Sick Riffs: Heinrich Arnold and Donny Burbage teach you the whammy-laden lead lines of Aether Realm's Slave to the Riff

Sick Riffs #91: Fit that tremolo arm and get your fingers warmed up - this one will truly test your chops. Heinrich Arnold and Donny Burbage of melodic-metal juggernauts Æther Realm join us today to teach you the jaw-dropping lead lines of the suitably titled Slave to the Riff, taken from latest album Redneck Vikings from Hell.

With face-melting two-handed tapping lines, interspersed sweeping passages and considerable finger stretching required, this one's sure to keep you learning for a while. But don't worry, the guitarists have included the tabs to make the process that little bit easier.

Gear-wise, Heinrich wields a Schecter C-7 FR SLS Elite 7-string electric guitar through a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx III amp modeler, while Burbage plays a Agile Interceptor Pro 7-string through a Line 6 HX Stomp.

"Thus far, we've had two tours and counting indefinitely postponed, so that's obviously a huge bummer!" Arnold says. "Thankfully I was able to keep my day job of slinging coffee and such over at Starbucks - they even gave us all a few paid weeks away from the store if we needed time for our mental health, which was fantastic. 

"Other than that, we've just been trying to stay busy putting in work for our 'next big things,' whenever they may go down!"

"I'm not only a musician but also a touring guitar tech, so I've basically been out of a job since the whole pandemic became a big issue in the states," continues Burbage. "I was on tour subbing on guitar for Vale of Pnath when the last two shows got cancelled, and I was stranded in Vegas having to purchase a new plane ticket to get back home. 

"That ate up some of my income and ruined my vacation time I had planned after the tour. Ironically, with the album releasing in the midst of the pandemic, our album tour was cancelled but that didn't mean I wasn't busy trying to come up with other ways to have income or make content. 

"I feel like I've been busier than ever now sitting at my computer doing videos and content - which I'm awful at making and editing, haha! So it's a slow process but I'm learning!"

Aether Realm’s new album Redneck Vikings From Hell is out now via Napalm Records.

Support Aether Realm

Sick Riffs is a Guitar World video series designed to help guitarists affected by the coronavirus. Self-isolating players around the world have each filmed a lesson where they teach you one of their own guitar riffs, up close and personal. If you dig the lesson, we encourage you to buy music and merch from the artist or stream their music.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.