By Bryan Beller
Yes, there really is a cartoon character on the cover of the April 2010 issue of Bass Player. But that’s no ordinary animated dude; it’s William Murderface of the quantruple- platinum, über-brutal metal band Dethklok, an act so big that their record sales can affect the economies of major Western countries for good or ill. What, you’re not happy to see a cartoon act taking over the world? Listen here, friend: When your band moves the merch like Murderface does, we’ll talk.
In all seriousness, why is he on the cover? And stranger yet, why did we interview a “bassist” who originates from a television show (Metalocalypse, on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming)? Because right now metal is simply huge, and bassists in modern metal are stepping up to the plate big-time—bursting through even the most dense mixes, and pushing the perceived boundaries of bass further than ever before.
We’re not just talking about accessible, formulaic tunes with heavy guitars and chugging eighth-note bass lines. Today’s “mainstream,” commercially successful metal is increasingly more crushing, uncompromising, challenging, and esoteric. Songs and arrangements have a depth and breadth that reach far beyond metal. The bassists featured in this story are drawing from jazz, hardcore punk, fusion, ska, rock, blues, classic metal, Latin, Arabic music, and who knows what else. Even the bands keeping it relatively simple feature bass lines—and new standards in aggressive bass tones—that blow preconceived notions of metal bassists as second-class musical citizens to smithereens.
While a story on today’s metal bass community could easily dominate a whole issue, we could only focus on ten bassists—okay, eleven counting Murderface. Ever wonder what the difference is between death metal, black metal, and progressive metal? Jump to the metal subgenre primer to get caught up on the jargon. So, with no remorse, but with one disclaimer—that this writer is the bassist for the live Dethklok shows, and was assigned this article by Bass Player’s editorial staff—let’s talk to ten of the bassists helping to create The New Golden Age Of Metal...
- Byron Stroud, Fear Factory
- Chris Beattie, Hatebreed
- Dan Briggs, Between The Buried And Me
- Jeroen Paul Thesseling, Obscura
- John Campbell, Lamb Of God
- Liam Wilson, The Dillinger Escape Plan
- Nate Newton, Converge
- Ryan Martinie, Mudvayne
- Sharlee D'Angelo, Arch Enemy
- Steve DiGiorgio, Extreme Metal Session Ace
- William Murderface, Dethklok
- Metal Subgenres 101
- Dig Deeper with More Metal Mastery!