In early February, technical drummer par excellence Virgil Donati released his latest album, Ruination. The record features an ensemble band of world-class musicians, with Brazilian virtuoso Andre Nieri taking the guitar reins.
The album's fourth track, The Crack, contains some of the most dazzling electric guitar work we've heard in some time, as Nieri comfortably changes time signatures - and indeed, guitars - while dominating the fretboard and producing runs more akin to video game scores than traditional guitar music.
"It all began with Virgil sending me the chart for the intro line, which is the most challenging part of the song," Nieri says. "He specifically asked me to learn it, and check if it was even playable on guitar - just so you know, all parts were composed on the keyboards. All I had to do then was practice for days to get it under my fingers."
"To make it a bit easier on my side, I decided to drop tune the sixth string to D on the seven-string guitar. That really helped me when trying to nail all those wide stretch arpeggios from the intro.
"As far as the solo goes, Virgil encouraged me to come up with a less traditional kind of phrasing thus adding even more substance to the overall avant-garde mood of the part. I remember sending him at least four different takes so that he could pick the one that best fits his sonic idea.
"Overall, this is by far the most demanding song on the record. It defies your endurance on the instrument, and requires such technical precision that if you miss a single note you might not get back on track so easily! This is Virgil pushing the boundaries of music and performance to a whole new level."
Gear-wise, Nieri uses two Suhr electric guitars - a Custom Andre Nieri spec and a Custom Koa 7 string - as well as a Bogner Ecstasy 101B head and Suhr Reactive Load IR box.
Virgil Donati's latest album Ruination is available now via Gildon Music.