This article is basicly about chords you can use and implement in metal rhythms.
Oooooh how I love metal. You can play the worst possible sounding chord and it can still sound kickass if you know where to play it. And there are tons of worst possible sounding chords. ;)
Lets begin with the chords we all know – power chords. The most common and neutral of all chords, power chords are formed simply of first, fifth and octave. They're not minor, they're not major. They're just heavy. Hit E power chord, and then transpose it an octave higher, so you get open E string ringing all the time.
One word of advice; always tend to apply vibrato on the chords you play under distortion. They get much more meaner than plain chords. And always damp the strings you don't play, so you cut off all the unwanted noise. You can also retune the low E string on D note, so you can execute power chords with only one finger. That's often practice.
I also recorded the riffs (downloadable at my website).
Now, let's recall the 'melody lines' from my 'Spicing the chords' articles. You can apply that here. Take a look at the E power chord, and separate it into 3 melody lines (which you will create by playing another chord after E power chord). 1st is the one on open E string, second on B note of A string and 3rd on E note of D string. Change the second line by flattening the B note to Bb. You can look at that Bb also as an A# note. Meaning, if you flatten the fifth, you get dim/Locrian atmosphere, and if you sharpen the fourth (A note, in this case), you get Lydian atmosphere. You have to accentuate that atmosphere you're trying to get. For example, let's say we've come up with something like this
Altough you have perfect fifth (which Locrian doesn't have), this riff can still steer you up to Locrian ambience on second bar, so if you're trying to achieve Lydian atmosphere, you might wanna play another interval from Lydian mode, such as major third, for example:
You can also use major sixth:
Let's play a bit more with second melody line. Play major sixth and minor seventh on second melody line:
Supposedly, you're in Phrygian mode, which immediately tells you to accentuate diminished second (and minor third, so you make it clear you're not in Phrygian dominant mode, though, that's optional). Diminished second in the key of Em is F note. Here's one of many ways to implement it:
E2- chord is really dissonant, but it gets better once it's resolved. While remaining in Phrygian mode, let's change the 1st melody line (we'll change 2nd melody line for the sake of playability).
Let's combine 1st and 2nd melody line, now (in key of E Dorian):
Another one (in key of E Lydian):
I bet you can find a lot more of them. Let's go to 3rd melody line (G string).
First thing that comes to my mind is, of course, ninth.
Play around with it, you will get many ideas. Play them instead of power chords:
Try going to minor seventh and major sixth:
Another cool thing is keep the same pattern on one melody line, and changing other ones. Here's an example:
And the last thing for this article, let's not forget the power chord with fifth in bass:
As you just heard, Sus2/5 chord works really cool, too. Enough cool you can just play that one chord under heavy rhythm, and keep the crowd headbangin' all night long. But go easy on them. ;)
...And keep on rockin'!