#24: CHRIS LETCHFORD (SCALE THE SUMMIT)
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. We kicked off the list yesterday and continue today with #24, Scale the Summit’s Chris Letchford…
Few young guitarists are as ridiculously skilled yet as calmly restrained in their playing as Scale the Summit leader Chris Letchford. This is doubly true considering the fact that Letchford’s band is completely instrumental. Only once have I ever heard Letchord completely go OFF on a shred run like those that most metal guitarists butter their bread with, and that was in an improvised song-ending jam out at the band’s recent New York City show… and who even improvises live these days? Most of the time, though, Letchford is doing what Letchford does best — play laid back, mellow, but somehow still metal rhythms and leads that take the listener through a journey of space and time despite the lack of vocals in Scale the Summit’s music.
Chris Letchford can be playing leads or Chris Letchford can be playing rhythms — they’re kind of one in the same in Scale the Summit’s music. Together with fellow StS axe-slinger Travis Levrier, quite the pro himself, Letchford’s playing is completely seamless, buttery smooth, 100% free of metal cliche. Most impressive of all is the fact that Letchford keeps it all about the song as a whole and his band as a unit rather than making himself the focus; he’s the ultimate team player (see above, re: lack of shred despite the obvious capability), all while forging a style that is instantly recognizable as Scale the Summit and no one else. The sky is the limit, so if Letchford sticks with music for the longhaul I have no doubt he’ll be one of those guys that ends up spreading his tentacles far beyond metal.
THE LIST SO FAR: