Maybe—no, definitely—the riff sits as metal’s focal point due to its lineage. Tony Iommi was a phenomenal guitarist, but his riff penmanship on the first seminal Black Sabbath albums above all other aspects of his playing has guided metal’s development the most. If you’re a riff-hound looking for an alternative because, perhaps, you’ve soaked in all the riffs featured in our recent No Love Lost column, the Texas death metal trio Aduanten are one such wellspring. Their recently released music video for “Sullen Cadence,” off of the Sullen Cadence EP from earlier this year, carries the same compositional mindset as the group’s music, an approach that opts for elegance over extremity. Watch below:

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Both the video and the track focus on exploring a small number of ideas. In the case of the Jonathan Nunan-directed video, it’s pagan imagery like wicker burning, torches, and hooded executioners. The cinematography uses wide shots and no more than a few cuts. Nothing is done hastily. Nunan forces you to witness the witch-burning horror without allowing you to look away. His insistence embellishes the atmosphere.

Similarly, Aduanten eschews a riff-centric approach in favor of harmonics. They create moody pockets where guitars burn at a higher pitch than most melodeath bands. The group meditates on a few ideas, like the tribal percussion that introduces “Sullen Cadence,” and milks them for all their worth. As soon as they’ve sapped a reserve, they transition without haste. There’s internal pressure to “Sullen Cadence” owing to the contrast between Aduanten’s patience and their efficiency. The track is a few ideas, explored down to their deepest crevices, then seamlessly replaced by the band's next interest.

From the group:

We are pleased to present the video for "Sullen Cadence," which arrives courtesy of a full production by director Jonathan Nunan. We gave Jon virtually no input on the video's direction apart from simply presenting the music and lyrics, and we couldn't be any more pleased with his visual interpretation of the song and the existential battle that it represents. The decision to set the traumatic experience of the primary character in a bleak historical context is an important one that speaks to the sense of universality that we try to achieve with the lyrics. There's certainly a lot more than can be said about why we love this visual treatment, but ultimately we think it's best to let the video speak for itself in all of its old-world splendor. Please enjoy and thank you for your interest in what we do.

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The Sullen Cadence EP is available now through Aduanten’s Bandcamp page.