By Andrew Catania
What does one need to do to get a bit of respect? A neoclassical metal legend lives among us, and major publications don’t pay him any mind. Chris Impellitteri is a heavy metal god. This is a fact that true metal aficionados would efficiently relay to anyone asking about the genre’s titans. However, there are still who remain oblivious to his prolific output, even after stumbling upon his amazing tracks.
His work is available on all major platforms – YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music to name a few. His band’s latest full-length album “The Nature of the Beast” is due for release in October this year. What do major publications like Rolling Stone, Billboard, and others have to say about that? Not a single word. Just crickets.
That’s partly due to the nature of the music industry. The industry is only interested in the flavor of the month. They want viral artists who can give them streaming numbers. They command the airwaves. They get the promotional push.
A genre like speed metal, where the focus is on technical prowess, is left in the dust. People who shouldn’t be let close to a stage or recording booth are given record deals while playing instruments is framed as ‘dated.’ To make matters worse, the industry has no qualms about pushing music with auto-tuned vocals over the same beat with slight variations.
In such a sad state of affairs, publications like Guitar Player have a responsibility to give the genre and the people who have kept its flame alive their due credit. However, they have reneged on their duty by overlooking someone like Chris Impellitteri.
The name Impelliteri commands enormous respect from fans of the genre to this day. His fast and tasty riffs have been responsible for igniting the passion for guitar playing among the youth. The Internet has played a huge part in this.
Impellitteri has put out one solid album after another. It’s the reason why he continues to have fans from different generations, despite being considered absent from the scene.
Another source of his following is his work with Animetal USA – a supergroup that was started as a tribute to the Japanese metal band Animetal. Animetal USA has only two albums to its name but within them lie the most amazing covers of tracks from beloved anime series.
The raw power of these covers draws not only metal fans but also anime fans. If one is a fan of both, the sheer power of the two worlds colliding is exhilarating and overwhelming. It undoubtedly strengthens the love and appreciation for the two mediums.
Some people’s only point of reference for Impellitteri’s music is “that American metal band that’s big in Japan.” Their success in the Land of the Rising Sun is seen as a curiosity. However, the explanation for this is very plain and straightforward; artists gravitate towards the places where their craft gets appreciation. It is no surprise that Impellitteri continues to release music and do tours in the country.
Chris Impellitteri’s discography is something that needs to be revisited as well. The guitar virtuoso, widely considered as one of the fastest guitarists in the world, has been active since 1983. In that duration, he has produced ten albums and 3 EPs. Considering there is a new release coming from his band this year, the ball is now in the court of major publications.
Impellitteri doesn’t need the validation. They are still releasing music, shredding guitars and rocking out at live shows. What these publications should consider is who they are missing out on by ignoring the guitar legend; the real metal fans.
This is the right time for these music publications to get acquainted with Impellitteri’s music and do a retrospect. It’ll do them and their content-hungry readers some good.