Bernth, Elevation (2021)

YouTube guitar virtuoso Bernth releases his first solo instrumental metal album, Elevation.

Bernth is Bernd Brodträger, a well-known guitarist who has played for many bands and done a lot of studio work. He has become extremely well known due to the popularity of his YouTube channel. His background is firmly rooted in extreme and heavy metal, and he can play absolutely anything on guitar.

I started listening to instrumental rock guitar back at the beginning of my musical interest when I heard Frank Zappa’s Shut Up ’N Play Yer Guitar. Zappa became my favorite guitarist then and he will always be my favorite. It’s a formative thing. Hearing Zappa perked my ears up to other instrumental guitar, and the next one I heard that made a big impact on me was Joe Satriani’s Surfing With The Alien. It blew my mind. And then Steve Vai (because he had played for Zappa).

So, since way back then I am looking out for metal and rock instrumental music. The new Bernth album is right up my alley. The playing is unassailably impeccable and practically unbelievable. There is no question that Bernth rises above any standard you’d care to set.

Pick any track from the nine on the new album and listen in amazement. Both electric and acoustic (mostly electric) music, at times delivered at astonishing speed. But of course it is not all about the speed. There are infectious melodies and memorable riffs along with the ravaging lead work. Since it is all instrumental music the guitar does the singing, too, and truly I don’t miss the lyrics or voice at all. The variety of the music keeps you interested and engaged throughout. It is a lot of guitar, of course, so you have to be wanting that to listen in. If that is you then don’t let this one pass by. Recommended.

Elevation is out tomorrow, May 14th. If you hit the Bernth store link below you’ll find many bundles of music and merch.


Bernth store,



Bernth website,

Bernth, Elevation (2021)

Scaphoid, Absent Passages review (Shunu Records 2020)

The first full-length album from Scaphoid is a straight-forward exposition of instrumental guitar fervor.

Scaphoid is Matt Hobart, an Austin, Texas musician who is a one man orchestra. In late 2016 he released a 25-minute EP (Dies Mercurii) under the Scaphoid name and since then has been quiet on that front. Absent Passages is a long awaited and very welcome return.

My earliest exposure to instrumental rock/metal guitar music was Frank Zappa and Shut Up ’N Play Your Guitar (1981). What an eye-opener that was. That album (3 LP set) was a collection of individual pieces Zappa had played from many different places, so it didn’t have a cohesiveness that a planned instrumental album would have. I heard that for the first time in Surfing with the Alien (1987) by Joe Satriani. Since then, for more than thirty years now, I have been constantly on the lookout for high quality instrumental rock guitar. I just found another one.

The single off the album is “Marauder,” and it leads off with a “let’s get acquainted” easiness. The Prog starts to pop at about the one minute mark, and the music takes off from there. When the lead appears, we know we are out of the parking lot and on the road. The style is matter-of-fact, the tone is establishing. Throughout the set ideas and emotions emerge and evolve, as with the very next song, “Shores of Ruin,” that moves the needle from the opener, then has some of its themes reëmerge later in songs like “Celestial Ego.” There is a direction, a trajectory that winds past many wonders but keeps heading for the destination. The closing number is “Infrastricken,” a fourteen minute mini-epic that might just be that destination we saw on the horizon or it could also be a launching pad for whatever comes next. The guitar work by this point has gone through many manifestations and takes, yet there is still more. The creativity and exploration of this final element of Absent Passages is an elegant summary and conclusion to the collection of songs, and could also easily be a stand-alone EP. High regards. Recommended.

On Friday, October 9th you can lay your head back and let the music seep in. Shunu Records and Bandcamp have the goods at the links below.


Scaphoid Bandcamp,

Scaphoid Facebook,

Shunu Records,

Scaphoid, Absent Passages review (Shunu Records 2020)