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 email@example.com 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. Continue reading
If anyone deserves an Ibanez signature guitar, it’s Fear Factory’s Dino Cazares. He’s been flying the flag for Ibanez seven-strings for a long time, and his inventive parts on Fear Factory songs like “Descent” in the late 90s were instrumental in showing folks that there was another way to use seven-strings beyond chugging out on the lowest string like everyone else was doing at the time. And now you can hear Dino’s influence all over modern metal. So Dino’s new signature model, the DCM100, is long overdue but very welcome. It features a mahogany body with KTS TITANIUM-reinforced maple/bubinga neck, rosewood fretboard with mother-of-pearl offset dots, Lo-Pro Edge 7 tremolo bridge, 26.5″ scale length, and Dino’s new signature Seymour Duncan Retribution active humbucker. Dino helped develop the EMG 707 and then the Seymour Duncan Blackout, so he has a lot of experience in voicing active pickups for metal. Look for more info on the Retribution pickups very soon. Click here to see Ibanez guitars on eBay.
Here’s a video of Dino talking about the new axe. Continue reading
Wow, check this out: some pics posted by Takeshi Ishiguro, taken at the Musical Instruments Fair Japan 2014 featuring some new additions to Ibanez’s Indonesian-made Premium line: the AT10 Premium Rosewood Andy Timmons model and, in the background there, the PGM800 Premium Paul Gilbert model. Andy has been playing a version of this white axe onstage recently. And of course Paul is on tour with Mr. Big playing all sorts of beautiful Ibanii.
The mighty DragonForce have always brought the epic energy, triumphant power-metal riffage, anthemic choruses and intense shred to their work, but what makes their new album Maximum Overload stand out a little from the rest of their catalog is their willingness to step outside of their established sound just far enough to keep it fresh. Vocalist Marc Hudson has well and truly settled in now (he joined prior to the recording of previous album The Power Within, and Trivium’s Matt Heafy contributes his vocal power to three tracks as well. And for the first time DragonForce have worked with an outside producer, Jens Bogren, who has also produced, mixed or mastered the likes of Soilwork, Symphony X, Pain of Salvation, James LaBrie, Devin Townsend. Throw it all together and you have Dragonforce’s biggest-sounding album yet. Continue reading
The story of the Seymour Duncan Jason Becker Perpetual Burn humbucker is a very interesting one. Back in the day, a young Jason Becker became taken with the tone of a Gibson Les Paul loaded with a Seymour Duncan JB humbucker. The guitar belonged to Bob Rock, who was producer of David Lee Roth’s A Little Ain’t Enough album, and Jason used it on the title track. He was so intrigued by the tone of the JB that he started talking with Seymour Duncan about this pickup needs. Some prototypes were developing and the project was well on its way when Jason had to call a halt due to his progressively worsening ALS. But recently, while listening to friends play his guitars through prototypes of a possible signature amp, Jason was blown away by the tone of the prototype pickup. So he reached out to Seymour Duncan to finish was started. The Jason Becker Perpetual Burn bridge humbucker is the result.
Across 14 studio albums Joe Satriani has redefined instrumental guitar, led the charge in popularising shred, introduced all sorts of techniques to the guitarists’ lexicon, and spearheaded innovations in gear that have influenced countless luthiers and modders. While Joe is always looking forward – to the next guitar, the next gig, the next album – 2014 finds him also taking stock of how he got to this point, if only for a moment. This year has already seen the release of TThe Complete Studio Recordings, a 15-disc box set which brings together each of his albums (the studio disc of the two-CD Time Machine album is represented) plus a disc of alternate mixes, unheard tracks and rarities. And he has also released Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir, which explores his creative output album-by-album, offering unprecedented incites into the conception and execution of his albums, the origins of the G3 tour, the success of Chickenfoot and of course those early days teaching guitar to the likes of Steve Vai, Alex Skolnick, Kirk Hammett and Larry LaLonde. With plenty of touring booked for this year already, Joe has just announced a tour of Australia for November, which means it’s high time we had another chat. Continue reading
You can win one of Korn guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer’s personal Ibanez guitars by liking his new Facebook Page. You know you want to! Here’s a little video, and there’s a pic of the guitar below. And if you need more of a Munky fix, check out my pics from Korn’s Melbourne show last month, or my 2011 interview with him.
The Pearly Gates is one of my favourite Seymour Duncan pickups. Designed with Billy Gibbons, its voice is vintage and sweet but with a slight edge to it. (Joe Satriani liked this pickup so much that he had them installed in one of his chrome Ibanez JS signature guitars and named it ‘Pearly’ – unfortunately that guitar was stolen in 2002). Many years ago, Billy asked Seymour if a pickup could work under water. They decided to try it by submerging a very early Pearly Gates pickup into a pickle jar and testing it to see if it still had a signal. It still worked – so they decided to put a lid on the jar and test it again some other time. That was almost 30 years ago. It lives in Seymour’s office and he and Billy still take the jar out every now and then to test the pickup. It looks pretty damn gnarly by now, covered in gross brown stuff, but it still works perfectly. Below are some pics of MJ from the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop testing the pickup a couple of weeks ago when I was at Seymour Duncan HQ. Continue reading
One of my big ’causes’ is to remind players that 7 and 8-string guitars don’t just have to be for djent – you can play all sorts of styles on these instruments. Classical guitars with extra strings may not be super common but they’re nothing new. Yet when Ibanez makes them, it’s big news. Ibanez knows probably better than anyone how to make extended-range instruments, and these guitars are bound to inspire new musical styles and explorations. At NAMM this year Ibanez showed three extended-range acoustics: two 7s and an 8. Here they are: Continue reading