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. We had fun fucking with you earlier today, but now we conclude (for real) our countdown with Revocation’s David Davidson…

And so we arrive at the end. Why did Mr. Davidson make the top of this list when a cadre of fantastic musicians — including Paul Masvidal, Devin Townsend, Paul Waggoner, Matt Pike, Ryan Knight, and Marc Okubo, to name but a sampling — didn’t make the cut at all?

Why, it’s simple: All heavy metal guitar playing up until now has been leading up to the existence of David Davidson.

Bold words, I know, but think about it. If somebody asked you what kind of metal Revocation play, how would you answer? How could you answer, other than “Heavy Fucking Metal?” It’s isn’t clearly thrash or death or grind or core or whatever. Davidson is not following any particular trend, but his work doesn’t sound retro, either. It just… metal.

Likewise, his style is a true amalgamation of everything and everyone that has come before him (for, clearly, without guys like Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Dime, Randy Rhoads, Dave Mustaine, and many of the musicians who have already appeared on this list, there would be no David Davidson), and yet, those influences never overwhelm his haecceity to make him seem derivative — they’re the ornaments that decorate the tree, not the trunk itself.

Which, I suspect, is why even though I hear people refer to Davidson as “The Next…” quite a bit, the who Davidson is allegedly version 2.0 of always changes. Because despite the fact that the spirits of all these other guitar players flow through his fingers and out onto his fretboard, Davidson is not really the next anybody — he’s the first, and only, David Davidson.

Or, put more simply:  In 2011, David Davidson is modern metal guitar.



#2 — Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders)

#3 — Brent Hinds (Mastodon)

#4 — Fredrik Thordendal (Meshuggah)

#5 — Karl Sanders (Nile)

#6 — Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed)

#7 — Jeff Loomis

#8 — A.J. Minette (The Human Abstract)

#9 — John Petrucci (Dream Theater)

#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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