The 13th Fret

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Time Unforgiving:
Autopsy Of A Solo

Welcome to the October instalment! Clearly, this month holds a special significance here at Horror Metal Sounds. So, let’s get some licks in before ghosts steal your picks, and Pinhead finds a better use for your strings.

This month, I wanted to show you the solo in “Time Unforgiving”, from my band Prismind. The song itself is on the thrasher side of the band’s metal spectrum, with a hint of progressive touches here and there. The solo happens to be a great illustration of several of the concepts we’ve already covered in previous columns….and perhaps a few more. Let’s check it out!

The first bar is an elaboration of the underlying Bm chord (B,D,F#), with the addition of the 9th (C#). I tried to approach this passage in a more intervallic manner, as opposed to straight up/down, to give the line a more interesting feel than a regular arpeggio. The rhythm is eighth note-based, which serves as a “ramp” into bar 2. The second bar accelerates into eighth note triplets, and continues the Bm-plus-extensions started in bar 1. This time adding in the 7th (A) and 11th (E).

Bar 3 begins with a bend on a upper octave B, like a roller coaster momentarily pausing before barreling downward. The cascading tumble is highlighted by the faster 16th notes, as well as the inclusion of legato phrasings (hammers/pulls/slides) and melodic contours.

Bars 5 and 6 demonstrate a device I love to exploit; approaching key notes with rhythmic bends and outside (out of key) notes. Using the otherwise “wrong” A# to bend into B, adds an interesting tension that gets resolved by the following Bm chord tones (B,D,F#). This section also makes use of the push/pull rhythmic variations. Going from sixteenths to eighths to triplets, gives the line a skidding, elastic sense of time; very much a conscious decision, considering the title. This makes the influence of Marty Friedman on my playing pretty evident!

This brings us to bar 7, where I wanted to answer the loopy bends and off-kilter rhythm with a stable triplet feel and a pattern that simply drops an octave. I guess you could say that this whole solo is set up in a calland-response manner. I really like this approach, as it helps with the sense of structure and storytelling, as many of my favourite solos from others tend to have.

Lastly, the solo concludes with a stream of alternate picked sixteenth notes that cover three chord changes. The C/Am/D progression finds us leaving the Bm canvas that the solo began in, and leads back to the Em key that the rest of the song uses. The challenge with this section was clear: how do we take a regular 16th note rhythm and a well worn minor scale, and make it INTERESTING? I decided to focus on what I call “melodic contours”.

Click here to download the sheet music for Kelly's tutorial!

"The solo happens to be a great illustration of several of the concepts we’ve already covered..."

Melodic contouring involves a static rhythmic value (16ths in this case) and manipulating the number of notes that occur in ascending or descending direction. For example, Bar 9 (over the C chord) begins with 6 notes descending, followed by 10 notes ascending. The next bar has 2 groups of 6 descending, and a group of 4 ascending. As simple of a concept as it seems, it can really add life to a line in danger of being too predictable.

The last two bars take an eight-note pattern and drops it through a series of target notes. Played over a D chord, I made sure that the first note of every 8 landed on a D chord tone (with the exception of B, on beat 2/bar 11). This places strong notes on the strong beats 1 and 3. A small detail, but I believe it contributes to the overall effect!

That about wraps it up for “Time Unforgiving”. By all means, check the accompanying video for the song and solo (beginning at 2:57), and feel free to drop me a line if you’d like the actual Guitar Pro file.

As always, if you have any questions about this piece, drop me a line at my Facebook page.

Keep rippin’, have a great Halloween, and I’ll see you next month! \m/

Kelly Kereliuk, HMS

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