Zoltan Bathory on shred guitar: “A song can have four different time signatures and shredding all over it, but does it mean anything to you?”

Zoltan Bathory
(Image credit: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns)

There's no shortage of impressive guitar moments in Five Finger Death Punch's music, but for rhythm guitarist Zoltan Bathory, it appears it's not all about shred guitar.

In a recent interview with 93X Radio, the 5FDP axeman offers his opinion of high-profile shred guitarists, and shares his general philosophy towards writing for guitar.

“I'm really respectful of guys like Yngwie Malmsteen, Vinnie Moore, Andy James and those guys,” he explains. “There are so many of these instrumentalists that I'm a fan of, and when I started to learn guitar, I was after that stuff.

“And I can shred, but then there was a moment where the idea of music and what it is changed in my mind. And I [started] to understand that when you're playing those million notes per second things, it's kind of like - you're gonna impress all the other guitarists.”

But, he continues, “The whole idea here is that you can create music that you reach people either lyrically by the stories or emotionally. You put them in a certain mood they want to be, this can become their soundtrack to their lives, you will remember where you were when you heard a specific song. It's a time capsule.

“So that's what it's really about, and I think it's much harder to create a song that will be a song and still matter 20 years from now, it's much more difficult to do than... I can write you a song with four different time signatures and shredding all over it, but did it touch you? Did it mean something to you?

“So while I highly respect the musicians who can do that, I think the point of music is really that – reach people.”

Last year, Jason Hook confirmed his departure from Five Finger Death Punch. He was replaced by British virtuoso Andy James.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at GuitarWorld.com 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.