Riffhard Review

Riffhard Review

I’ve looked at many different online guitar tutorial sites over the years. Most of them offer general tuition for beginners or advanced lead guitar tuition. Riffhard is different. Riffhard was created by Monuments guitarist John Browne and is dedicated to modern metal rhythm guitar. Browne is widely regarded as one of the best modern metal rhythm guitarists in the world at the moment so having the opportunity to learn from him seems too good not to try.

For $29 per month, you get access to an ever-growing library of tuition videos accompanied by Guitar Pro tabs to download, along with access to the Riffhard community Facebook group. It might seem like a slightly high price initially but when you consider how much guitar lessons cost it’s actually a very good deal. The site isn’t really aimed at beginners, but if you’re at a moderate level and are looking to improve, or if you are already pretty advanced and want to take your playing to another level then the site has a lot to offer.

Edit – Riffhard 2.0 has launched since this review was written. The old content remains but new content and features have been added. I’ve added a section about these changes at the end.

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Posted by Mark Smith in Gear, Guitar Gear Reviews
New Lyric Video By Barbarian Prophecies – ‘Among Us’

New Lyric Video By Barbarian Prophecies – ‘Among Us’

Among Us is the second track from the new album Horizon. The lyrics talk about the search for answers to the mysteries of existence by the human being and how there are powers in the shadows that try to hide them to prevent the evolution of society. It is one of the shortest and fastest tracks on the album, also one of the most melodic. The lyric video has been created by YOD multimedia.


Posted by Mark Smith in Music News
FLAMMA Innovation Release Two New Pedals – FC10 Noise Gate & FC11  Envelope Filter

FLAMMA Innovation Release Two New Pedals – FC10 Noise Gate & FC11 Envelope Filter

The FC10 Noise Gate pedal is a flexible, compact noise gate aimed at squashing annoying hum and feedback while preserving your original, beautiful guitar tone. The FC10 controls are extremely simple featuring a toggle switch that lets users quickly switch between a Hard mode and Soft mode with each mode indicating the level of noise reduction. Also included is the Threshold knob, allowing users to tweak when the noise gate effect kicks in based on the signal input. Now, we know noise gates aren’t the most exciting pedal to add to your rig so that’s why we made the FC10 super compact so you can fit it anywhere and housed it in a durable metal shell so you’ll never need to replace it.

FC10 Noise Gate

1. Two modes to choose from: Hard/Soft

2. Full metal shell for durability 3. Tiny and compact design

4. True bypass switch

5. DC 9V adapter power supply

The FC11 Envelope Filter pedal is a mini form factor pedal from Flamma Innovation featuring a robust and customizable envelope filter for auto wah style effects. Unique to the FC11 is its pure analog circuit that provides a warm and natural-sounding effect. Featuring a wide range of knob controls, users can set up their FC11 to be used with guitar or bass and cater their tone for a variety of different styles using the Sensitivity, Tone, Decay, and Q knobs. True bypass is also included to prevent unwanted signal degradation when the pedal is off. The FC11 is housed in a durable metal shell with one of the smallest footprints on the market fits easily on any pedalboard.

The FC11 Envelope Filter

1. Pocket-sized envelope filter/dynamic auto wah pedal.

2. Sensitivity, Tone, Decay, and Q knobs allow you to set your favorite tone.

3. Suitable for guitar and bass.

4. Pure analog circuit provides a lush, warm sound.

5. DC 9V adapter power supply

All FLAMMA Innovation products are available on Amazon/Flamma Shop/Aliexpress worldwide.

Posted by Mark Smith in Guitar Gear News
Devin Townsend – Announces new UK ‘Lightwork’ shows in support of upcoming new album

Devin Townsend – Announces new UK ‘Lightwork’ shows in support of upcoming new album

Recently Devin Townsend announced the first batch of dates for the upcoming ‘Lightwork Tour’ in support of the forthcoming album ‘Lightwork’, due to be released in Spring 2022. In addition to these dates he is now proud to be announcing two more UK shows, one of them at the Royal Albert Hall in London.  

Tickets for these two additional shows will go on sale Friday, August 20h, 10am GMT and can be ordered at: www.hevydevy.com/tourdates

The following dates are currently scheduled with more shows to be announced in due time: 

13th – Ireland, Dublin, Olympia
14th – Scotland, Glasgow, O2 Academy 
17th – UK, London, Royal Albert Hall
19th – France, Lille, Le Splendid
20th – Belgium, Brussels, AB
21st – Germany, Frankfurt, Batschkapp
22nd – Germany, Cologne, Carlswerk Victoria
23rd – France, Paris, L’Olympia
25th – Germany, Stuttgart, LKA Longhorn
26th – France, Clermont Ferrand, La Cooperative De Mai
27th – France, Toulouse, Le Bikini
29th – Portugal, Lisbon, Cineteatro
30th – Spain, Madrid, La Riviera
1st – Spain, Barcelona, Razzmatazz 1
3rd – France, Marseille, Le Moulin
4th – Italy, Milan, Live Club
6th – Austria, Dornbirn, Conrad Sohm
7th – Germany, Munich, Backstage Werk
8th – Switzerland, Zurich, X-Tra
10th – Germany, Leipzig, Werk 2
12th – Denmark, Copenhagen, Amager Bio
13th – Sweden, Gothenburg, Pustervik
14th  – Norway, Oslo, Sentrum Scene
16th – Sweden, Stockholm, Cirkus







https://www.youtube.com/user/poopynuggeteer/featured http://twitch.tv/devin_townsend








Posted by Mark Smith in Music News
“Dark Clouds Over London”: Dark Indie Video Sets The Mood For The New The Halo Trees Album, “Summergloom”

“Dark Clouds Over London”: Dark Indie Video Sets The Mood For The New The Halo Trees Album, “Summergloom”

After the first single “Leave No Fear”, the Berlin indie band The Halo Trees now present the second single “Dark Clouds Over London” from the upcoming album “Summergloom”, which will be released on October 8, 2021. The song, which was influenced by Brexit and deals with the division of society, is accompanied by a performance video that is well worth seeing and should appeal to listeners from bands such as The National, Nick Cave or The Editors.

The clip shows singer/guitarist Sascha Blach and drummer Stefan Helwig as well as session bassist Maik Antrack, who helped out for the video shoot. As with the previous album, everything was done DIY again, because in addition to the production, The Halo Trees also create their videos and artwork themselves and publish them on the band’s own label, Winter Solitude Productions. The single is now available on all streaming and download portals. The album can also be pre-ordered, in addition to CD and download, also as gatefold vinyl and – exclusively in the Winter Solitude shop and on Bandcamp – as fan packages with shirts and lanyards.

‘Dark Clouds Over London’ Music Video

Further information:




Posted by Mark Smith in Music News
Dream Theater Return With  A View From The Top Of The World

Dream Theater Return With A View From The Top Of The World

Their 15Th Studio Album Scheduled For

Worldwide Release On October 22nd

Two-time GRAMMY-nominated and millions-selling progressive music titans Dream Theater announce the forthcoming worldwide release of their 15th studio album, A View From The Top Of The World on October 22nd. A View From The Top OF The World is Dream Theater at its musical finest expanding on the sound they helped create while maintaining the elements that have garnered them devoted fans around the globe. The 7-song album also marks the second studio album with InsideOutMusic / Sony Music. The artwork was created by long-time cover collaborator Hugh Syme (Rush, Iron Maiden, Stone Sour). A View From The Top Of The World was produced by John Petrucci, engineered and additional production by James “Jimmy T” Meslin and mixed/mastered by Andy Sneap.

Dream Theater – comprised of James LaBrie, John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, John Myung and Mike Mangini – was in the middle of a sold-out world tour in support of their last release Distance Over Time and the 20th anniversary of Scenes From A Memory when a Global Pandemic brought the world to a stop. The musicians found themselves at home with LaBrie in Canada and the rest of the group in the States. As fate would have it, they’d just finished construction on DTHQ (Dream Theater Headquarters) —a combination live recording studio, rehearsal space, control room, equipment storage, and creative hive. With LaBrie in Canada, he initially wrote with the band via ZOOM on a monitor in DTHQ. In March 2021, he flew down to New York, quarantined, and recorded his vocals face-to-face with Petrucci. The album ultimately threaded together lean and uncompromising hooks with tried-and-true technical proficiency.

“We just love to play our instruments,” observes Petrucci. “That never goes away. I love to be creative, write, and exercise that part of my mind. We’ve been able to do this for a long time, and we don’t take it for granted. Whenever we get together, we know we can’t disappoint ourselves or our fans, so we manage to try even harder.”

“We approach every album like it’s our first,” adds LaBrie. “It’s been such a great ride, but we’re not going to stop.”


L to R: John Petrucci, Mike Mangini, James LaBrie, John Myung, Jordan Rudess Photo Credit: Rayon Richards

The tracklisting for A View From The Top Of The World is:

1) The Alien (9:32)
2) Answering The Call (7:35)
3) Invisible Monster (6:31)
4) Sleeping Giant (10:05)
5) Transcending Time (6:25)
6) Awaken The Master (9:47)
7) A View From The Top Of The World (20:24)

Dream Theater is also planning to hit the road in support of the new album. The Top Of The World Tour of North America kicks off on October 28th in Mesa, AZ and runs through December 14th where it concludes in St. Petersburg, FL. The tour will make stops in Seattle, WA; Chicago, IL; Washington, DC; New York, NY and Orlando, FL among others. Information on tickets for all upcoming shows as well as VIP packages can be found at www.dreamtheater.net.

Find Dream Theater online:
InsideOutMusic is the leading label worldwide for progressive music and is part of the Century Media Label Group, a division of Sony Music.
InsideOutMusic online:
Posted by Mark Smith in Music News
Embr To Release New Ep ‘1021’ On 3rd September (New Heavy Sounds)

Embr To Release New Ep ‘1021’ On 3rd September (New Heavy Sounds)

Watch The Video For New Single – Vesuvious

Birmingham, Alabama 4 piece Embr are set to release a 3 song EP called “1021”. The title alludes to the fact that, the EP is the second in the New Heavy Sounds 10th Anniversary CD EP series.

‘1021’ follows on the heels of their critically acclaimed full-length “1823”. It also falls in line with the 2-year anniversary of the drummer Eric’s kidney transplant. 

Embr deliver 3 brand new songs, each of which push the template set up by the album. These compositions chronicle love, devastation, disappointment, forgiveness and anger, and once again, musically Embr are on top form. Drummer Eric comments on the video for new single ‘Vesuvious’,

“Vesuvious, the first track from the upcoming EP 1021 is an intense composition. It’s a bit out of the box for Embr, which is exactly what we set out to do. Musically, it’s faster and more up-tempo than what we usually write. The riffs are driving, The rhythm section is pummeling, crystals vocals are soaring, at times haunting and she even Incorporated a substantial dose of her screaming.  Lyrically, the song is loosely based on “the lovers” from the Pompeii disaster. If you listen to the lyrics you’ll hear some of that story. So you could say that this song is a heavy love song. The video is composed of footage from our weekend at Ledbelly sound…… stick around till the end for A few outtake clips. We hope that you’ll enjoy the song as much as we did writing it.”

Watch the video now:  https://youtu.be/9RCqo7iE258

“1021” shows the band continuing to develop and grow, the crushing heaviness and haunting vocals that marked their album are all there and this time. they have brought a faster pace and tougher execution to their sound. In fact ‘1021’ hits like Jason Voorhees on a rampage and doesn’t let up until the end of the 15 minute run time. Add to that some memorable hooks that will sink in your jaw and you have an enticing journey ahead of you. 

Embr To Release New Ep ‘1021’ On 3rd September

Photo Credit – Ashley Guise

The EP was recorded and mixed by Matt Washburn at Ledbelly Sound in Dawsonville Ga. and mastered by Frank Heath at Soulfire Sounds in Birmingham, Alabama.  

Alongside this the band have created a video for each song, filmed during the studio sessions and these will form part of the release with the EP.

As with all the NHS 10th Anniversary series, the CD is a very limited edition of 150 only, and is housed in a bespoke die cut, New Heavy Sounds house style cd digipack.

It will be available by mail order only from Cargo Records: https://cargorecordsdirect.co.uk/products/embr-1021-ep

Also on Bandcamp via New Heavy Sounds for all territories excluding the USA and Canada: https://newheavysounds.bandcamp.com/album/1021-e-p

USA and Canada orders can be made via Embr’s Bandcamp page.

Once they’re gone, they’re gone. The tracks will also be available digitally on all platforms

‘1021’ is scheduled for release on September 3rd 2021.

Posted by Mark Smith in Music News
Leprous – Launch new single/video “The Silent Revelation” from upcoming album ‘Aphelion’

Leprous – Launch new single/video “The Silent Revelation” from upcoming album ‘Aphelion’

Norwegian Rock outfit Leprous are today introducing a new single entitled “The Silent Revelation” off their upcoming studio album “Aphelion”, out August 27th, 2021 worldwide via InsideOutMusic.

Check out “The Silent Revelation” in a video clip directed by Tobias Hole Aasgaarden / South Coast Creative here: https://youtu.be/S7bOg3oercg

Feel free to also check out the previously released tracks “Running Low” here: https://youtu.be/QKmaG5f9Zsg and “Castaway Angels” here: https://youtu.be/85drl9-lqRU

Following up on 2019’s highly acclaimed “Pitfalls” album, Leprous recorded “Aphelion” throughout the last year at three different studios: Ghost Ward Studios in Sweden, Ocean Sound Recordings in Norway and Cederberg Studios in Norway. The album was once again mixed by Adam Noble (Placebo, Biffy Clyro, Nothing But Thieves, etc.), mastered by Robin Schmidt (The 1975, Placebo, The Gaslight Anthem, etc.) and its front cover artwork was designed by Elena Sihida, based on photography by Øystein Aspelund. 

The album’s track-listing reads as follows: 

LEPROUS – “Aphelion” (56:06)

1. Running Low

2. Out Of Here

3. Silhouette

4. All The Moments

5. Have You Ever?

6. The Silent Revelation

7. The Shadow Side

8. On Hold

9. Castaway Angels

10. Nighttime Disguise

Next to the Jewelcase CD and Digital Album versions, “Aphelion” will also be available as limited edition Mediabook CD (with expanded booklet) and as Gatefold 2LP+CD with two bonus tracks: 
11. A Prophecy To Trust and 12. Acquired Taste (Live 2021).

The album’s 180g 2LP vinyl version, which comes in Gatefold packaging and with the entire album on CD as bonus, is available in the following variants and limited editions: 

Black 2LP+CD – Unlimited

Ultra Clear 2LP+CD – 500x copies via IOM Webshop & CM Distro

Bright Gold 2LP+CD – 200x copies via JPC

Transparent Light Blue 2LP+CD – 200x copies via EMP

Creamy White 2LP+CD – 400x copies via O-Merch

Deep Blood Red 2LP+CD – 200x copies via Band 

You can pre-order “Aphelion” in its various formats here:


Here is a list of upcoming live appearances by LEPROUS:

LEPROUS – 20th Anniversary European Tour

01.12.2021 Oslo (Norway) – Vulkan Arena

03.12.2021 Nijmegen (The Netherlands) – Doornroosje

04.12.2021 London (UK) – Electric Ballroom

05.12.2021 Paris (France) – Elysee Montmartre

06.12.2021 Aschaffenburg (Germany) – Colos-Saal

07.12.2021 Vienna (Austria) – Arena

08.12.2021 Esch (Luxembourg) – Rockhal

09.12.2021 Lyon (France) – Ninkasi Kao

10.12.2021 Barcelona (Spain) – Apolo 1

11.12.2021 Madrid (Spain) – LAB

13.12.2021 Milan (Italy) – Live Club

14.12.2021 Aarau (Switzerland) – KiFF

15.12.2021 Munich (Germany) – Technikum

16.12.2021 Berlin (Germany) – Columbia Theater

LEPROUS – Live 2022:

17.06.2022 Clisson (France) – Hellfest
25.06.2022 Valkenburg (The Netherlands) – Midsummer Prog Festival
16.07.2022 Cremona (Italy)  Luppolo In Rock
20.08.2022 Bristol (UK) – ArcTanGent Festival

More shows to be announced soon…

Stay tuned for more news on LEPROUS and “Aphelion” coming soon…

Leprous – Launch new single/video “The Silent Revelation” from upcoming album 'Aphelion'

LEPROUS line-up:
(From left to right on photo by Elena Sihida)
Robin Ognedal – guitars

Tor Oddmund Suhrke – guitars
Baard Kolstad – drums
Einar Solberg – vocals/keys

Simen Børven – bass

LEPROUS online:


Posted by Mark Smith in Music News
Album Release: Danny Muth – Weird Flex

Album Release: Danny Muth – Weird Flex

Danny Muth’s new release “Weird Flex” is an album of instrumental, progressive, experimental, and fingerstyle music that aims to redirect rock guitar and infuse it with elements of free jazz improvisation, post-punk rhythms, and a variety of sonic voices.

The album’s aural vision was inspired by the growing community of experimental jazz and avant-garde rock guitarists (Mike Baggetta, Nick Millevoi, Ava Mendoza, Anthony Pirog, and others), and its overall composition evokes Muth’s experience in various indie, dance, and psychedelic groups.  

On the heels of his 2020 self-titled album (labeled “dissonant…hypnotic…epic… dynamic…versatile” by Divide and Conquer), “Weird Flex” defies typical electric guitar tropes. Although laden with oversized riffs and accessible licks, the album eschews excessive technically preposterous shredding in favor of the unexpected, a nod to Muth’s penchant for fusing free-jazz values into rock foundations. The title track is a near-atonal motif that builds from a simple clean tone into a noisy cacophony of feedback and  vintage effect pedals, notably a boutique ring modulator. “Rub Some Dirt On It” is a more straightforward riff-based piece inspired by avant rock players like Vernon Reid and Chris Haskett. The third track, “Descensus ad Inferos,” showcases Muth’s finger-style ability in an alternate tuning derived from Hawai’ian slack key, augmented with spacey and surfy overdubs. “Green After Green,” is an edgy, angular instrumental reimagining of an older tune originally written for and performed by one of Muth’s earlier Sacramento-area bands, Del Mundo. It’s a short, fast ride down a six-string autobahn to a motorik beat.The final three tracks are unorthodox instrumentals arranged like jazz compositions (head, solo, head) with off-kilter melodies serving as delivery devices for fuzzed-out lead guitar warheads.

The album reflects Muth’s philosophy that rock guitar music must be adventurous, raw, and improvised. 

All instruments- 6 and 12 string electric and acoustic guitars, baritone electric guitar, bass, and drum programming- were performed by Danny Muth. 

“Weird Flex” is scheduled for release on August 24th.

Danny Muth Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dannymuthguitarist

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dannymuthguitar/

Bandcamp: https://dannymuth.bandcamp.com/


Posted by Mark Smith in Music News
Quick Questions With Kade Storm

Quick Questions With Kade Storm

1. Who inspired you to start playing?

Many bands and artists to name. It often becomes a futile endeavour that doesn’t even accurately capture the various inspirations involved. To really nail this one, I’d say that the chaotic and aggressive atmosphere that one finds in Extreme Metal – this would be my inspiration; to capture and mould that sound to my design.

2. Which piece of equipment couldn’t you live without?

That’d have to be the guitar, until and unless the rig can go along with it as well, but the guitar is at the top of that list.

3. What’s your favorite album of the year so far?

Again, I’d probably be listing many great offerings that fall under the Extreme Metal umbrella, though much of my focus is still on the releases from last year. As for this year, Heathen Deity’s album that was released a brief while back was an excellent work of Black Metal.

4. If you could have a lesson from anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?

This would probably be a list in its own right, but if I had to pick one, I’d say Trey Azagthoth; something about his playing style and approach to the guitar has frequently resonated with my own approach, even though there are numerous differences in application.

5. What is your number one tip for any new player?

Assuming that we’re talking about the guitar, though I think this could apply to any instrument, this really comes down to two words. Practice regularly. Everything else is secondary because the real challenge of being good at the instrument is developing instinctual familiarity with it, and that requires, above all, regular practice.


I’ve recently released a Black Metal LP titled Ascension, it’s Black Metal in aesthetic and thematic style, but also has some heavy Doom Metal and Death Metal elements. It’s also getting a physical CD release via Narcoleptica Productions.

Quick Questions With Kade Storm

Kade Storm – Band Camp: https://kadestorm.bandcamp.com/
Kade Storm – Facebook:
Narcoleptica Productions – Band Camp:

Posted by Mark Smith in Music News