We are used to seeing a succession of high-performance electric guitars released that will do a job for hard rock and metal, maybe for some session fusion work, too, but every now and then a guitar like Cort's X500 Menace comes along that just goes all in for the extremists out there.
Unveiled today a none-more-black finish, the X500 Menace is tailor-made for extreme metal guitar players – the budding Nergals, Trey Azagthoths and Chuck Schuldiners of this world. With its reverse headstock and aggressively contoured body, it is the epitome of the weaponised S-style; and so typical of Cort in 2021, it comes with a wealth of pro-quality features.
This is becoming a signature play by Cort – souped-up S-styles such as the G300 Pro offering an affordable and viable alternative to Ibanez's top-line Prestige models or even do-it-all boutique builds from the likes of Suhr et al. The X500 is designed for a niche audience but the spec is stacked in anyone's book.
Fundamentals first. We've got a mahogany body with a maple top – hold the flame, pal, we're morbid – and a neck-through build so typical of the X Series. The seven-piece maple/purple heart/panga panga sandwich neck is topped with a 12"-16" compound radius ebony fingerboard and 24 frets.
Now, extreme metal is a demographic that enjoys nothing more than fretting a natural harmonic and sending it down to the bad fire of hell via a whammy bar divebomb – with bonus points for a cresting wash of reverb to provide a Doppler effect – and Cort has mercifully taken this into consideration, fitting the X500 Menace with a Floyd Rose 1000 double-locking vibrato unit.
Teasing the harmonics out of this necro beast should be a piece of cake, with a pair of high-output Seymour Duncan humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions. There is a super-versatile Sentient 'bucker at the neck and a face-melting Nazgul at the bridge. This, effectively, is like the classic Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz bridge-and-neck pickup combo reinterpreted for those whose default musical ambitions sound like how the third act of The Omen feels.
Controlling these pickups we have a three-way pickup selector and volume and tone dials. Completing a quite remarkable spec is a set of die-cast tuners. As you can see from the pictures, the ergonomics on the X500 are all in service to speed and comfort, such luxuries are much appreciated by anyone tasked with delivering a hyper-kinetic death metal over a blast beat.
That said, stick a Hello Kitty sticker on this and one might see it in a different light; we'd imagine it would at least clean up nicely for hard rock shred and less apocalyptic styles of metal.
The X500 Menace is available now, priced £899. See Cort for more details.