In this special themed issue, we dive headlong into a variety of bands and gear from the more brutal side of the guitar universe. Our features include interviews with Chris Brock from ferocious thrashcore band Early Graves, and metalcore vets Killswitch Engage. We also profile Mesa/Boogie's Randall Smith-perhaps the most legendary metal/hard-rock amp builder of all time. To top it off, we bring you a roundup of the most cranium-crunching amps on the market today, including the Orange TH100, Randall Thrasher, Marshall JVM410HJS, EVH 5150 III, Engl Fireball 100, the Blackstar Blackfire 200, and the Diezel D-Moll. This is definitely an issue for gear fiends, who can look forward to reviews of the Vigier Excalibur 7 and Eastman T185MX electrics, as well as the Pederson Flat Top and Acouswitch IQ DI. For low-enders there's the Gibson EB bass and the Verellen Meatsmoke Preamp, and we'll be stomping on the Spaceman Saturn V and the new fuzz pedal from Hartman.