Welcome to our first installment of lessons on The Darker Arts: The Devil’s Interval. It surely won’t put you in the league of Steve Vai as the Satan’s guitarist in Crossroads, but will certainly help you in catapulting your music into the eerie and dark world of bands such as Slayer, Venom, and all the bands with an inclination towards the evil side.
So, without any further a due, let me introduce you guys to the most notorious interval, the sound of which makes our Holy Forefathers tremble in their graves.
The Flattened 5th (b5) – The Devil’s Interval
Before we start out with understanding and using this Luciferious note of ours, lets go back a little and revise the intervals in a typical Chromatic scale.
If we go down memory lane and look at the history of this note, we would find that in the middle ages the church controlled all music, well, at least the popular music and that was the time when the Perfect 4ths and 5ths ruled the world. The Flattened 5th was banned by the church and its use was considered a blasphemy. But how long can they hold the darkness down, it took just one note to open up the gates of hell and unleash a new era of music ruled by the Flattened 5th.
Now, let us look at the use of the b5th by analyzing the Devil’s favorite song by the Fathers of Metal, Black Sabbath’s self-titled song “Black Sabbath”. One listen to the opening riff of that song can bring shivers down the spine of a weak soul, and a smile on Little Nicky’s face down below.
Tony Iommi uses only 3 notes to create this eerie effect, the root, the octave and the b5th, and it’s this movement to the b5th which causes that uneasy sensation in the minds of all weak hearted. And you really need to hear the crooning of the Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne to really feel what this note can do to your music.
Try making some riffs, solos using the Flattened 5th or better yet, try playing some of these tunes below:
Black Sabbath – Back Sabbath
Slayer – Seasons in the Abyss
Slayer – Bitter Peace
Satyricon – Fuel for Hatred
May the Darkness be with you,