The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists

#23: SYNYSTER GATES (AVENGED SEVENFOLD)

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The Top 25 Modern Metal GuitaristsSynyster Gates

Let’s pretend for a moment that Avenged Sevenfold don’t dress like a bunch of clown-faced goons that fell off the back of a truck carrying clothes rejected from Hot Topic. Let’s also pretend that they don’t indulge in ridiculous stage names that make ICP’s Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent Jay look like members of Mensa. Finally, let’s agree that music should be judged on its merit alone, not on a band’s tweeny fanbase. There… so how do Avenged Sevenfold actually sound?

Now the shut the fuck up and RECOGNIZE: Synyster Gates (aka Brian Haner Jr.) is a ridiculously good guitar player.

No disrespect to fellow A7X axe-slinger Zacky Vengeance; he’s a helluva player too. But I always got the impression Syn was the Slash to Zacky’s Izzy Stradlin… the main writer, arranger, and taker of amazing guitar solos. Together with Brent Hinds, Adam D., Jon Donais and Mark Morton, Synyster Gates helped usher actual good lead guitar playing back into mainstream metal in the early to mid ’00s, rescuing us all from dunder-headed single-note-riff nu-metal oblivion.

His artful, effortless shred makes Yngwie look like the egotistical (yet lovable) wanker he really is, but more importantly Synyster Gates is a composer and arranger of endless talent. A7X’s twin guitar attack functions like dual violins in a chamber orchestra, weaving in and out of leads and rhythms that brings the guitars to the forefront of a band that actually has a vocalist. And unlike, say, Dream Theater, who frequently send their vocalist on extended back-stage breaks while the rest of the band wanks (again, lovably), Gates somehow gets away with playing leads underneath vocals pretty much all the time and makes it work perfectly. Check out the twin-leads under the verse (0:25) and loping lead line under the chorus (0:59) of City of Evil track “Trashed and Scattered:”

Even if you don’t enjoy Avenged Sevenfold’s music (which I do and you should), you can’t deny Synyster Gates’ talent. Respect where it’s due, prease.

-VN

THE LIST SO FAR:

#24: Chris Letchford (Scale the Summit)
#25: Paul Ryan (Origin)

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