Ten Riffs: Anders Nyström, Katatonia

19th Dec 2012 | 17:20

Katatonia's guitarist picks his favourite ten riffs by other artists, including Metallica, Deep Purple and Tool



© Giuseppe Ciccia/Demotix/Corbis

Anders Nyström knows a lot about riffs. As guitarist-in-chief for metal purveyors of dark prog, Katatonia and death metal supergroup Bloodbath, he's been dealing them out for years. But what are his favourites by his influences? Let's find out…

1.Metallica 'To Live Is To Die' (And Justice For all 1988)

Anders: "Forward to 4:57.This little breakdown theme is just heart wrenching! The melody feels timeless and has turned it into a real classic. A perfect example of the kinda feeling where you think, 'I wish I'd written that!' Metallica was probably the first thrash metal band daring to turn off the distortion and exploring directions like this. So musical it hurts!"

2. Whitesnake 'Still Of The Night' (1987)

"The whole segment of the opening riff is a row of knuckle punches and one of my favourite 'soundcheck' riffs to play. Also love the break down part at 3:19 where they treat the guitar like it would be a violin. Cheesy? Oh you better believe it, but I can't keep away!"

3. Carcass 'Corporal Jigsore Quandary' (Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious 1991)

"The drum beat that starts off alone, the riff that follows and then the lead – all classic stuff from the most classic gory band on planet earth!"

4. Tool - 'Stinkfist' (Ænima 1996)

"0:30 The main riff here is so God damn groovy! What a prime example of how you can create something so striking with just two-three notes in the right pattern. This band pushed heavy music into something contemporary and alternative. They're quite hard to 'get', but still huge so a nice paradox there."

5. Morbid Angel 'Where The Slime Live' (Domination 1995)

"The opening riff is so feverish and twisted it's fucking perverse! I think Trey Azagtoth's brain is one big maze of torment and this riff gets you the idea of what it's like in there. Morbid Angel is my fave death metal band and I could easily fill up this list of the 10 best riffs based from their discography only!"

6. Deep Purple 'Perfect Strangers' (Perfect Strangers, 1984)

"2:25 – this riff is an oriental evil twin to Zeppelin's 'Kashmir'! Groovy! What did Metallica say... 'Bang that head that doesn't bang'?"

7. King Diamond 'Welcome Home' (Them, 1988)

"After one of Mikkey Dee's best drumfills ever we have one of the most addictive metal riffs ever made! A little bit of hook and finesse and off we go! Hard to get this one outta my head once it's spinning. King at his prime! Grandmaaaaaaaaa!"

8. Judas Priest 'The Sentinel' (Defenders Of The Faith 1984)

"The first riff is another fave of mine to soundcheck with. This riff feels like a slow breakdown version what the whole melodic 'Gothenburg' style [melodic death metal] bands built their stuff on in the mid 90's. Oh and by the way, this album is also the best heavy metal record of all time!"

9. Dismember 'Override The Overture" (Like An Everflowing Stream 1991)

0:30 One of the best death metal riffs ever written and the guitar tone could drill through mountains! Classic death metal from Stockholm, Sweden with the perfect old school drive! I will never forget the impression this left upon hearing the riff maxed out on a THX system at the cinema as it was featured in one of Pioneer's car stereo commercials. Boom!

10. Celtic Frost Procreation of the wicked (Morbid Tales 1984)

The opening riff is absolutely one of the heaviest there is! Ugh! I said hey! Thrash! Are you morbid?

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