The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists

#9: JOHN PETRUCCI (DREAM THEATER, LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT)

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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 John Petrucci from Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment…

Whether it’s the emotional David Gilmour-inspired bends, Hetfield-esque machine gun riffing or flat out blistering speed-sweeping, John Petrucci has always been not just a guitarist’s guitar player but a dynamic and engaging musician and composer with a wide array of styles. Whether it is within the confines of Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, or his solo material, Petrucci’s chops have consistently varied greatly across the prog-metal spectrum, while also standing out amongst his shredding peers on multiple G3 Tours alongside the likes of fellow guitar gods Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, and Eric Johnson.

The thing about Petrucci is that he’s melded the speed, technique, and composition of a flat out shred-fest with so much emotion that his guitar is almost like a word-free vocalist at his fingertips. Whether it’s the franticly-paced shred on Dream Theater’s debut, When Dream And Day Unite, the haunting lead melodies employed on Metroplis Pt. 2 (arguably the band’s most diverse and strongest effort), the calmer ballads (“Hollow Years,” “Another Day,” “Solitary Shell”), or the jam-heavy Liquid Tension material, Petrucci has a wealth of styles that he seemingly interweaves across multiple songs, albums, and bands.

Furthermore, the favoring of seven strings grants Petrucci the ability to integrate thick heaviness with fleet-fingered runs of high notes in his extended soloing. The solos are something I’ll never get sick of, especially the way Petrucci incorporates themes and melodies into his leads. It’s not just a wankfest to show off speed sweeping through scales; it’s about articulating a melody that elevates the theme of the music sandwiched on either side of a solo, and the man does it masterfully. There’s a reason he’s a constant staple in guitar magazines.

-BC

THE LIST SO FAR

#10 — Terrance Hobbs (Suffocation)

#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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