From cosmic collaborations to blistering, chug-powered breakdowns: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Kanami Tōno performs with Band-Maid at the MCM London Comic Con at The London ExCel on May 28, 2016 in London
(Image credit: Ollie Millington/WireImage)

Welcome to Guitar World’s weekly roundup of the musical highlights from the, erm, world of guitar. Every seven days (or thereabouts), we endeavor to bring you a selection of songs from across the guitar universe, all with one thing in common: our favorite instrument plays a starring role.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Shape I’m Takin’

What is it? It’s been fascinating to hear John Frusciante’s ability to segue his songwriting between different eras of Red Hot Chili Peppers since his recorded return this year. This newly released bonus track from Return of the Dream Canteen harks back to By the Way with its sweet mid-tempo clean chord progressions, but brings in the kind of fuzz-laden Hendrixian solos the guitar hero was exploring on Stadium Arcadium. It’s another highlight from the 35 or so tracks the band have dropped this year.

Standout guitar moment: It’s gotta be those leads around the 2:30 mark. The rhythmic fire and wild bends are peak Froosh.

For fans of: Red Hot Chili Peppers, obvs.

– Michael Astley-Brown

Metallica – Lux Æterna

What is it? With the surprise release of Lux Æterna, the first single from their upcoming 11th studio album, 72 Seasons, earlier this week, metal’s biggest export set the genre – and the wider musical world – ablaze. Yep, Metallica are back, and they’re back with a vengeance.

Alongside the new single – which is quintessential Metallica, with a clutch of electric guitar riffs reminiscent of Kill ‘Em All classic Hit the Lights and the most Kirk Hammett Kirk Hammett solo you’ll ever hear – the thrash metal titans have also announced a mammoth world tour, with support from Pantera, Mammoth WVH, Architects, Greta Van Fleet, Volbeat and Five Finger Death Punch.

Standout guitar moment: Kirk Hammett taps into his tried-and-tested six-string trickbook for the solo from the 1:42 mark, offering up everything from rapid alternate-picking runs to no shortage of whammy bar antics.

For fans of: Megadeth, Slayer, Pantera

Sam Roche

Plini & Rabea Massaad – Giving 6

What is it? A surprise new single from Neural DSP signature artists Plini and Rabea Massaad, who took the opportunity to link-up in Helsinki to pen one of the best instrumental guitar tracks of the past few months. The only thing more epic than the accompanying music video’s visuals is the pair’s equally epic chops, with the two titans trading tonal blows throughout three minutes of unadulterated six-string bliss.

Standout guitar moment: It would be an injustice to choose either one player’s particular part as a highlight, so we’d just recommend tuning in for the whole three minutes. You won’t be disappointed.

For fans of: Nick Johnston, Owane, Jack Gardiner

– Matt Owen

Donovan & David Gilmour – Rock Me

What is it? Donovan jammed with The Beatles (even teaching John Lennon some key acoustic fingerpicking techniques (opens in new tab) in the process) and has played in the studio and onstage with Jimmy Page, so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that he was able to recruit tone king David Gilmour for two tracks on his forthcoming album, Gaelia. Rock Me is the first of those two tunes to see the light of day.

Standout guitar moment: Gilmour may be the ultimate ‘one note and you know exactly who’s playing’ guitarist, and indeed, the second you hear him move from a restrained supporting role to providing gorgeous, glass-like embellishments, you’ll undoubtedly know who it is, even without prior knowledge. Gilmour’s vibrato, always a signature of his lead work with or without Pink Floyd, on this tune is absolutely ridiculous – sublime stuff.

For fans of: Fleetwood Mac, Richard Thompson, Pink Floyd

Jackson Maxwell

Jack Gardiner – Materia

What is it? A cheeky one-off from UK fusion master Jack Gardiner, which showcases his new – and quite, quite dazzling – 24-fret Ibanez Custom AZ HSS, As always, the technique is impeccable, the phrasing divine and the note choices emotive.

Standout guitar moment: Take your eyes off that azure blue finish for one second and you’ll clock Gardiner’s remarkably musical chromatic runs, which highlight the track’s closing moments.

For fans of: Jack & Owane, Plini, Jakub Zytecki

– Michael Astley-Brown

Bury Tomorrow – Boltcutter

What is it? A fresh new single from Southampton, UK metalcore heavyweights, Bury Tomorrow. The second track we've heard from their forthcoming seventh album, The Seventh Sun, after Abandon Us, Boltcutter finds the Hampshire sextet in fine fettle, as guitarists Kristan Dawson and Ed Hartwell offer a clutch of destructive drop-tuned riffs underneath the classic BT combo of Dani Winter-Bates’ unclean vocals and Tom Prendergast’s clean vocals.

Standout guitar moment: The whole damn thing is a masterclass in modern metalcore guitar playing.

For fans of: Parkway Drive, While She Sleeps, Our Hollow, Our Home

Sam Roche

Leap – Show Me The Way You Love

What is it? Few music scenes are as active as the world of grassroots indie rock, which boasts an absolute embarrassment of riches of top notch up-and-coming acts. One that deserves a permanent seat at the table is Leap, who – in the space of just one EP and two singles – have already bulletproofed their credentials as a genuine guitar-driven force to be reckoned with. 

For many, Show Me The Way You Love will be their first experience with Leap, but what a way to start: moody riffs, angsty licks and a speaker-smashing, spectrum-spanning sound that won’t feel out of place when they are inevitably emanating from arenas around the country.

Standout guitar moment: Any of the see-sawing riffs – which comprise rumbling low-ends and syncopated upper-fret strums – would be a worthy shout, but the no-holds-barred outro, which blends high octane lead lines and untethered vocals, takes the cake.

For fans of: The Amazons, Wunderhorse, Kid Kapichi

– Matt Owen

Band-Maid – From Now On

What is it? Everyone’s favorite maid-outfitted Japanese rock ensemble showcase their chops on this fierce new all-instrumental cut. Led by Kanami Tōno’s cutting pitch-shifted leads and driven by a hard-hitting production, the track is bound to win over fans of Marty Friedman and even early Polyphia.

Standout guitar moment: We love Kanami’s juxtaposition of lead melodies and shreddier licks around two minutes in, building to some Kirk Hammett-inspired arpeggios and descending alternate-picked runs.

For fans of: Marty Friedman, Michael Angelo Batio, Jason Richardson

– Michael Astley-Brown

Subsonic Eye – Hurt Your Head

What is it? A kinetic highlight from the Singaporean quintet’s new EP, Melt the Wax. Restless and confident, and topped with a sugary chorus that packs a deceptively effective punch, Hurt Your Head is one of those ‘this is my new favorite band!’ songs – you know the ones.

Standout guitar moment: The song unfurls at such buzzy speed that it’s easy to overlook just how much guitarists Daniel Castro Borces and Jared Lim get up to here. Their interplay is simply phenomenal, with enthralling arpeggios weaving perfectly in and out of one another. Plus, the way they lead Hurt Your Head right to the brink of discordant collapse before pulling back just in the nick of time, right near the song’s end, is a thrill.

For fans of: Sonic Youth, Momma, Alvvays

Jackson Maxwell

Miniature Tigers – Rattlesnake Heartbreak

What is it? Since releasing their last album in 2019, the members of US indie rock outfit Miniature Tigers have been keeping themselves busy with a string of standalone singles, the latest of which arrived over two years ago. Now, though, the four-piece have announced plans to release their first album in four years, Love In The Time of Exile: an effort that has been previewed by the suitably headbang-worthy  – and excellently named – Rattlesnake Heartbreak.

Standout guitar moment: At the 2:10 mark, the guitars burst into a razor-sharp, two-part guitar interplay, whose harmonies and bends combine for one deliciously noisy guitar solo.

For fans of: Feeder, Weezer

– Matt Owen

Caliban – The Shadow

What is it? A standalone single from German metalcore stalwarts, Caliban. Hot on the heels of their latest full-length, Dystopia, The Shadow is laced with a clutch of formidable drop-tuned riffs, delivered expertly by resident axe-slingers Denis Schmidt and Marc Görtz.

Standout guitar moment: The breakdown from the 2:37 mark – with its blistering chugs – must be one of the heaviest of the year.

For fans of: Heaven Shall Burn, Bleeding Through, As I Lay Dying

Sam Roche

AllegrA – Three Two One

What is it? The funky new single from Philly-based guitarist and singer/songwriter Allegra Eidinger, most well-known for their guitar work in Adult Mom. Eidinger brings the same compositional ingenuity to this song as they bring to Adult Mom, making everything sound effortless in the process.

Standout guitar moment: Eidinger's closing solo is one of those perfect 'make your statement and nothing more' gems, and it's catchy as hell, too.

For fans of: MUNA, Sidney Gish, Adult Mom

Jackson Maxwell

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.