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Van Halen: Fair Warning (Warner Brothers)

J.D. Considine, Musician, October 1981

THE GENERALLY accepted notion of guitar heroics holds that heavy metal is a lead guitarist's forum. Practice and history, however, suggest another conclusion. Despite the preponderance of solos in heavy metal music, the guitar's principal function is as a rhythm instrument, setting up and repeating the basic riff or riffs around which a song is constructed. The rhythm guitar provides both the body of the sound and the basic harmonic direction, while the vocals supply the melodic interest. Guitar solos and fills are essentially secondary to the stylistic requirements of heavy metal, which perhaps explains the current popularity of HM bands that either limit or exclude guitar solos.

Total word count of piece: 458


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