Top Ten Heavy Metal Bass Players

Lemmy from Motorhead
Lemmy from Motorhead
John Gilhooley/OC Weekly

In the past, we've brought you the best of what heavy metal has to offer in terms of guitarists, and drummers, but now we look to a role that is sometimes under rated but always under appreciated.

Metal's four-string instrument provides a solid foundation of rhythm, centering the music and allowing the guitar, drums and vocals to take center stage. But the following ten bass players rise above their mere musicianship to provide more than just a backdrop. They provide a pivotal creative, driving force behind the music that cannot be denied.

We now present the top ten bassists in heavy metal:

10. Shane Embury (Napalm Death)

Although he is not a founding member of the legendary grindcore band Napalm Death, Shane Embury might as well be. He has lasted the longest, among a band that has had dozens of members in its three decade long career, having been part of the tour to promote the album,


(1987). As Napalm Death's bassist, Embury's duties require precision, strength, and insane amounts of speed and endurance behind the four strings. Embury's talents shine through with each Napalm Death record, and live intense and sometimes violent live performances. Embury's bass lines actually accent and mimic the drumming style known as blast beats. Though he may be in his mid-40s, as a bass player, Embury is on fire and shows no sings of slowing down. He is extremely active in the extreme metal/hardcore punk community of musicians, also performing with such bands as Venomous Concept, Lock Up, Brujeria, Unseen Terror and countless others.

9. Steve Digiorgio (Sadus, Death, Autopsy)

Another bass player in his mid-40s, Steve Digiogio is known as one of death metal's most respected bass players. He was a founding member of the Bay Area thrash-metal band Sadus, and throughout his extensive career in heavy metal music, played bass for bands such as DEATH, Autopsy, Obituary, Testament, Iced Earth and even Sebastian Bach and the rapper Necro. From his ability to switch tempos in a heart beat to a stand-out sense of timing and epic death-metal bass solos, Digiorgio is one of heavy metal's most versatile and sought after bass players for recording and tours.

8.Paul Gray (Slipknot)

Known to maggots around the world as Pig or #2, Paul Gray was a driving force and one of the founding members of Iowa's heavy-metal masked madmen, Slipknot. Being part of a nine-member band might sound crazy, and it is, but Gray fit in with Slipknot's early anonymity, even as the band blew up in the early 2000s, earning Grammy nominations, selling millions of records and touring the world. Gray's energetic, heavy and thunderous, thrashy-yet-underlying-funky style of bass set up Slipknot to be the enigmatic musical masterpiece it has become. He had a certain magical way of sliding around the bass to create vivid and distorted sounds that came to life in each of Slipknot's songs. But, sadly, Gray's inner demons, and struggles with drug addiction took over, and in 2010, he was tragically found dead, due to a drug overdose, in a motel room in Iowa. In the years since Gray's untimely passing, Slipknot has resurrected (without another founding member, drummer Joey Jordisson) and

vows to continue

on in honor of Gray's spirit and musical legacy.

Read more: Slipknot's Corey Taylor Talks Knotfest, New Album and Paranormal Experiences

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