Change in Rhythmic Motive in The God That Failed Ex 3

An additional rhythmic change occurs in the B section at the end of the guitar solo.  The verse riff is used verbatim here, but at the end it is concluded with a straight sixteenth-note attack.  The momentary constancy of the sixteenth notes breaks up the jaggedness of the three-note pattern and creates a quickened pace.


Through the melodic and rhythmic changes, the main riff of “The God That Failed” undergoes significant transformations.  Changes of interval, mode, melodic direction, and rhythm all impact the character and energy of the riff, and the constant introduction of one variation after another creates the sense of ongoing change.  Though some semblance of the original theme is maintained throughout the song, the introduction of one variation after another keeps the theme churning.

As an aside, it should also be noted that these four variations are just a sample of many other variations that occur from the main riff—the theme—in “The God That Failed,” and that nearly all of the material in the song derives from this theme.[1]  In that regard, “The God That Failed” is an example of Metallica’s monothematic songs, which proliferate especially in the Black Album.

[1] The main riff is itself a variation of a riff that begins in the bass guitar, which plays the music of the riff verbatim (albeit two octaves lower).  An argument could be made that the opening bass riff is the true theme, with all other riffs deriving from it linearly.  Considering the prominence of the main riff, it seems more logical to assign it as the theme.


Go to Ex 1

Go to Ex 2