TPM Top Guitars of 2017


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I’ve always wanted to learn to play the guitar, and perhaps I still will.  Because of this, I pay special attention to the guitarists in an album, and I love a wide variety of styles and influences.  Sometimes, technical ability is important to me, but many times it is just the players’ maturity, understanding of melody, and emotion that really gets points from me.  Here are my top 10 favorite guitar performances of 2017.

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10. Arran Oakes and Simon Christie – Only Echoes Remain – “The Exigent”

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Arran and Simon impressed me greatly with their ambient, shoegazy guitars.  They really know how to express emotion, and they also know how to create climatic story moments that you can feel in your blood.

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9. Carlos Lozano and Filipe Baldaia – Persefone – “Aathma”

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Persefone really surprised me this year with a very mature, spiritual album.  The guitar work from Carlos and Filipe drive this experience with awesome riffs and sky-high finger work that brings the whole package together.

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8. Fabian Schroer and Daniel Kluger – YSMA – “Memoirs in Monochrome”

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I’ve been following YSMA for several years now, and their latest album is their best yet.  Every single album has seen these musicians grow in maturity and ability, and Fabian and Daniel both show this in their driving, complex guitar passages that are the cornerstone of this album.

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7. Kim Olesen and Michael Bodin – Anubis Gate – “Covered in Black”

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I’ve really begun to like Anubis Gate over the last couple albums, and this album specifically has put them near the top of prog metal bands active today, at least in my book.  Kim and Michael offer some furious guitar work here with some truly explosive moments that still blow me away every time I hear them.

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6. Alan Carter – The Emerald Dawn – “Visions”

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Alan is one of the most underrated or under-known guitarists around today.  “Visions” is like an elegant tapestry of guitars and keys, and Alan’s guitars are beautifully expressed and enunciated.  His emotional abilities are sublime, but it’s his ability to paint pictures and throw in surprises that really made me fall in love with his style.

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5. Bjørn Riis – “Forever Comes to an End”

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It’s obvious why I like Bjørn’s style of playing so much.  He reminds me of the late Piotr of Riverside in his emotional, soaring guitar solos and licks.  His latest album is quite varied and impressed me greatly.

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4. John Mitchell – Lonely Robot – “The Big Dream”

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John is becoming one of my favorite guitarists.  His work in both Lonely Robot and Frost* is amazing, and his 2017 offering with Lonely Robot sees him diving into a deeply personal and dreamy style that only increased my opinion of him.

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3. Steve Hackett – “The Night Siren”

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Steve Hackett is Steve Hackett.  His personal style has created a whole new branch of progressive guitarists out there, but he himself still manages to create exciting and varied music.  His “The Night Siren” album is eclectic, but also sees Steve amp up his guitar work more than he has in years.  Steve is the unsung hero of prog rock, in my opinion, and I can’t wait to hear more of his work.

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2. Michał Wojtas – Amarok – “Hunt”

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Michał is one of my favorite artists of the year.  His latest Amarok album is absolutely stunning for multiple reasons; one of those being his emotional and ambient guitar work that I love.  I really hope he becomes more active in the prog community going forward.

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1. Graham Keane – The Vicious Head Society – “Abject Tomorrow”

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Graham is a newcomer to the progressive metal community this year, but what a debut it is!  “Abject Tomorrow” is a work of genius, both musically and conceptually.  Graham’s guitar work is specifically of note with his massive riffs and spine-tingling signature changes.  His playing really satisfied my metal cravings this year.

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