Shred/Metal Mash-Ups

9 Apr

The first 5 minutes or so of this video featuring guitarist Ben Higgins superimposing licks by (mostly) first-class shredders on top of rhythm sections from well-known metal bands is the most fun I’ve had all week:

To my ears, the real gems are the shred/death metal mash-ups. There are some great lead guitarists in death metal (like Trey Azagthoth, featured here) but they tend to default to atonal chromatic runs. This makes sense since the abrasive flight-of-the-bumblebee thing fits the genre aesthetic. The lack of deviation from this approach, however, is largely a function of how atonal chromaticism spares guitarists the hastle of conveying and maintaining a more traditional tonality while playing over frenetically complex, harmonically mercurial riffs. But when skillfully executed (as in the Yngwie/Morbid Angel and Satriani/Nile mash-ups), a solo built from more refined scales tends to sound dramatically more interesting as a complement to lurching down-tuned aggression than 99% of post-Slayer atonal flurries.

Also on offer here: further confirmation that Kirk Hammett is wasted struggling to achieve “shred” over Hetfield’s speedy thrash rhythms—the Load/ReLoad years demonstrated he’s far better suited to languid hard rock grooves and bluesy cadences. So much so that (apparently) he can make even Motley Crüe sound appealing.



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