Tag Archives: John Petrucci

Al Joseph, The Next Tosin Abasi?

“Music transcends the need for words when the story lies deep within the instrumental movements themselves.” Al Joseph was born in Highland Park, IL the first son of a Southern Caribbean father and Southern Baptist mother. When he was seven, the family moved to Scranton, PA where Al’s musical prowess began to emerge. His Dad, Al Sr., brought home a drum set so Al and his two younger brothers could start their education in the musical traditions of their culture. With what would become a characteristic demonstration of natural talent combined with dedication and commitment, Al diligently practiced for hours upon hours every day.

Motivated out of desperation, Al’s father Al Sr. presented him with his first student guitar, and the rest is history. Excelling at music, sports and academics, Al attended Penn State University where he walked on to play at the Running Back position but soon his passion for guitar won out, and in his characteristic pursuit of excellence, he hung up his cleats, turned in his books, and transferred to Berklee College of Music in Boston to peruse his professional music career. Al’s quest to give a “voice” to his exploration and expression strained against his cultural milieu as he found resonance with Progressive Metal and inspiration from Creed, Rage Against The Machine, P.O.D, Pillar, Pantera, and Sevendust.

From the lyrical texture of Jimi Hendrix, BB King, George Benson, Albert King to the overall musical prowess of Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Andy Timmons, Steve Vai, and Greg Howe, Al formed his style and openly pays homage. Al began his professional career as the lead guitarist and singer for the Progressive Metal band, “The Great Gamble.” Their debut album “Book One” caught the attention of Jan Cyrka, legendary artist and founder of Jam Track Central. Jam Track Central works with some of the world’s best guitarists and teachers to provide its members with a depth and range of guitar playing knowledge and technical understanding.

The JTC catalog includes original artist jam tracks, online lessons and full album backing packages covering many music genres including rock, metal, blues, fusion, and jazz. The artists and teachers are highly respected world-renowned players including Guthrie Govan, Alex Hutchings, Andy James, Jack Thammarat, Marco Sfogli, Kiko Loureiro, Jeff Loomis and much more. After their very first meeting, Jan invited Al to join the Team. In 2013 JTC released Al’s debut solo instrumental album, “Out In The Open.” Speaking to a new generation of Progressive Metal music connoisseurs, “Out In The Open,” received instant international recognition.

In 2016 Al relocated to Los Angeles, California and began work on his second Solo Album All of Creation with JTC, which is now available on iTunes and all other platforms. Featuring some of the world’s most fierce shredders from guitar to violin, “All of Creation” keeps its roots firmly planted as it intones the voice of the Millennials.

Nightlights (feat. Jack Gardiner): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QOwtj_GOtE

Social Media
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aljosephguitar/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljosephguitar/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/aljosephofficial

The Talent of John Petrucci

By Andrew Catania

An excellent lyricist, proficient producer, virtuosic composer, and a master when it comes to playing the chords, John Petrucci is the present age music sensation who is progressively making his way to becoming an institution in his entirety. Primarily known for his co-founding association with Dream Theater, John Petrucci has established a sound fandom over time. Acclaimed by critics and loved by music enthusiasts, John Petrucci is also an inspiration for budding musicians who are magnetically drawn towards his dense, intricate and soulful tones that he so smoothly manages to squeeze out of the chords.

John Petrucci emerged as a promising name on the music scene of the 1980s. Ever since his debut, the maestro has made a significant contribution to the progressive metal genre. John’s professional career is a long journey that is punctuated with constant learning, consistent efforts, and well-crafted improvisations, in pursuit of the musical mastery that he enjoys today. John’s alternate picking is his master forte and is considered as one of the best in the world. Of course, it was not that he mastered the feat overnight and it cost him a considerable amount of time and efforts as well as a ‘strong sense of synchronization between both playing hands’, as he himself states.

Aside from his signature alternate picking, John has also redefined the typical tight rhythm guitar playing. Rhythmic playing is often taken for granted as the most basic and easiest of all playing techniques. However, Petrucci’s style of tight rhythm playing is a smooth rhythmic string that is heavily punctuated with countless intricately infused riffs and nuances that cumulate their melodic essence and fall on the eardrums as a harmonic rhythmic beat.

John Petrucci is also characterized by his use of a variety of instruments, especially his signature seven-stringed guitar that provides him an extended chord to incorporate extension in his riffs and rhythms, as seen in his solos. His heavy riffing is attributed is as one-of-its-kind and the way he fuses this signature shreds with the delicately audacious solo playing techniques. While even the most eminent of his contemporaries establish the seventh string in the lowest pitch frequency with repeated riffing, John utilizes the extended string to uplift the tone and add another dab of creativity and improvisation to the flow of tone. Jon’s primary influences include music luminaries such as Steve Morse, David Gilmour, Alex Lifeson, Steve Vai, Randy Rhoads and Yngwie Malmsteen and his sound knowledge of the individual techniques of his influences is often reflected in his tones.

John Petrucci has tested his fingers on a variety of instruments, including different versions of Music Man, Ibanez, and Acoustic Guitars. He has had a loyal, long-term association with Mesa Boogie Amplifiers has barely changed his original pedal board except for the overdrive pedals. John Petrucci currently plays his signature Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Signature Model and Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty. Jon Petrucci also endorses a number of brands such as Music Man’s signature guitars, Dunlop’s signature guitar picks, and TC Electronics signature fix pedal.

Metal’s Best: Top Guitarists Ruling the Genre!

By Andrew Catania

Recent decades have turned out to be a booming era especially for rock and metal genre. Many eminent names have emerged and the influx of improvisations in playing techniques has expanded the scope of genre by a huge margin. They’re many talented metal guitarists.  Aside the usual big names we hear about, here are some of the most eminent metal guitarists who have been setting a milestone for their descendents in their individual capacities.


Vinnie Moore


Acclaimed for his harmonized and melodic style, Vinnie Moore is considered as one of the most virtuosic guitarists of the 1980s. Also known for his association with the UFO, Vinnie holds a unique identity when it comes to improvised shredding and licking. He establishes his tones on multiple parameters in octave and the resultant effect itself speaks for the mastery of his technique.

Rusty Cooley

A relatively new name on the heavy metal genre, Rusty Cooley has managed to outclass his contemporaries through his highly refined, self-improvised and incredible shredding technique. Rusty is characterized as the fastest guitarist of the world, for his exceptionally fast 17 nps alternate picks. His playing speed is the prime identity of his technique and over time, he has infused some considerable variation in his tones.

Michael Angelo Batio’s playing style clearly reflects his theoretical knowledge. His is acclaimed for speed as well as intricately designed and expertly articulated alternate picking. An expert when it comes to anchoring and using the extra fingers, his tones are dense and fluid and are also punctuated with arpeggios and taps.

John Petrucci

John Petrucci is a distinguished name in the metal genre and is acclaimed for his finesse over high-speed alternate picking. He has redefined the use of seven stringed guitars by using the additional string for dense and speedy riffs to extend the range. Petrucci also experiments on his tines by fusing a variety of skills such as blending metal shreds with soft solos.

Alex Skolnick

Alex Skolnick is acclaimed for the extensive variety and diversity of his techniques. From walloping thrash, rock-jazz blend, to audacious progressive metal, Alex Skolnick is an axeman when it comes to the intricacies, density and nuances of the tones. He has been declared as one of the greatest guitarists of all times on popular vote.

Kiko Loureiro 

Primarily known for his association with Angra and Megadeth, Kiko’s figures magically pull off a variety of techniques with utmost perfection and accuracy. His improvised styles of full sweep arpeggios, double-handed taps, blending staccato and legato, run on phrasing, and alternate picks are rendered as his best contributions to metal playing techniques.

Richie Faulkner

Richie Faulkner, the lead guitarist for Judas Priest, has contributed his skills for a number of releases from the band. Richie Faulkner is characterized for his fine, nuanced and excessive riggings and has made a significant mark in the music sphere in a short span of time.

Paul Gilbert

Paul Gilbert is the cofounder of Mr. Big. Paul Gilbert and has been ranked as one of the ‘Top 10 Greatest Shredders of all Times’. Paul enjoys an unrivaled supremacy when it comes to fast and furious picking. An axeman at staccato and a master at incorporating fats picking with legato, Paul’s signature playing style is intuitive and his tones flow out of the chord naturally.

Jeff Loomis

Primarily known for his association as the lead guitarist for Nevermore and later with Arch Enemy, Jeff Loomis is considered as the unrivalled wizard of shredding techniques. Jeff has aced a variety of playing techniques such as alternate picking, riffs, shreds and pulls. His signature shredding, in particular, is considered as an emblem of seer brilliance and aesthetic finesse.

My Personal Experiences with Sam Ash Music and Guitar Center Employees

By Andrew Catania

Keeping the “shred” alive and well is an ongoing process that must be passed onto to future generations. They’ll never be a generation that will have the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Angelo Batio, Steve Vai, Rusty Cooley, John Petrucci and other guitarists that can light up the fretboard.  I’ve rarely gone into big-box music retailers for fear of having prepubescents giving me answers such as, “who’s that?”.

I’ve documented my encounters with the millennial-aged prepubescent employees of Sam Ash Music and Guitar Center Employees.  I visited a Guitar Center location and asked the salesperson if I could see a Fender Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Series Guitar.  With a puzzled look, I got the “Ing-we who?” answer I usually get.  What made this visit more interesting, is his fellow employee came over to join the conversation, knowing who Yngwie was, and stating his opinion that “Yngwie is a horrible player and I should look at a better quality guitar.”  This millennial said this as he saw my portrait tattoo of Yngwie on my arm.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Guitar Center sponsors Yngwie and his Guitar Gods Festival.  One employee asked me if “Ying-way” was a new guitarist.

Visiting Sam Ash Music was no better.  This time, I asked about Yngwie, which is usually a treat on its own, but, also about Michael Angelo Batio and Rusty Cooley Dean Guitar Signature Series.  The salesman said he’s never heard of any of them.  If “Ying-way” was a real person and gave his opinion on Dean Guitars.  “We don’t carry Dean Guitars and quite frankly I’m not apologetic about it.”  When I pressed why not, the salesman stated, “Dean makes junk and it all comes from China.”  I stated that most, if not all guitars that are $1,000 or less are made overseas by most guitar manufacturers.  I told the salesman that Dean also makes USA made models like other guitar companies.  “I didn’t know that.”

All it takes is one uneducated, employee to make a whole organization look bad in one person’s eyes.  If you’re not familiar with an artist, admit it.  Don’t bash an artist as the company you work for might be sponsoring them on a corporate level.  Why would you bash a guitar company when their headquarters is about 2 hours away in Tampa?

I don’t shop at either of these companies at the retail level.  The employees of there’s I’ve run into are these millennial-aged kids that aren’t quite educated about different artists and bash companies and guitarists.  With the talented people both companies have at the corporate level, they certainly can do a better job hiring people for the front lines that represent their brand and don’t bash artists or guitar companies they buy from.

Review: Rusty Cooley’s Band Day of Reckoning Into the Fire Part 1

By Andrew Catania

What happens when you take World Renowned legendary Guitarist Rusty Cooley, a powerhouse Drummer from India named Jared Sandhy, Singer/Producer/Screamer Brad Lambert , Ace Guitarist Matt Hough, Bassist Sherman Clark and put them together?  You have Day of Reckoning.  Day of Reckoning was formed by Rusty Cooley after his last band, Outworld had disbanded.  Into the Fire Part 1 displays Rusty Cooley’s superior guitar playing.  Not finding a drummer up to his expectations, Rusty had to reach internationally to find the talent that is Jared Sandhy.  Into the Fire Part 1 is a 5 song EP that starts right out of the box with in your face blistering vocals of Brad Lambert.  Lambert shines throughout this 5 song EP.  His screaming and melodic singing are outstanding to say the least.  You can hear Jared Sandhy’s drumming as the reason Cooley sought him out thousands of miles away.  Sherman Clark and Matt Hough contributed their guitar and bass lines that make you break out the air instruments and rock along.  While the music charts are filled with garbage, autotuned, pussnuts, lip synching, no talented artists, Into the Fire Part 1 hits you with musicianship that people would dream of.  Don’t believe me? Read what some of the top shredders have to say!

Photo by Wilkinson Image & Design
Photo by Wilkinson Image & Design
Image by Wilkinson Image & Design


“Wow! Amazing Rusty! You’re one sick MoFo! Just super crazy shred bro. Awesome! The new “Day Of Reckoning” sounds great! Rusty’s playing is just insanely over the top and he continues to show the world that super-shred is not dead!” John Petrucci – Dream Theater

“Be sure to check out Day Of Reckoning’s new single, it’s brutal without losing its solid melodic core.” Mark Tremonti

“Dude this is badass. It’s refreshingly METAL, heavy chunky guitars, mean riffs, violent drums… that solo section in the bridge is pants-shittingly cool too. Burly as all hell. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the album!” Dave Lizzio Non Point

“Left to Follow – what a kick ass Fun Rocking song! Mad Energy for days, and instantly catchy in all the right ways.  The musicianship is impeccable,And full of fire. This tune was so much high energy Metal fun that I nearly forgot it was undoubtedly going to have a guitar solo. And what a fucking explosion – HOLY FUCKING SHIT.  Completely over the top shredding – enough guitar insanity to melt even the most jaded of faces, even after repeated listening’s. Day of Reckoning is UNDENIABLE. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the CD.” Karl Sanders Nile

“There are very few guitarists that can shred with razor-like precision and taste; Rusty Cooley is one of those guitarists.” Paul Riario, Technical Editor, GUITAR WORLD MAGAZINE

“Just listened to your song several times fucking awesome! Seriously. The song is brutal your singer is great! A perfect fit for your music your solo was amazing too! Killer diminished arps and everything before and after that. Congrats!” Michael Angelo Batio

“Fucking Ripping” Phil Demmel – Machine Head

“Day of Reckoning just blew my brains out! Great songwriting-great performance-great production and very INTENSE music!!! These are the elements that make you wanna check a band out, but if you add Rusty Colley in those elements then you need to check them RIGHT NOW! GREAT stuff!!!!” – George Kollias

“A crushing blend of fury and technicality. Stunningly modern and completely unapologetically american sounding. Rusty’s playing is next level and sure enough to have your ears bleeding after one listen.” Mike Schleibaum, Darkest Hour

“Left to Follow from Day of Reckoning is the perfection of 7 string, fast, technical, catchy and punishing metal.” – Jacky Vincent

“Left To Follow” is viciously heavy and intense! Great hook in the chorus. Smokin’ hot solo and searing tones throughout! Day Of Reckoning is well worth the wait!” – Dave Reffett (Guitarworld.com, Revolver.com, Guitaraficionado.com, Solo Artist, Dangerous Guitar, Shredding The Envelope) 

“Over the top guitar playing with absolute fire. No surprise it’s Rusty Cooely. I’ve known how incredible and dedicated he’s been for some time, now the world can hear for themselves..” Marzi Montazeri

“Rusty Cooley’s Day Of Reckoning. melodic yet punishing, this collects the elements of all the greats into a single package. A modern masterpiece from a true metal master.” Matt Bachand Shadows Fall

“Don’t let the classy somgwriting, the solid production and awesome vocals fool you – Rusty’s stellar guitar work is the star of this show! Listen at your own peril – this is bound to melt your face” Per Nilsson Scar Symmetry

You think metal and shredding are dead? Don’t be a pussy and order Into the Fire Part 1.  Metal and shredding are alive and well!

Available at ITunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and other online music sites.

Cooley and company are hard at work on Into the Fire Part 2!

Follow Day of Reckoning www.dayofreckoningmetal.com https://www.facebook.com/dayofreckoningmetal/


Simona Soddu – Italy’s Young Shredder

By Andrew Catania

It’s exceptional that there’s many up and coming female guitarists.  Meet Simona Soddu.  Simona caught my eye when I was watching her YouTube videos.  Her acoustic version of Megadeth’s Tornado of Souls is phenomenal.  Influenced by John Petrucci, John 5, and Nuno Bettencourt, Simona showcases her talent through the passion you can hear in her playing.  Here’s some more information on Simona.

Simona Soddu was born in Cagliari (Italy), where she currently lives. She started playing guitar at the age of 13, learning from her brother first and then by taking private lessons from Brian Maillard (Solid Vision, Dominici).
In her teens, her main band was Grim Drowsiness (death melodic/prog metal), with whom she played live intensively and recorded a demo in 2009. During the summer of the same year she toured with Brian Maillard’s trio (progressive metal) to promote his first instrumental album called Melody in Captivity. Her role was to play the rhythm guitar parts. Between 2009 and 2011 she collaborated with Magic Salad (folk-rock) recording some guitar
parts in their first album “Every Forest has its Shadows” and playing with them in several live shows. Afterwards, she appeared as guest musician in the rock-opera ‘Checkmate‘ by D.G.I., performing the guitar solo on track 7. Between 2013 and 2014 she recorded her first instrumental solo album ‘Leftovers’ and started to actively run her YouTube channel with over 300 thousand views.
 ‘Leftovers’ is a collection of 11 instrumental tracks entirely composed by Simona Soddu during her whole music growth. All of these compositions were never been released for different reasons: some of them were supposed to be in the first album of her death melodic metal band Grim Drowsiness that eventually split up; others were rejected at the time; and some others were not suitable for the genre of the band she had at the moment of their conception. Thus after a while Simona decided to recover all of these ideas, literally “leftovers”, re-arrange them and put them together in this album. This is the reason why metal tones are often alternated to clean sounds or relaxed rhythms and the genre of Leftovers is overall highly diversified.
Simona recorded all the guitar and bass parts. The drums, as well as the keyboards, were written by Simona and emulated with a sample software, except for track 2, 4, 8 and 10 where drums were played by Davide Sgualdini who also co-produced, engineered, recorded, mixed and mastered the album. ‘Leftovers’ was released on November 14th 2015.

Simona is a talented player, who exuberates sounds of Satriani, and her influences of John 5 and Petrucci.

‘Leftovers’ is available on Spotify, ITunes, and Amazon.


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