52 guitarists, week 12—Scott Ian

If you’ve read any of the previous entries in this 52 guitarists series, you’ll know I favour the rhythm guitarists out there. Especially the incredibly good ones. The twelfth entry in this series is not only one of the greatest rhythm guitarists alive—my website, my opinions—but he is also one of the biggest fans alive of another iconic rhythm guitarist, Malcolm Young. So he obviously keeps on winning. That’s just one reason why I admire Scott Ian from Anthrax as much as I do.

Scott Ian was one of the first people I followed on Twitter from memory. I did this because he’s not just an amazing guitarist, but he’s also an incredibly talented and intelligent man. If anybody can showcase how a metal guitarist is not one dimensional, it’s Scott Ian. His interests in music are diverse as are his non-musical interests. I won’t focus on that, but they’re certainly worth mentioning.

My introduction to Scott Ian was through Anthrax—I feel like saying “D’uh!” about here—and their State of Euphoria album. As I’ve done with many bands, I then researched their back catalogue. As someone who was a huge James Hetfield fan already, I quickly became impressed with Scott Ian’s rhythm ability. I think more than any other metal rhythm guitarist, the saying “the man is a machine” applies here. The rhythm guitar accuracy all Anthrax tracks have is just amazing.

For me, a favourite track on State of Euphoria is Now It’s Dark. Feel free to listen to the track below as you continue to read on.

You’re welcome.

Many things changed through Anthrax’s history. This band saw more line-up changes than most bands experience. Scott Ian always seemed to be one constant that stuck it out no matter what. He’s therefore one of the reasons the band has managed to maintain its relevance in the world of metal. He’s done this in a way that has resulted in two recent albums—Worship Music and For All Kings—that not only showcase what this band is still capable of, but shows new bands in the genre how it is still done.

If Scott Ian was ever a machine, he’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Just check out his studio work from Worship Music in the video below. Amazing.

That accuracy as he plays the track Fight ‘Em “Till You Can’t still blows my mind.

But as I mentioned earlier, Scott Ian is more than just an epic shredder in Anthrax. Search YouTube well enough and you’ll find plenty of footage of him playing bass in many KISS covers as well as some other pretty impressive collaborative pieces of work on the occasional rock track—including the work with his wife Pearl Aday.

There’s one particular piece of non-Anthrax work he did though that I seriously liked.

The Damned Things released a very thorough rock album a few years back. They looked like they had fun and they released some amazing heavy rock tracks. This wasn’t all showcasing shred work. This was pure honest and brilliant rock work.

Scott Ian plays the guitarist part perfectly. Whatever is required is what he nails. That’s the kind of passion I love in all of my favourite guitarists. That’s why I’m drawn to the guitar in the first place after all. Passion. Scott Ian has it. It helps that he makes that feeling contagious.


This is not a top guitarists list and there is no significance in the order the guitarists are placed in the list. This is simply a collection of guitarists that have been influential to me.

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