Listening to Morbid Angel's Altars of Madness, one realises the richness and integrality of Azagthoth's guitar soloing- Frenzied, warped: mimetic. Eschewing traditional masturbatory pentatonic runs (and in the moments when he does indulge, they are delivered through such a distorted lens as to only associate themselves with the pools of madness which the rest of his soloing speaks of), the solo work speaks of confusion, of insanity. Excellent.
However, listening to most other metal bands, one sees a tendency toward sub-proficient (that is contrasted against the legends) guitar soloing that is too in-line with the profligacy of Malmsteen and his ilk; that is, simply a flagrant display of showmanship which doesn't further the song in any way outside of pleasing the tech-heads and guitar wizards.
The question I ask, after recently listening to the spew of melodic efforts (and whatever else), is how important is the guitar solo to cerebral metal? What does the guitar solo represent in cerebral metal, and is it succesful, or merely another element which steers the genre toward the more populist efforts in terms of structure and expectancy? Certain bands, Asphyx amongst them, barely use the solo, and I feel that were they to use solos of the speed-metal ilk (which are plastered all over death metal bands), it would detract from their essence.
The presence of guitar solos in metal is too often an excuse to showcase ability, or to popularize the music by appealing to mainstream techniques, rather than narrative investigation.