Hear Nuno Bettencourt tap into his inner Yngwie Malmsteen on a new classical crossover track that stretched his abilities

Nuno Bettencourt
(Image credit: Daniel Knighton / Getty)

Composer Kitt Wakeley thrives at the crossover point between classical and rock, and his forthcoming album, Sinners And Saints Vol. II, features an incredible line-up of virtuosic guitar talent. Now Guitar World is pleased present the world premiere of new single, Paganini’s Storm, featuring Nuno Bettencourt.

Bettencourt is on fire at the moment and his solo work on Extreme’s new single Rise essentially broke the guitar internet when it was released a few weeks back. 

That track contained a little classical influence in its nod to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight Of The Bumblebee in the breakdown section. Now he takes on the influence of a master of the strings: Italian violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini.

The track features the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra and London Voices choir, so whoever played on it was going to be on top of their game. Bettencourt’s playing is typically astonishing, though. 

There’s some killer lead work throughout (particularly in the crescendo), but the most jaw-dropping part is the palm-muted rhythm work required to shadow the lightning-fast string lines. Fortunately, Bettencourt seems to have relished the challenge.

“I've had the pleasure of performing on other tracks for Kitt,” reflects Bettencourt. “But Paganini's Storm was definitely a journey I had yet to take on my instrument. I've always had classical and [Yngwie] Malmsteen influences in my playing, but this made me stretch, which was really fun.”

Wakeley has previously worked with Joe Satriani, but Sinners And Saints Vol. II features an astonishing array of virtuoso players, including Satch, Bettencourt, Orianthi and Nita Strauss. 

“I'm very deliberate about the guitarists that I choose for my tracks,” says Wakeley. “Each song that I write warrants a different style and vibe, so it's important for me to select the right guitarist to amplify the sound that I'm trying to achieve.

“Nuno was the perfect choice for Paganini's Storm, and he was amazing. I was fortunate to have him on three different tracks [Requiem of the Fallen, No Apologies, and Paganini's Storm] for this record and he brought them to a whole new level.”

Once you’re done repeatedly playing the above at half speed, check out Wakeley’s previous tracks from the album, including Orianthi’s stunning take on Stairway To Heaven and Nita Strauss’ shred-heavy MVP appearance.

For information on Sinners And Saints Vol. II, head to kittwakeley.com.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.