Måneskin and Tom Morello



(Image credit: Sony Music)

Welcome to Guitar World’s weekly roundup of the musical highlights from the, erm, world of guitar. Every seven days (or thereabouts), we endeavor to bring you a selection of songs from across the guitar universe, all with one thing in common: our favorite instrument plays a starring role.

Periphery – Wildfire

What is it? Amid anxiety over the amount of time their fifth record was taking to make, Periphery have produced their most wildly ambitious record yet. Djent Is Not a Genre thoroughly upsets the prog-metal apple cart, as evidenced by opening track and first single Wildfire, a near-eight-minute, breathless chug assault that goes full lounge jazz as it nears its conclusion, complete with a saxophone solo. If there were ever any doubt that genre boundaries no longer exist, Wildfire is the proof.

Standout guitar moment: That two-hand tapping solo halfway through – Misha, is that you? – is Meshuggah incarnate: mysterious, uneasy and technically dazzling.

For fans of: Meshuggah, Animals As Leaders, Tesseract

– Michael Astley-Brown

Måneskin – GOSSIP (feat. Tom Morello)

What is it? A fiery new cut from Italian rockers and 2021 Eurovision winners Måneskin, who recruit Rage Against the Machine six-string-slinger Tom Morello to lay down two equally blazing lead lines. The first, which hits around the 1:10 mark, is gloriously simple, as Morello utilizes trios of ascending crotchet notes flavored with his typical Whammy-and-delay-drenched tone, while the second…

Standout guitar moment: …which enters at the 2:17 mark, finds the Rage legend dabbling in classic rock-style pentatonic bends and frenetic alternate picking, before bringing it back to those uber-simple-but-effective quarter note slides.

For fans of: Tom Morello, Prophets of Rage

Sam Roche

Black Stone Cherry – Out of Pocket 

What is it? The new single from hard rock outfit Black Stone Cherry, and the band’s first new release since their 2020 record, The Human Condition. For now, it looks to be a standalone single, but luckily there’s enough guitar goodness to keep us going until the next one: rammed with pulverizing riffs that share the spotlight with some more delicate lead work, Out of Pocket is a welcome return for Black Stone Cherry, and an offering that makes the past three-year wait worth it.

Standout guitar moment: There’s a slight guitar solo around the 2:00 mark, but it’s the chorus’ mammoth riff that really stands out for us here.

For fans of: Blackberry Smoke, Alter Bridge, Shinedown

– Matt Owen 

Enter Shikari – (pls) set me on fire

What is it? The first single from Enter Shikari’s just-announced seventh studio album, A Kiss for the Whole World, finds the Hertfordshire, UK rock vets in their usual fine fettle, as they take a lighter, more melodic compositional approach than much of their existing catalog.

Featuring the tried-and-tested Shikari formula of anthemic vocals, hooky synth lines and a punchy bedrock of gain-heavy electric guitar, (pls) set me on fire is yet another knockout for Rou Reynolds, Rory Clewlow, Chris Batten and Rob Rolfe, and a sign of some killer material to come on their impending 2023 LP.

Standout guitar moment: Clewlow’s ever-present chuggy palm-muted riffs sit cleverly within the mix, not demanding attention but crucially driving the track forward nonetheless.

For fans of: Architects, We Are The Ocean, Deaf Havana

Sam Roche

The Hold Steady – Sideways Skull

What is it? The rollicking first single from the indie institution’s forthcoming ninth album, The Price of Progress, Sideways Skull is perfect comfort food if you’re a longtime fan of the band, or a perfect entry point if you’re new to them. Steeped in rock mythology and populated by frontman Craig Finn’s always-vivid characters – filled, as they always are, equally with cynicism and idealism – this tune is Hold Steady 101, and, naturally, it rocks.

Standout guitar moment: Finn, Tad Kubler and Steve Selvidge’s guitars have never sounded better. Kubler, in particular, is on fire – that four-bar lead after the first chorus is particularly tasty – while Finn and Selvidge build up a freight train’s worth of momentum under him on rhythm.

For fans of: Bruce Springsteen, The War on Drugs, The Gaslight Anthem

Jackson Maxwell

Sleep Token – The Summoning

What is it? We’re barely a week into January and mysterious British metallers Sleep Token have already dropped one of the best riffs of 2023. The Summoning – one of two surprise new tracks to emerge this week – opens with a punishing salvo that bridges the gap between Stef Carpenter and Tosin Abasi, and progresses through ambient synth breakdowns and even pop-funk. It’s simply jaw-dropping.

Standout guitar moment: The riff, obviously. And all the other riffs, for that matter. But The Summoning is also notable for serving up an out-and-out prog guitar solo and ending on a series of outrageously funky auto-filter riffs and fuzz lines. From a guitar perspective, it’s Sleep Token’s most expansive effort yet.

For fans of: Periphery, Architects, Deftones

– Michael Astley-Brown

Sleep Walking Animals – Ghost Of A King 

What is it? The latest single from Mancunian alt-folk outfit Sleep Walking Animals, who, despite having only released one EP and a handful of singles thus far, have already cemented themselves as serious players in their respective field. Instrumentally speaking, the layers are on point and the harmonies are enough to give you goosebumps, but it’s all possible thanks to the twangy main riff, glass-like arpeggios and driving acoustic strums that bubble away throughout. Just try and not tap your foot. We dare you.

Standout guitar moment: As is the case with many Sleep Walking Animals tracks, momentum builds and swells through layered instrumentation and dynamic playing towards a grandstand finale, which announces itself with an energetic, barnstorming guitar throwdown at the 4:00 mark.

For fans of: Joni Mitchell, Mumford and Sons

– Matt Owen

H.C. McEntire – Rows of Clover

What is it? The elegant, beautifully arranged fourth single from the North Carolina singer/songwriter’s forthcoming album, Every Acre, Rows of Clover mourns the passing of a “steadfast hound.” Though objectively sad, Rows of Clover is also meditative, with a focus on healing that ultimately makes it a rejuvenating and cathartic listen.

Standout guitar moment: It’s unclear from Every Acre‘s liner notes (opens in new tab) if Luke Norton or McEntire herself plays the captivating solo that spins hypnotically out of the song’s center in its final minute. Whoever plays it though, it’s a thing of beauty, wringing out the grief of the song’s lyrics on with piercing, perfectly-phrased statements that bring to mind the best of David Gilmour and Neil Young.

For fans of: Lucinda Williams, Neil Young, Sharon Van Etten

Jackson Maxwell

Etta Marcus – Smile for The Camera 

What is it? Etta Marcus spent most of 2022 recording and releasing singles to build her burgeoning repertoire, and now the 20-year-old indie rock singer-songwriter has taken her fine form into the New Year by releasing Smile for The Camera. With her usual weave of acoustic/electric guitar bliss and a bass that, to our ears, nods to Lou Reed in the verse, the track is littered with dreamy six-string concoctions and one of the most hummable hooks we’ve heard in quite some time.

Standout guitar moment: The post-chorus breakdowns are particularly worthy of a shoutout, thanks to the snappy rhythm strums and see-sawing main hook.

For fans of: Phoebe Bridgers, Beabadoobee, The 1975

– Matt Owen

Daughter – Be On Your Way

What is it? British folk-meets-post-rock mainstays Daughter have announced their first new studio album in seven years, and its debut single is a typically heart-wrenching listen, with Elena Tonra and Igor Haefeli’s none-more-wet reverbs in full effect on the fragile lead lines and colossal rhythm pads. A masterclass in guitar atmosphere, as per.

Standout guitar moment: It’s all about the tones. One listen of those fingerpicked chords, laced so beautifully with delay, and you’ll be welling up. Guaranteed.

For fans of: Explosions in the Sky, Ben Howard, Bon Iver

– Michael Astley-Brown

LOVEBITES – The Spirit Lives On

What is it? The second single from the Japanese heavy metal stalwart’s recently announced fourth album, Judgement Day, which arrives February 24 via JPU Records. The track sees the quintet exercising their penchant for no-holds-barred power metal, wrought with lightning-fast guitar riffs courtesy of Midori and Miyako, grand orchestral ornamentation, and a triumphant vocal performance by band leader Asami.

Standout guitar moment: The guitar solo from the 2:58 mark is far and away the track’s six-string highlight, with outstandingly melodic but equally face-melting alternate picking in abundance.

For fans of: Unleash the Archers, BRIDEAR

Sam Roche

Núria Graham – Fire Mountain Oh Sacred Ancient Fountain

What is it? The latest single from the Catalan singer and guitarist’s forthcoming LP, Cyclamen, Fire Mountain Oh Sacred Ancient Fountain is a gorgeous reflection on the power of nature.

Standout guitar moment: Graham takes up classical guitar duties for this song, while Jordi Matas is on electric. Their interplay in the song’s free-form intro in particular will hook you in straight from the get-go, with Matas’s delicate harmonics and crystalline fingerpicked arpeggios weaving beautifully in and out of Graham’s harp-like plucking.

For fans of: Joni Mitchell, Laura Marling, Julie Byrne

Jackson Maxwell

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Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He’s a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).

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