The Commander in Chief: ”Metal was polarizing. People loved it or hated it. Classical music is the same – I get the same reaction”

Commander in Chief
(Image credit: Aina Elisabeth Hilltout)

Picture in your mind the stereotypical neoclassical shredder – and not just the tight leather pants, flowing, feathered locks of hair and frilly, open-buttoned shirts that turned Ynwgie Malmsteen into an international sex symbol. 

Instead, picture the playing: lots of arpeggios, blazing speed and a distorted tone that would make Bach weep. On her new album, guitar goddess the Commander in Chief (née Berit Hagen) flips that on its ear. Though she’s still using an Ibanez seven-string, The Virtuoso is a purely clean-toned affair: emphasis on the classical, rather than the neo.  

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Adam Kovac

Adam is a freelance writer whose work has appeared, aside from Guitar World, in Rolling Stone, Playboy, Esquire and VICE. He spent many years in bands you've never heard of before deciding to leave behind the financial uncertainty of rock'n roll for the lucrative life of journalism. He still finds time to recreate his dreams of stardom in his pop-punk tribute band, Finding Emo.