The First Shred Records You Bought


Rust In Peace and it lived in the CD player in my car for most of high school. The first time I heard the classical solo in Holy Wars it blew my mind.

At some point I bought Rising Force, Passion and Warfare, and Surfing With The Alien at once at FYE.

Wintersun’s debut and Mastodon’s Leviathan and Blood Mountain were huge influences early on as well.

Metal banjo shred licks.

Later when I got into vinyl I saw a copy of Al Di Meola’s Land of the Midnight Sun, the wax was near mint. I scooped it up brought it home and was blown away. “The Wizard” remains one of my favorite instrumentals to this day.


I was introduced to rock guitar by my father with a compilation including Queen, AC/DC and even more exotic stuff like Santana and Al Di Meola. When I heard the intro solo of “I want it all” I said to him that I want to play electric guitar.

Fast forward 3-4 years later. Some friend showed me the “Technical Difficulties” on YouTube (yes I’m in the younger generation, born mid 90s) and I was blown away. So I started listening to some “shred” players and I came across to 3 albums in the same week, back in 2009. The guitarists that played in them are still in my personal top 10 even today.

I found Buckethead because he was a student of Paul Gilbert and I was intrigued by the mask and the whole persona. I would have never guessed back then that I would stick with him to this day. This album is fantastic!

Then there was Yngwie. He was in the top places of every “fast player” list out there so I gave him a chance despite playing an “old man’s” guitar. I was a kid back then! :grin: He fastly became my favourite guitar player, not because of his speed, but the overall control over the instrument, the bends, the vibrato, the amazing solo ideas. His stuff from 1981 to 1995 is to me what a lead guitar player should aim for.

And then there was this girl I met at that period. She was a very beautiful girl, 2 years older than me, wearing Opeth and Children of Bodom T-Shirts all the time, in a Greek-French catholic school. :joy: We went together in a 15day school trip in France and she introduced me to that album. It was like Yngwie on steroids with screams, super heavy guitars and scary concepts. 10 years later we still talk from time to time and she still likes that album. What a great way to learn about Alexi Laiho! Too bad he wrecked his arm and started all that self destructing behavior, he was a fantastic player and composer.

Sorry for the long post, it was a trip into memory lane, almost 10 years ago. I was an early teen back then and everyone was saying that I will grow out of that music, I’m really glad I didn’t! If it wasn’t for those albums and moments, I wouldn’t have learned about modern players, more genres, or even guitar in the first place.


The first 3-4 Mastodon albums are great- not shreddy at all but some great writing and ensemble playing


‘Edge of Insanity’ by Tony MacAlpine was probably my first one. Bought it after seeing a small B/W ad from Shrapnel Records in Guitar Player magazine. I remember the ad also having ‘Street Lethal’ (which I bought shortly after), and the Vicious Rumours album w/ Vinnie Moore featured. Those were the days!


They were the days! I was just a teenager then and I though those days would continue on forever, or at least for a hell of a lot longer than they did. I have the Vicious Rumors record too. I used to buy everything on record until I started buying CDs around the mid to late 90s. Now even the record stores, the stores which eventually didn’t sell records anymore because they sold CDs instead are out of business. Even the mighty Tower Records went bankrupt! To me in the 80s, that future was almost as bleak to me as the thought of annihilation in a nuclear armageddon. ironically, I thought death from nuclear war was a lot more likely than all the record stores going out of business or kids eventually liking DJs more than guitar players!

At least being vaporized from the bomb would have been quick and if painful, only for an instant. But this stuff, seeing all out heavy metal gods go from vital young men in their prime to men in their 60s and 70s, and seeing nobody coming along to take their place because the rock music industry and especially heavy metal is, depending on how you look at it, either dead, or near dead and hooked up to the respirators as it struggles to even draw a breath.

It was inconceivable to me that rock stars would become a thing of the past. As inconceivable as movie stars becoming a thing of the past but that hasn’t happened, has it?

Today, the two hard rock or heavy metal bands that could fill a stadium with the most people are Metallica and Guns 'n Roses. Think of that for a second. They made their debuts 30 - 35 years ago! For bands that made their debuts 30 to 35 years ago still being able to draw the biggest crowds would have been like if in the 1980s, if Elvis Presley had still been alive and he was still the biggest rock star in the world. Kids in the 1980s, for the most part, rarely listened to Elvis if they listened to him at all. But if Metallica played a show at a stadium here, there would be a lot of young people there, as well as plenty of middle aged guys like me!

It’s a barometer of the health of our industry to realize that Metallica was the most popular metal band in the late 80s and 90s and now in 2018, still after all these years NOBODY has come along and either been passed the torch from Metallica or taken it from them!