Like any year-end list, this wasn't an easy one to compile. Of course, stellar documentary pieces by way of Cameron Crowe (Pearl Jam Twenty) and James Moll (Foo Fighters: Back And Forth) made the job a little easier, as did the fact that AC/DC, Slash and Rush continue to be among the best live acts on the planet.
As an editor at GuitarWorld.com, I listen to tons o' music -- all sorts of weird stuff. One day in the summer, I even found myself listening to an album made by a bunch of nuns chanting in Latin. I'm still not sure why that happened. Anyway, the point is, amid the beatings my ear drums withstand on a daily basis, it's easy to choose my favorite albums of the year; they're the ones I found myself listening to over and over again.
Having proclivities that spread a breadth of musical styles, I can't deny that half of my picks for the best albums of 2011 are not what one would consider "guitar" albums. But then again, a "guitar" album is a relative term. All the albums featured in my Top 10 contain guitar.
In 1969, a long-haired band arrived out of nowhere, brandishing a heavy sound and dark vibe that was completely at odds with the "get back to the garden" idealism of the Woodstock generation. The band's jazz-influenced drummer was almost physically incapable of playing a straight 4/4 beat, and the guitarist had lost the tips of two fret-hand digits in a freak industrial accident.
Earlier this year, Down announced that they will record four new EPs instead of a full-length album, setting off a ton of speculation about how the album's days may be numbered, thanks to any number of culprits from our download-centric culture to the impatience of fans.
Guitar World is ringing in the holidays with ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons. With a long-awaited ZZ Top album on the way, the Reverend Willie G. has a wealth of things to celebrate this holiday season. Plus, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Lamb of God and Judas Priest talk about their upcoming albums and projects for 2012.