Austin Evans serves up a volley of six-string carnage – with an upside-down guitar – in this brutal playthrough of Orthodox's Head on a Spike

Orthodox’s new album, Learning to Dissolve, is an expertly crafted, unrelenting, chaotic masterclass in modern metalcore. In 11 songs spanning just over 40 minutes, the Nashville-based outfit offer a barrage of uber-destructive bangers, shaped principally by the impossibly heavy downtuned electric guitar work of axeman Austin Evans.

From the outset, the album’s opener, Feel It Linger is chock-full of weighty chugs, and even features a rapid-fire guitar solo to prime listeners for the volley of killer guitar lines to come.

And one of the record’s notable highlights follows shortly after. Where Feel It Linger sets the mood with its quick tempo, Head on a Spike takes things down a gear, with a clutch of massive riffs sure to get any pit spinning. Its brutality is matched only by its sense of dynamics, with occasional harmonized melodic runs peppered throughout.

And in this exclusive Guitar World premiere, Evans puts his killer six-string lines for the track on full-display. Rather intriguingly, he's a left-handed player who plays with the guitar's lowest string at the bottom, sort of like a metal Eric Gales. Feast your eyes and ears above.

Gear-wise, Evans plays an ESP LTD M-1000HT electric guitar, straight into an instance of “the heaviest plugin in the universe”, Neural DSP’s Archetype: Gojira.

“When we went into writing this song, we wanted it to be all-around pretty insane and in your face,” Evans says. “Driving the tremolo picking into the intro gives it the adrenaline, while the drop-off immediately afterwards makes you want to take someone’s head off. 

“The basis of the songwriting for Head On A Spike was to really focus on making the big moments hit way harder than they needed to, and I think we accomplished that, especially with that breakdown at the end. [It’s] one of my favorite songs to play live as well.”

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.