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Brief Chronology of Norwegian Black Metal, Part 1

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 10, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Just got this press release from Norwegian black metal band Immortal. It's one of the better ones to come across my desk in some time. Started trying to separate fact from fiction, and became very frightened that it may all be fact! 

A brief chronology

1982 – Britain's Venom coin the term "black metal" with the release of their album of the same name.
1986 – Mayhem's now-legendary demo, "Pure Fucking Armageddon," circulates in the underground. Black Death is founded; band name is later changed to Darkthrone.
1987 – Mayhem releases their "Deathcrush" demo with Swede Sven Erik Kristiansen (aka Maniac) on vocals.
1988 – Darkthrone records their first demo, "Land of Frost."
1989 – Deathlike Silence Productions is founded by Mayhem's Euronymous and Yngve Ohlin (aka Dead). Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes (real name: Kristian Vikernes) joins Olve Eikemo (soon to be known as Abbath Doom Occulta) and Harald Nævdal in Old Funeral.
1990 – Burzum is formed by Count Grishnackh.
1991 – IMMORTAL releases their self-titled, 3-song EP. Emperor is founded by Samoth. Darkthrone members adopt pseudonyms & record their 2nd album, A Blaze In The Northern Sky. Mayhem's singer, Dead, commits suicide. Euronymous opens the Helvete record shop in Old Town in Oslo's East End. Count Grishnackh releases the first instrumental self-titled Burzum demo. Ivar Bjørnson & Grutle Kjellson form Enslaved.
1992 – IMMORTAL releases Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism. Deathlike Silence Productions releases Burzum's self-titled debut album. Enslaved record their first demo, "Yggdrasill." Emperor (Samoth, Ihsahn, and Mortiis) releases their "Wrath Of The Tyrant" demo. Thirteen churches were burned, ten cases were solved.
1993 – IMMORTAL releases Pure Holocaust. Guitarist Silenoz, vocalist Shagrath, and drummer Tjoldav form Dimmu Borgir. Emperor releases self-titled split EP with Enslaved. Mayhem's line-up (featuring Varg Vikernes) releases De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Satyricon releases Dark Medieval Times. Darkthrone releases Under A Funeral Moon. Burzum releases Det Som Engang Var. Euronymous is murdered by Vikernes. Emperor member Bård G. Eithun (aka Faust) murders a gay man. Helvete closes. Ten churches were burned, five cases were solved. Total church burnings to date: 23.
1994 – Emperor releases In The Nightside Eclipse. Darkthrone releases Transylvanian Hunger. Burzum releases Hvis Lyset Tar Oss. Enslaved releases their full-length debut, Vikingligr Veldi and later, Frost. Satyricon releases The Shadowthrone. Gorgoroth releases Pentagram. Dimmu Borgir releases For All Tid. Fourteen churches were burned, seven cases solved. Total church burnings to date: 37.
1995 – IMMORTAL releases Battles In The North. Darkthrone releases Panzerfaust. Satyricon releases their 2nd demo as "The Forest Is My Throne" – a split with Enslaved that includes their "Yggdrasill" demo. Seven churches burned, three cases solved. Total church burnings to date: 44.

Chronology continues in next post ...

ImmortalImmortal live in Sweden, 2009

5 Must-Know Beatles Guitar Riffs

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 10, 2009 at 10:24 AM

With all the hype and hoo-hah surrounding yesterday's release of the digitally remastered Beatles catalog, as well as the Beatles: Rock Band video game, I couldn't help but pick up my guitar and play some Fab Four songs. Here are five of our favorite riffs. Hope you have as much fun playing them as I did!

"Day Tripper" (guitar tab, video lesson)
John Lennon described the subject matter of this tune like this: "Day trippers are people who go on a day trip, right? Usually on a ferryboat or something. But the song was kind of ... you know, 'you're just a weekend hippie.' Get it?" Um, sure, if you say so. But what I do get is one of the coolest single-note rock guitar riffs of all time, right along side the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." 

"I Feel Fine" (guitar tab, video lesson)
After John Lennon wrote this riff, he loved it so much he tried to get it into every song on Beatles For Sale, but the lads wouldn't have it. Finally, they told him to go away and write a song based on the riff—which he did—and "I Feel Fine" is now a Beatles classic. The riff itself is a V–IV–I progression of dominant 7th barre chords, in which your fret hand's pinky does all the heavy lifting. Practice it first in 10th position, for the D7, then simply slide it down to C7 and G7, and you're set.

"Blackbird" (guitar tab, video lesson)
Throughout this song, Paul McCartney employs a semiclassical fingerstyle approach, using 10th intervals with an interpolated open G string as well as folksy fingertip mini-strums. The chromatic passing diminished chords further illuminates the harmonic complexity that plays a subtle yet supporting role in so many Beatles compositions.

"Norwegian Wood" (guitar tab, video lesson)
The star of this Dylan-esque English ballad about unrequited love is the main chord melody riff, which is played in 6/8 time with a capo at the 2nd fret, is set in D Mixolydian, and is echoed on a sitar. While the guitar tab looks complex, it's really all based on the open D chord shape.

"Drive My Car" (guitar tab)
Besides the Temptations' "My Girl," "Drive My Car" may be the greatest major pentatonic pop-rock riff of all-time. But interestingly, this unforgettable Beatles riff was inspired by another R&B classic. George Harrison explains: "[The riff] is really a lick off 'Respect,' you know, the Otis Redding version—duum-da-da-da-da-da-da-dum."

For more Beatles info, guitar tabs, and more, visit our Beatles feature page.

STAGETRIX Announces the Pedal Riser

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 9, 2009 at 11:35 AM

StageTrix Pedal RiserInformed by years on the road, the designers at StageTrix have created their ultimate pedalboard management solution for pedal junkies. The Pedal Riser creates individual platforms for selected pedals, allowing easy access and cable routing. Rugged yet inexpensive, Pedal Risers are an ideal consideration for the holiday season.

Most pedalboards have only one level and therefore require an awkward tap dance to access the second row of pedals without stomping on others accidentally. Pedal Risers solve this problem by enabling the user to elevate specific pedals for easy access. In addition, each Pedal Riser has cable-routing features that address the age-old problem of messy cables all over the board.

StageTrix Pedal Riser boardFeatures:
- Raises the second row of pedals to the perfect height.
- Cable routing eliminates tangled mess.
- Premium 18-gauge steel.
- Attaches to both board and pedal via heavy-duty hook-and-loop fastener.
- Two Pedal Risers can be used to support larger pedals.
- Works with most pedalboards
- MSRP $23.99 USD

For more details, visit


GUS G Interview in Greek Metal Hammer

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 8, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Metal HammerIn the new Greek issue of Metal Hammer magazine, guitarist Gus G. (real name: Kostas Karamitroudis) discusses his new gig with Ozzy Osbourne (guitar tab), filling the shoes of Zakk Wylde, Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, and Tony Iommi, and what's to become of his metal band Firewind. The folks over at had parts of it translated. You can check out the full post here.

A representative for Gus has told Guitar Instructor that this is still officially a temporary gig, though he revealed that it is leaning towards a permanent arrangement.

Meanwhile, Gus will be joining Ozzy for his performance at this weekend's Sunset Strip Music Festival (Sep 10-12), in West Hollywood. Ozzy will be honored at a tribute event on Thursday, September 10, to kick off the festival. Other artists scheduled to play the event include Korn, the Donnas, Fishbone, and Ace Frehley, among many others. Visit for more info.

New Sweet 16 Amps from Paul Reed Smith

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 4, 2009 at 9:37 AM

PRS Sweet 16The Sweet 16, PRS Guitars' new 16-watt amp, is already on retail shelves and creating quite a stir in the musical instruments community. This new amp couples 16 watts of cathode-biased 6v6 output tube power and includes reverb, a full TMB tone stack, and PRS' transparent master volume circuit. Controls include bright switch, volume, reverb, treble, mid, bass, and master volume. All amps are hand wired in Stevensville, Maryland, using hybrid circuitry techniques for consistency and durability.

The amp's designer, Doug Sewell, said, "Designing the Sweet 16 was similar to writing a song; things just flowed well from start to finish. There was a buildup of ideas, both design and manufacturing, that needed to be implemented quickly, and things just fell together very easily. It's been great to work with a team of exuberant and talented individuals and to make all of the good techniques and ideas reality."

Great care was taken in simplifying the layout and construction methods during the design process. This coupled with the ever-maturing PRS amplifier parts-procurement division and production crew enabled the Sweet 16 to be offered at a great price. The tones can run from sparkly cleans with single coils to humbucking crunch. At the appropriate volume set, a full range of crunching cleans are accessible using just the guitar's volume knob, replacing the need of at least one foot pedal. 

The Sweet 16 uses hand-assembled circuit boards for consistency and reliability. Shielded cable is used for critical signal paths, and pots, switches, jacks, and power tube sockets are chassis-mounted and connected via flying leads. Power sections employ JJs 6V6 power tubes, which have proven to be very rugged and reliable. They are cathode-biased to near class A, in a push-pull configuration. This greatly assists the chime, bloom, and rich harmonics that the amp can produce at all volumes. The four preamp tubes include two NOS Philips 12AT7s, a JJs ECC83S, and a Tung Sol Reissue 12AX7s in locations to maximize both clean and open-sounding lower volume settings to thick crunchiness at higher volumes.

Sewell commented, "Our pre-specifications were pretty lofty, but I like challenges. We wanted this amp to hit on all cylinders—price point, aesthetics, and tone. From drawing on designs in my background to doing final tone comparisons with David Grissom, all the tools were there to come up with a winner. This amp was great fun to produce, and I think that translates. I'm very proud of the Sweet 16."

For more on PRS guitars and amps, visit

See PORCUPINE TREE's Video for "Time Flies" From New Album THE INCIDENT Here

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 3, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Porcupine TreeProg-rockers Porcupine Tree will release their new album, The Incident, on September 22. A 55-minute wall of sound, The Incident is a concept album inspired by a flashing road sign that reduced a horrific traffic accident to the cold, antiseptic phrase "Police - Incident." The first single from the album, "Time Flies," is a poignant essay on how time, that master thief, creeps up and then passes by us all.

"The song is about the idea that when you're young, days, months, and especially summers go on forever," says singer Steven Wilson. "It's an illusion we all experience. The years between one and ten are an eternity, but the years after the age of twenty go by in a snap."

Porcupine Tree has also announced that they will play The Incident from start to finish at their New York City tour stop, September 24th. Following the album playback, they'll dip into their extensive catalog for the second half of the show.

Porcupine Tree kick off their North American tour in support of The Incident on September 15th in Seattle. Full list of U.S. dates is below.

Sep 15 2009 SEATTLE, USA: Moore Theater
Sep 16 2009 PORTLAND, USA: Roseland
Sep 18 2009 SAN FRANCISCO: Warfield
Sep 19 2009 LOS ANGELES, USA: Club Nokia
Sep 21 2009 CLEVELAND, USA: House of Blues
Sep 22 2009 CHICAGO, USA: Vic Theater
Sep 24 2009 NEW YORK, USA: Terminal 5
Sep 25 2009 BALTIMORE, USA: Ram's Head
Sep 26 2009 PHILADELPHIA, USA: Electric Factory
Sep 27 2009 BOSTON, USA: House of Blues

Guitar Instructor Recommends ... MATT SCHOFIELD

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 3, 2009 at 12:34 PM

We first heard Matt Schofield on the Sirius radio blues channel, and all we could say was, "Wow!" It's as if someone tossed the authenticity and attack of Albert Collins, the fire of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the silky phrasing of Robben Ford into a blender and this 32-year-old Brit was the blues elixir that emerged. 

Schofield grew up listening to his father's blues collection, but it was when he saw a video of B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Albert Collins playing together that he decided he wanted to be a blues guitarist. A few years later, he discovered hybrid blues-jazz cats like Robben Ford and Larry Carlton and began to incorporate some jazzier phrasing into his blues bits. 

Since his 2004 debut, The Trio, Live, Schofield has hit the stage as the guitar leg of an organ trio, but for his 2009 release, Heads, Tails & Aces, he added bassist Jeff Walker to complement new drummer Alain Baudry and organist Jonny Henderson, and became the Matt Schofield Band.

For more on Schofield, visit his web site. Also, be sure to check out the November issue of Guitar Edge magazine, where Schofield is touted as "the blues' next big thing." The issue goes online September 15 hits store shelves at the end of the month. Once you hear Schofield, we think you'll agree with Robben Ford's assessment of the young bluesman—he's "one helluva guitarist."

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