Riff Playbooks

Riff Playbooks: James "Jibs" Kennedy | Shallow Graves


The "Riff Playbooks" column is designed to make you a better player. By gleaning some insight into the technique, composition, and execution of these fine riffs by fine SH artists, you are bound to make headway in your own playing. We cordially invite you to steal a page from our books in order to expand your own diabolical playbook of musical wizardry!

James Kennedy

Oceans Ate Alaska

Posted — March 15, 2023

Recent addition to the SH family, Oceans Ate Alaska, are a part of a new wave of Metalcore - one that sees the heaviness, technicality and melodic tendencies that we all know and love from the genre pushed to new heights. Year over year, young musicians seem to surpass previous generations in technical ability, and whether that can be attributed to the gear, the competition, the ever expanding access to resources, or all of this and more - it’s undeniable that feats and accomplishments that we’re seeing keep getting wilder and more impressive. OAA are certainly part of that for Metalcore, bringing in influence from Progressive and Tech Metal, and pushing the goal post for their genre at large. Below is guitarist James Kennedy, playing through the intro of "Shallow Graves", a section which showcases the DNA of the band, and lays the groundwork for this bands unique and expansive take on heavy music. Here's what Jibs had to say about the section:

“The intro for Shallow Graves was a funny one as I accidentally wrote the rhythm with the exact same feel as a previous OAA track, oops. (It didn’t stay that way of course, we’re not that lazy). I’m big on using sus chord progressions in bouncy up beat sections like this - I feel like it leaves the harmony open for experimentation with other melodic layers which is where the lead guitar comes in. However, it’s a fun vibe from the get go so we didn’t want to just blow it with some obnoxious solo but instead have a repeated motif which carries the song further. The lead has its quirks though as it’s a phrase of 18 16th notes in 4/4  meaning the loop is constantly changing from bar to bar. Nothing crazy but just enough to keep it interesting!"

Before diving in, we suggest you grab the free tabs for this section RIGHT HERE!
Be sure to check out The Complete Guitar Transcription - linked at the bottom of the article!

Here is the Rhythm Guitar section played up to speed:

and here is the Lead Guitar section played up to speed:

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The Complete Guitar & Bass Transcription
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