The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists


  • Axl Rosenberg


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 The Faceless’ Michael Keene…

If Michael Keene ends up being the defining metal guitarist of his generation, no one should be surprised. His work is certainly far beyond a label as simple as “Sumeriancore,” even if The Faceless are are at the top of the Sumerian heap. Fact is, Keene is a metal dork’s wet dream — he’s a ridiculously good guitar player, a ridiculously good producer, and a ridiculously good songwriter, and his output is always proggy and challenging but fun, heavy as an orgy whose participants are all suffering from gigantism, and shreddy in just right the measure.

In other words: if Michael Keene’s only goal in life is induce envy and orgasms in metal fans and musicians everywhere, well, he has thus far succeeded and then some.

I mean, I’m listening to The Faceless even as I type this, and there’s never a moment that I don’t wanna stop what I’m doing and jump up and scream “FUCKING SICK, DUDE!” It’s just all so… impressive.

In a live setting, Keene is not as energetic a figure as his music might lead you to believe. He’s not gonna windmill endlessly and run all over the stage and jump into the crowd or whatever. But it really doesn’t matter, because there’s such an elegance to the way Keene plays, one can take great joy in watching his fingers dance along the fretboard even without the benefit of on-stage gymnastics.

I’m saying if I was a woman, I’d let Michael Keene play with my clitoris. Dude looks like he’s good with his hands.



#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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