Slash names “the heaviest [riff] I’ve heard in my life”


The beginning of the 1970s saw a heavier direction for rock & roll. Many bands rose to prominence in response to the psychedelic sounds of the hippie movement. They showcased a sound that was far heavier than anything like The Rolling Stones were producing at the time. An impressionable Slash believed that one guitar riff topped all others in terms of sheer raw heaviness. Many musicians will emulate hard rock, but for him, this riff stood above the rest.

But throughout his career, Slash could argue that his taste in rock & roll has become increasingly varied. Aside from leading Guns N’ Roses during the majority of their iconic years, the guitar virtuoso wasn’t unheard of for assisting anyone who hired him. Slash contributed to songs by Carole King and Michael Jackson, among others.

His musical awakening began in the cradle of 1970s rock, its sonic imprint shaping his future long before he could express it himself. Slash, raised by two prominent members of the entertainment world, initially realized he had found his calling when he listened to Led Zeppelin’sWhole Lotta Love.” He recognized it as the beginning of something much bigger.

The guitarist knew, however, that Aerosmith’s seminal album Rocks would become a constant in his life by then. He picked up a guitar for the first time and began to memorize licks to his favorite records. A darker band was about to emerge from Birmingham, England, but Zeppelin and Aerosmith were still firmly based on the blues.

Black Sabbath helped pioneer the sounds of heavy metal, with Tony Iommi transforming the blues into something far more sinister. They shredded the hippy mold, their music a sonic Molotov cocktail hurled against the prevailing sound. The band had perfected their sound from their debut album onwards. However, it wasn’t until later that they fully embraced their heavy heritage.

Iommi was searching through the ruins of an abandoned castle for inspiration when he finally came up with “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.” Even though the song’s lyrics discuss the difficulties faced by up-and-coming bands in the music business, Slash was moved. The song’s raw, unfiltered evil hit him like a punch to the gut.

Slash would point to the song’s closing moments as one of the pinnacles of heaviness when discussing guitar riffs. He told Louder, “The outro to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is the heaviest shit I have ever heard in my life.” I haven’t heard anything as soulful and heavy to this day.

Even as Slash maintains Guns N’ Roses as a hard rock entity, hints of Black Sabbath’s dark power seep into their music at key points. From the band’s epic song “Coma” to “Paradise City,” which features a bad-boy attitude, Slash has surely learned a few moves from his idols. “Coma,” in particular, showcases a spiraling outro that reflects his musical influences. He has also occasionally kept up with Ozzy Osbourne. Guns N’ Roses may have followed in the footsteps of bands like Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones. Since 1970, Sabbath has been a major influence on every hard rock band.

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