REVIEW: Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6

GRAAR! Did I scare ya? Good, cos this Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6 is one mean son-of-a-fish, and I had to do something to set the mood for the rest of the review. While the Solo-6 Classic reviewed here is a classy, refined instrument which excels at clean voicings, this Hellraiser cousin is built to be a brutal death machine from hell.

I’M SCARED!
First of all, the Hellraiser Solo-6 has a lot of the features you’d expect for a single cutaway solid body guitar: The body is mahogany with a maple top (quilted if you choose the Black Cherry finish, otherwise there’s Gloss Black or Gloss White). The 3-piece mahogany neck has a rosewood fretboard and 24 (not 22 like you might expect) X-Jumbo frets. The inlays are demonically evil gothic crosses, and the body is ringed with abalone binding. That’s right, this guitar is so evil that it sacrifices sea creatures and decorates itself with their remains. Creepy.

However if you’re looking for a stock-standard brutal metal axe design there are a few construction surprises to throw off your preconceptions (and laugh at them derisively from a throne of evil): the scale length is a manly 25.5”; the neck joins the body with a very ergonomic Ultra Access cut which flows through diagonally, and there are a pair of EMG humbuckers. That’s an 81-TW in the bridge and an 89 in the neck. Both are splittable into single coils, if you want to get all pretty for a few bars before unleashing the brutal hellfire once again.

UNLEASH THE BEAST
The first thing I did with the Hellraiser Solo-6 (after stocking up on wooden stakes, silver bullets and garlic) was to set my Marshall to ‘kill’ and make sure the bridge pickup was engaged in full humbucker mode. Of course your Metallica ‘Black Album’ tones are here in abundance, as are your Dethklok death metal sounds. This is a muscular, tough sounding guitar with great note definition, and unlike some axes which seem to beg for mercy if you pick too hard, this one practically pleads for you to give it the walloping of a lifetime. I couldn’t resist adding a little delay and chorus, tuning to C-G-C-G-C-E and blasting out a few Devin Townsend riffs circa Ocean Machine. In fact, the Devin Townsend comparison is a good one because in single coil mode the Hellraiser Solo-6 does a good job of approximating his earthier ‘Terria’ era tones as well.

In humbucker mode the neck pickup lashes out hyperspeed arpeggios with clarity, power and articulation. Flip to single coil mode and the sound becomes sharper and grittier. No matter which mode you select with either pickup, there’s lots of treble and bass, and great sustain.

RUN FOR COVER
That I managed to make it through this review without the Hellraiser Solo-6 stalking me like the dreaded Chupacabra and dragging me into the bushes to feast on my innards is indeed surprising. This is a well-made, intense, brutal, powerful guitar with a voice – nay, a mind – of its own and a lot of musical versatility, especially for those who dwell in the shadows, emerging periodically to murderlize the ears of the weeping masses with an onslaught of metal power.