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100 Greatest Metal Guitarists Paperback – 2 Oct 2008
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"The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists" is a controversial and much-needed guide to the world of metal guitar, featuring the most accomplished performers from the vast legions of metal. As well as celebrating the classic metal musicians who have defined the scene since the 1970s, author Joel McIver delves deep into the modern thrash metal, death metal, black metal, doom metal, power metal and battle metal movements to unearth those players for whom no tremolo divebomb is too high and no tuning is too low. This book is no mere list for geeks, though. McIver's objective in writing this book is to recognise the incredible skills that these players possess.Moreover, although they're all masters of sweep picking, fretboard tapping and the other tricks of the modern shredder, these players are far from simple speed freaks. "The 100 Greatest"...makes a point of featuring players whose feel and instinct for the values of metal outweigh mere technical mastery. If you've ever wielded a tennis rack in anger in front of a bedroom mirror, or even if you're a metal musician yourself, you need this book - the world of the overdriven guitar will never look the same again.
About the Author
Joel McIver writes for Total Guitar, Metal Hammer and many other music magazines and is the author of 11 books to date. The best-known of these is Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica (2004), which has sold over 30,000 copies in eight languages.
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I have been into metal since 1981 but there are many, many players in here I have never heard of, in bands I have never heard of. Maybe that's my age! The downside of that is that I don't really want to read about players I don't know - but the upside is that there may be one or two bands I need to go away and listen to!
McIver himself acknowledges that any attempt to rank metal guitar players is going to be controversial - and he's right! Looking at, for example, the top ten he ranks, I agree with most of the entries but not in the order he places them. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but his number one greatest heavy metal guitarist is indeed an interesting and controversial choice. A metal icon of recent times, yes, a writer of some great riffs and songs, yes- but the best ever? Hmmmm. At least there is recognition of James Hetfield, his awesome rhythm playing and his huge influence on metal (he played all the guitars on the first five Metallica albums other than most of the solos, therefore becoming one of the most influencial players of the 1980's and early 90's). In my view, Kirk Hammet is over-rated as a player. But most people do not share that view.
What would have been useful is maybe a list of criteria that McIver used to decide on the ranking e.g. infuence, technical ability, riff writing, etc.
At the same time, I'm confused over his categorisation of styles - e.g. Randy Rhodes does not appear at all in the top 100 because McIver classifies him as a 'shredder' (highly debatable in itself) and not a 'metal' player. But all the Iron Maiden guitarists make it in - so Ozzy is not metal but Maiden are? Also, in the list of shredders, Paul Gilbert is number 11! And Jason Becker even further behind! But that's ranking players for you - someone always disagrees........
There are one or two minor errors I have spotted in the book, but that is inevitable given the amount of research that goes into a book like this. But I would still recommend this book for entertainment value and for the joy of reading someone's work that (mostly) aligns with my views and opinions. I like the quotes from the players themselves on who they themselves rate and enjoy. Worth a read.
It's a well illustrated book, some great pictures in there and it's a decent sized read, far from anything like a mindless 'Kerrang top 100' list. No, this has been carefully ordered and backed up, often Miciver gives examples of what he is explaining and so you don't have to go just by his word all the time.
Overall a worthwile purchase and nice edition to any music fan's collection.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I can't relate to the book's information much at the moment, but as I become more entrenched in guitar playing, I know I will appreciate it more and more. I have never heard of most of the guitar players and bands mentioned in the book, so if you're new to this, you're sure to learn something new. If you are a metal fan, you have to buy this book. If you are a guitar player, consider buying it if only to explore new terrain. You may find someone you like in there, and if you practice some complex metal songs, you will undoutedly become more dextrous and will be able to play a wider range of tunes in your own musical style. Don't get stuck in your point of view. Explore, and you will grow.
Btw, don't expect to find things about Slash and Steve Vai. The author has a section at the end of the book where he lists his top 20 slashers, but he rightly says that they are not metal players, but hard rockers. Eddie Van Halen was on that list, and so was Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, and the two mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph.
This book is the first real collection of the Top 100 Metal Guitarists ever. The book leaves some people out due to them being "shredders" or "hard rock" guitarists and I would have included them (think Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen), but overall it's a great collection spanning many metal subgenres.
The real gem of this book is why each person belongs on the list and where they do. The author gives compelling arguments for each person. I won't say who is where in the countdown, but with any list it does create the argument for and against.
The most compelling on the list is who's #1. I totally agree with the authors choice, but many will not (hint: he's ultra-talented and carries a chip on his shoulder).
The only con I have with the book, in each bio of the guitarist, I think the author spends too much time talking about the guitarists band and describing their style. I would have preferred more analysis of their playing style, not the band's place in (insert name here) style of metal.
All in all though, it's a good book and one to read and debate with other metalheads! \M/
I disagree in some guitarist spots like Marty Freidman, martys should be closet to the top 10.
However the only flaw i found is the technical description of the style of each player. Here make some comments about some player but is not a consistent part of the book. I was expecting for a book like this a section in ALL PLAYER describing the technical part, for example, Tapping, arpeggios, scales, shred, skip strings, creativity, etc like a metric score matrix or something. This approach is more objective that what he did (that is very good)
Lets say (example just for illustration purpses) from a scale from 1-10, 10 being the best
Skip strings - 5
Creativity - 7
Scales arsenal - 8
Arpegios - 5
Wah - 3
Overall is a must for a metal guitar fan