Polyphia and Steve Vai deliver a guitar collab for the ages in mesmerizing new single, Ego Death

Earlier this month, Polyphia sent hearts racing with the announcement that their long-awaited upcoming album, Remember That You Will Die, will feature none other than legendary electric guitar player Steve Vai.

Now, that single – titled Ego Death – has dropped in its entirety, ushering in arguably the most highly anticipated tracks of the year and hosting one of the biggest guitar collabs of recent memory.

Lucky for us, we didn’t have to wait too long between announcement and the release, which is a good thing – because Ego Death is a stellar piece of guitar music.

Throughout the previous few singles Polyphia axe slingers Tim Henson and Scott LePage have employed a suite of eye-catching electric and acoustic guitars, from the Ibanez acoustic models of Playing God to the custom art axes of Neurotica and ABC.

Polyphia

(Image credit: Alana Ann Lopez)

The Ego Death video introduces yet another six-string model into the mix, with LePage wielding an Ibanez Xiphos for a particularly starring lead role throughout proceedings. Henson, who opts for a seven-string Ibanez AZ, is unsurprisingly flawless in his execution of the track’s none-more-intricate riff.

But what about Vai? Well, the guitar god makes his debut at the 3:19 mark – aptly perched on a throne in the accompanying music video – and proceeds to add a healthy helping of Vai spice to the single, channeling whammy wails and operatic bends aplenty.

Vai’s collaboration with Polyphia has been a long time coming, after he identified Henson as one of five contemporary guitarists who are taking the instrument to the next level earlier this year.

Speaking to Guitarist back then, Vai said, “Tim Henson is exploring new grounds. I’m seeing an evolution in a direction that I didn’t… that I couldn’t even see coming. And it’s magnificent. I just love hearing those ideas and watching the execution of them.”

Steve Vai

(Image credit: Polyphia/YouTube)

“Tim Henson is exploring new grounds. I’m seeing an evolution in a direction that I didn’t… that I couldn’t even see coming. And it’s magnificent. I just love hearing those ideas and watching the execution of them.

In the upcoming issue of Guitar World – which can be purchased from Magazines Direct (opens in new tab) on October 4 –  the three guitar pioneers sat down to discuss the monumental match-up, with Henson labeling Ego Death as a “dream come true”.

“It was a dream come true getting Steve on the record,” he gushed. “I mean, c’mon, he’s a fucking legend.”

It turns out that Vai was equally enthusiastic about the prospect of playing with Polyphia, recalling, “When the invite came down from these guys, I was so tickled, man. I was like, ‘I don’t care what it is, I’m playing on it.’ 

“They’re doing such beautiful and unique stuff – I wanted to get a little piece of it somehow.”

It remains to be seen whether Ego Death will receive the same post-release treatment as Polyphia’s first three singles, all of which have been reimagined as unplugged performances. 

When it arrives on October 28, Remember That You Will Die will be Polyphia’s fourth studio album and the follow-up to 2018’s New Levels New Devils.

Along with Vai, it boasts a stellar cast of guest musicians, including Deftones’ Chino Moreno, rappers Lil West and $not, and many more.

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Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.