Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tabs from the slab continued...

Here's more guitar tablature for you guys to chew on. This time, I've tabbed out the first track from All Guts, No Glory, "As Hammer to Anvil" for you.  It's a pretty straightforward tune construction-wise. The verse, chorus and beginning of the bridge is all built around deconstructing the intro riff, which features a bit of string-skipping alternate picking that's pretty easy to master once you get the hang of it. I got the idea years ago after reading something by Erik Rutan talking about string-skipping exercises he did. The transitions are simple hammer-on ascensions that are our takes on the opening licks in "Back in the Village" by Maiden - or as we referred to it - the "...And Justice for All" lick backwards. Playing it much faster and against F# key of the song (technically C# in our tuning) gives it a different feel than either the Maiden or Metallica takes on the lick (that are in Am and Em respectively). The timing of the chorus riff is loosely based off the chorus riff in "Hypertension" by Razor and the bridge features pretty obvious nods first to Slayer (a bit similar to "Captor of Sin") and then to Carcass (riffing off the chorus in "Swarming Vulgar Mass of Infected Virulency").

I've included the transcription for my solo (or a very close facsimile thereof) here. In doing this, as often happens, I've realized how far what I've been playing live every night has wandered from the initial recording. The first half has some typical stuff that I do a lot, interspersing Adrian Smith-worship minor stuff with occasional spurts of bluesy bits with lots of hammer-ons, pull-offs and triplet timing, and then it goes into a total "Creeping Death" type descent that was just too easy and fun to do, before rounding it out with a quarter-note triplet melody stuff that I so often fall back on for feel and vibe. I'm not sure what Wes played here, but his solo is a killer. If you run into him, ask him for me.

The file I posted here is a Guitar Pro 6 file, which is what we use to send transcriptions back and forth internally. I'm not sure if there's a free way to open the (.gpx) files as I'm not the most internet-savvy guy out there, but the program itself is pretty reasonable - something like $45. I highly recommend it for any guitarists, I use it to write midi drum patterns and all kinds of shit. I tried exporting the file as a .pdf, but it turns into a ridiculously long thing that is of no use to anyone, so... Hopefully you have the program if you're interested.

And for those of you who aren't guitar players out there that are still reading (anyone?  hello?), I wrote an alternate draft of liner notes for All Guts, No Glory that featured a track-by-track breakdown. Here's what I had for "As Hammer..." circa 2011:

I wrote five or six songs for a new album back in 2005, and this is one of the two that we actually recorded for “All Guts, No Glory” (the other being “Cold Caress”). Even at the time, the consensus was that this was the strongest track I had come up with, and it's held up well. Getting it ready for this record, I did tighten up the arrangement (originally there was a weird tempo shift where things slowed to a crawl and there was some atmospheric whammy bar stuff that didn't work that well even then, and definitely didn't jive with the zeitgeist of things in 2011) and shorten the song a little bit to keep it taut and aggressive. One part I kept was one of Mike Beams' old riffs as the tail to the bridge part. I originally wrote this song right before he left the band, and this particular bit was something from his early 90's death metal band Burial. They were a great band, chock full of Mike's amazing riffs, and really good friends of ours in the early days. Their singer, Mark Smith recorded the “Cadaveric Splatter Platter” demo with us back in 1993. Mike was a true gentleman about the riff and was stoked that we used it on the record. Leon actually inspired the title years ago. When Satyricon's “Nemesis Divina” album came out, Leon would always quote the line “I am the hammer, you are the (you have to say this with an exaggerated Scandinavian accent) anwil” which would crack me up. So I had some kind of Hammer / Anvil thing in mind – plus we had already spoofed the band Anvil with “Forged In Fire” back on “Slaughtercult”, so it kind of fit an ongoing motif. I had written lyrics back in '05, but lost them somewhere in the many moves I've undertaken since then, so I just kept the title and vocal patterns (as best I could remember them) and wrote new ones that are probably pretty similar, in all honesty. The bridge part is a little homage to a Tolkein poem about dwarves and their “hammer fells like ringing bells” or something like that, haha!

All right guys, enjoy. Tour updates and photos are coming here soon - here's the link to get the tab.

"As Hammer To Anvil" Live at the Roxy at the Scion / Relapse showcase in early 2012

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