Obvurt Guitarist Taught Himself to Play Left-Handed After Car Accident


Québecois technical death metal band Obvurt will release their debut EP, The Beginning, on March 31 via Brutal Mind. Band founder and guitarist Philippe Drouin put three years of his heart and soul into making the six-track affair, and one song features a guest spot from legendary shredder Michael Angelo Batio.

But it’s the story of what happened before the EP was made — and the road that led to its creation — that’s the most impressive feat of all.

Drouin, an accomplished guitarist who had been playing for more than 15 years, was in a car accident in 2016 that left him unable to use his right hand for picking. He tried and tried but to no avail, his physical limitations making it impossible for him to play at the level he wanted.

So he taught himself to play left-handed.

If you’re a right-handed player who’s ever tried to flip the instrument over and try it the other way — or vice versa — we don’t need to tell you how difficult it is. But Philippe was able to pull it off through three years of dedicated practice four hours a day, an assist from noted ambidextrous shredder Michael Angelo Batio, and the sheer will to make it happen for himself.

Today MetalSucks is pleased to premiere a playthrough video for “Scars of War,” showing off not only Philippe’s astounding physical accomplishment, but his keen sense for riffery and catchy death metal magic in Obvurt’s music.

Philippe explains:

“After being victim of a car accident in late December 2016, I lost my picking as a right-handed guitar player for more than 15 years. After talking with [jazz guitarist] Pat Martino in 2017, I bought my first left-handed guitar, and it begins there.

“Since I made that choice, I tried to recover and practice a lot, trying to get my picking back [on my right hand] in 2018. I was playing both sides every day for a while. One day I felt I was able to become left-handed and realized this is possible. So, I decided to leave everything behind and start over. I left my previous band I had for more than 10 years and learned a new instrument.

“I practiced for one year alone and then I realized I needed help. I asked [noted ambidextrous guitarist] Michael Angelo Batio for lessons and he accepted. Since then, I’ve taken lessons with him, online or on YouTube. He is the best! He knew how to drive me and I listened to him, even if it was difficult. Since that day, I’ve practiced over four hours every day after day job time.”

Speaking of “Scars of War” specifically, the latest song, Philippe explains:

“This song speaks about perseverance. No matter the roadblock you hit throughout your life, everything is possible when you put in your 100%. It’s talking about a new life, a light at the end of the tunnel.

“This song was played in drop tuning in A. It’s the only one on the EP where this tuning is used. This is my Dean KSV Black V right-handed that I switched to left handed two years ago.”

You can watch the video for “Scars of War” below and pre-order The Beginning here (physical) or here (Bandcamp).

Band lineup:

Philippe Drouin (ex -Unbreakable Hatred, ex-Vitiated): guitars / vocals
Olivier Pinard (Cryptopsy, Cattle Decapitation): bass
Samuel Santiago (Agony, ex-Gorod): drums

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