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Six Feet Under... And Rising.

Six Feet Under... And Rising.
   
 

Originally printed in Guitar World Magazine, July 2005

What's that distant rumble? It's the fast-approaching sound of the biggest, baddest, most-aggressive guitarists in underground metal. Lamb of God, Trivium, Mastadon and many more offer the dirt.

 

ARCH ENEMY

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

MICHAEL AMOTT My ambition is to write and play good songs. I get my sound by playing from the soul. Great guitars and amps can help creativity and expression, but if you don’t have anything to say, no equipment in the world is going to make you sound more interesting.
CHRIS AMOTT I strive to be musical, tasteful, creative and original, although it’s difficult to be original on the electric guitar without sounding contrived. I want my playing to be acute, tight and clean. I also work a great deal on shaping and practicing my tone and vibrato.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

CHRIS It has yet to be recorded, though I’m pretty happy with my solo on “Instinct” and the acoustic piece on “Marching on a Dead End Road” [both from Anthems of Rebellion].

What song best represents your band?

MICHAEL I feel that “Dead Eyes See No Future” off Anthems of Rebellion captured quite a lot of what Arch Enemy are capable of. It has an aggressive verse, a strong melodic chorus and lots of guitar solos. If you like that one, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the rest of our songs.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

MICHAEL Obviously Tony Iommi. I love his riffs as well as his lead guitar work, especially on the Heaven and Hell album. He has a distinct, personal sound that no one can imitate.

What is the future of metal?

CHRIS Arch Enemy!

 

CHIMAIRA

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

MATT DEVRIES As a guitarist I’m just playing to have a good time and take it as far as I can. My goal has always been to have our music heard by as many people as possible. As for my sound, I’ve finally achieved the tone I’ve always wanted with the combination of ESP guitars, EMG 81 pickups and Engl Amplifiers through Mesa cabinets.
ROB ARNOLD I just want to be a part of what makes the band what it is. I get my sound through the band’s chemistry, the way we each complement each other’s sound.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

DEVRIES The record we are currently recording.

What song best represents your band?

DEVRIES “Pure Hatred” [from The Impossibility of Reason], not only because it is one of my favorite songs on our last record but also because it is straight-up in-yourface, fast and aggressive metal.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

ARNOLD Lately I’ve really been digging Willie [Adler] and Mark [Morton] from Lamb of God. Those guys pulled off some amazing shit on their last record.

What is the future of metal?

ARNOLD It’s hard to say. There aren’t any popular guitar heroes blowing it up at the moment, and players aren’t feeling like they have to live up to a certain standard. Where is today’s Randy Rhoads or Eddie Van Halen? Metal was huge in the Eighties because most of the heavy bands had great players who didn’t step into the spotlight until they had completed their homework. The future of metal will be only as big as we prepare for it to be.

 

LAMB OF GOD

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

MARK MORTON My goal as a player is to continue to improve and diversify. It’s pretty much a lifetime goal. After touring with Zakk Wylde, Tony Iommi and so many other amazing players, I’ve realized there will always be somebody who’s better. I constantly strive to incorporate elements into my playing that make my sound and style unique. And while it ain’t always a speed contest, it helps to have some shred in your bag of tricks.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

MORTON I think my playing on Ashes of the Wake is my best to date. My lead playing had improved significantly since the previous release, and as a whole, the songs were better arranged and more mature. We also used a wide variety of tones on that album, which made for a much more dynamic and mature record.

What song best represents your band?

MORTON I think we try to cover a lot of ground and try to stretch the boundaries of what a “metal” band can do. To narrow what we do down to one song is pretty impossible. However, the song “The Faded Line” from Ashes of the Wake seems to combine a lot of different styles into one piece, so that could serve as a good cross section of what we do.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

MORTON I’ve been fans of Johnny [Donais] and Matt [Bachand] from Shadows Fall for years now. They’re a lot like Willie [Adler, Lamb of God guitarist] and I in that they’re two unique players whose complementary styles make each other better. I’ve said it before, but I think Jeff Loomis from Nevermore is one of the best players out there right now. That dude can do anything. His riffs are heavy as hell, his leads are untouchable, his tone is heavy and the song arrangements are great. He’s definitely one of my favorite contemporary metal players right now.

 

What is the future of metal?

MORTON It will just get heavier. As people get exposed to heavier sounds, they get desensitized and develop a tolerance to it, so you gotta scream harder and play scarier-sounding stuff to maintain the impact. I also think the future will be defined by the amazing technological advancements in recording techniques and procedures. Teenagers are engineering pro-quality audio on laptops in their bedrooms. In that way, metal will continue to evolve and redefine itself.


TRIVIUM

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

MATT HEAFY I want to be as good a player as I can, and to completely master the instrument. Aside from that, I’d love to influence new, up-and-coming players, just as my idols influenced me. My sound is a little bit of my slightly too-hard picking and, of course, my Gibson Les Paul Custom with EMG 81/89 pickups into a Maxon OD pedal, my beastly Marshall DSL100 and my Marshall JCM900BV 4x12. It’s a rather simple setup, but it rules.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

HEAFY Our album Ascendancy. I’m very proud of the entire thing. As for my solos, I’d have to say “Falling to Grey” off of Ember to Inferno. It’s very fluid and legato and gives off a sense of reluctance in between the runs. It almost has its own shy emotion in between bursts of fast shredding.

What song best represents your band?

HEAFY “Declaration” [from Ascendancy]. It’s got a little bit of everything that is Trivium: parts that are fast and angry, and others that are slow and melancholic; elements of foreshadowing and irony; and best of all, constantly moving juxtaposition.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

HEAFY Corey [Beaulieu], my cohort in evil. His style is such a throwback to Eighties styling. It’s fast, flashy and cool, and that’s something you really don’t hear these days. Among my peers, I’d say Michael Amott [of Arch Enemy]. His style is brimming with feeling and emotion.

What is the future of metal?

HEAFY A circle that will eventually repeat and leave us in the good days of thrash and speed metal, a total revisitation to the glory days of bands like Metallica, Testament, Megadeth and Slayer.

 

FROM AUTUMN TO ASHES

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

BRIAN DENEEVE I’m trying to achieve a melodious orgasm using a few Les Pauls, Telecasters, Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifiers and Mark II heads, and a bunch of other tricks and trinkets.
JONATHAN COX I’m looking to create my own musical voice. I’m interested in using unique chord voicings with as many strings as possible, rather than the standard power chord. I also use a ton of effects: old stomp boxes that tend to crap out on me only onstage, at big shows, in front of a lot of people.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

DENEEVE Our new record. I feel that we really stepped up our playing on this one and I’m very proud of it.

What song best represents your band?

DENEEVE “The After Dinner Payback” mixed with “No Trivia” [both from The Fiction We Live] combined with Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.”

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

COX My favorites among our peers include Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewitz of Killswitch Engage. They are amazing musicians and are note-perfect every night. They’re also the most down-to-earth, fun dudes I’ve ever met.

What is the future of metal?

COX Whatever happens, you’re going to see a massive return to shred, the likes of which has not been seen since the glory days of Yngwie Malmsteen. So learn your diminished scales right now, or die!

 

PIG DESTROYER

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

SCOTT HULL I’m finding a lot of a guitarist’s sound is in the type of strings he uses. I used Dean Markley strings forever, but I recently switched to D’Addarios. They are snappier and have that “piano” sound to them. I like a really gristly, scooped-out metal sound. I get it using the old Ampeg VH-140c and its later ancestors, the Crate GTX3500. Metal isn’t to be heard; it’s to be felt…right in your solar plexus.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

HULL Our latest album, Terrifyer.

What song best represents your band?

HULL “Towering Flesh” [from Terrifyer] has speed, tech, breakdowns and density. It embodies in one song everything we’ve tried to do. Ironically, because of the guitar layering, we’ll probably never be able to play it live.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

HULL Brent [Hinds] and Bill [Kelliher] from Mastodon blend technique and songwriting skill. I think the reason theyare blowing up is because songwriting has become a less important goal than technique in metal, but these guys have both.

What is the future of metal?

HULL In all honesty, I hope it’s Mastodon. And I’m not just saying that because they’re getting us into Ozzfest, either.

 

CLUTCH

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

TIM SULT I want to achieve a natural, warm guitar tone. I’m not into processed guitar sounds, but I have no problem with effects. It seems like bands are really into an “Eighties”–type guitar tone right now, but I have more of a classic-rock tone.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

SULT I like the playing on both of our live albums, Live in Flint, MI and Live at the Googolplex.

What song best represents your band?

SULT “Big News Pt. 1 and Big News Pt. 2” [both from Live at the Googolplex]. It’s heavy, funky and has lots of room for improvisation.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

SULT Matt Pike from High on Fire. He’s a great old-school– style player who reminds me of a cross between Tony Iommi and Tom G. Warrior from Celtic Frost. He is, in a word, heavy.

What is the future of metal?

SULT Check out the lineup for the Sounds of the Underground Tour. That’s the future of metal.


MASTODON

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

BILL KELLIHER I would like to be thought of as having my own style and breathing new life into a cookie-cutter genre. I focus on songwriting rather than on playing as fast and hard as I can. I go for an early Eighties sound by plugging a 1982 Gibson Les Paul Custom Silverburst into a Marshall JCM800 100-watt and using its natural distortion.
BRENT HINDS I play through Seventies JMP Marshalls because that’s what AC/DC used, and their sound was always great.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

KELLIHER We recently played a show in Stockholm, Sweden, that was recorded using a professional studio. You may hear it soon.

What song best represents your band?

KELLIHER “Hearts Alive” [from Leviathan]. It shows both sides of Mastodon’s songwriting: the slow pretty stuff and the teched-out parts, plus there’s heaviness and guitar solos.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

HINDS Wino from the Hidden Hand, because he is a wise man and a wizard on the guitar. You could ask him anything and he’d give you great advice.

What is the future of metal?

KELLIHER I think we’ll see a change in the sound of metal, thanks to the new Headbanger’s Ball and more recognition for underground metal bands.

 

ALL THAT REMAINS

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

OLI HERBERT I want to be able to master everything I can imagine, and that will take a lifetime. I want to broaden my technical ability and style and continue to learn. As for my sound, it comes from all of my infl uences—not only the guitarists that inspire me but also the classical violinists I like.
MIKE MARTIN Like anyone who plays an instrument, I want to constantly grow and mature and take my abilities to the next level.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

HERBERT Our latest album, This Darkened Heart. It embodies everything that I have mastered so far, and the production and song structures, as well as my playing ability, represent me at my best.
MARTIN This Darkened Heart is the best thing I’ve worked on by far. It was the first time we’ve worked with a producer [Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz.] who pushed us hard, and made us play our best.

What song best represents your band?

HERBERT “The Deepest Gray,” from This Darkened Heart.
MARTIN
“Focus Shall Not Fail,” from This Darkened Heart. Not only is it a strong song but it also incorporates and showcases every aspect of sound we cover as a band.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

HERBERT Jon Donais from Shadows Fall, because of his style, his passion and the expression that he puts into his music.
MARTIN Joel Stroetzel and Adam D. from Killswitch Engage. They write amazing songs and they don’t overplay or overcomplicate anything.

What is the future of metal?

HERBERT I think the future of metal is a return to the roots, almost a repeat of 20 years ago. Metal has made an extremely strong resurgence, and I think you will see this cycle continue over and over again.
MARTIN Overall, I’d say the metal scene is getting better and stronger. Bands are starting to push the boundaries of metal again.

 

DEVILDRIVER

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

JEFF KENDRICK I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my songwriting and technical abilities, as well as my knowledge of the guitar. I get my sound from my hands, through my ESP guitars into my Mesa/Boogie amps. I also use a Boss Noise Suppressor and just a few effects.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

KENDRICK “Driving Down the Darkness” off our forthcoming record, The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand.

What song best represents your band?

KENDRICK“End of the Line” [from their forthcoming record]

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

KENDRICK Alexi Laiho from Children of Bodom. He’s only 25 and his technical ability is mind blowing. And Mark and Willie from Lamb of God, for their ability to write captivating, oldschool riffs that bridge the past with present metal scene.

What is the future of metal?

KENDRICK Metal will always be the termite that thrives, no matter how many times the colony is threatened with extermination. Popular music artists will continue to come and go while bands like us stick it out. Metal is the true underground and will always be underground, and that’s how the fans like it.

 

UNEARTH

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

BUZ McGRATH I would like to achieve a modest level of shred, but more importantly, I’d like to come up with as many blazing riffs as possible.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

McGRATH Probably the song on The Oncoming Storm called “Zombie Autopilot.” I’m proud of the guitar work in that song.

What song best represents your band?

McGRATH The song “Failure” [from The Oncoming Storm]. It has some nice guitar heroics and some cool harmonies.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

McGRATH Joel Stroetzel of Killswitch Engage has tone-filled hands. I’ve seen him play an old Hondo strung up with dental floss through a [Pignose] Gorilla amp, and it was the heaviest thing I’ve ever heard.

What is the future of metal?

McGRATH Not long ago, I was visited by a wild-eyed old scientist driving a DeLorean. He claimed that the vehicle was a “time machine,” and that he had returned from the year 2015. So I asked him, “What is the future of metal?” And he said, “Metal in the future sounds like off-time bird calls. Bands like Worm Eater and Pigeon Hold are the biggest bands going.” He also said that Crowbar are still the heaviest band ever.

 

CEPHALIC CARNAGE

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

ZAC JOE For me, it’s about personal satisfaction. All musicians understand how fulfilling music can be once you have the ability to unleash your imagination and see it come to fruition. Regarding my sound, it came from years of experimenting with whatever I could afford. My live setup consists of a 1967 Gibson Les Paul and a 1983 B.C. Rich Eagle, a ton of stomp boxes, and a Peavey 5150 II into a Madison 4x12 cab and an oversized Mesa/ Boogie 4x12 cab.
STEVE GOLDBERG There are always new tricks and styles to learn; I just wish I had enough hours in the day to practice the mall. As for my sound, I really like midrange; I’m not a big fan of the “scooped” sound. Midrange is where all the tone and clarity come from.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

ZAC JOE Our new disc, Anomalies. I’ve never played cleaner, and the tone is the best Steve and I have ever had.
GOLDBERG I agree. Anomalies has the tightest playing and my favorite lead playing for both of us. We’ve progressed as musicians with each recording, and I think it shows.

What song best represents your band?

ZAC JOE “The Halls of Amenti.” It’s an 18-minute doom song with some of the craziest and fastest arpeggios this side of Buckethead or Yngwie.
GOLDBERG “Counting the Days,” from Anomalies. It’s one of the few songs on the new album to feature the contributions of the entire band.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

ZAC JOE Kevin Hufnagel from Dysrhythmia. He never sees limits to what he can do, and yet he never forgets about the riff.
GOLDBERG Ben Weinman and Brian Benoit from Dillinger Escape Plan. They have some of the most insane twisted technical riffs, and onstage they jumping around like Tasmanian devils on PCP.

What is the future of metal?

ZAC JOE Experimentation is the key to evolution. But for every two years of expansion and growth, there will always be an equal amount of retro exploration happening. Ironically, the future lies somewhere in the middle.
GOLDBERG Diversity is where the future is. I think the kids are getting sick of repetition and are looking for something new and different.

 

BLACK DAHLIA MURDER

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

JOHN KEMPAINEN I am very interested in classical guitar. If you can play classical guitar you can play anything. As for how we get our sounds, we use ESP guitars with EMG pickups, Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifiers and custom road cabs built by Mike Hasty.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

KEMPAINEN My best recorded performance is on our new album, Miasma, out on July 12. The only thing better would be a recording of my third-grade orchestra recital.

What song best represents your band?

KEMPAINEN “Black Dog,” by Led Zeppelin.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

KEMPAINEN Dave Suzuki of Vital Remains is my guitar inspiration. He taught himself to play guitar without learning theory. I think that learning guitar on your own terms is very unique.

What is the future of metal?

KEMPAINEN This is a good time for metal. I think in the near future the mainstream will accept more brutal music. Metal is here to stay, and there are a lot of great bands to back that up.

 

OPETH

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

MIKAEL ÅKERFELDT I mainly focus on writing songs, so my technique has become less important over the years. I like to be versatile both in my playing and writing, so for me the best way to progress is to listen to loads of different kinds of music and get influenced. I don’t practice; I play guitar in order to come up with some cool licks. My setup is simple: I have a Boss GT6 that can hold all my sounds. I believe your sound is in your fingers, which should react to the pulse of your heart and the hissing in your head. No machine can help you if your body’s producing shit.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

ÅKERFELDT “Hope Leaves” [from Damnation] is a song I’m very proud of. It turned out better than the demo, which was phenomenal to start with. My best recorded solo is that clean one in “Windowpane” [from Damnation] or my part in “Harvest” [from Blackwater Park]. I like off-the-wall stuff.

What song best represents your band?

ÅKERFELDT We’re recording a new album right now, so probably any of those cuts. But older stuff like “Deliverance” [from Deliverance] or “The Drapery Falls” [from Blackwater Park] are typical Opethsounding songs.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

ÅKERFELDT The bands on this tour are new to me, apart from Clutch and Strapping Young Lad. I guess I’ve gotta say [Strapping Young Lad’s] Devin Townsend, and I think Jeff Loomis of Nevermore deserves more credit as a guitar player. I’m into different types of players these days than the typical ones. I really like Andy Latimer, Jerry Donahue, Blackmore… and Yngwie, of course!

What is the future of metal?

ÅKERFELDT Perhaps more pretty bands that really aren’t metal? I’ve no idea, and I don’t give a flying fuck about the future of metal, as I’m sure the next big thing is gonna suck as hard as what’s big now. I’m a grumpy old-schooler that still cradles my old records and has little interest in the “metal” of today.


EVERY TIME I DIE

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

ANDY WILLIAMS My goal is to bring a more legit approach to guitar playing. Nowadays people cite bands like Green Day and shit like that as influences, and that just isn’t legit to me. To me, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin are legit. If I get stuck when I’m writing a riff, I think, What would Jimmy Page do? not, What would Billie Joe Armstrong do? When it comes to my sound, I like to use a classic guitar into a classic amp. Go Marshall and you’ll never use any other amp again.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

WILLIAMS I don’t think I’ve done it yet. I like Hot Damn! But I know I’ve got a better one in me.

What song best represents your band?

WILLIAMS I would say “Off Broadway” [from Hot Damn!] It’s really raging and has some southern swagger to it, so it’s the perfect representation of Every Time I Die.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

WILLIAMS Lamb of God’s Mark Morton and Willie Adler. They’re really smart when it comes to influences, and you can hear it in their sound and mechanics. They also know how to write songs and keep it fresh. They’ve been in a band for more than 10 years and ideas are still coming to them. They are a huge influence on me.

What is the future of metal?

WILLIAMS I couldn’t tell you, because I seriously couldn’t tell you a recent metal band other than Lamb of God that I like. There’s a lot of stuff nowadays and it all just sounds the same. A little insight for newer metal bands: try something other than minor scales!

 

GWAR

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

FLATTUS MAXIMUS My goal is musical slaughter and impalement by way of guitar. I create the musical term “amplified” by farting into the hole of an acoustic guitar, thus creating distortion.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

MAXIMUS “Grandma, Quit Touching Me There” in Z minor, “War Party” and the soon to be released Live from Mt. Fuji.

What song best represents your band?

MAXIMUS Throughout the years and continual archive of Gwar’s musical mastery, that’s a tough question.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

MAXIMUS I admire all my warcraved brethren.

What is the future of metal?

MAXIMUS The future, past and present of metal will unfortunately be determined by you humans. We found metal to be the easiest form of music with which to lure people (for a fee) and slaughter them till no one is left. Pay for your death like Kevorkian, but in mass quantities.

 

POISON THE WELL

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

RYAN PRIMACK I want to write good songs. It really doesn’t matter how good you are or how eloquent you might be at expressing yourself with a guitar; if the song sucks, it doesn’t matter how good the guitar playing is. As far as getting a sound, I take a loud tube amp and a basic guitar, and I turn up as loud as possible.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

PRIMACK It hasn’t been recorded yet. If I had already reached my personal best, I might as well quit. Being dissatisfied is what has me constantly rethinking the way I play.

What song best represents your band?

PRIMACK “Chan Chan” by the Buena Vista Social Club.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

PRIMACK Andy Williams from Every Time I Die, because he’s the Malcolm Young of the tour and of heavy music right now. It’s just solid, no-frills playing.

What is the future of metal?

PRIMACK Hopefully the future of metal is to get back to a point where bands really push the envelope of what is heavy, not just sonically but lyrically and emotionally.

 

PELICAN

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

REVOR DE BRAUW I’m always striving for originality and emotional sincerity. I want to create something on the level of the bands that changed my life and made me want to play in the first place.
LAURENT LEBEC I was never able to wrap my head around music theory. So I gave up trying to be a technical player and focused on conveying what I was hearing in my head. It’s been liberating to push myself on my own terms and not compare myself to anyone else. As for my sound, I like very large, ample, tight tones that fill a room and resonate for days. I find that combining a Sunn Model T with a Rat pedal for distortion and a Boss EQ is bringing me where I want to be. For a cab, I love playing through Mesa 4x12s.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

LEBEC “Autumn into Summer” from our new record, The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw. It has what I love to combine: strong melodies with a rapid galloping kind of pacing.

What song best represents your band?

DE BRAUW “Red Ran Amber” from the new record. It’s got great energy and a lot of musical intercommunication between everyone in the band.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

DE BRAUW Justin Broadrick of Jesu and Godflesh. The man’s playing is immaculate, and the songs he writes are filled with the most brutal yet delicately beautiful riffs. He approaches songs as an arranger, knowing how other sounds and instruments can complement the feel of the music.

What is the future of metal?

LEBEC The future of metal is about playing with an open mind and playing the music that comes pouring out of you. In that sense, the best metal band of the past few years is without a doubt Mastodon, because they demonstrate this.

 

NORMA JEAN

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

SCOTTIE HENRY I just want to play the music that I love for as long as I can. For my sound, I don’t use many effects, mainly just a guitar, an amp and a few pedals.
CHRIS DAY I’m just looking to be a real dude onstage: having fun and writing riffs that people can enjoy. As for my sound, I like to keep it simple. I’m still trying out different guitar pickups and different EQ settings on my amp and switching up the speakers in my cabs. Still, I haven’t found what I really want to be “my sound.”

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

HENRY Our new record, O God, the Aftermath, is definitely my best performance. Our producer, Matt Bayles, pushed me harder, and I think Chris and I matured a lot as guitarists since our first record.

What song best represents your band?

DAY “Bayonetwork,” because it contains a lot of the elements that are found throughout the new record. Also, each of us contributed to that song.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

DAY I really admire Andy [Williams] and Jordan [Buckley] from Every Time I Die, because they are always looking for something different to do or other ways to play things. I just expect to be totally surprised when I see or hear them.

What is the future of metal?

HENRY I don’t think it matters. Scientists are about to clone the T. rex, and that’s the only thing that matters. That and Meshuggah.

 

THROWDOWN

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

MATT MENTLEY Throwdown’s lyrics deal a lot with selfrespect and self-improvement. Musically, I’m always trying to get better at what I do on guitar and to get the heaviest sound I possibly can. I play a Washburn guitar into a Randall RM-100 head and Randall XL cabinet.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

MENTLEY The writing, rehearsing and recording of our latest record, Vendetta, pushed me to become a better guitar player. The material is a step up from anything I’ve played on before.

What song best represents your band?

MENTLEY “Speak the Truth,” from the new album. It’s punishing and uncompromising, both musically and lyrically, but it’s also catchy. It’s my favorite song on the album.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

MENTLEY I have to say Willie and Mark from Lamb of God, who we’ve spent a lot of time with touring together. I really admire their playing and just how good and technical they are.

What is the future of metal?

MENTLEY Metal is one of the truest music forms out there and it’s only going to keep growing. Whether it stays as prominent in the mainstream or not doesn’t matter, because it’s built from the underground and will always have its roots there.


TERROR

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

FRANK NOVINEC I just continue to keep riffing and making original music. As for my sound, I’ve always been a Gibson-and- Marshall guy; I grew up on AC/DC, Kiss, Blue Öyster Cult and the Who. I’m for anything that sounds better the more you turn it up.
DOUG WEBER I just want to be in a band, travel the world and have a good time. I’m not that great a guitar player, and my sound is very basic. My setup consists of a noise gate, a tuner and a Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifier. That’s it, and it sounds pretty damn brutal.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

WEBER Our newest release, One with the Underdogs, is definitely our best recorded performance. It was the first time we’ve ever been in the studio and weren’t totally rushed.

What song best represents your band?

WEBER “Spit My Rage” [from One With the Underdogs] best represents Terror. It has fast drumming, fast guitar picking and pissed-off vocals, and the lyrics are so in your face.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

NOVINEC Sean Martin from Hatebreed. And I think the guys in Shadows Fall are really good, too. What is the future of metal? WEBER It will just get bigger and bigger.

 

THE HAUNTED

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

ANDERS BJÖRLER I always try to improve myself technically, but it’s pretty hard, since I’m too lazy. Soundwise, I try to keep the natural tubelike distortion produced by the amp. I use no additional effects; I just plug it right in and play. I’m using Peavey’s 5150, but I’ll be trying out the new Krank amps pretty soon. JENSEN I want to find that still-unwritten, world-heavyweight champion riff that’s lurking out there. My sound comes from EMG-81 pickups, Ernie Ball Heavy Bottom strings, Jim Dunlop Jazz III picks, ESP guitars, a tube amp and a cab that’s equipped with Vintage 30- watt speakers…and a mean right hand for downpicking.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

BJÖRLER Everything I’ve done with [producer] Fredrik Nordström, since he’s a crazy guy that keeps everything on a fun level.

What song best represents your band?

JENSEN “Hate Song,” “In Vein” [both from Haunted], “Dark Intentions” [from The Haunted Made Me Do It] and “99” [from revolver].

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

BJÖRLER I admire Tony Iommi for his playing style and feeling. He proves that everything doesn’t have to consist of megafast arpeggios or scales, and that you can make a good solo with one single note.

What is the future of metal?

BJÖRLER The same thing it’s been for the past 25 years. The future of metal is about taking new musical and technical paths. I think today’s technology is going to help a lot of up-and-coming bands with both recording and distribution. Today, anybody can make a professional recording at home and distribute it over the internet.

 

THE ESOTERIC

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

ERIC GRAVES I want to be remembered for doing something unique and creating music that reaches a lot of different people. As for my sound, I use lots of mids while recording to create clarity and definition.
CORY WHITE I focus on songwriting and song structure more than chops. I’m trying to create memorable riffs rather than demonstrate flagrant technicality. My sound is very straightforward. Live, I use the Red channel on the threechannel Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier. For recording, I like to use that, plus a Marshall or something with less gain for more clarity.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

GRAVES With the Sureness of Sleepwalking.

What song best represents your band?v

WHITE “Somnambulist” [from With the Sureness of Sleepwalking]. It has the spacy pop-rock/metalcore fusion that is exactly the style of music we have been making more and more of.

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

GRAVES Ryan Fredriksen of These Arms Are Snakes is doing some of the most innovative guitar playing I have ever seen.

What is the future of metal?

WHITE A. The return of Limp Bizkit. B. The Esoteric/Mastodon world tour. C. Sexual robots that rock out hardcore style. D. Getting punched in the throat for no reason. E. All of the above.

 

WEDNESDAY 13

What do you want to achieve as a guitarist, and how do you go about getting your sound?

WEDNESDAY 13 To be able to shred with a guitar hanging below my knees, as opposed to the new trend of playing your guitar below your chin. I like to set my guitar tone somewhere between the sounds of White Zombie and AC/DC.

What recorded performance represents your personal best?

WEDNESDAY 13 On my new record, Transylvania 90210, I went above and beyond my old habits and pulled off things that I haven’t done in the past.

What song best represents your band?

WEDNESDAY 13 “I Want You…Dead” [from Transylvania 90210], because it’s fast, heavy and it deals with love in the past tense—and by that I mean “necrophilia.”

Which guitarists on the tour or among your peers do you most admire, and why?

WEDNESDAY 13 I’m more into Angus Young or Ace Frehley. Those guys are monsters.

What is the future of metal?

WEDNESDAY 13 If I had to base it on what’s going on now, I’d say “more recycled boring styles with a new haircut.” I don’t pay attention to the “next big thing;” if you’re not in style, you never have to worry about going out of style.



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