With a little history and explanation for loosely my 10 favorites.
Mind Over Matter
|27||Michael Lee Firkins|
Black Light Sonatas
Solitarily Speaking Of Theoretical Confinement
The Devil Knows My Name
Out of the Sun
The Dark Chapter
Zero Order Phase
Powers Of Ten
|10|| ||Marty Friedman|
4.5/5 ....Every metal-head has heard the highly-praised solos of Friedman such as "Tornado of Souls" and "Lucretia" from his tenure with Megadeth. 2 years and 1 month prior to the release of Megadeth's magnum opus Rust In Peace, Friedman released his debut album "Dragon's Kiss" which hammered the listener with fiery shredding that gave us a taste of what was to come in following years. The power and furiousness that can be found in Friedman's playing is what sets this apart from other albums during the golden era of shredding.
a taste of it - "Saturation Point" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfoLcXB7pRg
4.5/5 .....Greg Howe is truly a cut-above when it comes to Jazz Fusion-Rock guitar. Guthrie Govan's Erotic Cakes album has gained a lot of general popularity on Sput and frankly this is along the same lines but even better. To the untrained ear, this may not be quite as accessible as Govan, but I suspect the listener who has some knowledge on guitar will find this to be even better. Judging by this record, no one would ever guess that Howe has toured performing guitar duties for *NSYNC, Rihanna, T Pain, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Lady Antebellum, and many other pop acts, but he he has.
a taste of it - "Pay As You Go" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Hyr4W0OCh0
That Was Then, This is Now
4.5/5 ....Offten regarded as "the king of tone", Timmons mixes warm tones with mature, cathartic playing to form a style that is completely unique to him. With Timmons, it's all about quality, never quantity. Legato, vibrato, and soul-full bends are in surplus here. Once you're familiar with his style, it's instantly recognizable in the future. While the songwriting isn't jaw-dropping per se, the emotion he packs into his music easily makes up for it, and then some. Don't let Andy fool you though, he's got chops too. "Cry For You" continues to be one my all-time favorite instrumental guitar tracks.
a taste of it - "It's Getting Better" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4duz_dDBYDY
4.5/5 ....late-80's shred guitar ruled, and Tony MacAlpine's 1987 release is another fine specimen in that category. In the 1990's, pseudo-guitar faggots began doodling and wandering aimlessly, creating stupid songs that sounded random as hell. Maximum Security is just the opposite; songs with a destination that take no prisoners and shred vagina all along the way. Maximum Security is characterized by fast-paced, melodic single-note runs over driving drum rhythms. There is quite a bit of sweeping too which was impressive for the time. To this day, Tony is still a czar in the world of 6-strings.
a taste of it - "Key to the City" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSIEMddSOp8
4.5/5 ...Satch is one of the most decorated virtuosos ever, and for good reason. The Extremist features everything we could want from a guitar album; the man can piece-together classy ballads, jam the blues, Rock, and it goes without saying that he performs at an elite level. The Extremist in my opinion is Satch's most enjoyable work. Also, I highly recommend checking out Satch's G3 tour, where he and 2 other high profile guitarists perform together; if you haven't heard of it, youtube immediately.
a taste of it - "The Extremist" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd7QSWdymd0
4.5/5 ...Malmsteen took the industry by storm as a teenager when he sent out demos of himself melting strings with his lightning-fast playing. Malmsteen soon reigned with an iron first and became essentialy the guitar-world equivelant of Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky; hell, Yngwie was the living embodiment of Rock 'n Roll in his first 10 years on the scene- he was flashy, arrogant, wild, and no one could compete with him. He was cocky and abrasive, but justifiably so because he was a giant in a land of mostly peons. Love him or hate him, Malmsteen's impact on guitar playing is flat-out undeniable. While this album isn't entirely instrumental, it's still a landmark work in the genre, thus, warrants being included.
a taste of it - "Black Star" (Live) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de4Gzf-TgqE#t=0m50s
Passion And Warfare
4.5/5 ...Steve's wild whammy work was evident from his very first record, Passion and Warfare. This album is hugely versatile and unique with many different types of tracks throughout the album; Vai's creativity is second to none but along with it he's also got insane chops that are on display from start to finish. Passion and Warfare has tons of groove with tracks like "The Animal", while also incorporating plenty of class to go along the with it in songs like "For The Love of God", which sound like he's metaphorically having sweaty passionate sex with his guitar. Simply put, Passion and Warfare is a captivating fuckfest of supreme guitar playing by one of the world's all-time greatests.
a taste of it - "The Animal" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV9UlQAcY9U
|3|| ||Marco Sfogli|
5/5 ...Sfogli first hit the mainstream when he was brought on for James LaBrie's Elements of Persuasion record. Sfogli's playing is inhumanely clean as he works his way through rock fusion tracks filled with simple bluesy melodies. There's Hope is reminiscent of John Petrucci's Suspended Animation if you're familiar with that, except with shorter songs and less mindless-wanking which helps prevent boredom from lurking in. Sfogli's phrasing is top-notch and he keeps it classy by using his shredding skills sparingly. With that said, he can light it up with the best of them. This was my favorite album to listen to while studying all last semester because it's as much calming and uplifting as it is intriguing.
a taste of it - "Sunset Lights" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5RJfuaNA60
|2|| ||Vinnie Moore|
5/5 ...Along with names like Malmsteen and Becker, Vinnie Moore helped revolutionize heavy metal guitar playing in the 80's; this classic from 1987 sees Moore shred up-and-down the axe in a manner that few men in the world could match at the time. Fear not though, Moore is a master of creating catchy runs and is far from a one-trick shredding pony. While Moore has expanded his horizons to blues, jazz, and far more clean playing in his albums since Mind's Eye, it has actually proven to be a mistake because none of them have come close to matching what he accomplished in 1987. Never the less, this one easily stands the test of time. The album cover is cheesy but cool as hell, too.
a taste of it - "Daydream" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gwHBolETcg
5/5 ... Becker is a dynamic beast who can throw-down with literally anyone on the planet, and he epitimizes all that is right about music. This entire album is packed full of jaw-dropping solos, and there is virtually no filler. Becker mixes soft songs with heavy songs in flawless harmony;. listen to songs like "Eleven Blue Egyptians", "Altitudes" and "Opus Pocus"......if you don't realize how unbelievably good he is, then you're just dumb. Damn you Lou Gehrigs Disease for ending this man's illustrious career and passion; long live one of the greatest ever, Jason Becker.
a taste of it - "Eleven Blue Egyptians" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH9igerT86g