Top 10 Gibson Metal Solos Of All Time. Part 2: The '90s And The '00s

In 90s, just as it seemed as if guitar solos were beginning their death rattle, a steady stream of metal bands defiantly rose up to keep tradition alive.

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The definition of metal changed significantly during the '90s as bands adopted a harder, faster, meaner, and some would say downright evil sound that made the classic rock and glam-inspired hair metal groups that dominated the previous two decades seem positively quaint, writes Chris Gill of Gibson.com. At the same time, grunge, DIY alternative rock, and rap-infused n metal caused the guitar solo to all but disappear from the airwaves. But just as it seemed as if guitar solos were beginning their death rattle, a steady stream of metal bands defiantly rose up to keep tradition alive in the underground. Today, the guitar solo is making a screeching, squealing comeback thanks to groups like Trivium, Mastodon, Dragonforce, Shadows Fall, and Avenged Sevenfold, who are introducing shred to a new generation of players. Although numerous guitar companies developed shred machines built to deliver the speed and precision that metal guitarists demanded, many players found that nothing could beat the rich tone and sheer playability of the Gibson Les Pauls, Flying Vs, and Explorers that inspired musicians in previous eras. The following solos are a few of the finest examples of what a great guitar player can do with imagination, attitude, mind-boggling technique, and a killer guitar.

No More Tears

  • Ozzy Osbourne, No More Tears [Epic, 1991]
  • Zakk Wylde
  • Les Paul Custom A dramatic masterpiece, Zakk Wylde's solo builds from a grand, sweeping melody to an overwhelming climax where notes become a shape-shifting blur. Although Wylde's debut on No Rest for the Wicked was impressive, with this solo he finally proved to the doubters that he deserved to take the spot in Ozzy's band previously reserved for Randy Rhoads and Jake E. Lee. Check out the video.

    The Freezing Moon

  • Mayhem, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas [Century Media, 1994]
  • Euronymous
  • Les Paul Standard One of the founding forefathers of Norwegian black metal, Mayhem guitarist Euronymous rarely played solos, but when he did they were scorchers. His modal playing on The Freezing Moon drives the creepy, violent mood of this song over the top, cutting through the molten lava riff like Satan's razor-sharp pitchfork.

    Artifacts of the Black Rain

  • In Flames, Jester Race [Nuclear Blast, 1995]
  • Jesper Strmblad, Bjrn Gelotte
  • Explorer (Strmblad), Les Paul Custom (Gelotte) As far as guitar solos go, In Flames' Jester Race is an embarrassment of riches (December Flower is a corker). But the ne plus ultra is Artifacts of the Black Rain, which, with its sweet dual-Gibson harmonies, harkens back to the days of Thin Lizzy. A hypnotically melodic solo that still shreds like an industrial-strength document destroyer at the Pentagon. Check out the video.

    Dante's Inferno

  • Iced Earth, Burnt Offerings [Century Media, 1995]
  • Randall Shawver
  • Les Paul Standard It's a crime that Iced Earth guitarist Randall Shawver never achieved the hero status that many of his peers enjoyed, as he can rip it up with the best of them. On Dante's Inferno, Shawver spins a dizzying crescendo of triplet pull-offs and whacked-out atonal harmonies that combine technique and vision few guitarists have come within spitting distance of.

    The Wake of Magellan

  • Savatage, The Wake of Magellan [Atlantic, 1998]
  • Al Pitrelli
  • Les Paul Standard This operatic prog-metal epic about the Maersk Dubai incident may not be as extreme or hard-hitting as other songs on this list, but it offers listeners who prefer music and lyrics with a little more grandiosity an alternative to standard-issue metal fare. The dazzling dynamics, unique melodicism, and fastball technique of Al Pitrelli's solo proves why he became Dave Mustaine's sidekick in Megadeth shortly after this album's release.

    Shadow on the Sun

  • Audioslave, Audioslave [Epic, 2002]
  • Tom Morello
  • Les Paul Standard Tom Morello became famous for his DJ-like sound-effect laden solos with Rage Against the Machine, so it came as a welcome surprise to hear him stretch out on this melodic Les Paul solo on Audioslave's debut album. Here, Morello flaunts chops and tasteful technique that he rarely hinted at before. Mixed with his trademark, off-kilter harmonized pitch shifting effects, it's a compelling ride. Check out the video.

    Nottingham Lace

  • Buckethead, Enter the Chicken [Serjical Strike, 2005]
  • Buckethead
  • Les Paul Custom Buckethead earned acclaim for his warp-speed playing (heard to magnificent effect on his Cobrastrike albums), but his outr persona, complete with slasher-picture mask and the KFC bucket he donned as a hat at times threatened to overshadow his skills. Which is a shame, for he is an extremely versatile guitarist who has performed with a surprisingly diverse assortment of musicians (Bootsy Collins? Guns N' Roses?? Viggo Mortensen???). On Nottingham Lace, he spans everything from bluesy, Hendrix-inspired jams to bizarre, computer-overload blastswith a good amount of his lightning-fast, four-fingered shred figures thrown in for good measure. Jarring and beautiful. And check out his gorgeous customized white Les Paul in the video.

    Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr

  • Trivium, Ascendancy [Roadrunner, 2005]
  • Matt Heafy, Corey Beaulieu
  • Les Paul Custom (Heafy) Naysayers claim that Trivium is just another upstart Metallica knockoff, but Hetfield and Hammett never locked horns like Heafy and Beaulieu do on this solo. Heafy is out of the gate with a stunning display of tone, technique, and taste, and then Beaulieu grabs the baton and kicks out the jams, leading to a harmonized surge of six-string insanity. Check out the video.

    Jambi

  • Tool, 10,000 Days [Volcano/Tool Dissectional, 2006]
  • Adam Jones
  • Les Paul Custom Tool's post-modern guitar anti-hero Adam Jones may not shred like the other players on this list, but few guitarists can match his ability to send a song to points heretofore unknown with a few perfectly placed notes and textural embellishments. Here he runs his Les Paul Custom through a talk box to craft an emotionally wrenching solo that sounds downright wicked and twisted. Jones rarely plays solos, but when he does he makes everybody stand up and take notice.

    Crystal Skull

  • Mastodon, Blood Mountain [Reprise, 2006]
  • Brent Hinds
  • Flying V Mastodon sure like their odd time signatures and other prog-rock flourishes and filigrees, and so it's doubly refreshing to hear lead guitarist Brent Hinds let loose with a classic, two-fisted pentatonic-based solo. While Mastodon's riffs are as massive and lumbering as the prehistoric beast they named the band after, Hinds' solo avoids the tar pit of excess that bogs down lesser metal acts and slays the competition like a saber-tooth tiger. Check out the video. Other Noteworthy Modern Metal Solos You Should Know:
  • Painkiller Judas Priest, 1990 Old timer Glenn Tipton schools the kids with a few new tricks on this vicious comeback effort.
  • Hangar 18 Megadeth, 1990 Marty Friedman and Dave Mustaine's tasteful, exotic, and unique solos brought a new level of complexity to the metal genre.
  • Floods Pantera, 1996 Dimebag Darrell's otherworldly harmonic squeals, soulful phrasing, and flashy technique are the highlights of an otherwise disappointing album.
  • Voice of the Soul Death, 1998 Chuck Schuldiner inspired a new legion of death metal guitarists with his hypnotic, moody, and incredibly heavy playing.
  • Summoning Redemption Morbid Angel, 2000 Trey Azagthoth and Eric Rutan's absolutely evil solos burn as if they're fueled by Satan's 426 V8 Hemi. Thanks for the info to Gibson.com.
  • 251 comments sorted by best / new / date

    comments policy
      not_dead_enough
      *sigh* Nah tasteful list (for once). All escept Morello's are quite good IMO. And I like the noteworthy bit...actually including non-Gibson players.
      The_Man_IV
      guitgrinder wrote: 2Old2Cold wrote: "... Dimebag is only idolized now because he's dead. Simple truth. Before he died no one called him the greatest ever, but as soon as he died everyone and their mother came out and said he was their biggest inspiration and how he was the greatest metal guitar player ever. Seriously, he's overhyped. I can think of about 100 players better than him. Slash (likes metal so I'll include him,) Randy Rhodes, Ihsahn, Euronymous, Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, Kerry King, Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, Glen Tipton, KK Downing etc. I could go on and on and these are just the metal guitarists. Thats's why Dime won "Best Metal Guitarist" in various magazines throughout the '90's... because Slash, Randy Rhodes, Ihsahn, Euronymous, Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, Kerry King, Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, Glen Tipton, KK Downing were all tearing up more stages than Dime between '93 and '99- right? After Illusion, Slash disappeared. Randy was dead and had been for a looong time. Emperor were not as good as Pantera, flat out and they did like, what ONE tour in America? Megadeth walked the line between "metal" and "radio rock." Maiden were written off BIG TIME during the '90's. BY Kerry's own admission, Slayer wouldn't even have survived the '90's without Pantera taking them on tour! And what the hell did Priest do during the '90's? I liked Jugulator more than any other Priest album, but it couldn't touch anything by Pantera, and it also came out a year after TGSTK. Not only that, but you should also read interviews with each of the guys you mentioned where they are asked about Dime... see what they say. Dime was a very well respected musician before he was murdered, and rightfully so. I've got my qualms with the list, but calling Dime "the most overrated guitarist"? Hell, there are many otheres more worthy of the title "overrated," but Kerry King is pretty overrated himself.
      Spoken Truth right there And to the 2Old2Cold Darrell Was hailed much before he was dead truth of the matter tho he did get more fame from the death but who dosent? Really Jimi got it Randy got it Cliff got it Every great player that was alive allways got more fame (which they allready had) when they were gone ..passed away...not commin back. Dime holds a title that is just any worth as to any other Guitar God He Inspired If i am correct the most Number of kids to go out get a guitar and start playin he made many kids just want to start playin guitars as my self the first time i ever heard of Pantera "Cowboys From Hell" It made me pick up that thing and never put it down ... Darrell is not Ovverated (which I do have to say Dean is putting his name all over there new Line of Guitars just to get some sales) He just got a little more fame when he passed... The truth is People dont take as much Gratitude to the things right in front of them till there gone...
      cheesedrummer
      Zakk's solo in no more tears rocks oh what the hell is it with people slagging morello? he is one of the most unique and guitarists in the world. i think that is a fine quality in any guitarist. Nibb high football rules!
      ExDeath
      Just putting this out there don't freak out and crucify me if you don't like my list. Its my opinion *****s. Through The Fire and Flames, Angle of Death, Concrete Jungle (short but sweet), Enter Sand Man, Cowboys From Hell, I don't Wana Stop, Jordan. And since when is Audioslave Metal? I love Audioslave just never considered them metal.
      the boogieman
      bleh the list is meh. it would be a lot better if it was so gibson oriented and +1 to the dude to mentioned the lack of slash on that list
      bjackson369
      To the comment about The Great Southern Trendkill being disappointing; that's bullshit.
      guitgrinder
      2Old2Cold wrote: "... Dimebag is only idolized now because he's dead. Simple truth. Before he died no one called him the greatest ever, but as soon as he died everyone and their mother came out and said he was their biggest inspiration and how he was the greatest metal guitar player ever. Seriously, he's overhyped. I can think of about 100 players better than him. Slash (likes metal so I'll include him,) Randy Rhodes, Ihsahn, Euronymous, Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, Kerry King, Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, Glen Tipton, KK Downing etc. I could go on and on and these are just the metal guitarists.
      Thats's why Dime won "Best Metal Guitarist" in various magazines throughout the '90's... because Slash, Randy Rhodes, Ihsahn, Euronymous, Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, Kerry King, Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, Glen Tipton, KK Downing were all tearing up more stages than Dime between '93 and '99- right? After Illusion, Slash disappeared. Randy was dead and had been for a looong time. Emperor were not as good as Pantera, flat out and they did like, what ONE tour in America? Megadeth walked the line between "metal" and "radio rock." Maiden were written off BIG TIME during the '90's. BY Kerry's own admission, Slayer wouldn't even have survived the '90's without Pantera taking them on tour! And what the hell did Priest do during the '90's? I liked Jugulator more than any other Priest album, but it couldn't touch anything by Pantera, and it also came out a year after TGSTK. Not only that, but you should also read interviews with each of the guys you mentioned where they are asked about Dime... see what they say. Dime was a very well respected musician before he was murdered, and rightfully so. I've got my qualms with the list, but calling Dime "the most overrated guitarist"? Hell, there are many otheres more worthy of the title "overrated," but Kerry King is pretty overrated himself.
      Frusconbage
      All of the solos are on Gibson guitars... That's wierd! Especially on a list from Gibson.com! I cant belive i voluntarily just read a giant advertisement for Gibson Guitars... Nice to see Audioslave in the list, though.
      Frusconbage
      The only reason Megadeth and Pantera arent on the Real list is because Dimebag used a Dean and Marty Friedman used an ESP or something
      The_Man_IV
      Tvr wrote: why is this only metal? where's the blues? where's the normal rock? cause in this and and the 79s and 80s shit, I haven't seen a single SRV/Clapton/RHCP solo, if i'm right?
      79's 80's Shit Sir What the **** are you on? The 80's was Great many bands that had great guitar players came from this era of Rock and Metal
      Megadeth2011
      not_dead_enough wrote: *sigh* Nah tasteful list (for once). All escept Morello's are quite good IMO. And I like the noteworthy bit...actually including non-Gibson players.
      Morello isn't that bad. Doesn't Remind Me has a nice solo. It speeds up after a while. I'm not for sure, but wasn't Holy Wars in the nineties? That should have been on there.
      Blash
      I'm glad to see Shadow on the SUn on there, that song's amazing.
      paintITblack39
      Oh, and if you want to complain about something, the comments section under these articles isn't the place to do so.
      SilentGhost
      This list was pretty decent until they hit Audioslave, Tool, and Trivium. Putting Ozzy/Wylde and Mayhem almost made it seem like they knew what metal was.
      Second Rate
      "He Inspired If i am correct the most Number of kids to go out get a guitar and start playin" That, my friend.... is a claim that can not be backed up. I could say that Paul Masvidal inspired the most number of kids to go out and play guitar..... doesn't make it true. I have to agree with 2Old2Cold to a degree. I couldn't begin to possibly count the number of "dimebag is a douche bag" and "Pantera is a cut rate copy band" stories i heard from people before the man's death. Now that he is dead, everyone looks at him with rose colored glasses.
      ParkerScks
      mastodon solo crystol skull hmm idnt expect that tbh seeing a lot about slash and the article is metal slash wuld come under rock i supose but i can think of a lot of better solos but then again its all oppinions i guess zakk is also a good choice but i think he writes better in black lable
      ParkerScks
      o shit i didnt see megadeath and im shure mustane was on jackson back then i know he is on dean now...
      wigers will die
      guitgrinder wrote: 2Old2Cold wrote: "... Dimebag is only idolized now because he's dead. Simple truth. Before he died no one called him the greatest ever, but as soon as he died everyone and their mother came out and said he was their biggest inspiration and how he was the greatest metal guitar player ever. Seriously, he's overhyped. I can think of about 100 players better than him. Slash (likes metal so I'll include him,) Randy Rhodes, Ihsahn, Euronymous, Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, Kerry King, Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, Glen Tipton, KK Downing etc. I could go on and on and these are just the metal guitarists. Thats's why Dime won "Best Metal Guitarist" in various magazines throughout the '90's... because Slash, Randy Rhodes, Ihsahn, Euronymous, Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, Kerry King, Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, Glen Tipton, KK Downing were all tearing up more stages than Dime between '93 and '99- right? After Illusion, Slash disappeared. Randy was dead and had been for a looong time. Emperor were not as good as Pantera, flat out and they did like, what ONE tour in America? Megadeth walked the line between "metal" and "radio rock." Maiden were written off BIG TIME during the '90's. BY Kerry's own admission, Slayer wouldn't even have survived the '90's without Pantera taking them on tour! And what the hell did Priest do during the '90's? I liked Jugulator more than any other Priest album, but it couldn't touch anything by Pantera, and it also came out a year after TGSTK. Not only that, but you should also read interviews with each of the guys you mentioned where they are asked about Dime... see what they say. Dime was a very well respected musician before he was murdered, and rightfully so. I've got my qualms with the list, but calling Dime "the most overrated guitarist"? Hell, there are many otheres more worthy of the title "overrated," but Kerry King is pretty overrated himself.
      you made some good points but, i dont think any of them guitarists are overrated, dimebag made his own style of guitar playing, so did slash, kerry king, dave mustiane, a bunch of them. i'd say nobody can never come close to playin the sytle dime played... same with slash or kerry king or any other, they are unque , thats how they became famous, they had a different sound then anyone else... to say anyone of them are overrated.. you'd would be a f**king idiot
      CarbonDeath
      Nice to see Mayhem on there, that solo is rather good. Also seeing In Flames on the list is great, finally recognition for good metal.
      Slasher_Sloth
      hahahah people who say "WHY ARE THERE ONLY METAL GUITARISTS LAME!" are idiots. Read the goddamn title. Voice of the Soul should be way up furthur on the list, too bad theres a lot of shameless gibson promoting here. btw, Emperor > Pantera lol
      Fishermann
      Zak Wylde, the guy from In Flames, and Morello (even though he gets a little crazy sometimes) are f'n great! However, I'm stoked to see Adam Jones on the list. He proves that you don't have to play a million notes/bar to be awesome. Sometimes its the ability of the player to get that perfect sound that makes all the difference. And as for the above comments, I concur - WHERE IS SLASH?!!!!!
      fubar0706
      Alexi Laiho is a better guitarist then any of the guys mentioned above, thanks gibson suck a dick
      Trivium!
      Jawshuwa wrote: Trivium! wrote: yeah Matt and Corey of Trivium definitely had nothing to do with the Pull Harder solo... Doesn't say they wrote it; says they played it. There's a difference.
      yeah they didnt play it either. Matt plays his own solo live just with a similiar beggining as Jasons.
      Wrathblue_77
      Glad to see Adam Jones get some recognition. If you want to see the best live show around make sure to check out Tool, they dont disspaoint. The live Jambi solo is 50 times better!
      ibanezed
      crap the audience is listening steve vai EVERY SOLO OF COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION Friedman eh..maybe be something my John Petrucci
      Second Rate
      Voice of the Soul Death, 1998 Chuck Schuldiner inspired a new legion of death metal guitarists with his hypnotic, moody, and incredibly heavy playing. This one should have been above that "no more tears" rubbish. But i guess it is disqualified from being on the real list because Schuldiner played B.C. Rich Stealths and Mockingbirds.
      prestigeplayer
      Yeah the solo for Floods sounds great, but how can you possibly say that the album Great Southern Trendkill is disappointing?!?!?!
      cliffemall123
      napalm_scum wrote: cliffemall123 wrote: How is the Trivium song higher than "Painkiller"? Thats disgraceful. How is Trivium higher than even one Judas Priest song? That whats even more disgraceful.
      Yeah I know. I think the 5 songs they had at the bottom deserved to be on there more then the Trivium, Audioslave and Tool songs since none of them are really metal. Its even mroe disgraceful that Trivium beat Death, Pantera, Morbid Angel, Megadeth and Judas Priest all at the same times. An whats up with there being no Necrophagist solos?
      haunted_soul
      shite article .. and wtf? the great southern trendkill was not a crappy album at all!! many pantera fans rate it 2nd to Vulgar Display.
      metalhead692
      How'd that Trivium solo get above Painkiller and Voice of The Soul? Or any Judas Priest and Death song for that matter.
      Tortiss
      frusciante39 wrote: did you say guitar solos or stupidly fast keyboard-like shred? cos i dont see a single non-metal solo here. any chili peppers/rem/oasis would have been expected really
      Top 10 Gibson Metal Solos Of All Time. Part 2: The '90s And The '00s
      1llusionz
      " 163 comments posted, 41 removed" WOW! lol But yeah, this article should be "Top 10 Gibson Guitar Metal Solos of All Time." I think Gibson is about buy UG or something. Solos on the Noteworthy list seem better than actual list. Then again, these list are based on opinion and no need to bitch about 'em. *shrugs*
      Jrsnyder881
      headstone05 wrote: Trendkill is probably one of the greatest metal albums of all time.
      Man I was thinking the same thing its upsetting that this article calls it disapointing its one of my favorite Pantera albums War Nerve and Living Through Me are great songs