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Chimaira - "Metal Guitar: Song Writing, Riffing & Soloing" (DVD)

Chimaira - "Metal Guitar: Song Writing, Riffing & Soloing" DVD cover image

"Metal Guitar: Song Writing, Riffing & Soloing" track listing:

1. Tuning
2. Technique
3. Chords & Voicings
4. Rob's Favorite Riffs # 1
5. Rob's Favorite Riffs # 2
6. Creating a Two Part Guitar Section
7. "Six" Rhythm
8. "Six" Lead
9. Leads -Pentatonic Patterns
10. "Worthless" Solo
11. Rob's Favorite Licks
12. Writing A Metal Song- Song Structure
13. Writing A Metal Song- Verse
14. Writing A Metal Song- Pre Chorus
15. Writing A Metal Song- Chorus
16. Writing A Metal Song- Pre Verse Bridge
17. Writing A Metal Song- Middle Section
18. Writing A Metal Song- Complete Song
19. Harmonic Minor
20. "End it All"
21. "Empire"
22. Picking Scrapes
23. Picking Exercises
24. Finger Exercises
25. Rob's Effects & Pedals
26. Conclusion

Reviewed by on March 2, 2011

"Arnold’s simple and helpful advice is priceless, and can help you become a better metal guitar player."

Chimaira has a long-standing tradition of delivering truly revolutionary metal music to tens of thousands of listeners all over the globe. Their caliber of diverse and technical sound is matched by few others in their genre. Helping to lead this wave of new metal is Chimaira guitarist Rob Arnold. Not only has Arnold’s unique style defined Chimaira’s sound for years, but his method of skilled guitar playing is rivaled by few.

Arnold’s “Metal Guitar: Song Writing, Riffing & Soloing,” published by The Rock House Method, is a detailed and informative DVD which takes the viewer through a series of short lessons and ultimately teaches him/her how to improve one’s metal guitar-playing skill and technique. His lessons cover just about every technique necessary to turn an intermediate guitar player into a true metal shredder. The DVD comes with a lifetime subscription to The Rock House support online, and a 32-page lesson book enclosed within the case. The DVD’s format is also iPod friendly, so it is easy to transfer the lessons onto an iPod music layer. On the DVD, material covered ranges from tuning and basic picking to rigging and other equipment that Arnold uses.

Arnold opens the DVD with a short introduction displaying his exemplary skills, before moving on to discussing what the DVD is and what you will learn. He then moves on to basic tuning instructions, before moving on to a discussion of his technique versus the technique of other guitar players, and the particular benefits and downfalls of each.

He then continues the DVD with an assortment of lessons, namely chords and variations of them. He also talks about his favorite guitar licks and riffs, how to create a two part guitar section, how to play two different guitar parts from the Chimaira song “Six,” how to play different leads and how to create your own lead using pentatonic patterns, and the different steps of how to create a metal song.

The DVD includes detailed instruction on how to play Chimaira songs “Six,’ ”Empire,” “End it All,” and the solo from the song “Worthless.” Arnold also breaks down the process of writing a metal song into several steps; the song structure, writing a song verse, writing a pre chorus, writing a chorus, writing a pre verse, writing the “middle section” of a metal song, and then summing all of the parts up and creating a smooth-flowing metal song.

Arnold discusses different practice techniques that he uses on a daily basis, including specific picking techniques, finger-tapping techniques, and fingering techniques. He breaks each of these techniques down into several steps, first going slowly and dictating everything he does, and then more rapidly so that the sound flows together and the viewer can get a good idea of what the exercise should sound like.

Towards the end of the DVD, Arnold discusses the various pieces of equipment that he uses in his rig. He talks about the different kinds of effects and pedals, as well as amplifiers, speaker cabinets, and other such equipment. He talks about how each of these items plays a role in his sound, and how certain pieces go together with each other. Arnold closes out the DVD with some simple pieces of advice; urging viewers to keep and maintain a diverse music library with different genres, and use the techniques learned in the DVD often.

Overall, this DVD is very informative and helpful. Not only does Arnold take the time to break everything he teaches the viewer down into the simplest of degrees, but he also gives simple ways to incorporate these techniques into music the viewer may write. He also gives advice on what kinds of equipment to use in order to achieve a certain sound, and what to look for as far as effects. Arnold maintains a friendly and helpful attitude throughout, and the special bonus features that come with this DVD are essential to continuing a guitar playing education. After viewing this DVD, I personally can say that my technique has improved and my writing skills are much keener. Arnold's simple and helpful advice is priceless, and can help you become a better metal guitar player.

Highs: Rob Arnold does a teriffic job breaking down each lesson.

Lows: This DVD is meant for guitar players that are already at the intermediate level of guitar playing.

Bottom line: Great, helpful, and instructional DVD that will help improve any metal guitarist's technique.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)