It just wasn't that long ago that I wrote about the Ibanez RG90BKP 9 string Prestige (HERE), and much to my giddiness, I was able to not only find a demo video of this new axe, but was able to find a demo video with none other than After The Burial's Justin Lowe demoing this amazing new instrument! After The Burial was long known for their usage of 7 and 8 string guitars, so when the time came to demo a guitar with NINE strings, who on Earth could possibly do a better job than Justin?
With their riffs crafted around both the insane low tuned strings and the high strings for melodic riffs and layering, ATB offered something entirely different in the proggy/deathy/metalcore scene, and it all was derailed far too soon.
Thanks to the twin guitar assault of guitarists Justin Lowe and Trent Hafdahl, (seen here in recent form and as their younger selves)...
...ATB offered some seriously heavy tunes that were also chock full of tasty musicianship. There was some real genius in the songwriting, and many times offered sounds and riffs that were totally outside convention. Take for instance the aptly-named "Cursing Akhenaten":
That main lick (featuring tapping, trills, arpeggios, plus a complete harmony motif) that goes on during the chorus is easily one of the coolest things I have heard on guitar in my entire life. You just don't come across riffs in that mode very often, nor riffs that have such beautiful harmonies; plus all the other heavy groove that comes from the band.
Well, as many of you may know, Justin Lowe (the man who made Lacoste metal and aficionado of awesome neon green guitars) seemed to be suffering from a severe mental breakdown recently when he released a very lengthy Facebook post to his fans on his personal page.
It has since been taken down, but this post was laden with paranoia and conspiracy theories all alleging that his family, friends, record label, bandmates, and acquaintances from his earlier life were all out to frame him and ruin his name.
After posting this, he soon quit ATB, leaving many fans wondering about him and the future of the band. And it only got more confusing and tragic with each passing day. Sadly, only a few days later, he was reported missing after his car was found empty.
Confirming everyone's worst fears, worry turned to tragedy when his body was discovered near the Arcola High Bridge in Wisconsin by a passing hiker only a few days after that. Authorities reported his cause of death to be consistent with a fall.
Fans around the world are grieving the loss of the 32 year old guitarist, and we would like to all offer our condolences as well to his family and friends. It is an extremely tragic loss to the music community.
Justin Lowe, may you riff in peace forever. A guitarist who always loved to teach, Justin offered countless free tutorials and play-throughs on how to play his material with bandmate Trent. He leaves behind a legacy of amazing music that will live on forever. Here are some of my personal favorite video lessons of this amazing musician who went too soon...
Not to mention their epic 12 Days of Riffmas:
We'll miss you Justin