Wednesday 2 August 2017

ELEVEN IS ONE LOUDER: Philadelphia shamanic sludgers Got Root discuss their favourite riffs

Former Sadgiqacea vocalist/drummer Fred Grabosky brings us his new project God Root and what a project it is, following up their 4 track EP released last year, the band have roared back with their debut full length released on the 11 July and to put it simply, “Salt and Rot” is one of the best records we’ve heard this year, and a uniquely disorienting listen.  With its balance of inhuman tones and ritual chants, it feels simultaneously outside of history and utterly indebted to it.  Packing such epic arrangements into a 33 minute record feels impossible, as lesser acts have failed to deliver similar ambitions into double disc efforts. 

As with Sadgiqacea, these Philadelphia avant-garde sludge shamans accentuate the heavy parts with quiet moments to create their own brand of primitive and tribalistic sludge, with doomed cinematic soundscapes.  Each element is added very carefully as to not over saturate the compositional structure of the record, with songs often building tension until you are served with a crushing finale.  

Today with the album but a few weeks old, we invited the band to talk about the lifeblood of all bands worldwide, the might of the riff.  So come with us as we take our weekly trip into the extreme and turn the volume all the way up to eleven, as God Root choose some of their favourite riffs of all time.  

“Each of us has immense respect for the song writers who push riffs with their hearts. We like to think we take after that mind set in our own writing. We want to feel it. “Salt and Rot” contains a lot of riffs that we really feel in our loins. Here's a list of some of all-time favourite riffs that we've been inspired by and aspire to live up to”.

The Mars Volta“Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt” (chosen by Jordan)

I can't think of a band that mixes intricate guitar parts and noise any better than The Mars Volta. At 3:40, after being taken on what is already an insane sonic journey, the song quiets and out of this King Crimson-esque mellotron part starts to bubble this stumbling, idiotic riff that sounds like it's had a little too much to drink. The riff seems like it was written by a toddler smashing their toy truck into a step sequencer at first but then you start to realize that this is a riff and "oh shit, it's angry." before you have enough time to say "I get it" this phaser of death swallows it up and the rest of the band joins back in to form this ultra-noisey super groove.

Runner up: “Red” by King Crimson

The Melvins – “Boris” (chosen by Ross)

This riff is the grandpappy of 10,000 bands and 100,000 songs. A riff you name your band after. A riff I named my cat after. A riff so heavy you laugh at it when you first hear it. Like "what the fuck is this... he's basically playing 3 notes for 9 minutes." And then you find yourself craving it. Always wanting more. Chasing that riff dragon. But no other riff comes close. Never like that first time. Extra props to the live version with the Big Business boys joining in for insane 4 part harmonies.

Runner up: “Christbait Rising” by Godflesh

Morbid Angel – “God of Emptiness” by (chosen by Keith)

The opening riff of this song is perfect. The snaking, unpredictable, and totally crushing guitar immediately conveys blasphemy and total evil. Morbid Angel has a way of finding the perfect "wrong" notes in their riffs and it makes them sound completely sinister and alien like pronouncing the name of some ancient Lovecraftian beast. It's just the most pulverizing thing I've ever heard.

Runner up:  “Sight Beyond Sight” by Rwake

Neurosis – “The Doorway” (chosen by Fred)

This is kind of a no-brainer for most people that love heavy music I guess, and maybe even an unoriginal answer to some, but I don't care. I honestly would like to lump this whole damn song into one "favorite riff", but if I had to choose a specific riff in this song, it would have to be the breaking point riff with an epic crash at 3:20 in. This riff is so damn good it's stupid. It's set up perfectly to pummel you after 3 minutes of 2 swirling riffs that seem to send you into a daze from violent electric shock. A haunting and intense stupor washes over you as you hear both Scott and Steve bark and howl at you...and then it hits. Holy fuck, it's like the earth is being split open only to send your body hurling into the abyss. As you're free falling through the earths core at disgusting speed, the mid tempo riff evolves with clever harmonic palm mutes...and then you're legally dead, you smash into the surface below, but the next riff violates your obliterated corpse even further... the song is an all out assault on the psyche for a solid 7 minutes. I have so much love for this band, this album and this riff.

Runner Up: “Set the Controls for the Heart of The Sun” by Pink Floyd 

James Brown – “Ain't it Funky Now” (chosen by Joe)

The teeth-grinding single mindedness that this riff is played with is something I think about a lot. The whole rhythm section is on board with that attitude and the tension is physical. The way they just lean into it unceasingly for minutes at a time never fails to make my muscles tense up involuntarily. This riff is a great example of the power of sheer repetition in music. 

Runner up: “Journey Into Satchidananda” by Alice Coltrane 

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