|from the pages of Guitar World Online
"The Calm Before The Storm" (Nov. 1997)
Using clean and distorted tones to create "light and shade"
Hello again. I'm writing this column the day after Ozzy and I attended the 1997 Kerrang! Awards in London. As many of you know, Kerrang! is the biggest heavy metal magazine in Europe, and every year they have an awards ceremony which a lot of people over here consider to be the "Oscars for rock music." Ozzy and I were presented with the "Hall of Fame" award by former Sepultura guitarist/vocalist Max Cavalera. To say we felt honored would be an understatement. It was a great night.
LIGHT AND SHADE
Last month I showed you the live version of "Embryo" and mentioned that I wrote the piece because I felt the beginning of "Children of the Grave" needed a little bit of "light and shade" to lull the listener into a false sense of security before the heavy riffing begins. There are a number of ways you can infuse this kind of contrast into a song, and we'll discuss them all over the next few issues.
One of the easiest and most effective ways of doing this is by going from clean to dirty, as is the case with "Embryo" going into "Children of the Grave," and vice-versa. We did that in Sabbath all the time. A good example of a song that starts off clean and subtle before getting dirty and going straight for the jugular is "Children of the Sea," from the Heaven & Hell album.
The song starts of with a melodic section of clean, chordal picking (see FIGURE 5) and then, at :39, I slowly and deliberately change my tone from clean to dirty by turning up my guitar's volume control and launching into the song's main riff.