Who doesn’t love a little shred? There’s such a cool intensity to watch a really incredible player rip through a sick guitar solo; if I hadn’t spent so much of my adolescence trying to explain my friends why Buckethead was the coolest guitar player in the world, I might not have ended up here talking about music in the first place! Even more impressive is someone with solid songwriting chops to back up their technical ability, and 22-year old Raz Azraai has both in spades. Since moving to LA from Malaysia to attend the Musician’s Institute, Azraai has found himself playing in a myriad of musical projects to show off his skills. Below are two examples of Azraai’s work so far:
As a player influenced as much by Rod Stewart as he is Van Halen, “I Feel Alive” is a straight-ahead track that pays homage to Azraai’s rock and roll roots, but with plenty of room for some soaring leads. The second video here, a playthrough for a song called “Vulture,” is a pure shred track that covers plenty of sonic ground from loud to heavy, but shows off his knack for building complex, memorable melodies and shredding with a purpose, rather than just technicality for the sake of it.
Find more music from Raz Azraai on his official website, and keep an eye out for what he does next. Look for him on the 2015 Mayhem Festival lineup with a band called Art of Shock!