Thursday January 26, 2006

I should really have something better to write about than this. After all, in the past month I hosted a crazy-go-nuts New Year's party, I saw Sodom (one of my favorite bands ever, on which more later), Sonata Arctica, and the classic lineup of Anthrax. Pharaoh's album is mixed, mastered, and in manufacturing, to be released on February 21. And yet the thing that has roused me from my posting slumber is the recollection that in my wayward youth I spent all too much time transcribing and notating other musician's songs.

You see, back in the mid 90s, one of the things I did to pass the time was to maintain a couple fan-sites for metal bands that I felt were woefully underappreciated and underrepresented on the then-emerging web. The first band I did a site for was Sodom, a German thrash band who have been around since 1981 or thereabouts, and who are still going strong. The second band to whom I paid virtual tribute was Scanner, another German band, but this time a power metal combo. They're still around, but their last album was not so good, and their current status is somewhat in question.

One of the things, back then, that you'd commonly find on fan-sites for metal bands were guitar tabs (short for tablature, a half-assed musical notation system that doesn't require any actual musical understanding or the ability to read genuine music notation.) As an intrepid and motivated fan-siter, not to mention a reasonably able guitarist, I took it upon myself to transcribe some Sodom songs. As far as I know, there were no other Sodom tabs available online at the time. Sodom songs, at least from their golden period from 1986-1989, are not terribly difficult to play, and so they weren't very hard to transcribe. I never did bother to learn the solos, though. They're noisy and atonal, and frankly, too much trouble to transcribe.

Through the Sodom page I met a lot of other people doing the same thing as me, but for other bands. I helped a guy start up the first ever Kreator site. Another friend of mine was the first guy to put Rage up on the internet. Neither of these guys played guitar, so I offered to make some tabs for the bands they were representing. And once all these tabs got around, I started to get inquiries from guitarists who liked my tabs and wanted other songs done.

In this way, I ended up transcribing and, um, tablaturizing about a dozen songs. And owing to the immense greed of certain people, who think they can make a living selling advertising on webpages that centrally collect the free tabs on the internet made by fans, these tabs refuse to die, and are in fact quite easy to find. I was able to locate all but one of the tabs that I remember doing on a single site, even. In addition to the ones listed below, I seem to recall transcribing another song off Rage's End of All Days album, possibly the title track. I also did a Voivod song ("Psychic Vacuum," off the mindbending Dimension Hatröss), but I don't think I ever sent it to the guy that asked for it. That song was a bitch to learn, because Voivod's guitarist (the late Denis D'Amour, aka Piggy) used all sorts of weird diminished chords. I wonder if I still have that file somewhere on my computer at home?

So here it is, as comprehensive a list as I've been able to assemble of all the tablatures I've made that are still available on the internet. I am absolutely, 100% sure that every single one of these transcriptions is incorrect in some way, but as they say, you get what you pay for.

Posted by Matt at January 26, 2006 03:27 PM


You will be forever immortal on the internet!

Much like my 2nd place (of two, that third person listed is fictitious) finish in the adult beginner category of a long-ago yo-yo competition in Springfield, VA.

It's a kind of blessing and curse.

Posted by: tWaMo at January 26, 2006 04:19 PM

I used to try to play tabs that I got from rock magazines in the 90s but it was not the same on the bass guitar (which I eventually gave up, but my loss was Edenrot's eventual gain).
I missed Sodom, Anthrax, and Sonata Arctica in January. Stupid illnesses, money problems, and second job conflicts! Let me know if you're coming to Jaxx again - we should meet up. I was planning to come to Philly for In Flames but as it turns out I am going to be in Germany(!) watching Coheed.

Posted by: Sarah at January 26, 2006 10:31 PM

Cool to see Matt.

Btw, the new Canvas Solaris is pretty awesome, innit?

Posted by: BenMech at January 29, 2006 10:04 PM

Sarah - I think the next time I'll be down at Jaxx is for Gamma Ray in March. Will you be there? Also, if you haven't heard the band 3 yet, you should make it a priority!

Sen - Yeah, the new CS is great, but the NEXT one (which I already have, in rough mix form) is truly astounding, and not in the least because I play egg shaker on one song!

Posted by: Matt Johnsen at January 30, 2006 09:01 AM

Actually 3 are friends of mine (everyone should check them out!). I took most of their 'Summer '05' tour photos (except for the ones from MO).

Is Gamma Ray in March or May? I'll probably check that out...can't turn down Into Eternity either.

Posted by: Sarah at January 30, 2006 09:59 PM

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