very October, for five years now, ROCKWIRED.COM has given props to the seminal instrument in rock n roll and to the men and women who pick one up and play the hell out of it. This year, ROCKWIRED has picked twenty such ax-wielders who are doing their duty in keeping rock n roll alive and kicking. This annual list never comes easily and ROCKWIRED's editor-in-chief BRIAN LUSH is pleased with this year's list and the wide range of sounds, textures and tones from each of these most valued players. "Every year is different" says LUSH "Some names are very familiar to thsi list and some are brand spanking new. Not only does this list celebrate all of the pomp and theatricality that comes with being a guitarist in a rock band, but speaks to the musicality and the determination of each of these players. I'm super excited by this list of musicians that we have come up with for 2017."
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BY DiANE LYNN
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e first became acqainted with the death metal wizardry of guitarist AARON ROBINSON through his old band FORESHADOW. We had our money on the belief that this band was going to be a lethal force in the field of death metal but sometimes, the best laid plans can come undone. FORESHADOW came to an unceremonious end a couple of years ago, but ROBINSON hasn't given up the ghost. Instead he grew more ambitious and formed BLOOD OF ANGELS and has resolved to take the urgency of death metal into the glorious realm of progressive rock. The public has been given a hint of the band's musical horizon with the EP RISE OF THE FALLEN GODS and it's epic first single ODIN' WRATH. ROBINSON's lethal ax-wielding is at the center of all off this and it will be fascinating to see where it all goes from here.
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he Seattle sound of the late eighties and early nineties proved itself to be the last significant movement in rock music and came to define a generation. That infuence was certainly not lost on the Georgia- based rock band LULLWATER, who have taken such inspiration from that scene and it's luminaries, that the band has taken to recoriding much of their rocking catalog in the same Seattle studio where PEARL JAM recorded. Bringing that genuine, crunchy sound to the band's grunge sensibility is guitarist DANIEL BINNIE whose handiwork on the band's latest EP THE SEATTLE SESSIONS truly electrifies.
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uitarist NIKHIL RAO is a relative newcomer to the band A WAR WITHIN. He joined the band halfway through the recording of the band's latest album BELIEVE. Despite coming to the party late, he has proven himself and his guitar playing to be invaluable to the bands wide ranging musical approach in the studio and on a live stage. The band will be hitting the studio pretty soon, according to an interview we did with RAO and it would be interesting to see where the band can go with the man's input in the songwriting.
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aving spent some time there as a kid, I can tell you that South Dakota is a pretty quiet place to live unless you're in a mighty thunderstorm or a tornado. Another thing that doesn't make the Mount Rushmore State so quiet is the band UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE which hails from Rapid City and parts of the Oglala Sioux Indian Reservation. The band's sound is pure heavy metal thunder and ax man SHANE LA POINTE knows when to go for the rapid fire riffage and when to bring forth a sound that is forboding and melodic. The band has been cutting their teeth with live shows throughout the plains and the southwest region of the country. The band is bound to catch on with an enthusiastic audience and LA POINTE is sure to get his due as a guitarist worth everyone's attention.
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ou can find anything you want in New York City, but we never thought that it was possible to find a progressive metal band with as many tones and musical textures as DA VINCI had colors and shades of paint on his pallette. This is the case for SIGNALS OF BEDLAM, a band comprised of transplants to the "city the never sleeps" with an expansive sound that defies mere categorization. When you are dealing with a sound as big as this, you need a guitarist who is up for the challenge as is TOM HOY.
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ll of the press about the band SEASONS AFTER describe their music and thier latest album MANIFESTO as a rollercoaster ride. And we have to agree. The album is the result of a "manifesto" that the band came up with so they wouldn't repeat the same mistakes they made in previous bands that had cost them dearly. These fellows have learned form their mistakes an issue a sound that is forceful, blistering and wildly passionate. And for all of this, a guitarist like JAMES BEATTIE is just the ax man you need.
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great band is only as good as the sum of it's parts and the band VYCES is made up some rather impressive parts. Comprised of former members of HEART SET SELF DESTRUCT and OLD FASHIONED BEATDOWN , the band has made some considerable noise with their debut EP DEVILS. Guitarist SHAWN PATTERSON (formerly of OLD FASHIONED BEATDOWN and PHANTOM COMMUNIQUE) turns in some fine performances on the band's singles THE HIVE, DEVIL and NOCTURNAL.
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ccording to KILLSET's front man TONY LUCA, the band's guitarist DAVE COMER come from a background that is rooted in classic rock, and if you ask us, that's a good thing. The music of KILLSET is all over the place from metal to hip hop, but COMER's in-your-face hard rock approach gives the band's musical aspirations focus and gravitas. COMER's axmanship makes the band's latest release S.T.F.U an exciting listen and will have guitarists everywhere going "How did he do that?"
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veryone else on this list is a guitarist that goes for a bigger, better deal much like you expect in superhero action films. Some of them are rooted in more of a gut bucket sensibility, but a guitarist and performer like RICK SHAFFER lives there. His sound is raw and uncompromising and calls to mind the works of such lengendary ax men as LINK WRAY or R.L. BURNSIDE. He got his start with the new wave band REDS back inthe eighties and for years, has kept his distorted brand of rock n roll alinve and pumping as he does on on his latest album STOLEN MOMENTS.
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BRiAN LUSH (FOUNDER, EDiTOR-iN-CHiEF)
CONTACT BRiAN LUSH AT: firstname.lastname@example.org