Good day all,
When I am listening to metal, or any music for that matter, I have a tendency to pay particular attention to the bass player and his work throughout a song or album. I do not know what first drew me to the bass, maybe because it had four strings instead of six I thought it would be easier to learn, boy was I wrong. There are some amazing bass players out there some like Geezer Butler who I think is extremely underrated, Steve Harris of Iron Maiden who makes all other aspiring bass players quiver at the speed of his fingers, and Geddy Lee who can make a sound and a rhythm with his bass that is virtually UN-immitatable.
But I am not sure that we give enough credit to the bassists out there in the metal world. Metal music now is so fast and in your face that at times I think we forget how talented these bass players are. Take for instance Robert Trujillo of Metallica, sure Metallica has an issue in general on allowing a bass player to shine but check out his previous bands Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves, he is a four string wizard that is the focal point of a lot of their songs. Trust me I understand why he joined Metallica but I think he gave up a little something to do so.
In general though, especially in heavy metal there is a tendency to look past the bass player in a band. One reason may be because for a long time the bass player stood in the back of the stage and gave all of the glory to the guitars and vocals (think Ian Hill and Michael Anthony). Additionally and probably appropriately, guitar shredders take a majority of the spotlight from the rest of the band anyway. When one thinks of Slayer, you think of the mad guitar skills of Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman not the important and solid bass work of Tom Araya, granted Tom’s bass work has probably declined in past years with his medical issues but he is still a reason Slayer has the sound that they have. But as we all know the bass player is an integral part of the sound and really great bass players can make all of the difference in the sound of the music. Once again look at Butler and Harris, without their amazing talent and innovative playing, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden would have been two completely different bands. Look at the sound and rhythm that Rex Brown gave Pantera, take a minute and listen to “A New Level”, the cascading bass line and the crushing rhythm is a great example of how a bass player is so intricate in a bands sound.
I know that what I am saying about bass players is relatively common information, but I ask that the next time you listen to your favorite artist try to identify that bass sound that is probably pretty unique to the music that has been formed. The rhythm is as important to the music as anything and the unsung players should get some more credit. We all love the guitar shredder and the talent that they bring to any band, but without the bass player it would all be chaos!
Song of the day: http://youtu.be/kIa1LocoPq8
Until later, Peace,