Keyboards in heavy music aren't nearly as popular today as they once were, now typically reserved for power metal acts with a propensity for melodic excess. Before twin guitars rose to prominence in the mid-to-late '70s (thanks, Judas Priest), the standard rock outfit featured one guitarist and a keyboard player. These two backed one another when the other took a solo and created some of the most fiery duels in rock history.

In this Loud List, we celebrate the keyboardists of old as well as those who have kept the boards alive and well in heavy metal since the instrument waned in popularity as the 1980s rolled around. Of course, what kind of list would this be without acknowledging late Deep Purple legend Jon Lord? Plugging his organ into a Marshall amp, he pioneered a new and heavier sound that dominated the burgeoning proto-metal scene, leaving an indelible mark on the genre.

As for the more modern keyboard players, Dream Theater's Jordan Rudess is among the elite for his versatility, capable of padding lush atmospheres underneath sweeping, cinematic moments. Showing off his more frenetic abilities, he's also one of the best soloists in progressive metal. Since we're on the thread of solos, let's not discount Janne Wirman of Children of Bodom, who has stayed toe-to-toe with guitarist and frontman Alexi Laiho, one of the world's most revered guitarists, especially on the neoclassical front.

We're not going to reveal who else is on here and to find out the other players who made our list of the 10 Best Rock + Metal Keyboardists, check out the video at the top of the page!

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