playlist: harmonization

Before we get too far into this, I know full well making a list like this will catch me some kind of flack for missing some artist or song that probably more than deserving belongs here. What I tried to capture were some of the more unique, groundbreaking or interesting uses of the dual lead guitar harmonization over the years.

I fell in love with this kind of guitar sound from the first time I heard it employed. Much like the sinister evocation of the flatted fifth in Sabbath and the pounding rhythmic double base drive of Cream or the experimental infatuations of Hendrix or the gritty passion of Johnny Cash, this kind of sound just does something unique to me, for me, in me. The band that did it for me was Maiden (who, incidentally, dictate a LOT of my personal listening habits, for better or worse). After my infatuation with the flamboyant single-bass foot work was satiated (I’m a single-foot player myself), I recognized those first harmonized riffs and soaring dual solos I fell in love (even if the parallel fifths weren’t classically accepted). It just really jumped at me and the songs that employ it in some way still do.

It is almost cliched at this point to employ the technique. Much like bands ripped it off en masse in the late 70s and 80s from Priest and Lizzy and Maiden, modern metal in the late 90s and 00s has thrived on the post- ATG, Dark Tranquility, In Flames incarnation of it. I’m pretty sure in 10 years someone else will re-configure the dual lead harmonized guitar effect and the next generation will be infatuated and infuriated by it just the same. Until then, there’s always these few examples that get my blood pumping to pass along:

Thin Lizzy “The Boys are Back In Town”
Judas Priest “Head Out on the Highway”
Iron Maiden “The Trooper”
Slayer “Reign in Blood”
Metallica “Master of Puppets”
Testament “the Haunting”
Carcass “Heartwerk”
In Flames “Behind Space”
Dark Tranquility “Punish My Heaven”
At the Gates “Slaughter of the Soul”
Soilwork “Chainheart Machine”
Arch Enemy “Bridge of Destiny”
Amorphis “Against Widows”
Shadows Fall “Of One Blood”
God Forbid “Divide My Destiny”
the Haunted “Bullet Hole”
Darkane “Organic Canvas”
Fear My Thoughts “Windows For the Dead”
Scar Symmetry “the Iconoclast”
August Burns Red “the Truth of a Liar”
Another Perfect Day “For You…Forever”
Your Memorial “Learn Your Lies”
Obscura “the Anticosmic Overload”
Burning the Masses “Mind Control”
Anomolous “Ohmnivalent”
Abysmal Dawn “In the Hands of Death”
Gorod “A Common Hope”
Decapitated “Day 69”

and an honorable mention to Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse “Danger Bird” – a song from an album that employs the idea well even if it doesn’t fit anywhere into the mess…above.

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About thedoormouse

I am I. That’s all that i am. my little mousehole in cyberspace of fiction, recipes, sacrasm, op-ed on music, sports, and other notations both grand and tiny: https://thedmouse.wordpress.com/about-thedmouse/
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2 Responses to playlist: harmonization

  1. JRadonski says:

    Is there a certain Metallica track that you were thinking of, or will any do?

    • thedoormouse says:

      Oops, I think I hit publish before I completed the thought. It’s corrected in the blog body, but the song was to be “Puppetz” for the bridge and solo section harmonizations. Some of them are buried pretty deep in the original mix (particularly the upper melody) but they are there and an important part of why those passages sound particularly haunting at times.

      It was also pointed out that I missed the Scorpions. They wouldn’t have initially come to mind, but good call by the contributor on suggesting them.

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