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There's a Freight Train Comin', p.1

It’s always exciting to get your hands on something you can’t get anywhere else. So as a measure of thanks to Joel Wanasek for inviting me to do a guest column at InsaneGuitar.com, I offer up a transcription you won’t find anywhere else on the internet. It’s none other than the guitar solo to Nitro’s Freight Train, the most over-the-top ’80s metal song you never heard.




THE DANGEROUS ’80s: Michael
Angelo plays Nitro’s
Freight Train  (3.4MB Quicktime)

Why never? Unlike their more radio-friendly forebears, Nitro’s mission, according to their various press releases, was to be the “fastest, highest, and loudest” band alive. It was a lofty goal considering the competition, yet with athletes like Jim Gillette on vocals and of course the mythic Michael Angelo on guitar, they arguably succeeded. But O.F.R (short for “Out Fuckin’ Rageous”, of course), the album on which Freight Train appears, was released in 1989 — a full two years after Axl and Slash’s grittier take on hair metal




THE DANGEROUS ’00s: Nitro’s Freight Train resurrected.  (5.29MB Quicktime)

signaled the genre’s descent into grunge. By the time the first crate of O.F.R. CDs hit the trucks, it may as well have been delivered directly to Kurt Cobain for safe keeping in his basement.

However fleeting the band’s commercial success, they did achieve a musical milestone of sorts. Michael Angelo’s soloing on the album was probably the most virtuosic example of pure alternate picking ever to appear on a rock record, a title which it just might retain today. As such, it merits a serious look by all of us who are fascinated by the development of unearthly guitar technique. So without further delay, let’s dive into the out-fuckin’-rageous sounds of the Freight Train< solo: Nitro’s Freight Train (793.48KB MP3)


m.1                                     m.2

----------18----------------18--------|-----------18-20---
-18-20-22----22-20-18-20-22----22-20--|--18-20-22---------
--------------------------------------|-------------------
--------------------------------------|-------------------
--------------------------------------|-------------------
--------------------------------------|-------------------
 d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u      d  u  d  u  d

                                    m.3

-22-20-18----20-18-------18--------|-----------18-20-22---
----------22-------22-20----22-20--|--18-20-22------------
-----------------------------------|----------------------
-----------------------------------|----------------------
-----------------------------------|----------------------
-----------------------------------|----------------------
 u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u      d  u  d  u  d  u

                 m.4                                m.5

-20-18----------|----------------------------------|------
-------22-20-18-|----------------------------------|-18-20
----------------|-19-17-15----------------15-17-19-|------
----------------|----------19-17-15-17-19----------|------
----------------|----------------------------------|------
----------------|----------------------------------|------
 d  u  d  u  d    u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u    d  u

                      m.6                       m.7

----18-20-22-/\/\----|-------18-18-18----------|-18-18-23-
-22------------------|-18-20----------20-18-20-|----------
---------------------|-------------------------|----------
---------------------|-------------------------|----------
---------------------|-------------------------|----------
---------------------|-------------------------|----------
 d  u  d  u            d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u    d  u  d

                             m.8

-18-20-18-18-18-18----------|-18-18-18-20-23-20-18-18-18--
-------------------20-18-20-|-----------------------------
----------------------------|-----------------------------
----------------------------|-----------------------------
----------------------------|-----------------------------
----------------------------|-----------------------------
 u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u    d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d

           m.9                                m.10

----------|-18-18-18-20-23-20-18-18-18-------|------------
-20-18-20-|----------------------------22-20-|-18-20-22---
----------|----------------------------------|------------
----------|----------------------------------|------------
----------|----------------------------------|------------
----------|----------------------------------|------------
 u  d  u    d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d    u  d  u

                          m.11

-18-20-22-20-18----------|--------------------------------
----------------22-20-18-|--------------------------------
-------------------------|-19-17-15----------------15-17--
-------------------------|----------19-17-15-17-19--------
-------------------------|--------------------------------
-------------------------|--------------------------------
 d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u    d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u

                    m.12

-------------------|----------------------------------|---
-------------------|----------------------------------|---
-19-17-15----------|----------------------------------|---
----------19-17-15-|----------------------------------|--
-------------------|-17-15-13----------------13-15-17-|---
-------------------|----------17-15-13-15-17----------|---
 d  u  d  u  d  u    d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d

m.13                        m.14

---------------------------|------------------------------
---------------------------|----------15-18-17-16-15----15
----------14-15-17-/\/\/\--|-14-15-18----------------18---
-14-15-17------------------|------------------------------
---------------------------|------------------------------
---------------------------|------------------------------
 d  u  d  u  d  u            d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u

                 m.15                m.16

----------------|----------15-17-18-|----------17-18-20-|-
----------------|-15-17-18----------|-17-18-20----------|-
-18-17-15-17-18-|-------------------|-------------------|-
----------------|-------------------|-------------------|-
----------------|-------------------|-------------------|-
----------------|-------------------|-------------------|-
 d  u  d  u  d    u  d  u  d  u  d    u  d  u  d  u  d

m.17                        m.18

----------18-20-22-(25)----|----------------------------|-
-18-20-22------------------|-6--/--15-18-(20)-\/\/------|-
---------------------------|----------------------------|-
---------------------------|----------------------------|-
---------------------------|----------------------------|-
---------------------------|----------------------------|-
 u  d  u  d  u  d            d     d  u

m.19                m.20

-------------------|-------------------------------------|
----------14-------|----------14-15-18-15-14----14-------|
-14-15-18----18-15-|-14-15-18----------------18----18-15-|
-------------------|-------------------------------------|
-------------------|-------------------------------------|
-------------------|-------------------------------------|
 d  u  d  u  d  u    d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u

m.21                            m.22             m.23

-------------------------------|----------------|---------
----------14-15-17-15-14----14-|----------------|---------
-14-15-18----------------17----|-17-15-14----14-|---------
-------------------------------|----------17----|-17-15-14
-------------------------------|----------------|---------
-------------------------------|----------------|---------
 d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u    d  u  d  u  d    u  d  u

                      m.24               m.25

---------------------|------------------|-----------------
---------------------|----------15------|----------16-----
-------14-15-17-/\/\-|-15-17-18---18-17-|-16-18-19---19-18
-15-17---------------|------------------|-----------------
---------------------|------------------|-----------------
---------------------|------------------|-----------------
 d  u  d  u  d         d  u  d  u  d  u   d  u  d  u  d  u

  m.26                            m.27

-|----------------17-18-20-18-17-|-------------------|----
-|-------17-18-20----------------|-20-18-17-20-18-17-|----
-|-17-19-------------------------|-------------------|----
-|-------------------------------|-------------------|----
-|-------------------------------|-------------------|----
-|-------------------------------|-------------------|----
   d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u    d  u  d  u  d  u

m.28                  m.29

---------17-20-18-17-|------------------------------------
------18-------------|-20-19-18-17---18-17----------------
---19----------------|------------19------19-17-19-17-/\/\
20-------------------|------------------------------------
---------------------|------------------------------------
---------------------|------------------------------------
d  d  d  d  u  d  u    d  u  d  u d  u  d u  d  u  d

 m.30                                  m.31

|----------------17-22p17-------------|----------------18-
|-------------18----------18----------|-------------19----
|:---------19----------------19-------|----------20-------
|-------19----------------------19----|-------20----------
|-17h20----------------------------20-|-18h21-------------
|-------------------------------------|-------------------
  d - - - - - - -|  u - - - - - - -|    d - - - - - - -|

                    m.32

-23p18-------------|----------------19-24p19-------------|
-------19----------|-------------20----------20----------|
----------20-------|----------21----------------21-------|
-------------20----|-------21----------------------21----|
----------------21-|-19p22----------------------------22-|
-------------------|-------------------------------------|
 u - - - - - - -|    d - - - - - - -|  u - - - - - - -|

 m.33

|----------------18-23p18--------------|------------------
|-------------19----------19-----------|--repeat-measures-
|----------20----------------20-------:|---30-through-33--
|-------20----------------------20-----|----three-more----
|-18h21----------------------------21--|-------times------
|--------------------------------------|------------------
  d - - - - - - -|  u - - - - - - -|

 m.34                                  m.35

|----------------17-22p17-------------|----------------17-
|-------------18----------18----------|-------------18----
|----------19----------------19-------|----------19-------
|-------19----------------------19----|-------19----------
|-17h20----------------------------20-|-17h20-------------
|-------------------------------------|-------------------
  d - - - - - - -|  u - - - - - - -|    d - - - - - - -|

                    m.36

-22p17-------------|--------------------------------------
-------18----------|--------------------------------------
----------19-------|--------------------------------------
-------------19----|-17--/\/\/\---------------------------
----------------20-|--------------------------------------
-------------------|--------------------------------------
 u - - - - - - -|    d

It turns out that there are at least two versions of the solo in question. One version appeared on a Nitro EP called Gunnin’ For Glory, and can actually be downloaded from the audio section of Michael Angelo’s own web site. The Freight Train solo on Gunnin’ For Glory is similar to, but not the same as, the one that shipped on the actual O.F.R. CD. Since the O.F.R. version is the one most Nitro fans will be familiar with, it’s the one we’re going to be looking at in this lesson, and it’s the one I’m playing in the clip above.

If you own O.F.R., now’s the time to pop it back into the CD player. If you don’t, obtaining it might be difficult since the original disc is to my knowledge no longer in print. However, you can still hear this version of the solo in a clip of the original Freight Train music video that has been floating around the file sharing networks erroneously labeled as a “Nitro concert clip”. Above you’ll find an edited version of the clip that contains just the solo itself. Note that it’s included it here as an educational resource for the evaluation of Mike’s incredible technique, and also because the video itself is long out of rotation and generally unavailable for purchase or study through any other means.

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