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by Chuck Eddy

June 10, 2013

Grandchildren of the Grave

by Chuck Eddy  |  June 10, 2013

The ominous Rototiller rhythm of Black Sabbath's 1971 song "Children of the Grave," easily one of the most iconic pulsations in all of metal, if not all of the universe period, goes something like this: "Duh-duh-d'duh-duh, Duh-duh-d'duh-duh, Duh-duh-d'duh-duh, D'DUH-duh," over and over and over again -- forever, if you want it to. Matter of fact, the rhythm just will not go away. Lately, four decades plus down the line, some semblance of it has shown up on metal tracks by Megadeth, Intronaut, Prong, Morbid Angel and probably others. But not only metal bands use it. In fact, most likely a metal band didn't even invent it.

A very similar rhythm, see, helped Jefferson Airplane fly through the title track of their 1968 album Crown of Creation, three years before Sabbath turned it into a metal readymade. And within a year after Sabbath used it, so did -- in descending order of metalness -- Uriah Heep, Alice Cooper and David Bowie. In 1980, Blondie, of all bands, topped the U.S. pop chart for six weeks with the rhythm in "Call Me," from the American Gigolo soundtrack -- originally written, supposedly, as an instrumental called "Metal Man" (see: "Iron Man"!). But somehow it was magically stamped as a Eurodisco move by producer Giorgio Moroder, who had, intriguingly enough, applied a related riff to his 1972 pre-disco hit "Son of My Father."

Other not-really-metal bands have pilfered the "Grave" groove since: The Call, Butthole Surfers, Nickelback. In 2012, Brit doomsday merchants Killing Joke even seemed to make the Blondie connection, by naming their "Children of the Grave" rip "Rapture" -- get it? Yet more acts, such as Finland's The 69 Eyes, have interpreted Blondie's "Call Me" as goth or metal. Those can all be found on this playlist, along with three bands covering the Sabbath classic outright.

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