We are back after the holidays with a new Korea Guitar Readers Top Ten Guitar Albums list. This installment includes Shock’s John Tennant, Flin Flon’s Chris Goodman, Atlantic AM’s Kris Cain, Buzzard luck and Man Wons Bassist James Greig and South African madman Arno Peiser. Enjoy!! (PS. To save space, I haven’t added any album cover photos.)
John is one of the guitarists in Shock, a power metal band from Ottawa, Canada. Check out their new album, Forewarned. It’s a beast.
- UFO: Strangers in the Night Michael Schenker is absolutely on fire from start to finish; his rhythm playing is often overlooked.
- Rush: A Farewell to Kings Alex Lifeson totally reinvented his style after 2112, leaving his Jimmy Page influences behind him.
- UFO: Obsession – Schenker was apparently left alone to wail away after all the bed tracks were done, some incredibly creative soloing on this album.
- Scorpions: Lovedrive – Another band which reinvented it’s style from it’s previous album. More brilliant Michael Schenker solos, and awesome rhythms from his brother.
- Van Halen: Van Halen – Nothing to add here, obvious choice.
- Van Halen: Women and Children First – In my opinion, Eddie started to decline as a rock player after this album; this was his peak.
- Motorhead: Ace of Spades – Fast Eddie (Clarke, guitarist) stripped Metal down to its roots; this album just sounds so loud!
- Rush: Different Stages (disc 3) – Recorded in London England on the Kings tour, this is Alex Lifeson at his heaviest; his amps sound like they’re going to burn up.
- Judas Priest: Unleashed in the East – A perfect Metal template.
- Thin Lizzy: Still Dangerous – The Scott Gorham / Brian Robertson duo at its peak; mesmerizing harmonies and melodies.
Chris is From Canada and lives in Daejeon. He is a beginning guitarist, trying his best to level up.
- Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bullocks
- Dead Kennedy’s – Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death
- Robert Johnson – Best of Box Collection
- George Thorogood – The Baddest of George Thorogood
- Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band – Safe as Milk
- Slayer – South of Heaven
- Merle Travis – Walking the Strings
- Fernado Sor – Renditions from other artists
- Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
- James Brown – The Ultimate Collection
Kris is from New Brunswick, Canada, currently living in Daejeon, South Korea. He is the drummer with Atlantic A.M.
10. Strung Out – Blackhawks Over Los Angeles – While 9/10 of the albums on this list are more of a “Duh”, Strung Out’s dueling guitarists are the best in the skate-punk/numetal genre. Every song absolutely RIPS on this record. With that said, let’s get into the classics…
9. Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Ozz – this album introduced me to Randy Rhoads and Randy Rhoads to the world. He became one of the most inspirational guitarists following this record, in my humble opinion of course.
8. Led Zeppelin – IV – a classic that I feel doesn’t warrant an explanation.
7. Mastodon – Crack the Skye – If you are unfamiliar with this record I would recommend getting as high as possible and listen to The Last Baron. It’s a sixteen-minute instrumental that feels like I am hearing it for the first time, every time. Brett Hinds pushed the boundaries of doom, stoner metal in this one and it’s fantastic. And he has a gnarly face tattoo.
6. Queen – A Night at the Opera – This album was Queen’s 4th and distinguished their idendity apart from the 70’s glam and proto metal. Brian May was very adventurist on this record. He took a lot of chances and it paid off. I fucking LOVE Queen. Every night I come home wasted, I make my girlfriend watch Live at Wembley.
5. Black Sabbath – Paranoid – Classic. If you don’t like it, fuck off.
4. Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against The Machine – Tom Morello should be given a Nobel prize for the innovations on this record.
3. Jimi Hendricks – Are You Experienced – I used to fall asleep listening to this album every night for years. The cassette ending, that snapping sound would always wake me up. I would flip the side and dream away.
2. Guns and Roses – Appetite for Destruction should be on everyone’s list if you are serious about playing or learning how to play guitar. Slash’s riffs and solos are forever embedded in my mind. The opening to Sweet Child O’ Mine is one of the most melodic riffs I have heard to this day.
1. Metallica – Master Of Puppets was mind-numbingly complex to learn when I was younger and the arrangements are still something I admire to this day. I love this record.
James is from Just About Everywhere, Canada. He is currently the bassist in Daejeon’s The Man Wons. Previously, he was the leader of Buzzard Luck (See Honorable Mention #2)
10) The Scorpions: Taken By Force
I was first introduced to the Scorpions by way of a video of them playing at the US Festival sometime during the early 1980s. Rudolf Schenker and Mathias Jabs were clearly the embodiment of Rock n Roll Gods. One of my older brothers then introduced me to this album from his collection of vinyl and the name Uli Roth was burned into my subconscious. “The Sails of Charon” is an unforgettable song and the entire album is filled with great riffs and licks that continue to resonate.
9) Thurston Moore: Psychic Hearts
A beautiful album that is all-guitar all the time, with only minimal bass alongside Steve Shelley’s phenomenal drumming. This is an album I have lost myself in on several occasions, especially the epic “Elegy for All the Dead Rock Stars” which is a 20 minute track that builds, bludgeons, and moves deeply.
8) Bruce Cockburn: Sunwheel Dance
I’m not really into folk music at all, but this is a standout album from a standout Canadian artist. I’ve listened to my brother tackle every track on this album on his 12 string acoustic and the chops required to pull it off are considerable. Bruce Cockburn can really play, and he can really write, too.
7) The Smiths: Hatful of Hollow
The Smiths have not, in my opinion, aged particularly well. This has nothing to do with the fact that my worldview has matured a smidgeon over the last 30 years, and even less to do with the musicianship of Mike Joyce, Andy Rourke, or (especially) Johnny Marr. This is technically a compilation album of BBC recordings, but represents the Smiths at their finest. Johnny Marr is an outstanding if often overlooked guitarist.
6) The Stooges: Fun House
This is an album that belongs in the “it changed my life” category even if I only first heard it 16 years after it was released. Ron Asheton utterly rips it up. This album is dirty and ferocious. This is music that makes you want to go out, get drunk, and break windows. Or start a band…
5) My Bloody Valentine: Loveless
I bought this recording on “cassette” shortly after it came out. It cost me all of my pocket money so I had to walk home instead of taking the bus. I put on my “Walkman” at a substantial volume and listened to the entire album from start to finish for the first of many many times as I walked home. When I took the headset off, large black chunks of wax and who knows what else came tumbling out of both of my ears. It was beautiful…
4) Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation
Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo go together like peanut butter and onion. Not to everyone’s taste, but to those who like it (such as me) it’s a delicious combination. And a taste that can develop over time. I could have put a number of Sonic Youth albums on this list (Confusion is Sex is another favorite) but this album is the band in all of its glory from start to finish.
3) The Cure: Seventeen Seconds
Robert Smith is famous for big hair, messy lipstick, and catchy and depressing pop tunes. He should be famous for his guitar playing, as well, because he’s very good. This is my favorite Cure album. The guitar work is subtle and skeletal, and it’s easy to focus instead on the synth lines and the cheesy drum machine. But the guitar is what really makes it all happen. There are more obvious examples of Smith’s guitar artistry (In Concert: The Cure Live from the mid-80s is one) but this recording is spooky and addicting.
2) Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force
The idea of listening to an entire, relentless album of all-out shredding seems almost comical to me now, but listen to this one (over and over) is exactly what I did when I first got my hands on a copy. Phenomenal stuff. If the only two songs he ever wrote were “Black Star” and “Far Beyond the Sun” Malmsteen would still be considered a genius. To be honest, I’m not sure that I could name two more…
1) Jane’s Addiction: Ritual de lo habitual
In my opinion, heavy metal/hard rock music in the mid to late 80s was becoming a parody of itself, and my interest in it had totally waned. This band breathed life back into guitar rock, starting with Nothing’s Shocking and putting an exclamation mark on their status with this giant of an album. A lot of people are turned off by Perry Farrell’s voice and antics, and that’s fair. But Dave Navarro’s guitars are blistering. “Three Days” is the soundtrack of hazy drives in the sunny countryside…
Van Halen: Van Halen
I know every guitar note of this album off by heart…on my tennis racket. This is the ultimate GUITAR ALBUM but I left it off my list because several people have got it on theirs already. I mean, if you don’t like guitar rock then this album isn’t for you. If you love guitars and hate this album…well I’m not sure I can help you.
Buzzard Luck: One Moment Then It’s Gone (soon to be released, maybe)
It’s pretty obvious that the bass player carries this band, but it’s also safe to say that Van Walker and Karl Mischler have some serious chops and there’s some serious guitar playing happening here. If rock music offends you, then step the fuck out of the way of this recording.
Arno is from South Africa. He’s been in South Korea for about 7 months
- Pink Floyd-Live at Pompeii
2. Magna Carta- Lord of the Ages
3. Judas Priest – Nostradamus
4. Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
5. King Crimson – Islands
6. Ozzy Osbourne- Ozzmosis
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium
8. Wolfmother – Cosmic Egg
9. Devendra – Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
10. Demons and Wizards – Demons and Wizards
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