Riff ov the Week: Tremolo-a-go-go


I took no pleasure in moving the non-tremolo-picked riff submissions into the trash folder this week. And by “no pleasure” I mean the exact opposite of that. Being “pleasure”. And by “pleasure” I mean the sexual kind.

What does that mean? Only that when people tell me to get help it’s probably good advice. Even so, you can trust that I did it in order to preserve the integrity of this week’s theme, and that the personal gratification came merely as a bonus.

Last week, in a classic underdog story, Jack “The Little Engine That Could” Bauer defied all expectations by selecting a great riff which rendered him victorious with 25(!) votes. Congratulations on one of the most assertive victories in Riff ov the Week history. Go to your refrigerator and choose your favorite item inside as your prize.


Next week:

  • W. has decreed next week’s theme: the most sensual riff. He elaborated only with “let the music do the seducing” and offered no further explanation.
  • Send your most sensual riff to toiletovhellriff@gmail.com. Include your Disqus handle, a link, the time of the riff, and an explanation.
  • If you have an idea for ROTW theme, make it known (to the man who suggested supergroup riffs – you are not forgotten and it will soon be so).



My dedication to avoiding obvious or overly-“classic” picks for this contest would have been strenuously tested this week were it not for Aurvandil‘s Yearning. The new challenge became picking just one riff from the album. “End of An Age” won out. The drums drop out at 2:34 to give the new riff the space it deserves, then join back in after one run-through. The wistful melancholy of the riff’s consummating ascent up the fretboard gives me goosebumps every time. Brrrrrr, dude.


Howard Dean

The tremolo is the foundation for a lot of extreme metal. OSDM used it liberally, and the Scandinavians forged an entire black metal scene around such riffs. Modern Deathspell Omega definitely isn’t the first band that comes to mind when one thinks of tremolo, so would you be surprised to learn that maybe the best tremolo riff ever written comes from Paracletus? Never has a riff sounded like so much dread and anguish. Roi Celeste! Consolateur! Esprit due verite! Start at 2:19.



Hey, desk jockeys. If you want a few weeks off work on the sick, pick up yourselves a copy of Mgła’s With Hearts Towards None and tremolo pick along for the entire album. You’ll be on your way to the doctor’s office in no time and you’ll depart with a wrist brace and a freshly signed sick note for carpel tunnel syndrome. Voila! The opening riff to “With Hearts Towards None III” is a twin guitar tremolo picking romance and should not be missed but my ROTW submission starts at 1:49 when the romance fades and you’re left with one of the most melancholy tremolo riffs ever written.



This riff is good. 3:32.


Sir Tapir

At 0:10. This doesn’t last too long, but it’s great.


Mother Shabubu III

The way this song builds tension up to this point is the like dark clouds gathering, then getting thicker and churning. Then almost out of no where, a leviathan of doom soaks the land in a deluge of despair. This might be one of the angriest/bleakest/darkest/heaviest riffs from any band that has ever utilized black metal tremolo picking. I call this the “holy living fuck” riff, since that was my reaction the first time I heard it. This riff is like a music embodiment of what the inside of a tornado sounds like. Riff starts at 4:30.



Explanation: 3:51... That is all.



The opening riff of “Fogwarning” is embedded deep into my brain. If you’re not up on your Mutilation Rites you are seriously missing out.


Brock Samson

I love when tech death can hold back and perform a simple tremolo riff. Starts at 1:52.



Apparently all other versions of this riff were removed from YouTube after the ‘Too Beastly’ clause was invoked. Anyway, I found some guy’s video had part of the beastly riff in question. Starts @ 3:15.



There were, in such voyages through the tremolo riff, incalculable local dangers; as well as that shocking final peril which gibbers unmentionably outside the ordered universe, where no dreams reach; that last amorphous musical blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the centre of all infinity – the boundless daemon sultan Sunn 0))), whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who drones hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin, monotonous whine of accursed bass amps; to which detestable pounding and droning dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic Ultimate gods, the blind, voiceless, tenebrous, mindless Other gods whose soul and messenger is the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep. TL;DR the trebly tremolo riff throughout the song is pretty cool. Check it out.


Coal Roll

You know this riff… Everyone knows this riff… EVEN George Lynch (now) knows this riff… Stab here.

[yop_poll id=”63″]
Did you dig this? Take a second to support Toilet ov Hell on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!