By Andrew Catania
Mesmerizing the crowd with killer guitar riffs, doing solos at breakneck speed, and creating profound melodies with aggressive tugging of the guitar strings, Chris Impellitteri takes no prisoners on the fretboard. Impellitteri stands as a laudable figure of the neoclassical, heavy metal genre, and unfailingly carries the legacy of the legendary shredders before him.
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.
This renowned shredding titan started off his career in 1987 by co-founding the band Impellitteri with vocalist Rob Rock. After releasing their first EP, the band further expanded with the addition of various members. Later in his career, Impellitteri reunited with Rob Rock and released Wicked Maiden and Venom. Together the duo created some of the most aggressive neoclassical music to date.
Having a music career that spans more than three decades, Impellitteri has released ten full-length albums and sold over two million records across the globe. He has worked with some highly reputed names including Michael Wagener, the man who has produced big acts like Metallica and The Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne.
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 and Guitar World 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 Impellitteri 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.
The way Impellitteri shreds makes him stand out from the rest of the crowd. While his speed is unreal, the music is a hi-octane melody. Chris Impellitteri’s fans know that speed doesn’t have to mean clamor and racket. They keep coming back to his records and shows for that unique mix of harmony and adrenaline rush. The speed of the riff and the soulful music goes hand in hand with Impellitteri’s compositions.
Impellitteri doesn’t need 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.