They rock, they shred and quite simply they provide the grit and substance of most bands. They're the guitarists. And there were plenty of guitarists who left their mark on 2014. Some of rock and metal's finest players have been chosen as nominees in the Best Guitarist of 2014 category and it's up to you to let us know who deserves the 4th Annual Loudwire Music Awards honor.

These axe slingers stepped up to the plate in 2014 and made sure you were thoroughly rocked. So take a look at the nominees and then tell us which one should be crowned the Best Guitarist of 2014.

  • 1

    Fredrik Akesson

    Opeth

    Opeth's 'Pale Communion' album was a true revelation in 2014 and part of the reason for the album's warm reception was guitarist Fredrik Akesson. Whether dealing with the album's intricacies or delivering the right amount of heaviness, Akesson was spot on, giving a standout performance.

    Liz Ramanand, Loudwire
  • 2

    DJ Ashba

    Sixx: A.M. / Guns N' Roses

    DJ Ashba pulled double duty in 2014, delivering the edge to some of rock's most well-known songs on tour with Guns N' Roses and spending time in the studio with Sixx: A.M. For the latter project, Ashba got a chance to explore his influences, delivering '70s-inspired glam stomp one moment and full throttle licks the next, making 'Modern Vintage' one of the year's most eclectic discs.

    Kathy Flynn, WickedGoddessPhotography.com
  • 3

    Brad Delson

    Linkin Park

    Linkin Park have changed their direction several times over the years, and in 2014 things came full circle to put the spotlight on guitarist Brad Delson for 'The Hunting Party' album. The guitar-driven, heavier disc gave Delson a chance to shine, bringing the aggression, attitude and grit back to the band while also giving him a chance for a few solo, as well.

    Kevin Winter, Getty Images
  • 4

    Richie Faulkner

    Judas Priest

    Richie Faulkner has been a true revelation for Judas Priest, often being credited by Rob Halford for revitalizing the band. The guitarist was included in the songwriting process for 'Redeemer of Souls' and his influence can be felt in many of the disc's incendiary licks and blistering riffs.

    Ethan Miller, Getty Images
  • 5

    Richard Kruspe

    Emigrate

    Fans have come to know Richard Kruspe for the licks he lays down as part of Rammstein, but in 2014 the rocker delivered a new album from his band Emigrate that truly rocked. Kruspe's aggressive style and hard driving tracks made for one of the year's more enjoyable discs and his guitar work led the way.

    Andreas Rentz, Getty Images
  • 6

    Paul Masvidal

    Cynic

    Cynic took a big leap forward with their latest album 'Kindly Bent to Free Us' and Paul Masvidal was right at the center of the effort. The sci-fi influenced disc gets a little sludgy in all the right spots and Masvidal's playing truly opens up on their latest album to be some of his finest work to date.

    Season of Mist
  • 7

    Tom Maxwell

    Hellyeah

    Hellyeah changed things up in 2014 and guitarist Tom Maxwell comes more to the forefront with the band's 'Blood for Blood' album. The axeman brings the heavy on such standouts as 'Sangre Por Sangre (Blood for Blood)' and 'Cross to Bier,' but shows his range with some more intricate arrangements on 'Moth' and 'Demons.'

    Mary Ouellette, SheWillShootYou.com
  • 8

    Slash

    Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators

    Slash remains one of the world's most well known guitarists and there's a reason why. He truly rocks. The guitar great once again shows his mastery on the epic 'World on Fire' album, delivering some of the year's most blistering licks while also showing some more intricate arrangements on other tracks.

    Samir Hussein, Getty Images
  • 10

    Zakk Wylde

    Black Label Society

    Black Label Society returned with one of the year's better albums, 'Catacombs of the Black Vatican.' Zakk Wylde was once again front and center with his guitar mastery capturing most of the attention. Equal parts heavy, bluesy and swampy, Wylde fills the disc with a little something for everyone and shows he's got range to spare.

    eOne
  • 9

    Angus Young

    AC/DC

    AC/DC have a definite sound and Angus Young has been a big part of that over the years. The rocker showed he hasn't lost a step with the band's new 'Rock or Bust' album, as he delivers straight forward infectious guitar licks with the best of them. There's plenty of instant classics on the album due in part to Young's rock awesomeness.

    Kevin Mazur, Getty Images