Ahrue Luster is known as the lead guitarist for Latin Metal band “Ill Niño”. He is also a former guitarist for the bands “Machine Head”, “Manmade God”, and a Bay Area Thrash Metal act called “The Horde of Torment”, whom were originally called “Pestilence”, but had to change their name because the national act “Pestilence” signed to Roadrunner Records.
Ahrue joined “Ill Niño” during the second album titled “Confession”. Ahrue was asked to try out by long time friend Dave Chavarri, whom he originally met during the “Thrash Metal HeyDay” of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ahrue plays an ESP Signature Series guitar. This guitar was first released while Ahrue was in Ill Niño, but the guitar was based on a design that he came up with while in “Machine Head”. The guitar is a thinline, Sunburst ESP Viper which includes spades as fret inlays. He chose the spade inlays because his mother, whom bought him his first guitar, was a career blackjack dealer in Las Vegas.
Although he isn’t the original lead guitarist of “Ill Niño”, Ahrue became one of the main songwriters as well as musical contributors.” Ill Niño” is a great fit for Ahrue musically, because of his love of not only aggressive, heavy music, but also the many other styles of music including the cultural music of South America and Spain. Ahrue grew up listening to only metal, but as he became more and more of a musician as he began to explore the many other styles of music.
Ahrue’s first professional recording experience was during his “Machine Head” days, most known for the album “The Burning Red”. This record received mixed responses from the media and fans. “The Burning Red” was best known as “Machine Head”’s second best selling album in the United States. However, in 3 years, it sold as many albums as “Burn My Eyes” sold in 8.
Ahrue left “Machine Head” because “he felt creatively unfulfilled with his role in the band” and “was told that, as a member of “Machine Head”, he was not allowed to seek fulfillment in any side projects”. Ahrue decided to remain true to being an artist, so his only choice was to leave the band.
Ahrue is often thought for being responsible for the controversial musical direction of “Machine Head”’s albums intitled, “The Burning Red” and “Supercharger”. This, however, is untrue because the direction of Machine Head at that time had more to do with Roadrunner Records pressuring them to achieve a sound more analogous to the nu metal acts like Korn and Limp Bizkit.