The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists



MetalSucks recently polled its staff to determine who are The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists, and after an incredible amount of arguing, name calling, and physical violence, we have finalized that list! The only requirements to be eligible for the list were that the musician in question had to a) play metal (duh), b) play guitar (double-duh), and c) have recorded something in the past five years. Today we continue our countdown with Testament’s Alex Skolnick…

If there’s one dude that has fused jazz and metal together by way of guitar better than Alex Sknolnick, I don’t think I’ve heard him yet. It probably doesn’t hurt that Skolnick studied under Joe Satriani. But when the then fifteen year old Alex Skolnick joined Legacy, the band that would go on to become Testament, he couldn’t have possibly imagined the kind of guitar icon he would become as one of thrash’s signature soloists, a touring part of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s annual arena sell-out showcase, and his own acoustic jazz-metal hybrid band, The Alex Skolnick Trio.


Of course, Testament’s riff wizard has always been Eric Peterson, but Skolnick’s contributions to the band is what elevated it to the top tier of the second wave of American thrash metal. And much in part to his re-joining of that band in 2005, Testament truly returned to form with the release of the searing, and widely hailed, Formation of Damnation. Skolnick’s got that signature sound that screams his name as soon as a riff or solo is blasted out of a stereo or a stage speaker. He’s got the classical flair that made Testament’s legendary early outputs so intriguing, he’s got the jazz mentality to ignite his solos, and he’s got that signature Skolnick sound that I, at least, won’t ever get sick of.

Folks interested in the Alex Skolnick Trio should be excited to know that due to their open taping policy, tons of live recordings are available online at, with tons of new takes on classic rock and heavy metal “standards.”



#22 — Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved)

#23 — Synyster Gates (Avenged Sevenfold)

#24 — Chris Letchford (Scale the Summit)

#25 — Paul Ryan (Origin)


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