Archive for Death Metal

Heaviest moments in Heavy Metal #3111 – Obituary – Dying

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 26, 2008 by Staff Writer

From the 1990 landmark album Cause of Death came this crushing ‘tune’ by the Floridian quintet. Again produced by Scott Burns and featuring melo-shred hired gun James Murphy contributing to a lineup of strong fully-evolved classic Death Metal tracks, this album is widely considered essential when describing the history of this genre of extreme music.

The track Dying was unusual (now considered fairly normal) due to its very long introduction which traverses a number of different riffs at different tempos often skillfully juxtaposed to create sonic contrast from section to section. This use of dynamics is what keeps Obituary’s music interesting for me, rather than being fast all the time with blast beats prevalent throughout, Obituary have understood and internalized what it means to be ‘sludgily’ heavy (the best word I can think of to describe it) and how to use tempo changes and contrast to create perceived heaviosity. Low – E (or D) riffing often happens with an open low string rather than a fully palm-muted and scooped chunk which lends itself to more variety and often a thicker wall of sound with more note ‘bleeding’ occurring.

The song itself is apt – during the four-and-a-half minutes it runs for, the lyrics consist solely of the lines:

“We’re dying for our souls to learn.
We’re dying for our souls to burn.
We’re dying for our souls to learn.
We’re dying, euurrrrrrgghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”

John Tardy’s ‘voice as instrument’ approach works perfectly – the lyrics are largely irrelevant – it’s more about the noise he makes fitting so well with the atmospherics/mood of the music. Nevertheless, I always find these 20 seconds of vocals a highlight given Tardy’s unrivalled  gravelly sub-demonic gruntings – easily best DM vocalist in my book – Lord knows how he does it and how his vocal chords can survive making such sounds.

The ‘heaviest’ moment I am talking about occurs at 01:29 on the studio recording, and in the below YouTube video at 01:36.

Here’s my transcription. Tune all strings down a whole step, though I’ve tabbed it in standard notation:


Heavy palm muting on the single notes. Observe the use of what some refer to as the Ob chord (named after the band) which is a power 5  chord with the 5th doubled an octave lower for super thick sound. Get a mate, play this at the same time along with a fast double bass drum beat and you’re there bro’ – euuuurrrrrgrghhhhhhhHH!!!!!!!

P.S. I always love the comments on YouTube – one for this video reads:

‘the drummer and one of the guitarists have great beards and of course badass hair’.

Indeed they have. Gotta have badass hair to be Metal…


Heaviest moments in Heavy Metal #2314 – Sepultura – Mass Hypnosis

Posted in Heavy Metal with tags , on February 23, 2008 by Staff Writer

Oh yeah. Brazilian thrash/death metal.

From the ridiculously heavy Scott Burns-produced album Beneath the Remains (1989) came this monstrously crushing track. It’s very hard to pick a winner overall since the disc is filled with pummeling riffs which have been so masterfully engineered that instead of collapsing under the weight of the distortion and sheer aggression, they are instead tight and focused like rapid kicks to the ribcage.

The first heavy moment occurs in the studio recorded track at around 0:20 when after the opening riff, Max Cavalera switches to a super tight palm muted gallop that’s propelled by brother Igor Cavalera’s brutally fast double bass drum.

The second (and heaviest moment) occurs after the solo from about 2:30 with some huge power chords against a mid-paced double bass drum blast beat followed by some super chunky downpicking. The guitar sound is scooped, double (or maybe triple tracked) and with enough white noise resulting from the distorted overtones to make the sound one of the hottest and heaviest metal guitar sounds ever committed to tape.

Again, not being one to breach copyright here’s a YouTube live version. In the video, the moments occur at  00:41 and 02:37.

Here are my attempt to transcribe the riffs:

#1 – note that it’s all open palm muted E notes. So what? It’s *all* about the rhythm, the muting and the sheer speed (probably something stupid at around 200bpm)


#2 – huge chords over that blast beat. Amazing. Headphones on, volume up, lights off. Half time feel, slower tempo.


Ralph Santolla leaves Deicide.

Posted in Heavy Metal with tags , on January 10, 2008 by Staff Writer

Full article here.

Florida-based death metallers DEICIDE have parted ways with guitarist Ralph Santolla. A replacement axeman has not yet been announced.
Santolla (ex-DEATH, ICED EARTH) told BLABBERMOUTH.NET last month that he was looking to join a new band “in any genre of metal.” “I like to keep busy writing, recording and touring,” Santolla said. “Down time drives me nuts. Anyone looking for a guitarist can contact me at”

Bad luck for Glen Benton and gang then, since IMHO Ralph Santolla is the World’s Best Death Metal Guitarist. Wonder if he left because Deicide is a Satanic band and he’s a Christian?

Oh well. I’ve sent him an e-mail asking him if he wants to join me at my upcoming gig playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to some kindergarten kids.

Is Ralph Santolla the World’s best Death Metal lead guitarist?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 26, 2007 by Staff Writer

I think so.

Exhibit A: stepped into the shoes of the Hoffman brothers in Deicide (despite him being a practicing Catholic entering into the world’s most Satanic band) for the album The Stench of Redemption – a titanically heavy album with superb melodic shred playing that perfectly suits the Death Metal genre.  Ok – when I say ‘stepped’ into the shoes of, I’m not forgetting Jack Owen (former Cannibal Corpse guitarist) who’s not exactly a slouch on his axe either, but his lead playing while violent and fitting for this type of metal is not as refined and melodic (I know this sounds like an oxymoron in context) as Santolla’s.

Exhibit B: Replaced Allen West in Obituary for the crushingly heavy but beautifully adorned (with Santolla’s spiraling leads) album Xecutioner’s Return.  I always felt West was the weak point in the Ob lineup and had a minor celebration when James Murphy joined for the Cause Of Death album (sadly he left because he went mental from brain cancer). West’s leads just lacked that certain oomph and energy – neither weird, atonal or ‘sound effecty’ enough nor as melodic or technically accomplished in the shred realm to really round out Obituary to being totally crushing. Let’s hope Santolla stays in the band, or at least contributes as a hired gun in the great tradition of other revolving door DM guitar artistes such as Murphy, Andy LaRoque, Paul Masvidal… Anyway, go buy that album – an outstanding Death Metal release.

P.S. My company network blocks access to the Deicide website. Now that’s evil.