Mar 042014

(TheMadIsraeli decided to make this list of the people he judges to be the top metal guitarists of all time, with sample music. Comments are welcome, as always.)

I decided to take a much needed break from NCS activities, mainly due to the fact I had shit I had to do, and stuff I wanted to do.  Stuff and shit has pretty much dominated my life for the last couple weeks, but now it’s time to get back to doing this shit.

First thing on my list?  Well, the name of the post should tell you everything.  My top  guitar players of all time is a pretty specific calculated list, with some choices that may turn out to surprise people.  I’ve played guitar for 15 years now, and have gone through my share of temporary idols, but these are the guys who’ve stuck with me.  Being able to shred and having ridiculous skill is not a sufficient qualifier for this list.  At the end of the day, while you’ll find almost all my choices are excellent shredders, riffs at the end of the day will matter more.

A lot of people of the more shred persuasion, like Rusty Cooley for example, can write all the cool solos they want, but he for example can’t write a riff to save his life.  That perfect balance between riff and virtuosity in the lead department has always been something that’s very rarely accomplished.  I think probably for awhile, Yngwie Malmsteen was the only guy in that department who knew how to write good overall SONGS that exhibited technical prowess combined with memorable moments and recognizable style all at once.

I value riffs more than solo-crafting ability for the obvious reason, that it’s what you mostly hear in metal; especially metal with vocals.  Those riffs have to tell a story, convey a definite idea, one that contrasts with or enhances the solos when they crop up.  And those solos? They have to be fucking mini voyages through the cosmos.  They can’t be just sheer displays of technical skill.  You get people like Rusty Cooley or a lot of other solo shredders, and it’s becoming even worse in the djent market with all these pseudo-sloppy fusion guys coming out of the woodwork who just follow by rote basic fusion melodic progressions or simply execute solos that their songs could’ve well done without.  Half-assed fusion influence is probably the worst offender in modern metal guitar playing right now.

As is usually the case with my lists, order doesn’t signify better or worse here. Continue reading »

Feb 282010

What have we here? It’s another Par Olofsson album cover! And just a few days after we showcased some other album covers by this prolific Swedish artist (here).

Wonder what’s inside? Hey, whaddaya know!  It’s a CD!  Wonder what it sounds like? (putting CD in music player . . . and listening)

Fuck yeah! (pumping fist in air) This is some sick shit!

(Strike that. This is supposed to be a high-brow extreme metal site, rendering sophisticated musical analysis in literate journalistic prose. Start over.)

The band is called Arkaik. They’re from beautiful Riverside County, California. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Suffocation, Necrophagist, Dying Fetus, and Decrepit Birth. Their just-released debut album on Unique Leader Records is called Reflections Within Dissonance. And what’s the music like? Fuck yeah! This is some sick shit!

Damn. We gotta do better than that. Let’s use some adjectives besides “sick.” How about: insanely fast, technical, pummeling, rhythmically dynamic. How about some metaphors? Like standing right next to a jet turbine already spooled up to a full roar while an assault squad is blasting at your head with M4s on full auto — in a hurricane. (read more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »