In the last column, I examined a solo section from my original song 'Genesis/Genocide’ (from power/thrash metal band Darker Half's new EP Classified) and discussed using the Lydian mode in a heavy metal setting. Since I got such a great response to this, I thought it would be neat to take a look at another of my solo passages from this track. Whist still using the Lydian mode, this excerpt involves a fast, shred-style twin guitar harmony.


The four bar passage I’ll be looking at occurs in the song from 3:00-3:06. It’s the final, climactic phrase of the preceding (quite lengthy) guitar solo. As I mentioned, the tonality here is Lydian – E Lydian in this case (E-F#-G#-A#-B-C#-D#). If you’re unfamiliar with it, Lydian is the fourth mode of the major scale, and it’s essentially a major scale with a raised (#) fourth degree (1-2-3-#4-5-6-7). The I-II (E-F#) chord progression also denotes E Lydian. Starting on the root note, Exercise 1 can be viewed as the tonic (or the main/original) solo part. The lick is performed at a fast 180bpm via alternate picked 16th notes. Using three note-per-string fingerings, it employs a melodic sequence to descend, before moving up a position and ascending through the scale via some very quick 16th note triplets. On the chord change at bar 3, a tricky four note-per string grouping is used on the first string. The run then descends and resolves after a whole step bend.


Exercise 2 is the overdubbed harmony part played concurrently with the original line. Typical of the power metal style, the harmony used is diatonic major/minor thirds. The word diatonic means staying within the scale. Thus, diatonic thirds means playing the same lick, however, playing it three notes higher while never moving outside the original mode (Lydian in this case). So whilst the fingerings will change, the melodic contour will stay the same. If you’re familiar with modes and standard three note-per-string fingerings, an easy way to view this is that since the original line is E Lydian, counting up three modes inclusive, this harmony part could be seen as using G# Aeolian. Note that by staying in key, it dictates that the bend in bar 4 will be a half step.

Hear Exercises 1 & 2

If you’re not too familiar with harmonising in diatonic thirds, you could try recording the Exercise 1 phrase slowly, and then try adding the harmony over the top and seeing how they both fit together. You can here this excerpt, as well as the full track for ‘Genesis/Genocide’, online at