Dystopia (2016)


In Brazil, Dave Mustaine seems to have found the perfect antidote to the apathy that his Megadeth were suffering from; a leading light (or leading darkness) in the heaviest of heaviest subgenres of the hard rock movement, where the double bass drum reigns supreme along with the screaming, frenetic sound of the electric guitar that he himself helped to develop before being unceremoniously kicked out of Metallica back in 1983. His name is Kiko Loureiro and he is the very embodiment of all the possibilities that our favourite instrument still has left to offer us.  

Pedro Henrique 'Kiko' Loureiro
(Rio de Janeiro, 1972), is the gifted new signing who is without doubt just what the group was crying out for. Their recently-released fifteenth album, Dystopia, has been met with universal acclaim, the critics for once in total agreement, assuring that this is their best work in decades. The record has indeed left many jaws dropping, as the general feeling was that Megadeth were living out their twilight years. After a couple of 'flops' over the last few years which many fans thought were simply inexcusable, with Dystopia the Brazilian guitarist executes the riffs composed by David Mustaine to perfection.

has served to give a much-needed face lift to the Megadeth's sound. Another vital contribution has been that of Chris Adler, the drummer of Lamb of God, a band that today is revered as the gods of trash. With such able bodies, Mustaine could hardly fail.

Without doubt, Loureiro's former group, Angra, have lost an irreplaceable jewel, and are well aware of it. The veteran power metal band enjoys great prestige in this sub-genre, but fully understood the guitarist's reasons for leaving, as this is a marvellous opportunity for him to shine in heavy rock's international spotlight.

You only have to listen to the Brazilian band to see that Mustaine has signed a progressive rock guitarist that shies away from the stereotypical and gimmicky rock solos, but prefers to make things a good deal more complex. He is the perfect counterpoint to the sledgehammer which is Megadeth. This man is a guitarist's guitarist, and is as at home screaming out runaway riffs to the hellish hammering of the double bass drums as he is playing unplugged and picking out the traditional folk music of his home country.

In fact, it is his acoustic that stars in some of the best moments of the album, such as the intro to Conqueror Die, the brilliant instrumental piece that Mustaine included precisely to show off his new show pony's talents. Truth be told, Loureiro has little to prove – he has already enjoyed a successful solo career with four albums, the last one, Sounds of Innocence, released in 2012, being very different to what he is expected to play from now on.

Now he is an outstanding member of the Ibanez family, in which he already has his own line of guitars and all the paraphernalia that goes with them. At kikoloureiro.com.br, all manner of information can be found about the player and his six-stringed models and on the net there are also numerous 'educational' videos for his students.

We are talking here about the sheer cutting edge use (and design, for that matter) of what is guitarsexchange.com's favourite instrument. You might very well not like the 80s' heavy rock that is Megadeth with all their bad boy posturing, but let's just for a moment take our blinkers off and give them another chance. The surprises in store in Dystopia may perhaps give you some valuable lessons to come away with…