Metal’s Unsung Heroes
by: Mick Michaels of Corners of Sanctuary www.cornersofsanctuary.com Each of has our favorite band, our favorite musician, that one particular individual
who mesmerizes and captivates our senses and imagination well beyond the confines of our mortal thresholds.
Their instrument is their voice. Nothing else seems to compare and no one else seems to hold a candle to what they can do.
In this article I would like to share, in my opinion, some artists who may have never really gotten their due. Sometimes popularity does not equate to quality
or even the lack thereof. But here are my personal picks for some unsung axe slinging heroes in our Metal community.
One guitarist who seemed to have it all was Criss Oliva, founding member of Savatage. Two albums of note are Hall of the Mountain King and the rock
opera Streets. Both works demonstrate that Criss could deliver both the grind and the groove through powerful riffs and melodic note phrasing.
His rhythms created depth and mood that gave each song a stand‐alone character of its own. Unfortunately Criss was tragically taken from the Metal world
in October 1993. His true potential was never allowed to be fulfilled. Another great guitarist often overlooked is John Sykes, most notably from Whitesnake
and Blue Murder. Sykes manages to capture the true spirit of rock guitar. His dirty blues approach back dropped Whitesnake’s catapult to the top in the
mid to late 80’s.
John’s style and delivery demonstrates what’s fun and alluring about playing guitar – it’s just rock n’ roll. This fact is evident on the album Slide it In.
Jake E. Lee, Ozzy’s lead guitar replacement following the death of Randy Rhoads and later with his own band Bandlands, embodied Heavy Metal
guitar in the 80’s.
Along with his phenomenal skills, Lee developed a Metal sound that incorporated just the right tone and levels of distortion, chorus, flanger and delay to
create a haunting array of memorable chord progressions and licks. Check out Ultimate Sin’s “Shot in the Dark” or “Killer of Giants” ‐ evocative.
And let’s not forget George Lynch. Lead shredder of Dokken and Lynch Mob. Lynch was also in the original running to replace Randy Rhoads after his
passing. Lynch’s sound was a mid range lover’s dream ‐ an eerie hollow reverberation, swelling to a molten Metal boil. His sound and style made up his
If you listened closely, you could almost detect that the music itself seemed to confine Lynch’s ability and need to rip, roar and tear up the fret board without
restriction to measure or arrangement ‐ proving that with Metal guitar, more is never enough. Take another listen to Mr. Scary or Tooth and Nail’s
“Turn on the Action”, “When Heaven Comes Down” or just about anything off that album.
Mick Michaels of C.O.S
These unsung Metal guitar giants helped shaped the chops of thousands of guitar wannabes, including this author. They may not be what’s considered,
according to some, the grand marquis of who’s who in the guitar world when the likes of Clapton, Van Halen and Satriani are listed; however, they are the
heart and soul of what it is to be a great guitar player. They deliver.
Sure it can be a matter of taste and preference, but undeniable skill and ability can never be denied or overlooked – when you’re good you’re good.
And sometimes, taste is something to be acquired. It’s a maturation thing. \m/
T.N.E.S would like to Thank Mick Michaels and C.O.S for this article! Nobody knows metal like someone who's lived their lives for it and Mick stands for
Metal Hence The \m/ Take a listen above and check out Corners of Sanctuary! Do support Metal and check out and buy their album it's 100% Metal!