Lead guitarist in my band loves Jacksons (he has a soloist and a warrior), but he recently scored a vintage Charvel, and that thing has a hella cool tone - especially if you're looking for the 80s sound - original stock pickups in it too, i think.
However on a lot of classic records, I'm sure guitarists were using fairly cheap guitars heh - in early Metallica days, Hetfield used an Epiphone V which he "disguised" as the real thing. Fender strats were used a lot - eg Maiden, Exodus, and you'd be hard pressed to find metal band using them these days. who wants to sound like eric clapton
I'd love to score an Ibenez Destroyer! But since I'm a bassist I'm saving for an Ibenez Iceman bass. sexy as hell. I currently play an ESP ltd Viper.
Pickups and amps make more of a difference than the axe alone though i think.