INTERVIEW: Unearth’s Buz McGrath


Unearth have been slogging it out on the metal scene for 15 years now and have proven themselves to be real stayers, helping to remind folks that seven-string guitars can be used for more than just open-string chugging and showing that you can combine the punishing groove of Pantera with the melodic sense of Sweden’s Gothenberg sound and the power of traditional metal, all filtered through an aggressive metalcore lens. New album Watchers of Rule (3Wise) is a consistently brutal chunk of metal by anyone’s standards. But this far into Unearth’s career, it’s almost exhilarating to hear them continuing to release vital albums full of songs that are destined to live on in the setlist. I caught up with guitarist Buz McGrath right after the album’s release.

Want to win a copy of the album? Email with ‘Unearth’ in the subject line and I’ll draw five winners! Australia only.

Let’s start with the guitar stuff. What did you use on this album?

We used a Rhodes amp. I don’t know what it is. And I think we used one of Ken’s old custom Ibanez RGs that won the shoot-out. Usually what happens is we go through a stack of about 15 guitars and we record the same piece of music, the same riff, with each guitar, and you go through and listen to which guitar is sounding the best with what you’ve got, and that one won. It was between that one and, Ken had a custom three-pickup Ibanez Iceman with EMGs in it. That thing weighed a fucking tonne but it sounded sick. But the other one just beat it out by a little bit. We recorded with a Kemper via DI, and then [producer] Mark Lewis took it back to his studio and re-amped it through various amps, which I wasn’t a part of the process for. He would send me mixes with different amps and I’d say ‘this one sounds good.’ So I never even saw the amp. It’s a real weird way of doing it but it worked out good. Read More …

AUSTRALIAN EXCLUSIVE: Periphery “Ragnarok” Official Video

Periphery, Roadrunner Records Australia and I Heart Guitar present the official Australian premiere of the video for “Ragnarok” from Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal, filmed by Jeff Holcomb during Summer Slaughter 2013.

Directed by Jeff Holcomb.

Used with permission with thanks to Roadrunner Records Australia and Periphery.

REVIEW: Boss TE-2 Tera Echo

tera echoOkay, this sounds like a Groucho Marx gag, but… “I love a good delay pedal. And the Boss Tera Echo is nothing like a good delay pedal.” I know, I know, but hear me out: the TE-2 Tera Echo doesn’t claim to be a delay pedal in the traditional sense. It’s not going to usurp Boss’s much-loved DD series of delay stompboxes, for instance. I say this because in all the online chatter I’ve seen about this pedal, the general view is “Oh, another Boss delay pedal? Cool …I like Boss delay pedals,” without any deeper understanding of what this pedal is designed to do. But this thing really goes beyond traditional delay, to the point of avoiding it all together. Don’t think of it as ‘another cool Boss delay,’ but rather as ‘another cool Boss pedal innovation.’ Read More …

REVIEW: Seymour Duncan Pegasus & Sentient

Pegasus and SentientAs a seven – and now eight – string guitarist, I’m fully aware that the needs of an extra-stringer are different to those of someone who plays a sixer. You have to have clarity on the low string(s), because what’s the point of having an extra string if it’s virtually inaudible? And you need the rest of the guitar to still sound right, because what’s the point of having the regular six strings if their tone is going to be sacrificed in honour of that one low string? To date most seven and eight-string pickups have been expanded versions of existing pickup models, but Seymour Duncan’s new Pegasus, Sentient and Nazgul pickups are designed from the ground up to cater to the needs of seven and eight-string players. That’s right: there’s no six-string version of any of these pickups. Read More …

Seymour Duncan Sentient Out Now

SentientIt’s about time we seven and eight stringers had some more passive humbuckers designed just for us! There are relatively few ‘extra string’ pickups out there that aren’t based on existing models, but that’s starting to change now that the guitar world really seems to be accepting 7 and 8-strings as part of the musical landscape. Seymour Duncan has launched three 7/8 pickups this year, the Nazgul, the Pegasus and the Sentient. You can hear the Sentient (along with the Nazgul) in this video featuring Keith Merrow and Ola Englund: Read More …

NAMM: Ibanez RG9 9-string prototype!


WOW! NAMM kicks off to a big, big start with this behemoth, the Ibanez RG9 9-string. Now, it’s only a prototype at this stage, but Ibanez hopes to make it a production model and to have them on the streets in the fourth quarter of 2013. Just in time for Christmas, you guys! I really hope that pans out. Of course it depends on if there’s interest from attendees and dealers at NAMM, but as far as I’ve seen, the response has been pretty huge.

It has Lace Deathbar humbuckers (with coil splits): very high-definition, punchy-sounding pickups that are great for djent. It’s a 28″-scale instrument, tuned (low to high) C#, F#, B, E, A, D, G, B, E and the playability is amazing. Note that the bridge is a fully tooled-up piece rather than something assembled out of a few pieces, which is how Ibanez dipped their toe in the water with the initial 8-string prototypes, and as Rich at Ibanez Rules says, they wouldn’t have spent the beans on developing this part if they didn’t plan to do something with it.

Ibanez 9

Ibanez 9 2





Seymour Duncan & Strictly 7 Keith Merrow giveaway

Seymour Duncan and Strictly 7 join forces for “The Strictly F#%$#@% Awesome Keith Merrow Signature Guitar Giveaway”

Strictly 7 Guitars recently announced the addition of the Spectral Keith Merrow Signature Guitar to its growing line of 7 and 8 string guitars. This guitar features the Seymour Duncan SH-8 Invader –  a humbucker that has a well-earned reputation as one of the most aggressive passive pickups ever. To celebrate the launch of this new guitar, Seymour Duncan and Strictly 7 have joined forces to launch “The Strictly F#%$#@% Awesome Keith Merrow Signature Guitar Giveaway” Between August 20th and September 3rd, everyone in the world will have a chance to enter to win this guitar.

Enter to win the guitar here:

The Spectral Signature Series Merrow is built to the following specs:

Cobra 7 string
Neck thru
27.5 scale
Reverse inline headstock
Northern Ash body wings
5 piece flamed maple and walnut neck
Ebony fretboard
26 jumbo stainless steel frets
Black Sperzel tuners
Black original Floyd Rose bridge
SD Invaders
Single volume
3 way switch
Spectral inlay
Infinity Grey with full black binding finish throughout

Street Price: $2090 with Hipshot bridge or $2290 with Floyd Rose