From brutalizing extreme metal to Latin-flavored bubblegum shred: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Allegra Weingarten (front, center) performs onstage with Momma at The Fonda Theatre on March 30, 2022 in Los Angeles
(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

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.

Extreme – Rise

What is it? Extreme’s first new track for 15 years, the lead single from their upcoming album, Six, and the first song to put on display Nuno Bettencourt’s new musical mission: to carry Eddie Van Halen’s guitar torch and keep the spirit of virtuosic guitar playing alive in the modern era. 

Hell-bent on outdoing their own high standard, Extreme bring their absolute A-game, with Nuno shredding with the mindset that the future of the instrument as we know it is at stake, and entirely depends on the music that emanates from his fretboard. Operating with stakes as high as those, it’s no surprise Nuno has already delivered what will be 2023’s best guitar solo.

Standout guitar moment: That solo, and it’s not even a competition. Filled with just about every trick up Nuno’s sleeve – including a nod to Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee – this particular lead effort reaches superhuman speeds and displays near incomprehensible feats of virtuosic technicality, all in under a minute. Just another day in the office for Nuno, then.

For fans of: Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, displays of untethered guitar genius

– Matt Owen

Metallica – If Darkness Had a Son

What is it? The third single from the thrash titans’ highly-anticipated forthcoming LP, 72 Seasons. 40 years into their career, Metallica aren’t in the mood to go musical off-roading, per sé, but If Darkness Had a Son certainly isn’t a bland retread of past glories, either. Underpinned by the churn of a massive, war-like groove from drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Robert Trujillo, this snarling, seven-minute rocker delivers the goods – plain and simple.

Standout guitar moment: We’ve all seen the memes, and read the online commentary, but at the end of the day, life’s about simple pleasures, innit? One of those is hearing Kirk Hammett – after a few minutes of getting queued up by James Hetfield’s ever-steely rhythm chugs – open a solo with some wailing wah-colored exclamation points, as he does here.

For fans of: Megadeth, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden

Jackson Maxwell

Angel Vivaldi – Six

What is it? We already knew Angel Vivaldi’s new EP, Away With Words: Part 2, would mark something of a departure for the prog-metal virtuoso, and accordingly, his new single sets out to surprise. Opening with a flurry of tippity-tappity acoustic lines and sparse piano accompaniment, Six evolves into a Latin-flavored melodic instrumental rock masterclass whose alternating electric and acoustic leads are united by Vivaldi’s outstanding note choices.

Standout guitar moment: There are far too many moments here, but that solo at 2.44 – with its irresistible descending tapped line – is bubblegum shred perfection.

For fans of: Polyphia, Al Di Meola, Joe Satriani

– Michael Astley-Brown

Cradle of Filth – She is a Fire

What is it? A new track from Cradle of Filth, which ushers in the news that the band’s first live album in 20 years, Trouble and their Double Lives, will arrive later this year. Released as a standalone bonus track – though said to be indicative of future Cradle of Filth records – She is a Fire is ominous, angsty and, unsurprisingly, absolutely crammed with pummeling guitars, from the razor-like lead lines to the bruising chugs.

Standout guitar moment: The melodic-yet-technically intriguing guitar solo, which, after luring listeners in via some pentatonic sleight of hand, lets loose on some machine-gun like sequences and tasty harmonized motifs.

For fans of: Absence Betrayal, Tears of Moonlight, Slipknot

– Matt Owen

Momma – Bang Bang

What is it? It’s fair to call Momma one of the breakout bands of 2022. We dubbed their grunge-pop opus Household Name one of the best albums of last year, and Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten have capitalized on their success with a new standalone single that teams their blockbuster power chords with electronic production flair. The result is more Garbage than Smashing Pumpkins, but no less hook-heavy.

Standout guitar moment: Yes, those are the scuzzy rhythm guitar sounds we’ve been looking for, and those extra octave harmonies in the outro are an exercise in the effectiveness of simple overdubs.

For fans of: Nirvana, Hole, Garbage

– Michael Astley-Brown

Feeble Little Horse – Tin Man

What is it? The first preview we’ve gotten from Feeble Little Horse’s sophomore full-length, Girl With Fish, which is set for a May release via venerated indie Saddle Creek. Tin Man is a terrifically tuneful primer for the record that suggests a very promising future indeed for this Pittsburgh quartet.

Standout guitar moment: Tin Man’s main riff is a delightful, see-sawing figure that dances through the song’s verses, but when the chorus explodes into a shoegaze-y hurricane of grime-coated riffage? That got us hook, line and sinker. 

For fans of: Pavement, Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies

Jackson Maxwell

City and Colour – Fucked It Up

What is it? A new single from City and Colour – aka Dallas Green – whose angelic acoustic guitar and shimmering electric soundscapes are out in full force for quite possibly the smoothest four minutes you’ll hear all week. 

For all of Green’s lyrical declaration that he “Fucked It Up”, the same can’t be said for the instrumentation he’s assembled on this single. From those intro strums to those intermittent arpeggiated punctuation marks courtesy of the sparingly used electric, Fucked It Up is a perfect example of the magic that can be created when simple progressions, textural accompaniment and a rip-roaring slide solo are thrown into a melting pot.

Standout guitar moment: The pure acoustic strums and subtle tremolo-tinged electric flourishes carry the track, but Fucked It Up’s soothing sonic landscape gets injected with a bit o’ dirt when the gritty slide solo arrives and ups the ante.

For fans of: John Mayer, Beck, Wild Rivers

– Matt Owen

Tigercub – Play My Favorite Song

What is it? Now signed to Stone Gossard’s Loosegroove Records, UK riff-rockers Tigercub have announced their third album proper, and with it this eerie fuzz jam that recalls the rock bombast of fellow countrymen Royal Blood and the off-kilter licks of Queens of the Stone Age. A two-and-a-half-minute groove-fest, it’s just the tonic for anyone waiting on fresh material from Josh Homme and his desert rock cohort.

Standout guitar moment: Our favorite thing about guitarist Jamie Hall is when he ventures into ‘outside’ territory, but still manages to play all the right notes. The spooky lead that closes Play My Favorite Song is a case in point.

For fans of: Royal Blood, Queens of the Stone Age, Muse

– Michael Astley-Brown

Nat Myers – Yellow Peril

What is it? A Kentucky native, Nat Myers plays vital acoustic blues influenced by early titans of the genre like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Charley Patton. The title track and lead single of his debut album, Yellow Peril reflects on the spike in anti-Asian racism Myers – who is Korean-American – witnessed and experienced in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, and how it correlates to America’s violent, centuries-long history of anti-Asian racism.

Standout guitar moment: Myers’ fingerpicking is sublime, but it’s his sweet-and-stinging slide work – referential to his influences while never sounding self-consciously retro or kitsch – that serves as the instrumental highlight.

For fans of: Eric Bibb, Robert Johnson, Son House

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.