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 Periphery’s Misha Mansoor…

I feel like telling the readers of MetalSucks why Misha Mansoor is worthy of this list is a little like telling a cardiologist why the heart is an essential organ, but I’m gonna try and do it anyway.

In a relatively short amount of time, Mansoor has become an icon in the metal scene, and if he’s not higher on this list for whatever semi-arbitrary reason, it doesn’t change the fact that he is arguably the musician who currently best personifies the phrase “modern metal.” This assertion is based on the following inarguable facts:

  • Mansoor is a stupendous musician. I’m not going to prove this point by talking at any length about music theory or technique; rather, I am just going to tell you that I have heard no less of an authority than Jeff Loomis utter the phrase “That dude is great!” (Loomis makes a guest appearance on the Periphery track “Racecar,” for the two of you didn’t know.) The poo Jeff Loomis flushed this morning has forgotten more about guitar playing than any ten readers or writers for this website combined will ever know, so if Jeff Loomis says a guitarist is “great,” then guess what? Motherfucker can play.
  • Mansoor is a great songwriter. There seem to be ten bajillion “djent” bands out there, but Periphery remain out front in no small part because they’re not just aping Meshuggah, but, rather, are reinterpreting, and some might even argue revitalizing, the Meshuggah sound with a healthy dose of melodicism and good old fashioned song structure. Based on the eighteen thousand non-Periphery records Mansoor has released, he has more than a little something to do with this.
  • Mansoor is an inspiration. That may sound cheesy but it’s true. Ever heard this quote from director Francis Ford Coppola before? “Suddenly one day some little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the new Mozart… and make a beautiful film with her father’s little camera-corder, and for once this whole professionalism about movies will be destroyed forever and it will become an art form.” Mansoor isn’t fat, isn’t a girl, isn’t from Ohio, and doesn’t make films — but besides those pesky little details, the Oscar-winning director of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now was describing Mansoor to a “T.” The guy proved that we’re well past the point of needing The Suits to fund and distribute our art. And not only that, but he did such a good job of it that he got The Suits’ attention in the process. That’s pretty much the dream of every aspiring professional metal musician in the world, right? Little wonder that his MS gear column has proven to be so popular.

And this is why we see Mansoor get The-Beatles-on-Sullivan treatment every time Periphery comes to town. It’s why a large percentage of you will scream and rage in the comments section that he hasn’t been placed high enough on this list. And it’s why that large percentage of you will be correct.



#21 — Alex Skolnick (Testament)

#22 – Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved)

#23 — Synyster Gates (Avenged Sevenfold)

#24 — Chris Letchford (Scale the Summit)

#25 — Paul Ryan (Origin)


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