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Annable Courts
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:25 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:08 am 
 

There was a thread about this a while ago on here (but the thread is locked mind you).

It sort of was always a bit curious to me. Although I love it; tremolo picking on heavily distorted guitars; it's interesting how it just sort of happened and then became the basic form of riffing for really all of extreme metal, whether black death or a lot of grind.

Shredding has always been associated with metal, but that's easy: bands were just looking to be virtuosic and FAST during the thrash days, so it's evident why.
But trem picking ? Why has an old folk middle-eastern plucked instrument picking technique ... become the backbone for extreme metal ? Is there any sort of relation iyo ? It sounds fast and furious, and provided there'r mean blast beats in the background the end result is purely chaotic... but it's still interesting that tremolo picking should be associated with evil music, I think.

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droneriot
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:23 am 
 

First of all, going by guitar alone, a distorted guitar isn't the same as a classical guitar, there's a big difference especially in terms of sustain, so it's obvious there'd be differences in technique and effect. And your main point is comparing distorted guitar to mandolin (though you don't mention it by name), and again, distorted guitar isn't the same as a mandolin, so you can't really say that because one is used for cheesy Italian romance songs, playing the other that way will lead to the same result, they're entirely different instruments.
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Acrobat
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:37 am 
 

It just seems like one of the most natural things to do with fast tempos. I don't think the guys who first brought it into metal where thinking about how it has been traditionally used.
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DoomMetalAlchemist
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Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:10 am
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:58 am 
 

It seems pretty obvious to me. Tremolo picking in metal probably came about by trying to play as fast as they can. The prevailing thought in most metal is faster = more extreme...

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rexxz
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:06 pm 
 

Nothing really "old folk middle-eastern" about it, when you consider that nearly every single culture that has ever played plucked stringed instruments has come up with this style of playing independently from one another.

Anyway, isn't it obvious? Fast picking, faster notes, faster metal. There isn't some mystery here.
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at the gaytes
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:27 pm 
 

Influence of Show No Mercy and Kill 'em All

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Temple Of Blood
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:28 pm 
 

It's a lot heavier-sounding than finger tapping, that's for sure.

What other technique would allow you to play that fast?
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Annable Courts
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:49 pm 
 

A lot of people here point to the speed aspect of tremolo picking. I don't know. To me it's always been a lot more about how sinister it sounds. Not so much the speed aspect, which I find is more obvious in the shredding in 80's metal (just the term speed metal, the solo culture etc...). If it were just a matter of speed, death metallers could've just gone for super fast power chords progressions like, say, Cannibal Corpse do a lot of, or just single note riffage all over the place at 300bpm. I think there's another intent when it comes to trem picking, beyond just speed. It adds to the aggression, and especially when there's string skipping involved -from low to high to low- it's got this sheer recklessness about it.

But that's for regular death metal. In Scandinavian metal (say black metal and melo-death), it gives the riffs an added value in melody, like it conveys the melody with more taste or polish.

P.S.: I was just mentioning middle-eastern/Mediterranean folk music in the OP because any time I pick up my acoustic gtr and jam some death metal, people around me have often remarked it sounded middle-eastern, so if you take certain dm riffs to the acoustic, to people who don't know dmetal the closest thing they think of is Greek/arabic folk music. Which prob. bears no significance lol but.

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droneriot
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:51 pm 
 

There's actually a guy who has a twin neck electric guitar-mandolin, it was in Metal Hammer 20 years ago, but I don't remember who it was.
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wednesdaysixx
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:12 pm 
 

Mr Burrrrzum claims it was the influence of balalaika players and folk music adding extremity. I think it was just physically economic ways of trying to get sounds to continue evenly, I don’t view it as sounding fast even though, yes, that’s a lot of notes condensed together. It doesn’t decay in power or volume and doesn’t require the expense of pedals or other effects.

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at the gaytes
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:14 pm 
 

wednesdaysixx wrote:
Mr Burrrrzum claims it was the influence of balalaika players and folk music adding extremity.


Yeah right, I'm sure everyone on the 80's thrash scene was influenced by balalaika folk music

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Braltika
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:18 pm 
 

I've always wondered if 50ies-60ies surf rock music was of any influence. Ever since the Hurtigruten fake band thing, I can't unhear. Take my thoughts with a grain of salt though, I'm no connoisseur on the historical or technical aspects of (metal) music.
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droneriot
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:25 pm 
 

Braltika wrote:
I've always wondered if 50ies-60ies surf rock music was of any influence. Ever since the Hurtigruten fake band thing, I can't unhear. Take my thoughts with a grain of salt though, I'm no connoisseur on the historical or technical aspects of (metal) music.

No it wasn't an influnce the same way the mandolin wasn't an influence, tremolo picking on distorted guitar is an entirely different thing than tremolo picking on anything else. You can literally hear the difference. Compare "Stripped, Raped and Strangled" to that Pulp Fiction soundtrack song, it doesn't work the same way.
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Annable Courts
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:38 pm 
 

droneriot wrote:
Braltika wrote:
I've always wondered if 50ies-60ies surf rock music was of any influence. Ever since the Hurtigruten fake band thing, I can't unhear. Take my thoughts with a grain of salt though, I'm no connoisseur on the historical or technical aspects of (metal) music.

No it wasn't an influnce the same way the mandolin wasn't an influence, tremolo picking on distorted guitar is an entirely different thing than tremolo picking on anything else. You can literally hear the difference. Compare "Stripped, Raped and Strangled" to that Pulp Fiction soundtrack song, it doesn't work the same way.

Yeah no, I don't think there's any relation with either classic rock surf music or Greek mandolin tunes... but it's the same technique.

And in extreme metal it got established FAST, and as soon as it was there it remained there and all the bands were doing it. You would think power chords are the obvious weapon of choice sounding so thick and full and techniques like palm muting, or a concept like down-tuning the guitar ... are no-brainers when it comes to making metal music heavier and sound bigger, but I think tremolo picking is just as prevalent as power chords in extr. metal, and it's perhaps not as obvious as those other things I've listed.

If you picked someone at random who isn't into metal, and you made him listen to a pwr chord section, or palm muted riffs, with low-tuned growling guitars, he'd understand how heavy the music was, but he might not identify what's so metal about a trem picked section. I know I didn't get it when I heard out dm bands as a teen. I kind of thought "what's with all that blblblbblblblbblblblblblb they've got going in death metal ??" there was none of it in Metallica or Pantera or Korn. It was an acquired taste.
I believe it's more stylistic than a basic need for speed.

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ohfuck
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:16 pm 
 

Extreme metal has less of a focus on melody as opposed to rhythm so when it came to riffs that are more melodic you need to be able to keep up with the rhythm which is often fast. It just goes hand in hand with how much faster bands got over the years. Also playing high BPMs with power chords can become very muddy so tremolo picking root notes boosts clarity so much while maintain the general intensity.
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FLIPPITYFLOOP
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:07 am 
 

I believe the answer to this actually has way more to do with the physical playing mechanics and requirements of the tremolo picking technique itself. This is not going to be a short post, but it will be an informative one for sure.

Let's take a look at what tremolo picking actually IS, for a moment. It's NOT that hard to do at all - in fact, it's quite easy to do and apply to a full-band situation for the following reasons:

1. Tremolo picking essentially is very fast alternate picking; alternating down-up pick strokes (elaborating extra for anyone who may not know much about guitar playing). Yes, it for sure requires practice to build speed, change strings, maintain endurance, and keep the dexterity in your pick strokes so that you aren't hitting extra strings unintentionally (not to mention that some tremolo riffs ARE more difficult than others), but this can be developed by learning classic tremolo riffs (Mother North and I Am The Black Wizards come to mind) or writing your own, and practicing. More on this in a moment, but to finish this point - I had already done plenty of tremolo picking before I decided to take proper lessons, and when I did, my teacher told me that my tremolo was already VERY good. It's since gotten better.

2. The fretting hand doesn't need to work as hard. This point is HUGE. Why are certain technical/progressive riffs eluding so many guitar players? Because of 2-hand synchronization which can be an absolute bitch to practice and improve, especially if you're in the dark on how to improve this aspect of your playing. However, with tremolo picking, the fretting hand has WAY less work to do, since it often holds a note down for a long time, or will change notes as the melody changes. It doesn't need to change notes in sync with every single pick stroke. Your fretting technique doesn't even need to be that good in order to get 1 note to sound out properly, and shred the fuck out of it. Because of that, the fretting hand and 2-hand synchronization almost get a "free pass" so to speak.

3. You can be easily forgiven on how rhythmically tight your tremolo picking actually is. This makes building endurance much easier, since you can slow down your picking hand and still get away with sounding good and staying together with the rest of the band, and keeping the picking up for a longer period of time. Is your right hand picking 16th notes? Sextuplets? 8ths? 32nds? Will that really be distinguishable, when the drums are going loud, the bass is booming and the vocalist is roaring overtop? Not as much as you might think. Now if you get a very technically proficient guitarist to do fast tremolo, you WILL hear a difference in the tightness, however if you were to slow your picking hand down because it's a bit tired, you wouldn't sound totally off or bad, and this makes the technique more inviting.

4. It's quite easy to write riffs and melodies using tremolo picking. If you were to use only one string, you can place your fingers along various frets and get a feel for different melodies, scales and keys that you can use to develop your melodic ear. I actually did this often when I was in high school - in one of the practice rooms in the music class, we had this junky bass with only 1 string, and I would often sit with it afterward and write melodies on it. Some were shit, but some were quite good, and even people who didn't like extreme metal thought they sounded cool. You can then think back to some of your favourite riffs and melodies, try to copy them by ear and get a sense for what scales were used so that you can write your own riffs with a similar sound/vibe.

5. If you do tremolo picking on power chords (as alluded to earlier) or other 2-string interval chord shapes, as well as incorporate other techniques like string bends at the same time, it can sound amazing - whether you write somber harmonies a-la Wolves In The Throne Room, or utter fucking devastation like the cavernous side of death metal. It's also just a fucking menacing sounding technique that immediately adds fire to whatever melody and riff you play!

I mean, just fucking listen to that! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEDoGsRKGsI

And on that note.... is the guitarist picking 16ths? Sextuplets? 8ths? Does it really matter? Can you really tell? It's really tough at times. Does it sound good? Oh fuck yeah.



If I thought more, I could possibly come up with other reasons as to how it became so prominent in extreme metal, but those reasons on their own are enough to make the technique very appealing and enticing to use, and make extreme metal playing much more inviting, doable and adaptable for rather sub-par guitarists. This also lends to why there are generally less virtuoso guitarists in black metal, for instance - not to ignorantly imply that there are NONE, as there absolutely ARE, but the concentration is much lower than it is for genres like thrash, prog or technical death metal simply because the playing demands aren't nearly as steep on the technical side of things.

That's not to imply that 1 genre is better than the other though - personal taste comes into play, and all genres can be done both greatly and poorly. Personally, I'd rather listen to De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas over the new Archspire album any day of the week, but also think that Arsis' A Celebration Of Guilt is better than anything Mayhem has ever done.

Anyways, enough ranting. Hope you guys got some value out of this!

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NuclearDrumsCrushedMyBrain
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:48 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:32 pm 
 

droneriot wrote:
There's actually a guy who has a twin neck electric guitar-mandolin, it was in Metal Hammer 20 years ago, but I don't remember who it was.


Yossi Sassi (formerly of Orphaned Land) has a double neck bouzouki/guitar. That's probably who it was.

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Annable Courts
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:25 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Cheese
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:23 pm 
 

FLIPPITYFLOOP wrote:
I believe the answer to this actually has way more to do with the physical playing mechanics and requirements of the tremolo picking technique itself. This is not going to be a short post, but it will be an informative one for sure.

Let's take a look at what tremolo picking actually IS, for a moment. It's NOT that hard to do at all - in fact, it's quite easy to do and apply to a full-band situation for the following reasons:

1. Tremolo picking essentially is very fast alternate picking; alternating down-up pick strokes (elaborating extra for anyone who may not know much about guitar playing). Yes, it for sure requires practice to build speed, change strings, maintain endurance, and keep the dexterity in your pick strokes so that you aren't hitting extra strings unintentionally (not to mention that some tremolo riffs ARE more difficult than others), but this can be developed by learning classic tremolo riffs (Mother North and I Am The Black Wizards come to mind) or writing your own, and practicing. More on this in a moment, but to finish this point - I had already done plenty of tremolo picking before I decided to take proper lessons, and when I did, my teacher told me that my tremolo was already VERY good. It's since gotten better.

2. The fretting hand doesn't need to work as hard. This point is HUGE. Why are certain technical/progressive riffs eluding so many guitar players? Because of 2-hand synchronization which can be an absolute bitch to practice and improve, especially if you're in the dark on how to improve this aspect of your playing. However, with tremolo picking, the fretting hand has WAY less work to do, since it often holds a note down for a long time, or will change notes as the melody changes. It doesn't need to change notes in sync with every single pick stroke. Your fretting technique doesn't even need to be that good in order to get 1 note to sound out properly, and shred the fuck out of it. Because of that, the fretting hand and 2-hand synchronization almost get a "free pass" so to speak.

3. You can be easily forgiven on how rhythmically tight your tremolo picking actually is. This makes building endurance much easier, since you can slow down your picking hand and still get away with sounding good and staying together with the rest of the band, and keeping the picking up for a longer period of time. Is your right hand picking 16th notes? Sextuplets? 8ths? 32nds? Will that really be distinguishable, when the drums are going loud, the bass is booming and the vocalist is roaring overtop? Not as much as you might think. Now if you get a very technically proficient guitarist to do fast tremolo, you WILL hear a difference in the tightness, however if you were to slow your picking hand down because it's a bit tired, you wouldn't sound totally off or bad, and this makes the technique more inviting.

4. It's quite easy to write riffs and melodies using tremolo picking. If you were to use only one string, you can place your fingers along various frets and get a feel for different melodies, scales and keys that you can use to develop your melodic ear. I actually did this often when I was in high school - in one of the practice rooms in the music class, we had this junky bass with only 1 string, and I would often sit with it afterward and write melodies on it. Some were shit, but some were quite good, and even people who didn't like extreme metal thought they sounded cool. You can then think back to some of your favourite riffs and melodies, try to copy them by ear and get a sense for what scales were used so that you can write your own riffs with a similar sound/vibe.

5. If you do tremolo picking on power chords (as alluded to earlier) or other 2-string interval chord shapes, as well as incorporate other techniques like string bends at the same time, it can sound amazing - whether you write somber harmonies a-la Wolves In The Throne Room, or utter fucking devastation like the cavernous side of death metal. It's also just a fucking menacing sounding technique that immediately adds fire to whatever melody and riff you play!

I mean, just fucking listen to that! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEDoGsRKGsI

And on that note.... is the guitarist picking 16ths? Sextuplets? 8ths? Does it really matter? Can you really tell? It's really tough at times. Does it sound good? Oh fuck yeah.



If I thought more, I could possibly come up with other reasons as to how it became so prominent in extreme metal, but those reasons on their own are enough to make the technique very appealing and enticing to use, and make extreme metal playing much more inviting, doable and adaptable for rather sub-par guitarists. This also lends to why there are generally less virtuoso guitarists in black metal, for instance - not to ignorantly imply that there are NONE, as there absolutely ARE, but the concentration is much lower than it is for genres like thrash, prog or technical death metal simply because the playing demands aren't nearly as steep on the technical side of things.

That's not to imply that 1 genre is better than the other though - personal taste comes into play, and all genres can be done both greatly and poorly. Personally, I'd rather listen to De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas over the new Archspire album any day of the week, but also think that Arsis' A Celebration Of Guilt is better than anything Mayhem has ever done.

Anyways, enough ranting. Hope you guys got some value out of this!

interesting post. I'd say however it probably looks at the technical/physical aspect too much and not the artistic aspect enough. Tremolo picking is indeed relatively easy to do, allows for a certain sloppiness and lack of precision, for the fretting hand to do less work etc... but a technique could've had all of these advantages but still sounded like crap or un-death metal like. Trem picking took, and not for purely technical/physical reasons.

I'd look more at what it sounds like to the human ear: furious, aggressive, and often chaotic or in the case of Scandinavian metal more melodic/epic.
It also gives an impression of more technicality, and speed. So even though the actual tempo remains the same, say the tempo of the song is 150bpm, the riff still sounds faster if trem pickg is applied rather than regular strokes. And playing that same riff with regular strokes will sound a lot more accessible than tremolo picking the riff, so I think that aspect of sounding like more sophisticated/technically twisted music works very well with extr. metal, and the very texture of the gtr sound changes quite a bit.

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jimbies
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Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:52 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:02 pm 
 

someone did it, we liked it, they kept doing it.

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FLIPPITYFLOOP
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:09 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:18 pm 
 

Annable Courts wrote:
interesting post. I'd say however it probably looks at the technical/physical aspect too much and not the artistic aspect enough. Tremolo picking is indeed relatively easy to do, allows for a certain sloppiness and lack of precision, for the fretting hand to do less work etc... but a technique could've had all of these advantages but still sounded like crap or un-death metal like. Trem picking took, and not for purely technical/physical reasons.

I'd look more at what it sounds like to the human ear: furious, aggressive, and often chaotic or in the case of Scandinavian metal more melodic/epic.
It also gives an impression of more technicality, and speed. So even though the actual tempo remains the same, say the tempo of the song is 150bpm, the riff still sounds faster if trem pickg is applied rather than regular strokes. And playing that same riff with regular strokes will sound a lot more accessible than tremolo picking the riff, so I think that aspect of sounding like more sophisticated/technically twisted music works very well with extr. metal, and the very texture of the gtr sound changes quite a bit.


Your points regarding the artistic side of it are fair, and I agree with them overall. That in mind, I think the physical aspect of it has a significantly bigger role than most people give it credit for, and I can see it being an additional factor that helped those initial players adopt the technique, even if they didn't acknowledge or clue into it at the time. Like you mentioned, it gives an impression of more technicality and speed, which is true - I remember when I heard tremolo riffs for the first time I thought it sounded amazing, and thought it must be so hard to do...then when I tried it myself, I remember being absolutely bewildered by how easy it was.

What techniques can you think of that have those same advantages, as you mentioned? Even palm-muted chugging involves a certain rhythmic and physical precision that tremolo picking is more relaxed on. Even strumming open chords require more precise finger placement so that no other strings get accidentally muted. I even have kid and adult students who've had an easier time developing tremolo picking than they have with strumming and changing open chords! It's absolutely nuts!

Yes it totally does sound extreme and aggressive, but it's also just soooo easy to do....and then when you combine that with the ability to place your fingers wherever and experiment with different melodies/riffs, you can develop your ear to find and create the types of dark and sinister melodies and atmospheres that extreme metal thrives on!

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FLIPPITYFLOOP
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:24 pm 
 

FLIPPITYFLOOP wrote:
That in mind, I think the physical aspect of it has a significantly bigger role than most people give it credit for, and I can see it being an additional factor that helped those initial players adopt the technique, even if they didn't acknowledge or clue into it at the time.


Just to elaborate and clarify for a moment:

I don't think these players started doing tremolo because of thinking "wow that looks easy" - I do believe it was more motivated by "wow that sounds so badass and fucking evil, I wanna do that!" - however, there are other techniques and playing styles that you can say the same thing about, but are MUCH more difficult to play.

Yet, even technical virtuosos will still do tremolo at times because of how awesome it sounds. So yes, the aesthetic and sound are a big part of it. However, I think the technical aspects are criminally understated, and are the reason why there's such a huge concentration of guitarists who rely on tremolo picking in extreme metal. Because, in the words of the old Geico slogan, it's "so easy a caveman can do it!"

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Zelkiiro
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:33 pm 
 

Tremolo picking sounds more unhinged, full of potential energy, liable to explode at any moment. You never know when the barrage of consistent notes is going to transform into a maelstrom of sound and fury. Keeping you constantly on-edge is one of the many appeals of extreme metal.
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Zodijackyl
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:22 pm 
 

It's not like it's the *only* thing extreme metal bands do, there's a good amount of power chord riffing thrown in there, and a lot of that had a fairly apparent evolution from how guitars were played when they became more prominent/heavier as the use of distortion evolved in the late 60s/early 70s. That stuff all got turned up a notch in the NWOBHM, then another notch with albums like Kill 'em All and Show No Mercy. The landmark for extreme riffs heavily using tremolo picking would be Hell Awaits - just listen to that and how it shaped extreme metal riffing of that type. It's pretty clear where it came from, in that case. Altars of Madness is another landmark in the use of tremolo picking, and both of those albums also pushed the limits of drumming in metal.

It wasn't a singular evolution, as obviously Slayer made one of the hardest hitting and most intense albums right after Hell Awaits. Altars of Madness did something a bit different, though, in how it let those tremolo lines on two guitars flow with a slight classical influence like a bowed string instrument, a slight classical influence, while not always playing the guitar like a percussive hard rock instrument (although there was plenty of that, at extreme tempos.) Perhaps what allowed them to do this was how the drummer could carry the intensity of a song, and the vocals could also really drive a song - it was different from an album like Scream Bloody Gore, where the playing was a limitation, in ways.

It really just comes down to bands pushing techniques to an extreme that let them open up new ways to make sounds with the way they were playing.

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Annable Courts
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:56 pm 
 

FLIPPITYFLOOP wrote:
Annable Courts wrote:
interesting post. I'd say however it probably looks at the technical/physical aspect too much and not the artistic aspect enough. Tremolo picking is indeed relatively easy to do, allows for a certain sloppiness and lack of precision, for the fretting hand to do less work etc... but a technique could've had all of these advantages but still sounded like crap or un-death metal like. Trem picking took, and not for purely technical/physical reasons.

I'd look more at what it sounds like to the human ear: furious, aggressive, and often chaotic or in the case of Scandinavian metal more melodic/epic.
It also gives an impression of more technicality, and speed. So even though the actual tempo remains the same, say the tempo of the song is 150bpm, the riff still sounds faster if trem pickg is applied rather than regular strokes. And playing that same riff with regular strokes will sound a lot more accessible than tremolo picking the riff, so I think that aspect of sounding like more sophisticated/technically twisted music works very well with extr. metal, and the very texture of the gtr sound changes quite a bit.


Your points regarding the artistic side of it are fair, and I agree with them overall. That in mind, I think the physical aspect of it has a significantly bigger role than most people give it credit for, and I can see it being an additional factor that helped those initial players adopt the technique, even if they didn't acknowledge or clue into it at the time. Like you mentioned, it gives an impression of more technicality and speed, which is true - I remember when I heard tremolo riffs for the first time I thought it sounded amazing, and thought it must be so hard to do...then when I tried it myself, I remember being absolutely bewildered by how easy it was.

What techniques can you think of that have those same advantages, as you mentioned? Even palm-muted chugging involves a certain rhythmic and physical precision that tremolo picking is more relaxed on. Even strumming open chords require more precise finger placement so that no other strings get accidentally muted. I even have kid and adult students who've had an easier time developing tremolo picking than they have with strumming and changing open chords! It's absolutely nuts!

Yes it totally does sound extreme and aggressive, but it's also just soooo easy to do....and then when you combine that with the ability to place your fingers wherever and experiment with different melodies/riffs, you can develop your ear to find and create the types of dark and sinister melodies and atmospheres that extreme metal thrives on!

Well I'll say you changed my mind a bit, I never stopped and thought about how it was such an easy thing to do, to me in fact it felt a bit advanced in my personal playing but that's because I was learning Cannibal Corpse riffs which feature string skipping etc... or even way back playing Amon Amarth riffs accurately took a bit of time, if you look at the Death In Fire verse riff for e.g. it definitely takes some getting used to if you want to nail it. But I suppose I've underestimated the 'easy' aspect of it.

Zelkiiro wrote:
Tremolo picking sounds more unhinged, full of potential energy, liable to explode at any moment. You never know when the barrage of consistent notes is going to transform into a maelstrom of sound and fury. Keeping you constantly on-edge is one of the many appeals of extreme metal.

interesting post. Yeah, unhinged, that's closer to the lexical field in my mind I'd associate with trem picking.

There is indeed this rather central element to trem picking, like it's a tempest, this brutal uncompromising tempest of sound. It's often used as the release after a buildup, like a song will go quiet for a while before unleashing its peak in extremity and to reach that peak bands often call on tremolo picking. An example that comes to mind just now:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlSYvV15Fdo

Listen at 3:40. Song goes to sleep with industrial samples and ambiance, and then BAMMMMM, tremolo picking right in your face.

This riff also highlights the fact that tremolo picking being 16th notes, or 32 or wtvr, goes hand in hand with rapid-fire double kicks on the drums (or blast beats). It's almost the de facto option for guitar for those drums.

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