i just got some birthday money and its burning a hole in my pocket and im itching for a new axe. Id like to know what you guys think is the best bang for my buck at around 400$.
I play thrash/death and shred. I was looking into some ibanez rgs and i think they are real nice but im open to anything.
iron FUCKING maiden!!!
Look at ESP and maybe shecter. Esp are amazing to play, beat everything hands down when i was looking for a new guitar. Schecter are nice but i don't like the necks, felt strange in my hand. But just go play a bunch of guitars in your price range and decide which is best for you.
Go used if you can. You could probably get a decent jackson/schecter/esp ltd, or if you saved a couple hundred more a prestige ibanez.

The only thing I know about the cheaper ibbys is that people have had some run-ins with the edge III, and the knife edges aren't replaceable on it, so if you play the living daylights out of it, its eventually gonna putter out... ive never owned one though, so i dont know how much it takes. If you could, look for an RG with an edge pro. IMO, the best ibby trem available.

I do like the RG's ALOT though.

If you're set on getting it new I'd agree the Jackson, ESP, Ibanez route is usually the best -but i'd personally getting something used. If you get something that's a few years old you'll be able to get a way better deal and get a much better built guitar for the same cash. You can find a Jackson DKMG on ebay or CL usually for around 350 or 400. They make them in both hardtail and with a floyd. GREAT Metal guitar imo without paying too much.
Ibanez is a fairly good option. I have a good experience with them, specifically the S520EX, but most I've played have been nice.
Try to find a 90's Ibanez. As long as they are 500 series and up they are on par with todays prestige models. They are all made in japan and have ibanezes old bridges which are arguably better than an OFR. I have 3 MIJ Ibanez guitars. a 1990 and a 1997 S540 and a 1998 RG570. Shoot me a PM if you are interested in this option and I could help you find something.
1 more vote for an Ibanez.

I picked up this baby from Guitar Center used for $380 before tax:

2000 RG570

- Original Edge Bridge
- Made in Japan
- Basswood body and maple w/bubinga skunk stripe neck

In near-mint condition, too.