Palm-muted gut-punches and Strandberg shred that sounds like Plini meets Mario Kart: This week’s essential guitar tracks

The Joy Formidable's Rhydian Dafydd (left) and Rhiannon "Ritzy" Bryan perform at The Fillmore Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 19, 2022
(Image credit: Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

Hello, and welcome to a new Spotify playlist-embiggened Essential Guitar Tracks. As you may well know, 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.

Our goal is to give you an overview of the biggest tracks, our editor’s picks and anything you may have missed. We’re pushing horizons and taking you out of your comfort zone – because, as guitarists, that’s something we should all be striving for in our playing. 

So, here are our highlights from the past seven days – now with a Spotify playlist (scroll to the bottom for the latest additions).

Bleed From Within – The Will to Resist

Dear lord, the groove on this monster single – taken from the forthcoming deluxe edition of the Scottish metallers’ 2022 opus Shrine – will make you want to shake your hips, bang your head and bow down before the sheer technical prowess on display in Craig Gowans and Steven Jones’ unfathomably weighty riff. (MAB)

The Joy Formidable – Cut Your Face

The Welsh alt-rock trio's first new tune since 2021 has a chorus for the ages, but never sacrifices power in the name of hooks. Singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan's riffing provides this song's concrete-like foundation, and – best of all – it's delivered to the ears with terrific tone that evokes James Hetfield at his stadium-rocking, stereo-shaking best. (JM)

Angra – Ride into the Storm

The Brazilian power metal stalwarts open this all-guns-blazing epic with such a pyrotechnic display of electric guitar fireworks, the track could end 60 seconds in and we’d still be satisfied. But what follows is six minutes of relentless palm-muted thrash, with two jaw-dropping solos: Marcelo Barbosa’s Roman candle of fiery tapping, and a harmonized double-picked extravaganza from Rafael Bittencourt. (MAB)

Trevor Rabin – Big Mistakes

Trevor Rabin knows how to write a crowd-pleaser. After all, he was the main driver behind Yes's astounding '80s transformation from prog kings to chart-topping pop stars. Big Mistakes – the lead single from Rabin's first vocal-led solo album in 34 (!) years – shows that those pop (and soloing, for that matter) instincts are still sharp, but how about that gonzo slide work around the song's halfway point? Props to Rabin for not being afraid to sit zaniness right next to sharp professionalism. (JM)

James Bay – Goodbye Never Felt So Bad

For whatever reason, James Bay’s talents as a guitarist are often underappreciated – a crying shame considering he’s capable of some genuinely jaw-dropping fretboard feats when he gets his hands on his Epiphone ‘66 Century. We get a glimpse of that six-string prowess in new single Goodbye Never Felt So Bad – a quintessential Bay bop littered with jangly open-string licks that demonstrate why Bay is one of the best in the biz at assimilating his appreciation for out-and-out guitar music with pop sensibilities. (MO)

Coach Party – Parasite

This breakneck slice of raucous punk from the surely-about-to-break Isle of Wight four-piece proves two things: one, the grunge guitar revival isn’t going anywhere, and two, you can’t go wrong with a minute-and-a-half song. (MAB)

Joe Bonamassa – Lazy Poker Blues

You can listen to Joe Bonamassa's newly-released tip of the cap to Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac anywhere, really, but it's upbeat tempo, barrelhouse piano, and exclamatory phrases and fills (not to mention that solo, so steeped in the classic British blues vocabulary Bonamassa loves) are best heard through the jukebox of the murkiest roadhouse dive you can find. Just don't get into any trouble. (JM)

Ichika – Reflection (featuring Clara Benin)

If all you heard of Reflection was its first four notes, you’d probably immediately recognize the glass-like guitar tone of Ichika Nito, who is back to curate a cascade of ultra-clean rhythm riffs and a characteristic display of soloing prowess – that effort at the 2:24 mark isn’t to be missed. (MO)

Seda – Chronicle Overture

The use of guitar in videogames has been a hot topic ever since Mick Gordon deployed a nine-string to lay waste to the Doom soundtrack. But Strandberg-toting Aussie wunderkind Seda takes a more serene jazz-fusion route to the genre, with new album Chronicle Town seemingly soundtracking a game that doesn’t exist. Displaying enviable chops that recall Frank Gambale and Allan Holdsworth, Seda’s virtuosity knows no bounds – and it also sounds like Plini meets Mario Kart, which is mighty fine by us. (MAB)

Dokken – Fugitive

Don Dokken and co have announced the imminent arrival of their long-awaited 13th studio album, which has been previewed with “up-temper Rokker,” Fugitive. Said to be an observation of the “uncertain world” we live in, Dokken’s return is as high-octane as you’d expect, littered with golden era guitar licks and lashings of gravity-defying scale runs. (MO)

Eliza McLamb – Mythologize Me

We've had our eyes on this LA-based singer/songwriter for awhile now, and new single Mythologize Me might be her finest hour yet. The chorus is all perfectly-written country-pop shine á la Sheryl Crow, but Jacob Blizard adds some tasty grunge guitar bite, especially in that coiling solo. (JM)

Creeper – Teenage Sacrifice

Haunting. Operatic. Anthemic – all the above serve as suitable adjectives to describe the latest effort from UK horror punk collective Creeper. Teenage Sacrifice pays host to some truly hair-raising six-string soundscapes, highlights of which include the plentiful palm-muted gut-punches and a razor sharp, harmonized two-part solo. (MO)

Also on this week’s playlist…

  • Cannibal Corpse – Summoned for Sacrifice
  • Advertisement – Nobody’s Cop
  • Mercy Union – Be Honest
  • Whitney – Kansas
  • Lonely the Brave – The Lens
  • Ratboys – Morning Zoo 
  • MJ Lenderman – Knockin'

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

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