme. It builds up as it fades out, which always leaves me wanting more. Great end to an album. Start at 5:51.
Building from 3:03, Katatonia’s combination of swirling guitar and rhythmic percussion are soon joined by a churning riff. They all fade out at 4:49.
I know that it doesn’t fade out like that on the album, and that what fades out here is the riff’s second (inferior) version, but hell, what definitions wouldn’t you maim and bury to submit your favourite riff of all time? 3:24.
My introduction to Marduk was with Wormwood, and “Into Utter Madness” gripped me from the very first listen. Skip to 3:23 and go on through to the end. It’s some great riffing over some great bassing. Then, when finished, go back and listen to the whole song. But don’t let the beginning portion sway your opinion (or do, but don’t tell anyone).
Call the Slambulance
Anytime black metal is brought up, I am obligated to jock Black September. This female fronted powerhouse pushes out some of the grimiest, crust-influenced goodies on the market. This song is one of the catchiest on the album by far, but the fade out is what makes it perfect. I pray to the good Lord of Siqq Riffz that a whole song will on day appear with this melodic piece of guitar drama as the center piece. If you don’t like it, then vote for me to spite the Masterlord.
I like this fade out riff.
My first choice was the fade out to Morbid Angel’s “God of Emptiness,” but that fruit is so low it’s like picking apples up off of the ground and making cider out of them. HD is a gentleman and a sportsman. So, I went with choice #2. And here it is: Think of your favorite death metal band. What is it? There’s a 99% chance they aren’t as good as Incantation. Incantation write the type of horrifyingly monolithic metal best suited for a proper fade out riff. After eight minutes of crushing motherfuckers to death, Incantation close “Abolishment of Immaculate Serenity” with a bruising ditty of a riff that fades out over the last 15 seconds of the track. Fade out starts at 8:00. Enjoy.
Simple, straightforward, evocative. At just over a quarter of the length of the song, what makes this riff a fade out classic is the rumbling bass line and a different drum fill at the end of each section.
This is a song that gets over looked because of the album it’s on. Regardless, the song rips and causes prolapse while the ending gently fades and kisses you goodnight.