From hell-raising garage-punk to towering shred storms: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Jared James Nichols performs at the Gibson Garage First Look & VIP Party at the Gibson Garage on May 26, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee
(Image credit: Jason Kempin/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.

Kings of Chaos – Judgment Day 

What is it? Though Matt Sorum's supergroup Kings of Chaos has operated solely as a live project since its inception, the Grammy-winning drummer has announced the band will be releasing its first-ever album late next year – an announcement that was accompanied by the effort's lead single, Judgment Day. Featuring Slash, Duff McKagan and Dave Kushner, the de facto Velvet Revolver reunion is an infectious addition to the group's original repertoire.

Standout guitar moment: It’s a three-and-a-half minute pentatonic workout for Slash, who treats Sorum’s singing to non-stop double-stop bends and swampy licks. The guitar solo gets the nod, though, introducing additional sonic flair by way of some pinch harmonics and tight turnarounds.

For fans of: Velvet Revolver, Guns N’ Roses, Slash

– Matt Owen

Nita Strauss – The Wolf You Feed (feat. Alissa White-Gluz)

What is it? “Hurricane” Nita Strauss whips up a storm of shred in her latest single, The Wolf You Feed, which also sees Arch Enemy leader Alissa White-Gluz lend quite formidable pipes to the task. 

A towering metal anthem, The Wolf You Feed finds Strauss throwing in the proverbial kitchen sink, offering everything from gargantuan electric guitar riffs to an extended passage of dizzying leads, crafted with soaring melodic phrasing, lightning-quick alternate picking ascends and some face-melting sweeps for good measure.

Standout guitar moment: Strauss’s solo from the 2:18 mark is, itself, a standout guitar moment, however we’re going to zoom that microscope in on the insane single-hand legato runs from 2:53, as they surely take the crown here.

For fans of: Arch Enemy, Nikki Stringfield, Alyssa Day

Sam Roche

Jared James Nichols – Down the Drain 

What is it? The latest single from blues-rock ace Jared James Nichols, whose affinity for the Gibson Les Paul and penchant for speaker-smashing fretboard throwdowns has made him one of the foremost Gibson-toting guitar titans of his age. 

Down the Drain is as Nichols as it gets, featuring some tight riffage and soloing that will have you positioning the fretboard of your air guitar perpendicular to the ground as you attempt to head bang as gracefully as the long-haired lick lord himself.

Standout guitar moment: Nichols only waits 70 seconds before flexing his Les Paul-fueled soloing powers, but it's the effort at the 2:06 mark that is the tastiest of the bunch – plenty of wah, an ample number of bends, blistering licks and a healthy helping of Nichols flair.

For fans of: Joe Bonamassa, Marcus King, Emily Wolfe

– Matt Owen

Pomegranate Tiger – The Cryptographer

What is it? After an agonising seven-year wait, prog-metal genius Martin Andres, aka Pomegranate Tiger, is back with a virtuosic slice of rhythmic savagery that will bend your mind in all the right ways. Andres has been crafting material over the past two years, so expect this to be the first taste of a new jaw-dropping full-length.

Standout guitar moment: There is simply no let-up in the riff onslaught that dominates The Cryptographer, but those cheeky rapid-fire runs around the one-minute mark are Tosin Abasi-level genius.

For fans of: Animals As Leaders, Periphery, Meshuggah

– Michael Astley-Brown

Fucked Up – One Day

What is it? The hard-charging title track and lead single from the Canadian hardcore stalwarts’ first proper full-length album in over four years. With frontman Damian Abraham contributing lyrics once again, One Day finds this band at their cathartic best – philosophical, questioning and, above all, pissed off.

Standout guitar moment: Those unacquainted with the quintet, or even with punk in general, will find comfort and familiarity in the band’s unstoppable two-guitar attack. From the very first bar – when Mike Haliechuk and Josh Zucker execute the song’s nimble, hooky riff in perfect unison – you know you’re in for a hell of a ride.

For fans of: Titus Andronicus, Jawbreaker, Judas Priest 

Jackson Maxwell

Hedras – Miracles 

What is it? It’s a testament to Hedras’ fretboard knowledge and boundless creativity that his furious fusion style never gets tiresome, and that each track he puts out introduces listeners to yet more nuanced elements of his six-string skills and compositional abilities. 

Miracles is all about the chords – specifically, the oversized strums and the arpeggiated lead flavors that can be wrung out of each extended assembly of notes Hedras lands on. Yes, there’s some dazzling soloing and silky fretboard migrations, but Miracles is so much more than just the technically baffling melodies.

Standout guitar moment: It would be too easy to say the solo. Instead, it’s the graceful verse passages that get our vote, thanks to their effortless arpeggiated movements and off-kilter strumming patterns.

For fans of: Owane, Plini, Jason Richardson

– Matt Owen

Morris Day – Too Much Girl 4 Me (Ft. Billy Gibbons)

What is it? A handful of chance encounters and a shared Prince connection led to this meeting of minds between the eternally cool leader of The Time and the ZZ Top icon. It’s a funky, tongue-in-cheek collab, driven by a pounding electro beat and Gibbons’ hot-sauced guitars, taken from Day’s final album, Last Call, due November 11.

Standout guitar moment: It’s rare to hear the Rev break out a Whammy pedal, but it sure sounds like one during his first solo – normal Texas proceedings return for the second, big-bendin’ lead, however, as Mr G turns to the whammy bar for wobble instead.

For fans of: ZZ Top, Prince

– Michael Astley-Brown

Theory of a Deadman – Dinosaur

What is it? A weighty new single from the multi-platinum Canadian rockers. As frontman Tyler Connolly explains, Dinosaur represents the culmination of a full-circle musical journey for TOAD, after breaking out with heavier, more riff-driven material in their early years, before experimenting with pop- and country-leaning styles on their more recent music.

Dinosaur takes us back to our roots with this riff-driven rocker,” Connolly says. “To me, it feels like it could fit on any of our albums, but I will say if you like the old Theory Of A Deadman, you’ll love the new Theory Of A Deadman.”

Standout guitar moment: Dinosaur is a straight-up riff-driven rocker, and boy, is its riff solid.

For fans of: Shinedown, Seether, Rev Theory

Sam Roche

Sgt. Papers – Pérdida Total

What is it? A good old-fashioned hell-raiser of a new single from this Mexican garage-rock duo. Written about a friend who drunkenly crashed his car into a Burger King, fled the scene, then successfully reported the crash to his insurance company as a robbery the next day, Pérdida Total is a classic slice of high-adrenaline rock ’n’ roll. 

Standout guitar moment: Felipe García’s zany, Chuck Berry-by-way-of-a-haunted-house guitar break, which captures the evil glee of the pro/antagonist just as well as the song’s lyrics. 

For fans of: Black Lips, Ramones, Ty Segall 

Jackson Maxwell

Black Veil Brides – Devil

What is it? The opening cut from The Mourning, the new EP by long-standing theatrical California rockers Black Veil Brides. Like a sonic time capsule, Devil boasts a quintessentially late-Noughties hard rock/heavy metal sound, driven principally by its massive down-tuned and often harmonized electric guitar riffs, uber-catchy vocal hooks and a dose of lead guitar from lead six-stringer Jake Pitts.

Standout guitar moment: Pitts’ brief solo from the 2:18 mark is easily the track’s standout moment, lasting only a few bars, but making the most of the sonic real estate with a rapid alternated-picked ascending line.

For fans of: Falling in Reverse, Escape the Fate, Asking Alexandria

Sam Roche

koleżanka – Canals of Our City

What is it? A new single from koleżanka, the Brooklyn-based project of singer/songwriter Kristina Moore. A wistful look back at a formative romance, Canals of Our City perfectly bottles how our brains tend to frame memories of our teenage years as we get older, without veering into cornball nostalgia. 

Standout guitar moment: The way Moore’s solo – starting right about at the 2:15 mark – descends, then snaps all the way back up the fretboard for some tastefully discordant upper-register stabs, is a delightful addition to this song’s alluring arrangement. 

For fans of: Mac DeMarco, Real Estate, Soccer Mommy

Jackson Maxwell

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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.