Modern metallers Killswitch Engage have founded their reputation on complex but anthemic music that pulls in audiences worldwide. As KSE unleash their new album, Disarm The Descent, and head on tour through Europe, bassist Mike D’Antonio runs BGM through five albums that shaped his playing.
Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast (1982)
My introduction to Steve Harris’s new approach to bass playing, while catering to new singer Bruce Dickinson’s vocal strengths. What can be said about one of the greatest metal masterpieces ever made? You say you want some bass gallops? This album is non-stop bass pony rides! If you haven’t heard it in a while, throw this bad boy on and relish the exceptional stylings of the great Mr. Harris. There are very few bass players in heavy metal or anywhere else who can play a melodic fill as well as he can.
T.S.O.L. – Revenge (1986)
Mike Roche is the glue that keeps this record cohesive. On Revenge, the bass takes over, and holds down the rhythm while the guitar sprinkles texture minimally on top. I am even willing to bet that this record would be just as successful with- out guitars on it at all… that’s how great the bass is. T.S.O.L. have always been one of my very favourite bands for that reason. A lot of hardcore punk bands didn’t have much presence in the bass department, which was one reason why this album stood out for me. It still sounds killer today.
Metallica – Master Of Puppets (1986)
Everyone knows that Cliff Burton was the man. Sadly his life was cut short in 1986, but he leaves behind an amazing bass legacy, thanks to his work on the records Kill ’Em All, Ride The Lightning and of course Master Of Puppets. Cliff had a fantastic ability to vary up the chugga-chugga guitar riffs with small intricate fills that didn’t muddy up the mix. Tasteful should have been his middle name, because this guy un- derstood the true place that bass has in metal.
Cro-Mags – Best Wishes (1989)
I’ve always thought Harley Flanagan had the best stage presence of any bass player I’ve seen live. His approach was very in your face, practically stuffing the music down your throat. If intensity levels were between 1 and 10, he was always on 11. Maybe that is why he finds himself in so much trouble these days? As an added bonus, this album has one of the best covers of any metal or hardcore record to date – so great in fact that I ended up getting it tattooed on my arm.
Kyuss – Welcome To Sky Valley (1994)
Scott Reeder tears stuff up on this record by stoner rock legends Kyuss. It was his first stint with the band, and he had a lot to live up to following Nick Oliveri’s lead [Oliveri left the band in 1992. Fortunately, Scott masterfully holds down the fort, in true stoner fashion, with a plethora of warm tones that pummel the senses. You can’t help but nod your head to the bass rhythm. Even if you don’t smoke weed, listen to this record – you may just start.