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Old 10-25-2012, 09:58 AM   #1
Jehannum
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The history of the riff - modern times

I'm researching riff-based guitar music in rock and metal. My problem is I stopped listening to these genres after 1991. My knowledge of rock and metal ends with Nirvana, except for a few later releases of older bands.

I want to know if and how the guitar riff has developed since that time. So from 1991 - 2012 I need to know about bands that have specialised in riff music and who have produced the best epoch-defining riffs. For each band suggestion it would be helpful if you named a song of theirs with a particularly definitive or memorable riff.

Cheers.
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:11 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jehannum
I'm researching riff-based guitar music in rock and metal. My problem is I stopped listening to these genres after 1991. My knowledge of rock and metal ends with Nirvana, except for a few later releases of older bands.

I want to know if and how the guitar riff has developed since that time. So from 1991 - 2012 I need to know about bands that have specialised in riff music and who have produced the best epoch-defining riffs. For each band suggestion it would be helpful if you named a song of theirs with a particularly definitive or memorable riff.

Cheers.


Josh Homme(TCV,QOTSA,EODM)
1.Gunman,New Fang,Reptiles off of TCV
2.Song for The Deaf, Sick Sick Sick, Little Sister by QOTSA
Jack White
1.Blue Blood Blues by The Dead Weather
2.Little Cream Soda by White Stripes
3.Steady As She Goes by Racounters
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:15 PM   #3
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Dimebag Darrell said the key to songwriting from a guitarist's point of view is linking together some sweet-sounding riffs and going wild on the solo. That's all it is, he writes. I read it a while back in the book Guitar World put together of us the columns he wrote for them. SO, listen to some Pantera. Cowboys from Hell, Vulgar Display of Power, and Reinventing the Steel are key albums.

The riff from Cowboys from Hell (the song. plays through the chorus) is great. So is the chorus riffs from Cemetary Gates. Listen to the opening riff of Walk. Revolution Is My Name is a great song overall, but the solo begins with a really sick riff repeated twice. (Honestly, Reinventing the Steel wasn't a seminal album. It followed the worst crapshoot I've ever listened to in The Great Southern Trendkill and somehow managed to be Pantera's best album, in my opinion. It's heavier, dirtier, and groovier than any of their previous and that's what's great about Pantera.)

Other than that? Mastodon have been a big deal since 2004. Their music is 90% riff-based and they seem well-respected in the metal community. 2004's Leviathan is great. Check out Blood and Thunder.

Of course, I'd be remiss in not mentioning Dethklok. Seriously, Dethklok could be a great help to you. The show and the band are satirical, but the music is satirizing metal bands and genres on their albums (I can't speak to Dethalbum III, I haven't really listened to it yet). There's plenty of melodic death metal in Thunderhorse (which is really In Flames' Jester's Dance without the silly acoustic bits), Dethharmonic, Black Fire Upon Us, and I Tamper with Evidence at the Murder Site of Odin (yes, a silly name). Straight Death Metal is pretty obvious in other songs. They these "flavors" of other genres in how they write the riffs, i.e. the notes, scales, rhythms, speed, lack or presence of both lead and rhythm guitar, the drumbeat supporting the riff, etc.

Sorry, as far as "epoch-defining", I have no clue over the last 20 years. It's hard to do what Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Metallica, etc. did with their riffs. Maybe we don't see more modern riffs as definitive or as memorable as past riffs because they have not inspired endless debates of how many genres of metal or rock there are today.... I mean, because they didn't inspire (or could not be seen to inspire, more accurately) revolutionary change in music. Iron Man, Master of Puppets, and most of British Steel were in a relatively small and cohesive scene when they played. I'm into melodic death metal and whatever instrumental albums metal guitarists release (amongst other things, but those are the most "riffy"), and so don't really know if Metalcore still exists (seriously, I haven't checked since 2009. Is it still alive? Please, no?). That's just my single example. Conversely, imagine the middle of the 1980s. You listen to "metal". You probably know about Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden. You're discovering bands like Metallica, Anthrax, etc. (Hair Metal is not metal. That is not up for debate. It is also terrible). You see my point: the scene of music which focuses on riffs has expanded exponentially, so finding that seminal, epoch-defining riff is more difficult because those riffs are only seminal or epoch-defining to sub-genres.

Have fun and good luck with the research.

Also, how dare someone bring up riffs by Jack White and not mention Seven Nation Army. That is a gross omission. That was one of the last, simple, great guitar riffs in super-popular music.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:02 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies, chaps.

Spiderjerusalem: your analysis really helps. I'm digesting the information carefully. Thanks again.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:29 AM   #5
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Stoner Rock, Sludge Metal, Doom Metal, etc. all developed a lot over the last 2 decades and are heavily riff-based(in the vein of like Black Sabbath).

Check out bands like Electric Wizard, Fu Manchu, QOTSA, Soundgarden.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:36 AM   #6
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Can anyone provide the script of a song of Charlie chaplin film Modern times ?
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:00 AM   #7
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A lot of bands in that time though used Dropped D and Dropped C though, like Rage Against the Machine and System of a Down.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:58 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by spiderjerusalem
Hair Metal is not metal. That is not up for debate. It is also terrible

This is incorrect. It's awesome.

It's also worth noting that the phrase 'hair metal' didn't exist in the 80's, which is generally speaking the era it refers to.

Back then, all those bands WERE considered to be heavy metal, as it was generally accepted that heavy metal was a genre encompassing lots of sub-genres, including the hard rock & glam metal bands that now get accused of being 'hair metal'.
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