Inside The Shredder’s Studio #2: Mike Hill’s Favorite Riffs

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, lists On: Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

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We’re chuffed to have a dB album of the year award winner take over the shredder’s studio this Wednesday. In this second installment, Tombs guitarist and vocalist Mike Hill tells us about the riffs that led him on a musical path of totality. While you are at it make sure to check out the new Tombs track “Ashes,” available exclusively as a blue flexi disc in the October issue.

Take it away, Sgt. Hill.

I watched USA’s Night Flight regularly when I was a kid back in the 80’s. Movies like Another State of Mind and Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains planted a seed that someday I should try my hand at playing music. Back then, I was dead set on playing bass. When I heard the mightiness of Ozzy-era Black Sabbath, I knew that guitars, cranked through massive amps, were going to be part of my destiny. Below are some of the riffs that set me on the path.

Black Sabbath – Iron Man

I’ve often cited the Ozzy and Dio eras of Sabbath as influences, but it all comes down to “Iron Man” for me. This lumbering behemoth made me look at music in a totally different light. I was a big Zeppelin and Rush fan prior to that, and though both of those bands are amazing, “Iron Man” connected with me on a physical level.

Black Flag – Life Of Pain and My War

A few years after I discovered Sabbath, I started dabbling in punk rock. The Rollins years were the main line to what is was all about to me. This was the only band that mattered to me when I started listening to punk and hardcore. Yeah, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains and Dead Kennedys were groundbreaking but these two tracks communicated directly to my reptilian brain stem. These tracks are the soundtrack for numerous bare-lightbulb-nights watching the minutes click by as the sun rises.

Slayer – Raining Blood

I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t agree that this song rules. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard dudes warm up with this song in soundchecks across the country.

Celtic Frost – Dethroned Emperor

A list like this wouldn’t be complete without Celtic Frost. This is one of the heaviest jams by one of the heaviest bands.

Bolt Thrower – …For Victory

The first few Bolt Thrower records are genius, genre-defining records. The title track on “…For Victory” is a study in power, the sound of Roman Legions and Thunder Gods.

Morbid Angel– He Who Sleeps

I saw these guys play a one-off show out in Flushing, Queens on a night off of the Pantera tour. It was in a really small club and they tore the place apart. Seeing them perform this track live in that setting was one of the most intense metal moments of my life.

Iron Maiden – Ides of March / Wrathchild

When I was a kid, I discovered Iron Maiden from reading Creem. It was a piece about the so-called New Wave of British Heavy Metal and they profiled the “Killers” album, likening it to Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” record. I collected my allowance that week and hit the record store, scoring the cassette version of “Killers.” These were the tracks that introduced me to Maiden. For me, it was all about Paul D’ianno. It’s only been in the last few years that I have even warmed up to Bruce Dickinson.

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