In the past few years, Caparison has emerged as a brand synonymous with metal and shred players.
This will come as no surprise if you delve further into its history, where you'll discover that the company was started by former employees of Charvel and Jackson guitars, two companies responsible for some of the great rock and metal guitars of the 80s and 90s, including the Jackson Soloist and Dinky.
To further underline the brand's metal and shred credentials, a number of very high-profile players in those genres have been attracted to the Caparison camp, including Swedish virtuoso Mattias IA Eklundh, Killswitch Engage's Joel Stroetzel, and Motörhead's Phil Campbell - not a bad endorsee list.
"This model is less than half the price of its originator, but build quality doesn't appear to have been compromised."
Until recently, Caparison has been chiefly producing high-end guitars, but as more and more boutique manufacturers have begun catering for those of us with tighter budgets by offering a more workmanlike 'pro' guitar, stripped of the fancier adornments, Caparison has joined the party with its C2 series.
The ANG-QE we have here is part of the range, and represents a stripped-down version of the company's much higher-priced Angelus model. Although this model is less than half the price of its originator, the build quality doesn't appear to have been compromised.
A beautifully quilted maple top gives the guitar a posh PRS vibe, but that's been sufficiently offset by the black chrome hardware to prevent it from becoming that little bit too 'pretty' for metal.
While the neck is a fairly slim C shape, which is great for thumb-behind-the- neck players, it still has enough girth to support comfortable string bending. We were also pleased to find a fairly flat radius on the rosewood fingerboard, which enabled us to get a fairly low shreddable action without the appearance of string choking and excessive fret buzz.
In fact, the overall construction and fretwork is top-quality and plays well straight out of the box, with minimum tinkering required. And although the Gibson-esque 628mm (24.75-inch) scale is fairly uncommon on 24-fret guitars, players with smaller hands might consider this a real advantage.
Once plugged in, any misconceptions about its classy appearance are banished completely: the ANG-QE is a true metal guitar. EMGs are a classic choice for players with heavier tastes, and here we have the company's ever-present 81 and 85 models.
As expected, they drive the amp very hard, producing a tight but aggressive tone that, although packing one hell of a punch, retains a clarity that welcomes big open chords, as well as Metallica-style palm-muted powerchords. Suffice to say, you'll have a lot of fun recreating those thrash and metal tones of yesteryear.
The ANG-QE does a decent enough job in other musical genres, but to get the best out of it you'll need to throw it some grit - something most of us will have very few problems doing.