11. Criss Oliva
Sometime in 1994 or 1995, when rock music was sudddenly ruling the airwaves here in the Philippines, a pop station played "All That I Bleed". It became a minor hit, and I was struck with how the song hit me like no song ever did before. It's a very sad tune, but when the guitars came in, the only adjective I could describe the feeling is it sounds GLORIOUS. The guitar, especially in the solo, is not difficult at all, but it is so emotional and climactic.
Fast forward to 1997, I had a friend who lent me a cassette tape of the Edge of Thorns album. I was expecting it to be good given how much I loved All That I Bleed, but when I listened to the album, I was blown away. It's the perfect guitar album in a band context, with the catchy riffs, the distinctive and singing leads. Criss Oliva's guitar is flawless in Edge of Thorns and to this day, I still consider it the best guitar playing in a non-solo instrumental guitar album among the albums I have heard.
Fast forward to me gaining internet access in the 2000s. I learned that Criss Oliva is dead and his last album is Edge of Thorns, and I was devastated.
Favorite performances:Edge of Thorns
- the riff leading to the guitar solo is one of the best metal riffs I have heard, but the kicker really is the solo itself. Beautiful.All That I Bleed
- this could very well be a sentimental choice, but to this day, I still view this song as the model on how to use the guitars to build up the climax. When Criss' lead came in, it's a soloing-while-on-top-of-a-mountain-with-the-wind-gloriously-blowing-your-heavy-metal-long-hair moment.