The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists

#10: TERRANCE HOBBS (SUFFOCATION)

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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 Suffocation’s Terrance Hobbs…

When I first saw Suffocation live, I pretty much just stood there and stared at Terrance Hobbs the whole time. He’s almost delicate in the way he handles the guitar, and yet the sound that comes out of his instrument is anything but. At the time, I didn’t even know the names for half the stuff he was doing, so I was more than a little bit in awe. Luckily (or not, depending on your definition of “lucky”), I hang around pretentious music types a lot and now I can actually talk about it without sounding like a complete tool. Ish.

Suffocation is known for seamlessly blending the technical with the brutal; creating a sound that’s both heavy and sophisticated. The complex time changes and rapid-fire picking places them in a realm beyond just death metal, and Hobbs’ influence is what separates them from the herd. He integrates the rhythms of speed metal and even introduces an aspect of hardcore that marks their distinct structural sound.

Hobbs credits his New York background and close proximity to bands like the Cro-Mags and Agnostic Front as the main influence behind his style. Aspects of hardcore and grind are present in the music. The record Effigy of the Forgotten is among the best examples of not only his abilities, but of what Suffocation is. It has everything from the signature breakdowns and riffing Hobbs is known for to the complex, layered melodies that many bands have tried to emulate. Suffocation, and Terrance Hobbs, are beyond just boring blast beats — they’re pioneers of their sound, and are actually credited for being the main influence behind the entire genre of deathcore.

Even with Suffocation’s latest release, Blood Oath, Hobbs proves that he doesn’t need to recycle old tricks. The technical, almost clean guitars contrasting with the heavier overall sound highlight Oath as a classic death album, but also show that speed doesn’t always equal power. Most of the songs are subtly slower than previous ones. But while I might usually dismiss that as a fault, Hobbs’ relentless riffs never let the songs get repetitive or, even worse, boring. That’s pretty damn impressive for a 20+ year-old band that shows no signs of stopping now.

-LF

THE LIST SO FAR

#11 — Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth)

#12 — Michael Keene (The Faceless)

#13 — Ben Weinman (The Dillinger Escape Plan)

#14 – Emil Werstler (Dååth, Levi/Werstler)

#15 — Colin Marston (Krallice, Behold… The Arctopus)

#16 — Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains)

#17 — Buckethead

#18 — Adam Jones (Tool)

#19 — Vernon Reid (Living Colour)

#20 — Misha Mansoor (Periphery)

#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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