Friday 5

Friday 5: 5 Metal Guitar Solo Passages You Find Fascinating As Hell

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Happy Friday, MetalSucks reader! Welcome to MetalSucks Friday 5, our awesome series that appears every Friday (duh) on MetalSucks (duhh) and involves the quantity of five (duhhh).

Here’s how it works: A list of best/worst/weirdest/whatever five somethings is posted by one of your beloved MetalSucks contributors or by one of our buds (like you?). Then you, our cherished reader, checks it out, has a chuckle, then chimes in with a list of the same. No sweat, just whatever springs to mind, k? (Just like that movie about those losers working at a Chicago record store!) After all, it’s Friday — the day dedicated by the gods to mindless, fun time-wasting. Today we’ll go beyond the solo!

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THE FIVE

Five Super Fascinating Guitar Solo Passages In Metal, Holy Shit Already

THE LISTER

Anso DFMetalSucks Senior Editor

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1. “Jump”Van Halen
guitarist: Eddie Van Halen
1984

Hi thanks for reading! Today’s Friday 5 is not about the most passionate metal guitar solos, nor the most technically awesome ones, nor the most popular or historic ones. This week, let’s help each other find more solos that seem to take off to Mars and back. In other words, the best, most fascinating “guitar solo passages,” ones in which the song becomes some other song for a while — and the effect is euphoria. These parts don’t have much in common with the rest of the track, so think not of just the lead, but also the riffs, tempo, and rhythm as what makes it magic. And in the dictionary under “transcendent guitar solo passages” is Eddie Van Halen’s in “Jump.” Let’s define our terms now and henceforth starting at the section before the solo.

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2. “Sirens” | Coroner
guitarist: Tommy “Baron” Vetterli
1991

By the time of Tommy Baron’s solo in “Sirens,” a listener has been dazzled already by like seven distinct, nimbly ordered riffs. Then for that solo, Baron and Coroner pull us into the void, where white is now a smirking, evil pink and the ground seems to break and crash like upside-down nesting dolls. The solo guitar part is a masterpiece, sure, but the weird thing is that whole years of listening to “Sirens” (and its album Mental Vortex) can go by without your ear ever registering that very solo — its background is that riveting! Like, the rest of the song is the rocket ship, and the solo is a guy outside the ship dangling by that tether in a bulky space suit. Tommy Baron lovvvve youuuu.

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3. “Cowboys From Hell” | Pantera
guitarist: Dimebag Darrell Abbott
1990

“Cowboys” was the first Pantera song ever heard by a lot of old metal guys — that was quite a moment in our little history. From its first notes, few could guess that the band would be huge, but at least we were pumped about a new catchy, heavy band in 1990 when metal’s future was cloudy. Then two minutes after those first notes comes Dimebag’s clever solo passage; it seems to enter the room, sit us down on a sofa, and give us an earnest talking-to about responsible raging. It’s a worshipable solo — like the other four of this F5 — but that simple, rich chord thing and its shifts upon which the solo rides signalled something even more: Not just heavy, not just awesome, Pantera was profound without a word.

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4. “Slip Of The Tongue” | Whitesnake
guitarist: Steve Vai
1989

You’ll notice that none of this F5‘s “life-justifying guitar solo passages” does so little as speed up the main part or vamp on the chorus riff — though those options are just as likely to be brilliant — rather each represents a major detour that turns out to be more pleasurable than the direct route. And there may exist no such solo as joyously out of the way as Steve Vai’s solo on the sexy album opener of Whitesnake’s Slip Of The Tongue. My bud Brian used to joke about a hypothetical video for this jam, in which singer David Coverdale is all bluesy in a shadowy bar begging for mercy from a faceless femme fatale — until the solo at which point Vai floats in on a neon orange cloud to slap Dave’s dong in the dust, shirtless and in black leather pants, all major key and blasted by industrial fans amid a hundred pink and green spotlights. Is it too late to do that?

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5. God Forbid | “Into The Wasteland”
guitarists: Dallas Coyle, Doc Coyle, Jason Suecof
2005

Except a few bars of Hammetting and a mini-harmony jam, all of the solo guitar in “Into The Wasteland” is backloaded in the song’s final quarter. It’s worth the wait: A new chug riff houses a picky harmony riff and a bluesy solo, then all instruments re-sync and accelerate like a semi down a steep hill. It hardly lasts, and a listener can miss the start of each new segment in favor of savoring the previous one. OMGF.

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Your turn!

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