Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Huns & Rodents

The guitar riff is the brick that built the house of 80s heavy metal.

Metallicas layered Bay-area thrash. Poisons simplistic trash. Joe Satrianis flash and Guns N Roses Slash. AC/DCs unforgettable You Shook Me and Babylon ADs forgotten Bang Goes The Bells. All shaped by the same musical DNA: a rhythmic, repeated guitar phrase.

Listen to the German band Scorpions for examples: Rock You Like A Hurricane and No One Like You are probably the best known, but there are more: Big City Nights.” “Im Leaving You.” “The Zoo.” “Blackout. No One Like You. Bad Boys Running Wild(Not to be confused with Bad Boy by Haywire, Bad Boys by Great White, Bad Boys by Whitesnake, or Bad Boys by Wham) and No One Like You with the way they have the rhythm guitar start and the lead come bursting in over top. The Zoo.  Blackout.” “Im Leaving You.

Or consider Ratt, In terms of consistency, Ratt were the best of their generation. Most 80s LA bands were lucky to even release five albums, let alone five good ones. From Out of the Cellar to Detonator,  Ratt had the best five album run of any of the Sunset Strip metal bands (with the possible exception of Motley Crue depending on how big a fan you are of Theatre of Pain).

And every song beginning with  Out of the Cellars Wanted Man and ending with Top Secret from Detonator  is built around one or two guitar riffs.

Grunge killed 80s metal. But it didnt kill the riff. Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots used them.  Kurt Cobain might have disdained metal, but the riff was as close to Nirvana as it was to Heavens Edge.  The opening of Smells Like Teen Spirit--grunges signature song--is unmistakeable, and that opening--all guitar followed by the drums crashing entrance, is all riff, baby.

Guitar-based music doesnt have the same prominence today and hasnt for awhile. Thats why I like Nickelback.

Many people dont. There was even a time when not only did people hate Nickelback, they also didnt like people who liked them. My liking Nickelback is the reason one woman refused to sleep with me.

I get it. I felt the same way about Creed. And before that, Milli Vanilli.

I like Nickelback because they use the riff. You can hear examples in Animals,” “Something In Your Mouth, and that Pants-Around-Your-Feet song.

They continue to riff, and for that, I salute them. 

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