Best Bassist of 2015 – 5th Annual Loudwire Music Awards
It’s time to acknowledge the cornerstones of every band who often don’t get their fair share of the credit: the bassists! These guys bring the thunder and make their music so heavy, but are far too often overshadowed by their bandmates, unless they’re named Lemmy.
The following 10 hard rock and metal bassists all made major contributions in 2015 and it can be agreed that none of their bands would be the same without them. It’s time to vote for the Best Bassist of 2015 in the 5th Annual Loudwire Music Awards! Check out the nominees below, and keep voting every hour until the polls close on Dec. 1 at 8AM ET!
Dan Briggs is responsible for holding down the rhythm as well as adding his expansive touch on Between the Buried and Me‘s Coma Ecliptic. The album has a cinematic feel, which sees Briggs flipping the switch and employing a host of different techniques across the album’s 68 minute span. With the band at the forefront of progressive metal, Briggs has some of the busiest fingers in the business.
Disturbed have always been a bit of a slugfest, churning out stomping riffs with John Moyer‘s bass bringing the low end that makes the band even heavier. When sheer heaviness is the name of your game, it helps to have someone like Moyer punishing low frequencies, as evidenced on the band’s new album, ‘Immortalized.’ Adding to that, Moyer also played bass on albums from Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime and the supergroup Art of Anarchy.
Enslaved’s Grutle Kjellson is a spectacle behind the four strings. Serving as the band’s primary vocalist, his playing is often rigid while unleashing his throaty rasp, but frees himself up during the more progressive passages of the outfit’s music. The more rigid playing helps the band retain their black metal roots, but he isn’t afraid to venture into new territory either. Check out his playing on the band’s latest disc, In Times.
Billy Gould is a guy who can do it all. Helping anchor one of rock’s most dynamic groups, Faith No More, who came back this year with the new disc Sol Invictus, the bassist utilizes his fingers just as much as a pick, bringing different sounds to whatever the music calls for. Many have wondered about his tone over the years, but he uses the same bass and just focuses in on how each hand interplays with the other to create a host of different sounds.
Ghost‘s approach on Meliora was grandiose yet stripped down at the same time. Sticking with simplicity for the most part, the band aimed to make their album sound like a mass. The Nameless Ghoul behind the bass added some depth, utilizing trills to bring forth a different dynamic. While the music itself is largely in feel-good territory, the bass brings things to a darker place.
Though Steve Harris took a minor step back in terms of shouldering the bulk of the songwriting load on The Book of Souls, his contributions are still as important as ever. Penning the epic “The Red and the Black,” Harris revisits some familiar Iron Maiden territory with a new twist on things with some playful composition. His trademark gallop is as present as ever and a mainstay that has helped Maiden retain their definitive sound after all these years.
The uncompromising Lemmy Kilmister is the epitome of the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Over 40 years into his career, Lemmy along with Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee delivered another album (Bad Magic) of pure, unadulterated rock and heavy metal fusion that can only be categorized as Motorhead. After more than 20 albums, Lemmy still mines riff after riff, drawing from his never-ending supply.
Shane Embury of Napalm Death is a grinding madman. With an incredibly abrasive bass tone, he treats his instrument like a weapon of sonic violence, angrily smashing his fingers away at his instrument. With 28 years of Napalm Death on his résumé, Embury is just as punishing of a force as he was when he joined the band.
Ed Bass has been locking down the rhythm in Queensryche with drummer Scott Rockenfield for over 30 years. Rockenfield constantly moves around his kit, leaving it up to Jackson to really anchor the band. He throws in some new tricks and completely throws down on “Guardian,” helping inject a fresh sense of energy on Condition Human.
Bass legend Billy Sheehan is a powerhouse on Hot Streak, the newest album from the Winery Dogs. His driving playing blurs the line between rhythm and lead, filling both roles simultaneously. The band employs one guitar, but Sheehan is able to fill the role of a second without ever straying too far from the bass needs of the band.