Raining Blood is a classic song in the thrash metal genre and you’d be forgiven for making a common mistake when learning the bass line!
The opening guitar riff consists of a repeating 16th note gallop before finishing with that signature atonal turnaround. When writing a song in this style, the most obvious method for writing a bass part would be to simply double the riff. Using this method we would play the following line:
Drum Track (172bpm)
Less Is More
However, in Raining Blood, Tom Araya chooses to play a half time line, making use of a droning Eb octave (bass is tuned down a half step). This fattens up the bass line and reduces the frenetic clank:
When doubling fast 16th note lines it’s easy to lose some of the low end because of the incessant attack and lack of sustain/release. By playing half time we lock in better with the drumkit and anchor the rhythm section.