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  • Heavier Than Hell

    Dive into the moshpit with 10 ultra-heavy riffs... The task for this article is clear: root out some of the deepest, darkest, heaviest riffs ever

    Dive into the moshpit with 10 ultra-heavy riffs...
    as appeared in the August 1998 issue of GuitarOne Magazine

    The task is clear: root out some of the deepest, darkest, heaviest riffs ever to fill a CD's sample-bits. With the abundance of sonic mayhem currently available on record-store shelves, the job of selecting only ten finalists is decidedly difficult--many promising entries must be omitted. And to complicate matters, there isn't just one stylistic category that can lay claim to this arena.

    Today, heavy riffs can be found lurking anywhere across the modern metal/postgrunge/thrash/death/grindcore spectrum, where drive and intensity just keep pushing the limit to new, ever-more-crushing levels.

    In a moment, we'll dive in and see just what kind of musical savagery takes the coveted prize of "most heavy" this time around. But first, let's set down a few entry parameters.

    What makes for a heavy riff? Key ingredients may include low tunings, a dark tonality, dissonant or surprising melodic turns, a tempo in the moderate range (not too fast), some good rhythmic punches (usually juxtaposed against a palm-muted pedal tone), and of course, the guitar tone--preferably a raging, full-tilt distortion.

    Bind all these ingredients together with a little creative brilliance and you most likely have a contender. Or, to put it plain terms, these are the riffs that reach out of your stereo and grab you by the throat, demanding to be learned and learned now!

    And if they're really good, they just might keep squeezing until your lifeless body crumples to the ground, only to raise you up from the dead forevermore to walk the earth as a rotting, zombiecorpse.

    Now that you've been forwarned of the danger, let's get down to it!

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