Anthrax’s Scott Ian Names the Most Underrated Rhythm Guitarist in Metal
Who is the most underrated rhythm guitarist in heavy metal? It's just about unanimous that the best in this category is James Hetfield, but is it possible that Metallica also boasts the most underrated player in Kirk Hammett? That's what Anthrax's Scott Ian tells Revolver.
Ian discusses several of his personal rhythm guitar heroes in that interview and, eventually, he shifts toward the names that don't often get as much praise as the likes of rhythmic greats Malcolm Young (AC/DC), Johnny Ramone (Ramones) and Rudolf Schenker (Scorpions).
“For me, in the world of metal, I think the most underrated rhythm player is Kirk Hammett,” the Anthrax axeman (who has quite the dominant picking hand himself) declares, "Because he's in a band with James, who, when it comes to metal, is the best – there's no better right hand… [But] nobody ever talks about Kirk as a rhythm guitar player."
The points he raises are completely valid and may even serve as a bit of a revelation for fans, especially since Hammett is lauded for his role as the easy-going lead guitarist for the metal legends who will release their new album, 72 Seasons, next year.
"But he's gotta go fucking note for note with James," Ian contends, "And he can't cheat. There's no fucking cheating, he's down-picking all those fucking parts. Nobody talks about that. So Kirk, to me, is the most underrated.”
Remember when he said Hetfield has the best right/picking hand in the business? Well, there's actually two metal guitarists in contention for that honor.
“Fredrik [Thordendal] from Meshuggah [may] have the best right hand,” Ian admits, joking, “I’m convinced he was a Terminator sent back. But instead of killing Sarah Connor, he was here to make all other rhythm guitarists feel bad about their right hands. So technically, he's the best, but James is James, he's the fucking god.”
And who can fault him for naming two musicians? Meshuggah's music is so daringly complex that it requires a level of concentration that has is its own set of standards.
Slayer's Kerry King was another name thrown in the ring regarding a best-in-class picking hand, noting that he's watched him up close a lot over the years, including doing shots while King does his pre-show warm-up.
He enthuses, “It's just jaw-dropping sometimes, the ability and the stamina ... I remember talking to [Exodus guitarist] Gary Holt when he joined Slayer and he's like, ‘My fucking forearms are dying!’”
Catch the most underrated rhythm guitarist in metal on the road next year as Metallica embark on a world tour weeks after the April 14 release of 72 Seasons. See dates here and head to this location for tickets. You can even catch Ian's Anthrax bandmate Charlie Benante playing drums with Pantera on select nights of Metallica's tour.