Metal Rhythm in 6 weeks is the latest installment from UK Guitarist Andy James and Lick Library, in a slight deviation from the usual formula this course is spread over 6 DVDs, 1 for each week, the first 3 weeks introduce techniques that will be applied to the performance pieces in the following 3 weeks. I’ll break down each DVD below:

In DVD 1 Andy covers picking rhythms using down picking and alternate picking he also introduces palm muting and using the left hand to mute. The DVD starts out with some simple exercises using basic rhythm patterns and then he moves on to introducing triplets all mainly using a simple E5 power chord but he also goes through some different chords used in metal rhythm using the b5, 9th and 6th. The DVD concludes with a series of exercises over backing tracks using some advanced picking rhythm patterns played on different beats of the bar to help improve your timing and feel for playing and off the beat. As a bonus Andy also takes you through a few pedals that he uses for the video to get his metal tone.

DVD 2 introduces even more chord possibilities using Drop D tuning which will help you create more interesting sounding progressions, these extended chords are also incorporated into playing chords from both a natural minor and harmonic minor scale (or Phrygian Dominant mode). Once again Andy has created backing tracks to put the lessons into context, in this case there are 3 metal backing tracks that Andy illustrates with examples for you to learn. Theses examples are quite a fast tempo so if you are a complete beginner undertaking this course don’t expect to get up to speed straight away, you may have to practice playing riffs half time at first.

By the end of DVD 3 you will be at the half way mark and if you are keeping up with Andy you should already have enough knowledge to write some killer riffs. Week 3 introduces Drop C# Tuning, not sure why C# and not C which is much more common but Andy seems to prefer it and uses it in his band Sacred Mother Tongue. The first section of the DVD looks at odd rhythms over a 4/4 beat, this is quite a hard concept to grasp if you are new to learning music so really it is about listening and copying and getting used to hearing these odd rhythms so that you become more comfortable with them. The next section moves on to riffs using arpeggiated chords, again the riffs are played at quite a pace but the idea is to get you thinking about using this technique when writing your own riffs and it sounds killer when you get up to the speed of Andy. The DVD concludes with a performance track using all the techniques covered so far to mark the halfway point, this track is pretty full on I didn’t expect anything this advanced for the halfway point but its a really great goal to aim for.

DVD 4 uses Eb tuning (bet you wish you didn’t have a double locking trem by now!) and breaks down a complete song focussing on the various techniques covered. The track starts out pretty basic but immediately moves into some fast triplet patterns that will test if you have been practicing the picking examples from the earlier DVDs! All the riffs in this track are based around what you have learned in previous weeks but put into the context of a full length instrument, of course there is a backing track included on the DVD for you to play along to once you are up to speed with all the riffs. The lack of tabs will mean having to follow along with Andy’s instruction to get each part right however.

DVD 5, ok by now you should be on your way to being a heavy metal riff-master and things get even heavier in the week 5 performance using the Drop C# tuning. There isn’t much point me going in to too much detail here, week 5 is similar to week 4 in that Andy breaks down a complete track for you, again the backing track is included for you to jam along to once you have mastered all the riffs and all the techniques used have been covered in weeks 1-3.

DVD 6, the final week in the program again uses a performance of a track Andy has written to use the techniques already covered. This track is the probably most difficult of the performances which makes sense as it is the final week. There are lots of position shifts, syncopated rhythms and fast picking all using Drop C# tuning.

Some of the simple concepts shown in this series are things that you would never know as a learning guitar player unless you are shown and having such an arsenal of lessons like this will definitely speed up the learning process and give you the tools and knowledge to play your favourite Metal riffs and write your own. I would say that this course is definitely aimed at the intermediate guitarist, that is someone who can already play basic chords and is confident picking individual notes in a scale as the examples get quite involved by week 2. Of course all of the examples are shown at a slow tempo and you don’t have to get up to speed straight away, you take it at your own pace, that’s the whole point of getting these DVDs! The only thing missing are tabs so you will have to be happy learning by watching and listening.

Check out http://www.licklibrary.com for details on how to order this DVD series.