Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Staff Picks: Modern Metal—Rock or Rank?

The state of modern metal, as discussed in recent (unofficial) PG social media polls, seems to be a point of contention among guitarists. Gus G. joins us in considering modern metal.

Heavy on the Mind

The state of modern metal, as discussed in recent (unofficial) PG social media polls, seems to be a point of contention among guitarists. It wouldn’t be metal if it wasn’t angsty, right? Gus G. joins us in considering modern metal.


Gus G. -- Guest Picker Firewind, Ozzy Osbourne

What are you listening to?
Robert Cray, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Moore. I also dig a lot of American modern rock right now, like Alter Bridge, Five Finger Death Punch, Devour the Day, Halestorm, etc. What is your take on modern metal music?
The metalcore scene has a few leading bands, and the rest sound the same to me. I haven’t listened to extreme metal for a while, so I haven't kept up with newer death and thrash bands. But I love metal. That’s the music I’ve dedicated my life to, and there’s a lot of great metal out there.

Randall Weinsten -- Reader of the MonthWhat are you listening to?
Animals as Leaders’ The Joy of Motion (jaw-dropping proggy amazingness), Exmortus’ Slave to the Sword (headbanging and big, dumb smile ensue), Black Clouds’ Everything is Not Going to Be OK (post-metal that’s, to quote the two great ones, “most triumphant!”). What is your take on modern metal music?
The music being made now continues to push boundaries. It’s a great time to be a metal fan. Of course, there’s also a lot of crap, but there’s always a lot of crap.

Andy Ellis -- Senior EditorWhat are you listening to?
Ragas on Slide Guitar by Barun Kumar Pal. Timeless, trance-inducing barwork. What is your take on modern metal music?
Though I love drop-tuned guitars, Cookie Monster vocals leave me cold, so that rules out a lot of modern metal. And I abhor drums tracked with a slew of mics, mixed with hyper-clinical precision, and panned wide across the stereo field—today’s metal approach. Instead I dig the grinding murk of stoner rock: Arboretum’s “The White Bird” does it for me.

Tessa Jeffers -- Managing Editor

What are you listening to?
U2’s Achtung Baby and Elbow’s The Take Off and Landing of Everything. The latter led me to Denver songwriter John Grant’s Pale Green Ghosts.

What is your take on modern metal music?
Much has gone down a rabbit hole, severely lacking accessibility and melody, with abstract band names and concepts. Some of my favorite heavys (Tool, Deftones, even Led Zeppelin) don’t fit within today’s disjointed subgenres. I pine for a return to form.


Perry Bean -- Nashville VideographerWhat are you listening to?
Cory Branan, Mutt, and The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Danza 4: The Alpha–the Omega. Both are mind-blowing. What is your take on modern metal music?
I grew up a metalhead, played in metal bands my whole life, and got pretty burnt out on it— until recently. Modern metal bands are starting to incorporate lots of elements from all kinds of genres into their sound, which I’m all for. Get weird and mosh on!

Chris Kies -- Associate EditorWhat are you listening to? Thanks to Spotify’s suggestion, I’ve been listening to acts previously unbeknownst to me: Colour Haze (psych-rock), desert-rock ruckus from Truckfighters, and the stoner-metal rumblings of Elder. What is your take on modern metal music?
It depends on the listener. It’s not cool to be an old fogey griping about the kids and compare everything to Paranoid or Vulgar. If you listen with an open mind, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how angry the youth is today.
Full Slash Interview
Full Slash Interview on New Blues Album, S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival, Guitar Gear, Pedal Steel & More

The guitar icon shares what went into making his chart-topping blues album and what gear fans can expect to see at the S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Blues Festival tour.

This 1968 Epiphone Al Caiola Standard came stocked with P-90s and a 5-switch Tone Expressor system.

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (guitarpoint.de)

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (guitarpoint.de)

The session ace’s signature model offers a wide range of tones at the flip of a switch … or five.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. Not long ago, I came home late from a band rehearsal, still overly excited about the new songs we played. I got myself a coffee (I know, it's a crazy procedure to calm down) and turned on the TV. I ended up with an old Bonanza episode from the ’60s, the mother of all Western TV series. Hearing the theme after a long time instantly reminded me of the great Al Caiola, who is the prolific session guitarist who plays on the song. With him in mind, I looked up the ’60s Epiphone “Al Caiola” model and decided I want to talk about the Epiphone/Gibson Tone Expressor system that was used in this guitar.

Read MoreShow less

Slinky playability, snappy sounds, and elegant, comfortable proportions distinguish an affordable 0-bodied flattop.

Satisfying, slinky playability. Nice string-to-string balance. Beautiful, comfortable proportions.

Cocobolo-patterned HPL back looks plasticky.

$699

Martin 0-X2E
martinguitar.com

4
4
4.5
4

Embracing the idea of an acoustic flattop made with anything other than wood can, understandably, be tricky stuff. There’s a lot of precedent for excellent-sounding acoustics built with alternative materials, though. Carbon-fiber flattops can sound amazing and I’ve been hooked by the sound and playability of Ovation and Adamas instruments many times.

Read MoreShow less

The GibsonES Supreme Collection (L-R) in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst.

The new Gibson ES Supreme offers AAA-grade figured maple tops, Super Split Block inlays, push/pull volume controls, and Burstbucker pickups.

Read MoreShow less