By Chris “The Beast” Birkle
Hello again, you wannabe shred heads! I hope you have practiced your chops, shredded your eardrums with some tasty licks, instead of playing with you’re shriveled up dicks so you can pick up those sleazy chicks at your next gig. The year is 1984; Iron Maiden just released Powerslave and Judas Priest just ripped out Defenders of the Faith. While those titans of metal were reaping all the glory, a few underdogs of shred were battling it out to be the top fret board wizards. This is my top five Shreddin Evil picks of 1984!
At number five we have the debut album of the highly underrated band Helstar, “Burning Star”. Wowzah! What a truly true, ripping true album of true metal that’s true. Some harmonized leads spread throughout this album are beyond killer, such as in the song “Run with the Pack”. The guitar tones are right on the mark with a dab of reverb for the leads and harmonies. “Witches Eye” will bring you to hell at a chugging pace that you cannot help but bang your head to. While the title track “Burning Star” will make you want to shred a burning blunt, kick back, and try to comprehend what Tom Rogers and Larry Barragan are doing to their clearly ravaged fret boards!
Steve Vai’s debut solo album has been analyzed over and over again by many shred experts. All of which have come to different conclusions about this deranged shred madman. One thing that we can all agree on, is that the song “Salamanders in the Sun” is a clear reference to the outsider creatures from the Elemental Plane of fire. These creatures prefer temperatures of 300 degrees and beyond! Steve Vai is clearly a huge D&D nerd, that being said this album will leave you mesmerized and bedazzled by the sheer confusion that master Steve Vai lays down on the ol’ shred stick. By shred stick I am referring to Steve Vai’s weiner.
Loudness’s fourth album “Dissilusion” presents the demons from the island in the sun at the top of their game! The English version was released with the instrumental entitled “Anthem” which was missing on the original Japanese version. Akira Takasaki’s guitar playing reminds me a lot of Paul Gilbert as far as skill and tone go. “Exploder” is basically Takasaki’s “Eruption” showing all his skill, speed, and technique in a flurry fukkin shred and flash. At least I think so, I couldn’t understand all of the notes because I don’t speak Japanese. Anyway, if you had to make a bet on which band had the most extreme guitarist; Loudness’s Akira Takasaki would be a solid choice every time!
Album-The Dungeons are Calling
What a most enjoyable collection of songs proper. My favorite songs on this…wait…what the fuck was that!? Do you hear something? HOLY FUCKING CHRIST TITS! I think it’s the Dungeons calling your name. Criss Olivia, man oh man, he just knew how to hit all those sweet spots on that auditory cortex. The title track “The Dungeons are Calling” contains a solo that is a great example of Criss’ soloing technique, it features some really solid bends. I think this is a unique shredding style which sets him apart from a lot of the competition. “ By the Grace of the Witch” is another example of Criss’ playing that gives you sense of not knowing exactly how the solo is going to go, even if you have listened to it a million times before. It’s awesome. That’s why this is my choice for number two on the list.
Album-Loud, Wild and Heavy
Future Cacophony shred master and future ex Megadeth ax slinger Marty Friedman, is on full ax attack on this one boys and girls. Talk about speed metal at its finest! This EP is so good you’ll be spitting chunks. You can just feel the energy seeping through these tracks. The leads are incredible you get the hint of what this monster shredder, Marty Friedman would accomplish later on in his career. In the song “Rhapsody in Black” he goes off the cuff to the fullest, demonstrating his clearly superior sweeping technique and knowledge of the fret board. Also, what really made this selection number one on my list is that Marty Friedman and I both have curly hair. So fuck off, really I can’t help it if we can naturally shred better than everyone else since we have natural curly hair.