Released: 2008, Rockhouse Method
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Alexi Laiho, lead guitarist, vocalist and driving force behind Finland’s Children Of Bodom has just released two instructional DVD’s for Rock House Method, an innovative company that combines a roster of marquee names who provide visual instruction that ties in with the Rock House Method website where DVD owners can further their six string wisdom by typing in a code on the inside of the DVD box and receive lifetime membership for online lesson support by Rock House instructors free of charge.
Of course, Alexi’s DVD’s are part of the “Metal Guitar” series and the first DVD titled Level 1, starts off captivating enough, whatever your skill level may be. Alexi, donning his trademark eyeliner and black nail polish starts things off by showing the viewer some basic chords on his signature series ESP Flying V guitar, slowly and then speeding things up.
We get Children Of Bodom riffs broken down piece by piece, rhythm parts, leads and solos, and so far so good. But as the Level 1 DVD moves along so does the skill level, and midway through the disc I’ve found several sections that will require some degree of routine practicing to master. I must have watched the section covering “Sweep Picking” close to fifty times so far, that is one area I’ve always wanted to improve on.
I especially appreciated the “Whammy Bar Techniques” included with the Level 1 DVD. Several awesome whammy bar secrets are revealed, and I found myself saying “Oh, so that’s how they do that!”
The definite highlight for me of Alexi’s Level 1 DVD is hands down the “Speed Runs” for “Bastards of Bodom” learn to play these lightning fast riffs of excellence and you are sure to achieve some degree of notoriety as a mean axe wielder.
Alexi is complemented on this DVD by RHM instructor John McCarthy who occasionally provides more insight to Alexi’s lessons via voice overdubs. The screen often splits so you can view both the picking hand of Alexi while you watch his fingers work the fretboard.
While the Level 1 DVD appears to both beginner and intermediate guitarists, if you make it to Level 2 you now will be facing a more advanced journey featuring five and six string arpeggios, string skipping arpeggios, advanced right hand tapping techniques, alternate tunings as well as guitar parts from COB songs Bastards Of Bodom, Are You Dead Yet, Living Dead Beat, We’re Not Gonna Fall, Punch Me I Bleed, and more.
Viewers on the Level 2 DVD are treated to a quick tutorial from Alexi himself on all of the specific gear he uses both on the road and in the studio. He also gives his advice on singing and playing (simultaneously) for a band.
Also included in these DVD’s is live concert footage of Children Of Bodom, Alexi’s warm up exercises, a lesson book, and the ability to download free metronomes and tuners as well as instructions for putting your DVD lessons on your iPod.
I am having a lot of fun with these two DVD’s and I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of Alexi or just looking to expand their musical knowledge and prowess.
As part of the Metal Guitar series, Rock House Method has produced the three part instructional Modern Speed And Shred DVD’s. The first disc in the series is guided by John McCarthy, co-owner of Rock House Method, who I first became aware of on the Advanced Metal – Riffs, Arpeggios & Speed Runs DVD.
I really enjoy watching John instruct as he has an infectious, positive approach about him, always teaching his lessons with a smile, and enforcing an encouraging aura throughout his lesson plan.
John starts off the disc noting the specific features and primary uses of the different parts that make up your guitar. This is fine as this DVD is specifically aimed at the beginner level player.
The viewer is also walked through how to properly hold the guitar and pick, as well as what type of equipment to acquire to ensure a proper metal tone.
It’s not long before John is walking the viewer through chord progressions, tablature explanations, speed exercises and pentatonic “death” scales.
We also get the rundown on using octaves, string bends, and hammer-ons. If you are a beginner and enjoy John’s instruction, I would definitely suggest checking out his other metal guitar DVD Advanced Metal – Riffs, Arpeggios & Speed Runs.
If you are not familiar with guitarist Marc Rizzo, and were to find out that he is the lead guitarist of Soulfly, the Max Cavalera fronted band of tribal terrors, your reaction may not be overly enthusiastic about watching him instruct you, the metal faithful on how to play shred guitar. I know I had my doubts initially. All stereotyping of baggy pants laden, shopping mall teenager rock aside, you could not be more mistaken.
As was I, I now hold a new and unshakable respect for Mr. Rizzo after watching the final two DVD’s in the “Metal Guitar – Modern Speed and Shred” series.
Where John McCarthy hosted the Beginner DVD in this series, Marc Rizzo closes out the series with the Intermediate and Advanced DVD’s.
The Intermediate DVD covers a vast range of technique including Minor Pentatonic Scales, Metal Chords and Inversions, Legato Technique, Palm Muting, Right Hand Tapping, Arpeggios and plenty of Shred Riffs…
The between chapter solo jamming Marc Rizzo does is worth the price of admission alone.(It also makes me wonder why he wasn’t the number one contender for the Megadeth throne after the recent departure of Glen Drover. But we’ll save that for another time.) Marc dissects passages from his solo track “Kilocycle” slowly and then once more, at regular speed…whoa! What started out as such an innocent riff turns into a nasty, speed demon when boosting into light speeds.
The “Drop D Tuning Metal Riffs” section in it’s slowest form seems simple and tame enough, but once again Marc transforms it into a whole other beast when guiding you through it’s rightful tempo.
In the “Advanced” Marc Rizzo DVD, I have become fascinated with the String Skipping technique Mrac puts forth. Every other string is skipped from top to bottom, the technique is difficult to explain in text, but think two steps forward one step back and so on and so on…
Marc challenges goes through some Jazz based chords and encourages the viewers to incorporate different flavors of music into your metal. It’s tough to argue with his theory the way he has presented an example.
Where in the Intermediate DVD Marc covered right hand tapping techniques, the Advanced DVD has Pick Tapping, which has a whole other sound and added dimension to it. I had never seen this done before, but I’m pretty sure I have heard this before.
The “Two String Lateral Lick” is a fun, gradual progression up the guitar’s neck on the 1st two high strings and is definitely an essential weapon in any metal players arsenal of lead guitar licks.
One other thing of note on the Advanced DVD is the “Kilocycle Lead” that will surely keep most of us viewers busy learning and mastering it in it’s entirety. A whirlwind of neo classical flavored passages are broken down slowly and then presented at proper tempo.
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced guitar aficionado, if you are looking for some cool DVD’s to practice with and learn some new tricks from, I highly recommend the Rock House Method Metal Guitar series.
You can find them at Guitar Center or most other music retailers, or order directly from the interactive website http://www.rockhousemethod.com