I have always wanted to play guitar. I plan to learn someday. Someday. In the meantime, I fantasize about it vicariously through the amazing guitar performances I’ve heard in the last year. Check out my top 10 favorites for 2018.
10. Markus Steffen – Subsignal
Markus never disappoints with his unique style. I love how stabbing and off kilter his licks always are. While the latest Subsignal album did not gel with me entirely, his guitar work always stands out for me.
9. David Lizotte and
Alexandre Lapierre – Hillward
On both Hillward albums, David and Alexandre offer pure adrenaline and distortion. While their soloing is always on point, it is their driving rhythms that bring me back for more.
8. Victor Krabovich and
Eldar Ferzaliev – Aesthesys
While Aesthesys’ latest is far from being rock only, Victor and Eldar still shine together in the shoegazey, climactic style they offer. Some of the richest, most colorful moments on “Achromata” are the handiwork of these two musicians.
7. Ron Komie – Komie
Ron has been in the music business longer than I’ve been alive. He has tons of awards and credits to his name, and maybe the greatest achievement yet is his new solo work “Afterglow”. Being a guitarist, you will find that instrument at the center of it all. He consistently pulls off the most melodic version of “shredding” I’ve ever heard, and his licks are purposeful and crystal clear.
6. Yoel Genin and Amit Plaschkes
– Distorted Harmony
Yoel and Amit are consistent with their hefty, highly technical approach. The latest from Distorted Harmony displays their skills even more, offering ridiculous time signatures and pure melodies.
5. Nick van Dyk – Redemption
Nick’s crazy shredding is only bested by his inspired licks and meticulous planning. While there were some guests that played on Redemption’s latest, Nick’s style stands out clearly.
4. Charlie Griffiths and
Richard Henshall – Haken
Charlie and Richard are the sober and focused pair at the center of Haken’s most humongous moments. “Vector” was their heaviest offering yet, and some of the craziest sections are all Charlie and Richard. Their work was truly astounding this year.
3. Esa Holopainen and
Tomi Koivusaari – Amorphis
Esa and Tomi were a surprise favorite for me this year. Their guitars are always amazing, but the heft and crunch on Amorphis’ “Queen of Time” have become an addiction for me. Pairing that along with their ability produce more melodic segments, these guys really impressed this year.
2. Jerzy Georgius Antczak – Albion
Jerzy is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite guitarists. His dark style is riddled with texture and enormous solos, and Albion’s latest is no exception. Some of the biggest and best moments are because of Jerzy’s brilliant emotive power.
1. Dave Cureton – IO Earth
Dave is currently one of the best guitarists in prog, not to mention his compositional brilliance, as well. IO Earth’s latest features some of the most stunning guitar work of 2018; full of personality, huge climaxes, and some very difficult rhythms. He is certainly my choice for best guitars in 2018.