You have to go back to the roots of rock 'n' roll for Abysmal Dawn guitarist Charles Elliott's start in music. In this edition of Gear Factor, the singer-guitarist tells us that he first got inspired to pick up the guitar after watching the Michael J. Fox film, Back to the Future.

"The first song that made me want to play a guitar was not brutal at all. It was 'Johnny B. Goode,'" recalls Elliott. "I think I watched that movie Back to the Future with my dad as a kid and I think that’s a Chuck Berry song. I just remember him playing guitar in that and thinking it was really cool. It was probably what initially inspired me to play guitar until I heard like, Pearl Jam or something like that. Metallica, for sure.”

From there, Metallica was a big part of his early playing. “I think I learned the basis of heavy metal guitar playing from Metallica. I had a book that was basically a compilation of all their best riffs and I learned a lot from those,” says Elliott, both displaying bits of "Enter Sandman" and "Creeping Death."

He also credits Sepultura's Beneath the Remains album and Megadeth's Rust in Peace for their early influences as well. As for his first solo, that would be Alice in Chains' "Man in the Box."

Digging into his own band's catalog, Elliott takes us back to the early days, playing the dizzying riff of "Servants to Their Knees" and pulling out one of the first songs they wrote together as a band, "Solitude's Demise."

He's also big on their new album, Phylogenesis, explaining, “Some of my favorite riffs are on the new album and they’re my favorite riffs in general." After rocking two riffs from "Coerced Evolution" and another from "True to the Blind," Elliott takes it to a more difficult territory.

First comes his riff on "Mundane Existence." “It’s a fucked up riff, man. It’s this technique of the bass there and bouncing between strings basically," he explains. "It’s an idea I pretty much borrowed from Buckethead. He always used it in a very atonal type of way and I’ve never really seen a band do it in a more melodic way.” Another more involved riff comes from the song "The Path of the Totalitarian." "When we get to play that live, I’ll be excited and worried at the same time," says Elliott.

Be sure to check out the new Abysmal Dawn album, Phylogenesis, which you can order right here. And have a look at Elliott's playing throughout this edition of Gear Factor in the player below.

Abysmal Dawn's Charles Elliott Plays His Favorite Guitar Riffs

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