Three “God-like guitarists” join forces and stadium-conquering rockers channel their inner spy: This week's essential guitar tracks

Axl Rose (left) and Slash perform onstage with Guns N' Roses
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images/Power Trip)

Hello, and welcome to 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…

Unprocessed – Die on the Cross of the Martyr (feat. Tim Henson & Scott LePage)

As one commenter kindly put it, the latest Unprocessed cut sees “three God-like guitarists” team up for a generational display of guitar playing prowess. Henson and LePage lend their boundless soloing chops to Manuel Gardner Fernandes, whose own trademark percussive approach keeps the track ticking along. Each player is pushing the boundaries of guitar music in their own respective ways. When joined together, it makes for one mesmeric listening experience. (MO) 

Today Was Yesterday – Grace (feat. Alex Lifeson)

Since Rush came to a close, the Canadian prog icons’ guitar hero has been busy… very busy. His industrial project, Envy of None, released their debut album, he guested on a Tom Morello track, and just last week, he launched his own gear company

For his next trick, Lifeson has collaborated with Today Was Yesterday, the project by prolific sidemen Ty Dennis and Angelo Barbera, who are now taking the spotlight. Lifeson appears on six of 10 tracks on the duo’s forthcoming debut album, while Robby Krieger also appears across the tracklisting.

Musically, Grace is right in Lifeson’s wheelhouse: it’s classic prog in the vein of Genesis, Yes, and, indeed, Rush, with mind-bending riffs, panoramic guitar soundscapes, and dynamic shifts aplenty. All of which serves as a reminder that Lifeson’s tonal palette remains truly timeless. (MAB)

Guns N' Roses – The General

Three decades ago, Guns N' Roses famously put their own spin on Paul McCartney's iconic Bond theme, Live and Let Die. Carrying with it a great sense of occasion, an air of mystery, and plenty of action, the stadium-conquerers' new single finds them channeling their inner spy once again. Can't go wrong with that wailing, wah-ing Slash solo, either... (JM)

c – Deconstruction (ft. Serj Tankian, Tony Iommi & Cesar Gueikian)

The Gibson Band is a new concept from the iconic guitar brand, set to feature a revolving cast of big-name endorsee talent and Gibson’s own in-house team. So, if you’ve ever pondered what Gibson CEO Cesar Gueikian would sound like on a track with System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian and a guest solo from guitar icon Tony Iommi – well, wonder no more! Proceeds raised by the single, alongside an auction of Tankian’s original artwork and a custom-painted Gibson Les Paul, are all going to support a worthy cause, in the form of the Armenia Fund’s Artsakh Refugee Initiative. (MP)

Architects – Seeing Red

The UK metalcore heavyweights’ first output since the departure of Sylosis shredder Josh Middleton takes them back to their roots, deploying pummeling breakdowns, an arms-aloft chorus, and Sam Carter’s guttural screams. Gotta love that Gojira pick-scraped riff from Adam Christianson, too. (MAB)

IDLES – Grace 

A relative slow-burner by IDLES’ own energetic standards, Grace is a track that “came from nowhere and everything,” ramping up the tension across its bass-laden procession to a detonation of gain-drenched noise that serves as a “new manifesto of love triumphing over nihilism.” (MO)

The Libertines – Night Of The Hunter

Known in their early days for their ultra-catchy, ramshackle garage-rockers (and constant presence in the tabloids) the Libertines have clearly grown quite a bit over the decades, and for the better. Night Of The Hunter – the second single from All Quiet on the Eastern Esplanade, their first new album in nine years – is simply beautiful, with a memorable lead motif that sounds straight out of a Spaghetti Western. (JM)

Slift – Nimh

We couldn’t get enough of Slift’s previous single Illion – the eponymous taster of an album due to land early next year. This follow-up from the French psych-metal trio has them rubber-stamped as ones to watch in 2024. A dynamic, densely woven entanglement of monstrous fuzz, chiming arpeggiated guitar and complex, grooving bass parts. It moves as a seething, organic mass – a titan laying waste to all and, occasionally, pausing for breath. (MP)

Devon Ross – Killer

When she’s not stalking the catwalk as a Gucci model or acting in the likes of HBO’s Irma Vep, Devon Ross can be found thrashing out ’70s-vibed post-punk on a Fender Mustang. A guitar player since childhood, Ross’ angular chord stabs are indebted to Patti Smith and Television, but her effortless cool cuts its own sonic figure. (MAB) 

Ryujin – Gekokujo

Guitarist and frontman Ryoji Shinomoto may pull on traditional Japanese influences (not to mention a smattering of dragon flute) in his writing for Ryujin, but his sound borrows a few tricks from Scandinavia, too. Not least, In Flames’ melodic menace and Alexi Laiho’s raucous leads. His solo on previous effort Raijin & Fujin (featuring Trivium’s Matthew K. Heafy) just made our best of the year list – and for good reason. (MP)

Green Day – Dilemma

A quintessential Green Day offering, released ahead of the band’s 14th studio album, Saviors, which is due in just a few weeks. Expect angsty outbursts of thrashing chords and moody palm-muted progressions aplenty, with the odd broken arpeggio thrown in for extra punctuation. (MO)

Also on this week’s playlist…

  • Caligula’s Horse – The World Breathes With Me
  • Sjowgren – newrules

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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.