"ARCH ENEMY is a metal band… I'm metal, I have played metal my whole life and I wanted to have my signature model to be extremely aggressive-looking," reasoned ace guitarist Jeff Loomis of his approach to his new collaboration with Jackson.
In the video below, Loomis breaks down the inspiration and features of his brazen USA Signature Jeff Loomis Kelly model — from the unique chrome logo to his signature Seymour Duncan Blackouts pickups.
Emulating the brisk fretwork of his guitar idols, Loomis first burst on the music scene in his home state of Wisconsin as a teenager. After being crowned the winner of a Guitar Wars competition and a battle of the bands with his first band, FEAR-TECH, Loomis landed an audition with MEGADETH. Then only 16 years old, he was deemed too young to join, and instead went on to craft a complex playing style all his own.
Loomis has since seared his mark on multiple subgenres of metal with his distinctive rhythmic style, smooth technique and breakneck speed. His uncommon guitar style and sharp songwriting prowess became central to Seattle-based progressive metal band NEVERMORE's sound, as heard on acclaimed albums "Dead Heart In A Dead World" and "This Godless Endeavor".
Loomis said his connection with Jackson dates all the way back to the early '90s and his earliest days with NEVERMORE.
"I started playing Jackson guitars early on in my youth and in the early stages of my first band, NEVERMORE," Loomis said. "To be able to work with their excellent staff of amazing luthiers and craftsman on a one-to-one basis now is really a dream come true."
Last year, Loomis confirmed to All That Shreds that he had left Schecter Guitars after an over-a-decade-long successful collaboration.
"I have nothing but good things to say about Schecter Guitars," he said. "Excellent people that work there. It was just one of those things where I was with him for 12 years and wanted a change.
"I think my legacy was always the Jeff Loomis JL-7 model. It's always been the model that's sold the most and is the most popular. I tried some other guitar designs with the company, and they weren't so successful.
"I just felt personally like I wanted to move on and be a free agent and be able to play whatever I want to play because I'm an avid collector of guitars. I've got a bunch of Les Pauls and Strats, and they've always been sitting around my house collecting dust.
"When it comes down to an endorsement, you can only play what you're endorsing, and I wanted more freedom to play any guitar out of my collection.
"I got fed up with that. I was just like, 'Guys, you know, I think my time has come where, after 12 years of being with the company I just want to be free.' That's what happened, you know. They were a bit disappointed.
"I think sometimes you need to change and you just move on from it and try something else."
After departing NEVERMORE, Loomis released two solo albums bursting with intricate fretboard action and soaring solos. Now, as guitarist for world-renowned Swedish melodic death metal act ARCH ENEMY, he adds brute force to his masterful and complex playing, and he continues to build on his legacy with truly astonishing riffs.
Loomis's spellbinding playing is heard on latest ARCH ENEMY release, "Will To Power", which the band is now touring behind.
Photo credit: Alfonso Dávila Lucio