Kayla Kent is fast becoming something of a shredder-to-watch for metal fans, with the Kramer-wielding electric guitar player captivating audiences with a range of stellar six-string performances, covering the likes of Pantera, Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth and more.
In fact, it was her eerily accurate Dimebag Darrell-esque tone and technique that first grabbed players’ attention, with Kent further flexing her accomplished chops by recently learning and covering one of Zakk Wylde’s live Pantera solos just days after it was performed.
Now, Kent has returned to her roots with perhaps her most personal performance to date: a cover of the solo from Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark at the Moon, the same song that first kickstarted her metal journey over a decade ago. In fact, it was the first metal song she ever heard.
Kent’s pin-point playing is, as usual, on display in abundance here, with the cover first highlighting her supreme alternate picking powers as she makes her way through Jake E. Lee’s pre-solo riffs.
Once these formalities have been seen to, though – and following a third pick switch – Kent kicks it up a gear, unleashing fretboard fury on her Kramer JK8000 for the track’s wah-laden runs, pinch harmonics and ‘board-traversing pentatonic trickery.
But the purpose of the video goes beyond merely showcasing Kent’s searing shred skills. Instead, it’s a cover that gives the guitarist’s viewers insight into her history with metal music – a genre that she originally wasn’t even allowed to listen to.
However, thanks to her inquisitive musical mind and a free Guitar Hero rip-off, Kent was exposed to Ozzy Osbourne’s music at an early age. It was an experience that stayed with her, up until when her father decided it was the right time to formally introduce her to the world of metal.
“This song means a lil' more to me than other Ozzy songs,” she says. “So, 11-year-old me was not allowed to play Guitar Hero, didn’t even have a videogame console or anything at the time, but me and my brother did have a computer we could play on.
“We downloaded this freeware guitar hero clone called Frets On Fire – a game that you played holding your keyboard upside down, and that had some weird songs that came with it. But you could download a song pack off the site and one of them had Bark at the Moon in it.
“First time I played that song on Frets on Fire, my dad hears it from across the room and is like, ‘You're not allowed to listen to music like that, turn it off!’ – but it was too late: that was my first metal song I heard ever and what got me interested in metal from that point on.
“Three to four years later, my dad shows me and my brother all the bands he grew up with and introduced us properly to metal anyways. This song was one of the first I learned on guitar, so I’m sure I’m playing the rhythm part incorrectly, but that's just how I've played it for the better part of 10 years.”
To peruse Kent's entire collection of covers, head over to her YouTube channel.