The Nine Best DFW Metal Guitarists
Who will take the mantle of the late, great Mike Scaccia?
Ever since Mike Scaccia and Dimebag Darrell broke on through to the other side, many Dallas metal fans have been longing for someone to step into the limelight and accept the legendary guitarslingers' mantels and inspire a whole new generation of headbangers.
Never fear true believers (hey, didn't someone else say that shit?), not only are Scaccia's and Dimebag's mantels being honored among the many talented acts of the DFW music scene, but several of these local guitarists are so goddamn good that one can almost feel the legendary guitarslingers' spirits jamming on stage as these Texas boys reaffirm the Lone Star State's dominance in the southern rock arena. So, in honor of our fallen heroes, here are just a few of the many who fucking rock this way.
Brandon Brewer - Waking Alice
Waking Alice is a band that draws both alternative and metal fans to its shows, which is due, in part, to this Fort Worth-based guitarist who dominates the stage when he plugs in his Paul Reed Smith. "I have several PRS guitars and a Les Paul Custom," Brewer explains, "but my special one is a 1994 Paul Reed Smith Artist 2." Les Paul, PRS, a piece of shit Global, it doesn't matter because when this guy's fingers dance across the frets, the spirits of the damned rollover to listen. Since picking up the guitar at the age of 14, Brewer has been harnessing influences such as King X and Coheed and Cambria into his powerful riffs. "I've worked to have a good picking technique and fast hands." He also grew up watching a lot of MTV and his Uncle John playing guitar. "Eventually, I started jamming with him and taking it seriously."
In 2010, Waking Alice released The Shaping, one of their strongest efforts to date.
Razz - World Beneath World
Old School metalheads rejoice. World Beneath World are not only bombarding fans with a soul-baring groove that echoes early influences like Black Sabbath, Corrosion of Conformity and Kyuss. Lead guitarist Razz has been channeling these godfathers of metal for more than three decades. "The first time I remember hearing that sound was while listening to 'Walk This Way' (by Aerosmith)," Razz says, "and then once I saw KISS and heard that sound, I knew I wanted to do that."
World Beneath World's latest offering Nien is available on iTunes.
Michael Huebner - HellGoat
HellGoat sparks images of a demon-possessed farm animal with flaming horns grazing in a field of fire. And listening to this band just reaffirms the horrid image as these Dallas-based artists ignite the stage with their own brand of black magic. Michael Huebner, who joined the band shortly after its formation in 2007, brings a slower, more melodic sound to the band's music. "I played in angry metal bands for years where I would call what I did 'classical madness," Huebner explains, yet some of that chaos still resonates through several of HellGoat's tunes: "Raisin' Hell," "The Tide" and "Whiskey Bender." Huebner has been playing guitar since he was 14, emulating his influences Randy Rhodes and Yngwie Malmsteen into his playing style. "I come from a family of music lovers," he says. "We're German. We play music and we drink beer, end of story."
Last year, HellGoat released The Tide, an album that still has us gasping for air.
Tommy Richeson - Tejasmosis
Tejasmosis is a recent edition to the Texas metal underground scene, a band whose star power is as promising as the talent of their lead guitarist Tommy Richeson. "The first lesson that I ever had I got from Rex Brown on a bass," he says. "He taught me how to play 'The Trooper' by Iron Maiden." It was the first and last guitar lesson that he ever had. Growing up with influences like the guys from Pantera roaming around the house helped to inspire the hungry guitarist to continue learning to shred. And if anyone is conjuring the spirit of Dimebag Darrell with his playing, it's this guitarslinger, whose style of playing has been compared to George Lynch of Dokken, Warren DeMartini of RATT and, of course, Texas' own Dimebag Darrel of Pantera/Damage Plan fame.
Tejasmosis' debut EP DIATRIBE hits online stores on July 9.
Corey Goodwin - Dark Horse Darling
Picking the guitar up at the age of 10, taking it seriously at the age of 13, Corey Goodwin of Dark Horse Darling plays with such a ferocity that he snapped the neck of his Gibson SG and broken his fair share of guitar strings. "Well, the funny thing is I actually started off on drums as a kid." Goodwin says. That explains the violence in his guitar playing. "I play for the love of making music and performing," he says. "Whether I'm jamming a badass heavy groove or slowing things down on the acoustic, on this is for sure... I absolutely love what I'm doing."
Dark Horse Darling latest EP Moonshine at Sunrise is available on iTunes.
Kevin "Rotaxe" Smith - Earthrot
Now for some ass-kicking metal that makes us want to scream "penguin dust" and then slam our boss' head against his computer screen. Earthrot has been around since 2009, and founding member Kevin "Rotaxe" Smith has helped to establish the band's sound by blending his influences (including Mortification, Tourniquet and White Cross) into a chaotic mixture that hits you in the chest, rips out your heart and replaces it with an engine that runs on brutality. "My playing style is basically just whatever feels good to me at the moment," Smith says. "I like playing fast, and I like playing slow and heavy."
Earthrot have a few songs available on their website.
Kelley Juett - Mothership
Don't let their name fool you. This is not one of your grandmother's love rock bands. Mothership is a full throttle "intergalactic heavy rock and blues band" whose guitarist Kelley Juett's metal-laced skills have been winning fans of various ages and genres. "I always had been drawn to the electric guitar because of how loud and raw it was," Juett says. Dimebag Darrel, Randy Rhodes, Stevie Ray Vaughn, all guitarists whose originality, heart and soul have influenced Juett's playing style. "High energy, soulful guitar that gets your body moving or your head banging." Wielding a Gibson Flying V with a Gibson Explorer strapped to his back, Juett represents a true rock guitarist. "I dig any guitar that looks like a battle axe," he says and laughs.
Dano Hibbs - SiK
Pulse-pounding riffs and tunes that sound even better as the night progresses into morning are just a couple of the many reasons to check these guys out. Lead guitarist Dano has been honing his style since the tender age of 11. "Getting ready for school one morning 'Purple Haze' by Hendrix came on and that was it," says Dano. "I went to the local pawn shop and traded my shotgun for a piece of shit Strat copy." Dano now plays a custom-made Hamer "Scarab" guitars. "My baby is known as 'The Red Dragon,'" he explains. "It's black and red and has been my main guitar forever."
The band's latest album Broken Sanity is available on Amazon and iTunes.
Scott Shelby - Warbeast
Warbeast needs no introduction. They've been dominating the DFW area since the early '80s when lead singer Bruce Corbitt was fronting Rigor Mortis, a thrash metal band that helped kick start the DFW metal scene. Lead guitarist Scott Shelby of Gammacide and Rotting Corpse fame is the driving force behind the band's powerful southern metal sound. "My style I call muscle guitar," Shelby explains, "and my leads are just plain crazy and insane; they take you on a journey like driving fast and wrecking your car." His preferred ax is a Dean Razor V, and he's been abusing guitars since he was 11-years-old. "The growling sound it makes causes people to make 'metal faces.' It makes your blood start to pump, and the leads take you on a journey and make people say, 'Holy Shit!'" Mike Scaccia's spirit is definitely jamming with this Texas thrasher on stage.
In April, Warbeast released their second album Destroy, an outing that illuminates the band's various influences such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Slayer.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.