4 of the Most Underrated Metal Guitarists of All Time

Everyone loves to talk about guitarists like Eddie Van Halen, Dave Mustaine, Dimebag Darrell, etc. We get it. But what about the unsung heroes, especially in metal and metalcore? There are far too many underrated metal guitarists out there, so why don’t we give them a bit of love? This list is far from exhaustive; these four metal guitarists are just a few underrated players who have a lot of talent.

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1. Andy LaRocque

King Diamond’s Andy LaRocque is a brilliant soloist who can compete with the greatest in terms of sheer shredding. He has one of the smoothest riffing approaches in heavy metal. His phrasing is incredibly expressive and artistic, and it’s just what’s needed to accentuate the vivid stories that King’s piercing, horrifying falsetto conveys.

2. Bob Vigna

Immolation’s Bob Vigna undergoes a sort of possession as soon as he steps under the stage lights and gets to thrashing. He has the most extreme ferocity when he plays out of all the underrated metal guitarists on this list. Vigna is by far one of the most audacious composers in the death metal genre; his arrangements twist and swirl and jump, and his skill has helped Immolation stand out among other metal bands.

[Catch Immolation Live On Tour In 2024]

3. James Malone

Arsis’ James Malone is an extremely nimble performer with a unique lead approach. He used a lot of bouncy melodies and he constantly pursues hooks in every element of his compositions. This approach to playing has led to an extremely memorable body of work that connects the worlds of death metal and traditional heavy metal guitar theatrics. That’s some serious talent.

4. Jim Matheos

Taking inspiration from Iron Maiden’s enticing twin melodies and grandiose lyrical arcs, Fates Warning played a crucial role in shaping the early progressive metal landscape. With a sharp sense of reinvention, Jim Matheos has been the lone constant in the band, keeping the music’s core “progressive” instead of turning into something else. But he’s never been afraid to get dark or embrace more modern metal elements. He’s a real talent.

Photo courtesy of Arsis’ X page

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