Morbid Angel Style

by Ben Higgins

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  • Difficulty: 7
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    THE PROFESSOR In this shredtastic lesson by Ben, you are learning how to riff in the Death Metal style of Morbid Angel, using what is roughly the E Half-Whole Diminished Scale. As it has an “evil” and “dark” sound, the HW Dim scale is a staple of the Death Metal diet, and is used to create some of the heaviest riffs by your favorite heavy bands. 

    Learning how to build, how to use and how to play the Half Whole Diminished Scale on Guitar will allow you to understand why your favorite Death Metal riffs sound so heavy, and then give you the musical ammunition you need to write your own riffs in the style of Morbid Angel and similar bands.

    Hi and welcome to a new lesson, in the style of Death Metal legends Morbid Angel!

    I will be focusing on some of the riffing trademarks of guitarist Trey Azagthoth. The musical style contains lots of fast alternate picking of single notes allied to ultra fast double bass drumming, complex time changes and lumbering riffs using octave chords and palm muting.

    I've written this lesson in standard tuning, even though Morbid Angel commonly used Eb.

    This lesson will work on:

    - Timing
    - Octave chords
    - Palm muting
    - Fast alternate picking / tremolo picking

    The tonality of this lesson is based around E minor.


    130bpm-150bpm-130bpm This part is important to remember. The 1st half of the lesson is 130bpm, then there is a small pause and the tempo changes to 150bpm as the hi-hat counts in. After that riff section, it drops back to 130bpm for the final fast tremolo picking section.

    Poulin Legion Plugin -
    Green channel. Drive:8 Low:5 Mid:5 High:6 Contour:5 Presence:7
    Poulin LeCab Plugin - C02 Mono_left_pres_4


    The riffs don't adhere to specific scalar intervals. This is the case with much of death metal. However, the closest scale that corresponds to the single note riffing is the E Half/Whole scale.

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