From theatrical horror-metal to fearless experimental rock: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Marissa Paternoster performs with Screaming Females at Saturn Birmingham on October 23, 2018 in Birmingham, Alabama
(Image credit: David A. Smith/Getty Images)

Thursday has arrived once again, fellow Earth denizens, so lend us your ears and your hearts to be filled with guitar goodness from across the world and musical spectrum.

Marissa Paternoster's got a gothic folk stunner that's perfect for the season; likewise with Ice Nine Kills and their latest slice of horror metal, and Emma Ruth Rundle's latest haunting acoustic-driven masterpiece. If you're not feeling too spooky though, there's a gorgeous, guitar-heavy sonic maze from Far Caspian, and plenty of other great guitar-driven offerings to go 'round.

So take a look – you might find a new fall favorite. 

Ice Nine Kills – Funeral Derangements

It’s almost Halloween, so the imminent arrival of Ice Nine Kills’ sixth full-length, Welcome to Horrorwood: The Silver Scream 2, will no doubt be received well by scores of horror-metal fans the world over. The album drops tomorrow (October 15), more than three years after the group’s previous outing, The Silver Scream.

Thus far, four singles have dropped from the album: Hip To Be Scared (with Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix), Assault & Batteries, Rainy Day and most recently, Funeral Derangements

The latter – and indeed the three tracks that came before it – is a shining example of INK’s infectiously theatrical sound, which incorporates everything from catchy vocal hooks to some of the heaviest riffs and mind-bending solos in the biz. (SR)

Band of Horses – Crutch

In the conversation of 21st century guitar tone kings, Band of Horses have always been overlooked. Their catalog is packed with countless all-enveloping, hooky riffs that serve as the perfect platform for Ben Bridwell’s songwriting, whether he’s detailing with ennui, elation or loss.

In that regard, Crutch, the first single from Things Are Great – the band’s first new album in five and a half years – comfortably delivers more of the goods. Beneath the veneer of the song’s rush of acoustic strumming and chiming guitar lead, you may not notice the tension in Bridwell’s lyrics – which detail how anxiety and co-dependence can cloud a relationship – the first time around. 

Calling the last year and a half “these uncertain times” has almost become a meme, but indeed they are. In such times, the return of a band as consistent in their vision and execution as Band of Horses is always welcome. (JM)

Emma Ruth Rundle – Blooms of Oblivion

ERR’s forthcoming album, Engine of Hell, finds the baritone-toting master of atmosphere leaning on the piano, an instrument she previously abandoned when embracing electric guitar and delay pedals with bands such as the Nocturnes, Red Sparowes and Marriages. But there are still moments on her forthcoming record where she weaves her own particular brand of six-string magic, and Blooms of Oblivion is one such showcase.

Revolving around an open-tuned acoustic figure, the track harks back to Rundle’s earliest guitar-and-vocal solo material, and it’s striking in its nakedness. The slightest dynamic shift in her playing adds emotional weight to the brooding vocal it accompanies, and the result is heart-wrenching. (MAB)

Like Moths to Flames – The Preservation Of Hate

Columbus, Ohio metalcore trailblazers Like Moths to Flames this week unleashed another impossibly heavy single, The Preservation Of Hate. Over a bedrock of thunderous rhythms and frantic blast beats sits a cornucopia of face-meltingly furious guitar work from duo Jeremy Smith and Zach Pishney.

Demonically down-tuned and ultra-precise alternate picked electric guitar lines take center stage throughout, with the occasional dissonant arpeggios offering brief respite from the unfolding sonic madness. (SR)

Black Country, New Road – Chaos Space Marine 

With all the excitement and anticipation surrounding English experimental rock band Black Country, New Road, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that the group – comprising Isaac Wood, Tyler Hyde, Lewis Evans, Georgia Ellery, May Kershaw, Charlie Wayne and Luke Mark – have so far only released one studio album, which came out earlier this year.

Listen to their new single, Chaos Space Marine, and you’ll quickly realize why it’s taken relatively little for the band to amass such a staunch following. The lead single from their newly announced sophomore studio effort, Ants From Up There, Chaos Space Marine is every bit as quirky, and every bit as great, as the rest of the band’s repertoire.

A flurry of instrumental hooks precede the baroque-esque verse, punctuated with piano passages and sporadic string accompaniments, which is later fleshed out by way of some super-clean, unprocessed electric guitar punches.

The early signs are certainly promising, and Black Country, New Road show no signs of suffering from sophomore album syndrome. If anything, Ants From Up There could prove to be even better than their debut. If that’s the case, we’re certainly in for a treat. (MO)

Marissa Paternoster - White Dove

Though White Dove – the first single from Screaming Females singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster’s first album under her own name, Peace Meter – lacks the always-enthralling sonic fury of her work with her band, it’s no less affecting.

Over a wash of acoustic strums, and some beautifully ethereal textural electric work from Thou guitarist Andy Gibbs, White Dove soars with a haunting vocal performance from Paternoster. 

Boasting a music video featuring Paternoster wearing white and holding roses while walking slowly and deliberately through a cemetery, White Dove is a kinetic piece of gothic folk that’ll burrow its way into your head. And what better time of year for it, eh? (JM)

Lady Bird – Infants

Following the international success of IDLES, all eyes are on the UK for the next great punk hope, and Lady Bird are fast making enough noise to follow in their footsteps.

You can feel the fury of guitarists Don Bird and Alex Deadman with every swipe of the spiky chromatic single-note riff at the heart of Infants, one that builds throughout the track with raucous chord stabs, before the whole thing gets blown to smithereens by a Jesus Lizard-style dissonant breakdown. It’s just as dirty and gritty as the no-nonsense phone-filmed video. (MAB)

Far Caspian – Moon Tower 

Subtle, texturally rich layers of kaleidoscopic guitar soundscapes are all the rage right now. So much so, it can sometimes be hard to wade through the embarrassment of riches fans of lo-fi indie rock are faced with today. Irish singer-songwriter Far Caspian, aka Joel Johnston, has nailed the approach to a tee.

Take Moon Tower, for instance, from Far Caspian’s debut album, Ways To Get Out. It’s as sonically open as it gets – thanks to the droning open hi-hat and rich, ever-present guitar hook that sits comfortably on the low strings – yet is simultaneously a tight-knit musical exploration that never uses any space simply for the sake of filling it.

Multiple listens are needed to grasp the gravitas of Johnston’s ocean-deep layering, with the three-minute mark ushering in a gorgeous extended exchange littered with stacks of nuanced guitars.

Before you know it, Moon Tower’s sonic walls have been assembled and you have but one option: listen, enjoy the goosebump-inducing five minutes, and try to find your way through the maze of luscious six-string constructions. (MO)

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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.