I don't know as much about metal tones, but I bought an Ibanez Talman TC-430 about 7 years ago. I think back then I spent just under $600.00 US. It's extremely comfortable I nothing can touch the great tone for the price I paid.
In general I think Ibanez builds a great axe for your dollar. I'd have to spend 2x on a Strat. to be as happy.