Guitar Phenom Jake Dreyer Talks New Witherfall Album, 'A Prelude to Sorrow'

(Image credit: Stephanie Cabral)

Although Jake Dreyer has been making waves as a major-league shred monster for years, it’s astonishing to remember that he’s only 26. When we catch up with the guitarist — an active member of both Iced Earth and Witherfall — he’s heavily promoting Witherfall’s new album, A Prelude to Sorrow. It’s a mixture of lightning-fast soloing and bone-crunching riffage interspersed with atmospheric acoustic interludes that picks up where the 2017’s Nocturnes and Requiems left off. Stylistically, Dreyer describes the band’s sound as progressive metal — a pretty fair description.

Given Dreyer’s prodigious talent, it’s somewhat reassuring to know he wasn’t a six-slingin’ ace from the moment he first picked up a guitar. “No, I worked my ass off,” he says. “I was kinda messing around, not totally committed, until I heard Yngwie Malmsteen when I was 14 — and something clicked. I became committed and played for hours every day.” His blue-collar work ethic is an inspiration to anyone striving to improve. “I play a minimum of four hours a day, every day. There has to be some major blockage in my schedule to stop me from playing. I don’t just sit around jamming; I have exercises I created to focus on areas of technique or to prep for live dates where there are some tricky runs to play. I always use a metronome and I’m always working on things to stretch myself.”

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Mark McStea

Mark is a freelance writer with particular expertise in the fields of ‘70s glam, punk, rockabilly and classic ‘50s rock and roll. He sings and plays guitar in his own musical project, Star Studded Sham, which has been described as sounding like the hits of T. Rex and Slade as played by Johnny Thunders. He had several indie hits with his band, Private Sector and has worked with a host of UK punk luminaries. Mark also presents themed radio shows for Generating Steam Heat. He has just completed his first novel, The Bulletproof Truth, and is currently working on the sequel.