Wellcome to our list of the best Plugin VST products for metal guitar. This is by no far an end-all list, as I am sure you all have your preferences, it is merely an enumeration of must-have tools to have in your arsenal.
OK, we can’t believe we’re late to the party on this one. If you’ve heard about the Gojira plugin from Neural DSP and want a quick overview, scroll on down. This one has been out since 2021, but we can’t update this list without including it.
One of two virtual instruments on this list, the ample metal hellraiser stands out in its speciality in djent and progressive metal. It’s not often you get virtual instruments designed for such a niche subgenre, but the djent scene has been dominant for some of the past few years.
To choose the best metal guitar vsts, it’s important to know your genre first. However, for popular modern day metal, this is a no brainer. To have such a great virtual instrument dedicated to mimicking these sounds mean that any producer or sound designer looking to get to grips with this technique and how it interacts with the wider components of a track would easily benefit from getting their hands on the Ample Metal Hellraiser.
So, how is it designed? It encompasses literally everything you would need to make an instrumental guitar track with this one single plugin – so, especially if working in genres like shred, it is in some ways pretty all encompassing.
Itis also the kind of gear that you can add to to simply if you feel like experimenting with how different sounds and plugins can work together.
By everything, we mean this includes all you need to create a great mix such as EQ and other FX such as modulation.
The ample metal hellraiser also has a huge variety of kinds of distortion as well as all the amps, cabs, and mics you need to fully define your own sound. Then there is the guitar itself – capable of simulating most kinds of technique from tremolo picking to bends, slides, vibrato, legato, and more.Specifications: Windows 7/8/10, 64-bit only, MacOS 10.9 or higher. VST2, VST3, AU, AAX, or Standalone host.
BEST Plugin VST products for Metal Guitar: PROMINY V METAL
Prominy is more of an underground than a household name, but the company, based in Japan’s far north, has a wide selection of beyond-average creative VSTs. Indeed, the Prominy V-Metal makes this list because of the genuine thought behind it.
Some of the best plugins for metal guitar are big on power and give you a fat, beefy sound.
The Prominy V-Metal is more avante-garde and concerned with replicating the tone and atmosphere many metal guitarists seek across subgenres.
What exactly does it offer then?
Genuinely, the attention to detail of this plugin is second to none and Prominy deserves to have more of a name based on the slick knowledge of what guitarists actually need to make an authentic, raw-sounding recording.
This means picking noises, the ‘cricket’ effect, real-time legato slide, and tone and tons of real chords samples including unusual chords like sus chords, all recording dry directly from the guitar.
Not only does this color and character make the Prominy V-Metal one of the best plugins for metal guitarists, it also has a dark and atmospheric tone that goes beyond the mere focus on power other plugins have.
The Prominy V-Metal is available for MacOS 10.13 to 13, and Windows 8-11 requiring an intel core i5 or equivalent CPU Standalone, VST, AU, and AAX interfaces. It’s not cheap, at close on 300 USD. But for its attention to character alone, we felt it was worth a mention.
There are tons of plugin bundles out there, but there are very few which focus so precisely and distinctively on the needs of metal guitarists beyond simply providing heavy overdrive and ample amounts of distortion. Metal is such a complex genre with an incredible range of different techniques, sounds, and complex mind-bending riffs that go into the playing alone, let alone the intricacies of sound design and production required to separate all these complex and intertwined elements.
What other plugins recognizes the nuances between doom, thrash, djent, hardcore, and so on?
With four discreet amps which can be paired with eight-speaker cabinets and any combination of two of eight microphones, the possibilities for mixing, matching, and crossing the boundaries of genre are numerous.
And for the metal guitarist who loves to play live, the fact that all these plugins appear just as they would on a real pedalboard means that they are easy to pick up in no time at all.Specifications: Operating systems not listed, but available as VST, AU, and AAX plugins for any DAW
As opposed to plugins or FX, Shreddage 3 is a full blown virtual guitar. Beyond the expense and technical expertise needed to hire a luthier to create a physical guitar from scratch, this virtual instrument was a change for the creators at Impact Soundworks to really let their minds run wild with the best things they could come up with for sheer metal force.
What really sets this apart is it’s 8 string, drop-E capabilities designed to create the biggest walls of sound imaginable. So much of Shreddage 3 was recorded just for this virtual instrument itself, meaning you can find sounds which won’t be replicated anywhere else. It does all varieties of playing really well, from crushingly heavy to super clean, intricate tones needed for shred guitar.
Specifications: requires version 5.7 or higher of Kontakt Player – a free sampler from Native instruments. Kontakt Player itself runs on Windows 10 or 11 and MacOS 10.14, 10.15, 11 or 12 (intel) as well as MacOS 11 or 12 (Apple Silicon Macs)
Must not miss this VST product – GOJIRA FROM NEURAL DSP
As its name would suggest, Neural DSP’s Archetype: Gojira plugin is designed by none other than Joe Duplantier from Gojira himself. It’s geared towards the tones the band is known for, including the clarity of their sound, but the features it has appeal to fans of all bands and subgenres.
This is a really well-made plugin. Gojira was one of the most hotly anticipated before its release, and now it’s been on the market a couple of years Neural DSP has not disappointed fans at all.
Here’s a brief rundown of what it has to offer:
9 band graphic equaliser
4 new pre effects, great for subtlety
Cabsim with hundreds of IRs
Link/unlink feature allows you to mix and match amps and cabs
A ‘chasmic’ reverb and delay with tape saturation
And much more!
This is honestly one of the most distinctive and varied metal guitar plugins on the market still as of 2023/24. It’s also great at providing a range of tones from clean and quiet to crushingly heavy (the octave pedal can go two octaves below your dry tone)
Specs: Available in VST Au AAX and Standalone formats. Best compatibility is with the latest OS for Windows and Mac.
Reverb: that quintessential, all-important plugin that no musician or sound designer can do without. Otherwise, unless you want your music to sound flat, dry, dull, and sterile, you can’t exactly avoid adding in the natural echoes and reverberations that would exist in a live studio recording but which get taken away when you work on a DAW.
That’s where reverb plugins step in. Nevertheless, reverb for metal guitarists generally is a bit more unique and specialised than it is for pop or the lighter forms of rock. That’s because the complex riffs and techniques used in metal as well as the layers of sound and production that go into a heavy track alter things considerably. This makes it crucially important to add great reverb so as to prevent muddling of the sounds as well as it sounding unnatural.
For metal and rock a large variety of reverb types is also extremely important and this is where the Reverb V2 really comes into its own. This reverb plugin has been used on albums by Slipknot and Tool amongst others, and is unique in its wealth of reverb varieties. In fact, this has the ability to emulate the classic atmospheric spaces beloved of reverb designers such as churches – but also for its combination of algorithmic reverb with more traditional reverb types to combine flexibility with depth of sound.
For the complex layered sounds of metal, a producer must have plenty of options, and this plugin allows up to six different types of reverb to be in use at a time. In combination with compression, modulation, and extreme amounts of creative control over the timings, distance, and quality of different parts of the reverb.
Honestly, this is one of the most in-depth and technical – but therefore indispensable – reverbs on the market for metal and rock guitarists.Specifications: Not listed on site but predecessors ran on both MacOS and Windows in all formats
So there you have it – a mixed, yet versatile and highly worthwhile bag of some of the most creative plugins for rock and metal guitarists of 2023. These plugins will boost your creativity, have you writing completely different riffs to what you are used to, and change the way you think about music.