Jeff Loomis (born September 14, 1971) is an American metal guitarist. Known for his highly distinctive and instantly recognizable lead and rhythm styles, he has played a role in numerous big-name bands over the years and gradually worked his way up into becoming a modern-day guitar icon.
He started out playing drums at an early age, but it wasn't until his preteen years that he picked up a guitar and instantly fell in love with it. By the age of sixteen, he had been in various cover bands and a Menasha, Wisconsin-area death metal act, and he also managed to win a Guitar Wars contest in Wisconsin. It was also at the age of sixteen that he managed to audition for Megadeth after Chris Poland was fired; while impressed with his performance, Dave Mustaine told him that he was too young and had too little life experience to be a wise choice, but also reassured him that he would become a great guitarist in his own right. Shortly after this, he saw Cacophony on tour and told Marty Friedman about the auditions; in 1989, Friedman auditioned and got the job.
Not long after this, Loomis became the live guitarist for the Seattle-area power metal act Sanctuary. That run only lasted four months, however, as Sanctuary wound up folding due to general internecine. Undaunted, Loomis formed a new band with former Sanctuary members Warrel Dane and Jim Sheppard and also welcomed in Mark Arrington on drums to form a new band by the name of Nevermore. Nevermore wound up becoming a highly successful and influential band; during his time in Nevermore, Loomis also started a solo project and released Zero Order Phase to great fanfare.
In 2011, various issues led to Loomis and Van Williams leaving Nevermore, putting the band on indefinite hiatus. Loomis went on to focus on his solo career and released a second album, Plains of Oblivion, and actually wound up touring in support of it. He later wound up forming an instrumental supergroup with Keith Merrow, Alex Webster, and Alex Rudinger. That group, Conquering Dystopia, released an eponymous debut after a successful Kickstarter campaign and later wound up touring with Animals as Leaders.
As of 2014, Loomis has joined Arch-Enemy to replace a recently-fired Nick Cordle and is undergoing extensive touring.
- Experiment Fear (unknown)
- Fear-Tech (unknown)
- System (unknown)
- Sanctuary (1992, 2010-2011)
- Nevermore (1992-2011)
- Jeff Loomis (solo work) (2005-present)
- Conquering Dystopia (2013-present)
- Arch-Enemy (2014-present)
- Zero Order Phase (2008)
- Plains of Oblivion (2012)
- Requiem for the Living (2013) - EP, originally part of a special tour-only edition of Plains of Oblivion.
This artist contains examples of the following tropes:
- I Am the Band: This should go without saying with his solo material. Averted with everything else, though he tends to be a Spotlight Stealing Character due to his status.
- Iconic Item: His Schecter Jeff Loomis Signature seven-string (based off the Hellraiser model), though he does use a six-string with Arch Enemy. As of 2018, he has ditched Schecter and moved to Jackson, though he is so well-established as a Schecter artist that it is likely that people will continue to associate that particular guitar with him.
- Instrumentals: Most of his solo work save for "Surrender" and the tracks featuring Christine Rhoades, as well as his work with Conquering Dystopia.
- Melodic Death Metal: His work with Arch Enemy and the three tracks that he recorded with Joe Nurre when the latter was in Loomis' backing band.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Usually between a 7 and an 8, though "Surrender" and the tracks with Joe Nurre push it up to a hard 8 or a soft 9.
- Progressive Metal: With Nevermore and Conquering Dystopia. His solo material has elements of this but is mostly just shred with bits and pieces of various other genres thrown in.
- Signature Style: His lead style is notoriously dark and aggressive and tends to feature extensive usage of the diminished scale and whole tones and involves lots of rapid-fire alternative picking runs, extended sweep-picking runs (best displayed in the solo to "This Godless Endeavor"), and a distinctive vibrato with an exaggerated, almost whining characteristic. His rhythm style, meanwhile, is characterized by a chunky-yet-clear tone that avoids being overtly djenty, along with a very percussive, crawling riffing style that takes bits and pieces from various metal genres and splices them together.
- Special Guest: Loomis is a frequent one of these, and his solo albums have featured spots from Ron Jarzombek, Michael Manring, Pat O'Brien, Marty Friedman, Tony MacAlpine, Attila Voros, Chris Poland, and Ihsahn, among others, while Shane Lentz and Dirk Verbeuren have served as studio session members.
- Teen Genius: Was already winning guitar contests and somehow (he still doesn't know how he was even given one due to his age) got an audition with Megadeth when he was only sixteen.
- Up to Eleven: He's got some stuff that is notoriously difficult to play on guitar even by contemporary standards, namely "Born (The Retribution of Spiritual Sickness)" (which has an exceedingly difficult lead riff on the chorus due to a very fast and complex string-skipping pattern and banjo-like rolls) and "Jato Unit" (which is fast turning into a benchmark track for aspiring shredders in that anyone who can play the entire song at full speed has made it from a technical standpoint).
- Wolverine Publicity: He was starting to get to this point when he was in Nevermore due to frequent guest spots and appearances in guitar magazines, but after he left Nevermore, he really started to blow up.