Kayla Kent – the YouTube shredder/Pantera mega-fan who first caught guitarists’ attention with an eerie ability to channel the sonic spirit of Dimebag Darrell – is up to her usual tricks.
However, her latest video takes the Dimebag channeling one step further: it’s one thing to cover a player’s solo with pinpoint accuracy, but it’s a completely different story when trying to embody said player with a piece of original composition.
It’s an exercise that many attempt and very few succeed at, but Kent might just have proven beyond all doubt that she’s the best in the business at harnessing Dimebag’s iconic tone and style by doing just that… over a Megadeth track.
In a video titled, “What if Dimebag Darrell did the Symphony of Destruction solo?”, Kent journeyed into an alternate universe where Dimebag did join Megadeth – yes, that was once actually a possibility – and ended up cutting the lead effort for the 1992 hit, rather than Marty Friedman.
To say it’s scary accurate would be putting it mildly. With her sticker-adorned Kramer JK8000 – which itself oozes the style of Dimebag’s Dean ML – the shredder serves up a suite of Pantera-appropriate pinch harmonics and furious scale runs, as well as some whammy bar plunges to boot.
We aren’t the only ones completely in awe of Kent’s effort. “If someone told me that this was an unreleased solo that Dime recorded for Symphony, I’d believe you,” one commenter wrote. “It’s like you harnessed Dime’s spirit for this.” “Amazing,” wrote another. “Old school Dime vibe.”
It seriously raises the question whether any working guitarist is better than Kent at conjuring Dimebag’s sound and style. Sure, Zakk Wylde is doing a fine job as Pantera’s new guitarist – Kent has even covered his own take on the Cowboys From Hell solo – but he’s doing it Wylde style. Kent’s sound is Dimebag reincarnated.
As for how she nurtured her remarkable ability, Kent once told us it may have had something to do with the way she learned Pantera songs as a fan in the first place.
“I genuinely adore [Dimebag's] playing and Pantera's songwriting,” she said. “I learned a ton of Pantera songs by ear, and I wonder if maybe that is more accurate to picking up Dime's nuances than doing everything by tabs.
“I'm too frustrated by tabs that I'll only bother to look at them when there's a complex lick that I really want to get right,” Kent continued. “As a result, I'm sure I play a bunch of his stuff ‘wrong’, but if it sounds good then I'm okay with that.”
Conversing with commenters on her latest video, Kent hinted that original material will be arriving “soon” – and, owing to the caliber of her chops, and now-evident composition skills, we just have a feeling it’s going to be ace.
Head over to Kayla Kent’s YouTube channel to peruse her videos.