As I Lay Dying's Nick Hipa knows a thing or two about metal guitar, and he more than proves it on the band's upcoming album Awakened, which is brimming with the San Diego shredder's gnashing riffs and cauterizing solos. (In fact, they even have a new song called Cauterized. Can you say "none more metal"?)
Asked to name the 10 greatest metal guitar players of all time, Hipa laid out his criteria: “To me, a great metal guitarist – or any great guitarist – is somebody who has his own unique sound and style. They should have the technical ability to pull off whatever it is they can imagine or wherever their creativity takes them. If somebody can do all of that and write killer riffs and amazing songs, then that’s somebody I want to listen to, and somebody who will inspire me."
Hipa stresses that while he reveres players such as Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, they don't make his list, simply because "they're not metal," he says. "Eddie is obviously a guitar hero, and he’s easily one of my top five guitarists of all time, but Van Halen, to me, is more rock than metal. I think of metal in more of an extreme context. And some of the guys I'll name are pretty extreme."
On the following pages, Nick Hipa lists the 10 guitarists (well, he stretches the number somewhat) whom he feels burn the brightest. "Ranking people as 'the best' or 'the greatest of all time' is pretty difficult," he says. "Let's just say that these guys are my favorites. To me, they're the greatest."