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From genre-bending, jaw-loosening collaborations to soulful blues: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

(from left) Plini, Tim Henson and Cory Wong
(Image credit: Tim Henson/YouTube)

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.

Megadeth – We’ll Be Back

What is it? The first single from Megadeth’s long-awaited 16th studio album, The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead! The thrash metal heroes return in glorious form with an exceptionally rousing opening riff – wrought with a barrage of machine gun-esque palm-muted alternate picking – before both Dave Mustaine and Kiko Loureiro take turns to step up to the plate, trading frantic six-string blows that would floor most mortals.

Standout guitar moment: We’re quite frankly spoiled for choice, but Kiko’s solo from the 1:56 mark surely has to take the cake. That blistering slide-infused two-handed tapping passage towards the end of the section is the very definition of face-melting.

For fans of: Slayer, Testament, Anthrax

Sam Roche

Lari Basilio – Your Love

What is it? The Brazilian guitar phenom returns with the announcement of her third album and this, the title track she premiered today on Guitar World. Written, arranged and produced by Basilio, it’s the quintessence of her style and compositional sensibility. 

She makes it look effortless. This is music for leisure, for weekends, for summer afternoons when it doesn’t matter what time it is. And yet we, as guitar players, know just how difficult it is to firstly establish melodies like this, and exploit them fully without calling attention to fretboard tricks we are using. Basilio’s playing is clever and life-affirming.

Standout guitar moment: Basilio’s tone is worth tuning in for alone. Her signature Ibanez LB1 has this chameleonic quality that references classic Fender, but in her hands, it sounds like something we’ve never heard before. 

But what will bamboozle most players is Basilio’s feel during the most nimble passages. Around 40 seconds in, you’ll get an idea of how she does casual virtuosity like few other contemporary players.

For fans of: Joe Satriani, Mateus Asato, Andy Timmons

– Jonathan Horsley

Tim Henson – Sunset (ft. Cory Wong and Plini)

What is it? A new track featuring three of the most exciting players in the modern guitar world: Tim Henson, Cory Wong and Plini. Infectiously groovy, Sunset finds the trio trading lick for lick on their respective signature models, straddling the boundary that separates pop and funk. 

It’s all-instrumental, but contains more melodic intrigue throughout its two and a half minutes than most vocal-driven songs. Not at all surprising, though, given the caliber of the musicians featured.

Standout guitar moment: How can you even begin to choose a standout guitar moment from a track with such a lineup? But gun to the head, we’d say Plini’s skilfully placed rapid alternate picking runs edge out in front – but by only millimeters.

For fans of: Polyphia, Intervals

Sam Roche

The Mars Volta – Blacklight Shine

What is it? Vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Ernie Ball Music Man-wielding guitar hero Omar Rodríguez-López have in recent years played with alt-rock supergroup Antemasque and a reunited At the Drive-In, but Blacklight Shine is their first new single under the Mars Volta banner in a decade. Kaleidoscopic and just plain exciting, the song is a welcome return from this always intrepid group.

Standout guitar moment:
The kinetic psych-funk six-string soundscape Rodríguez-López creates is this song’s power source, with each passing listen revealing another one of its ingredients. We can’t wait to hear what else he has up his sleeve.

For fans of:
At the Drive-In, Antemasque, Coheed and Cambria

Jackson Maxwell

Ozzy Osbourne – Patient Number 9

What is it? Two years and a bout of Covid since his last album, Ordinary Man, the Prince of Darkness is back, with a brooding mid-tempo single, Patient Number 9. The title track from his forthcoming 13th solo album – which fittingly arrives September 9 – sees Ozzy recruit, Johnny Depp collaborator and guitar legend Jeff Beck for some stellar lead playing peppered over the course of its seven and a half minutes.

Standout guitar moment: Beck’s solo from the 3:38 mark is anything but conventional, as he serves up some tastefully broken-sounding guitar licks with a suitably dirty guitar tone.

For fans of: Judas Priest, Black Label Society, Black Sabbath

Sam Roche

Spirit Adrift – Mass Formation Psychosis

What is it? This latest work of vintage steel from Nate Garrett’s Texas-based doom metal project is taken from their forthcoming EP 20 Centuries Gone, which is out August 19 and comprises mostly covers culled from the most important records in Garrett’s collection. 

There’ll be songs by ZZ Top, Skynyrd, Metallica, Pantera and Thin Lizzy on the record, but this is more what we associate Spirit Adrift with, Garrett pinning the jam to a big doom riff, but daring to lean further into melodies than some of his contemporaries might dare.

Standout guitar moment: It’s the verse riff. It’s how it has that yowling quality, like the hull of a ship mewling in a storm, and it gives the track a rhythm and an energy that would be a groove in any other musical context.

For fans of: Pallbearer, Crypt Sermon, Candlemass

– Jonathan Horsley

Delicate Steve – I Can Fly Away

What is it? Delicate Steve – AKA Steve Marion – is a session musician and guitarist who has spent most of the last decade attempting to make his guitar sound like, well, anything but that. His efforts have won the admiration of Paul Simon, Yeasayer and Kanye West, to name a small sample. 

His latest album, After Hours (due July 8), sees Marion doing the last thing anyone would expect: making a back-to-basics collection of ‘guitar and amp’ instrumentals. 

Standout guitar moment: Well the supremely-chilled I Can Fly Away is so heavy on Stax-y summer vibes that you’ll need to apply sunscreen before listening. 

For fans of: Carlos Santana, El Ten Eleven

Matt Parker

Kirk Fletcher – Afraid To Die, Too Scared To Live

What is it? The lead single from the veteran bluesman’s forthcoming album, Heartache By The Pound, Afraid To Die, Too Scared To Live is a swinging and soulful tune with impeccably snappy horn arrangements and an affecting, vulnerable heart. 

Standout guitar moment: Fletcher’s all business here, and this song’s all the better for it. The phrasing in each of his solos is perfect, his runs sharp and pointed, but never a second too long. They’re the sound of a true pro at work.

For fans of: Eric Gales, Joe Bonamassa, Larry McCray

Jackson Maxwell

Rat Tally – Spinning Wheel

What is it? The lead single from singer-songwriter Addy Harris’s debut full-length as Rat Tally, In My Car, Spinning Wheel is a hazily tuneful gem imbued with unease, restlessness and a touch of nostalgia.

Standout guitar moment: Those distorted, deliciously hook-y solos. Now that’s how you create a memorable lead with just a few notes!

For fans of: Charly Bliss, Snail Mail, Smashing Pumpkins

Jackson Maxwell

Jonathan Young – Wolf Within

What is it? Jonathan Young is a multi-instrumentalist with an aesthetic that suggests he had a Tron-like adolescence, lost in the 1s and zeros of the binary architecture of a videogame netherworld. 

Like, this is a guy whose art is largely savored on YouTube, where he has over two million subscribers, and yet it’s like he is under the proscenium, tapping into heavy metal’s most carnival desires. 

On this one, he has Caleb Hyles (1.63m YouTube subscribers) on hand to duet and lend the song a sort of steel-plated Tenacious D vibe.

Standout guitar moment: The fact that he resists the urge to solo. How can a Kiesel endorsee show restraint on a track such as this?

For fans of: DragonForce, Blind Guardian, Helloween

Jonathan Horsley 

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Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.