[Exclusive] Monte Pittman Shares His Top 10 Favorite Guitar Riffs!

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Guitarist Monte Pittman has just released his third solo album The Power Of Three through Metal Blade Records and it’s a blast of pure badass metal with heaps of awesome technicalities that will make any guitarist sit up and take note. Produced by produced by Flemming Rasmussen, who produced Metallica‘s Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets, and …And Justice For All, the album is the follow up to 2011′s Pain, Love, & Destiny. You can pick up your copy via iTunes or Metal Blade.

In a Bloody-Disgusting exclusive, we got Monte to shoot us his Top 10 Favorite Guitar Riffs, which feature some well known licks as well as some badass selections that you might not have heard before! Head on down to check out his selections!

In No Particular Order

“Into The Void” – Black Sabbath

Tony Iommi. One of the nicest Guitar Gods I’ve ever met and the Godfather of metal. It’s hard to choose one Black Sabbath song. This song alway sounded “scary” to me when I was a little kid. The riffs keep coming on this song. It’s got it all! This, among other Black Sabbath tracks, set the tone and shape of Metal to come.

“Blame It On God” – Deicide

Well, don’t expect the heaviest riffs to come from Styper! (great guys though! Cool dudes!). In Music Theory, you have this formula which applies to every Major scale. Major, minor, minor, Major, Dominant Seventh, minor and the diminished chord just before going back home to your first Major chord in the series. The Diminished chord contains the flatted fifth, or the Tritone, or as it was called hundreds of years ago: Diabolus In Musica. This means “The Devil In Music”. Churches did not want you playing this chord! Look it up and read about it. It’s pretty interesting. Anyway, the main riff “Blame It On God” all comes from a Diminished scale and the notes build up. On paper, that’s about as heavy as it gets.

“Raza Odiada (Pito Wilson)” – Brujeria

This is one of my favorite riffs by one of my favorite metal guitarists on one of my favorite albums ever! Music is about balance. The space is as important as what you play. Some times the simplest riffs can be the most effective. This track also has a “scene” or spoken intro of some sort. This is great for setting the mood and creating a calm before the storm.

“Stripped, Raped, and Strangled” – Cannibal Corpse

Here is a perfect example of a 2 guitar assault working together to make one of the heaviest riffs of all time and putting Death Metal on the map. There was nothing like this when it came out. All of the elements fall perfectly in to place when they made this masterpiece. One guitar is playing the main riff while the other guitar is playing against it AND doubling up. The vocals come in “sounding like he’s singing into the phone” and then the song just explodes. Double kick drums pave the way for both guitars AND the bass all playing “diminished” interval trills that move up a half step. Outstanding.

“Hell Awaits” – Slayer

One of the key factors of making one of the heaviest riffs ever is having 2 guitars counteract each other. Slayer were probably one of the first to do this. It builds up so much tension at the beginning and then the band comes together. After the band is all together, they pick up the pace and changed the face of music from then on.

“Hacked Up For Barbecue” – Mortician

I don’t know what the lyrics are on this song and I’m going to keep it that way. This song is so heavy it’s almost unlistenable. REMEMBER: Like Cannibal Corpse, when this first came out, there was NOTHING like it before. That is something that is taken for granted today. There aren’t too many times in the history of music where someone comes up with a new art form out of 12 notes we have to choose from. This is the ultimate equivalent to making an audio version of a horror film. Mortician would use audio from a horror movie often to set up each song. When this first came out, that made driving down a dark road in East Texas in the middle of nowhere even scarier!

“A New Level” – Pantera

One thing that makes a riff so heavy is when the notes move chromatically. In this case, the notes are ascending where normally you would see this type of riff descending (example: “Master Of Puppets”). Pantera redefined heavy music and definitely “Reinvented The Steel”. Pantera are a band where it’s hard to just choose one riff.

“Praise The Strength” – Morbid Angel
This is one of my all time favorite heavy songs ever. Morbid Angel are great at writing songs where the tempo either goes up or down somewhere in the song creating an astonishing display of tension and release.

“Who’s Fist Is This Anyway?” – Prong
This song builds from killer riff to killer riff. Tommy Victor is one of the best riff masters ever. The entire “Cleansing” album is full of them. Mainly the outro riff for this song is one of the pieces of music Prong is most known for.

“The Thing That Should Not Be” – Metallica
Starting off acoustic with a riff and then coming in heavy is like getting slapped in the face with a ton of bricks. This is a great example of a phenomenal slow tempo riff that makes you make a face like something stinks when you hear it.

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  • macguffin54

    No mention of Madonna in this article? Hmm… Were it not for her you might never have heard of him (which is not to say you heard of him because you listen to Madonna and follow her career. But his affiliation with her, his guitar lessons, performing on tours with her and on her records, has brought him his cachet and notoriety that has opened many, if not all, of the doors that has helped make him who he is today.) Plbbbt!

    • JonathanBarkan

      Oh, I know of his connection with Madonna. I wrote about it in my previous article about him. I just want to make it clear that his work is separate from her and that it stands on its own merits. The guy is wicked talented and to be known as “Madonna’s guitarist” seems dismissive.

  • j.c

    Doesn’t matter to me who he’s played with. If being in Madonna’s band has opened doors for him to do stuff more geared to his personal taste (which obviously lean towards more heavy material), so be it. Ive heard a few cuts from his new cd and have liked what Ive heard so far. Lots of guitarist make a living being hired guns and Im cool with that. Good for him.