We all read about the top ten guitar players, drummers, or even bass players, but why is there such a lack of respect towards keyboard players? Keyboard players have often suffered a roller coaster of support throughout the decades with certain fans loving what they do, and others demeaning the purpose of even having one in the band. Regardless of your stance on the subject, these are five musicians who changed our perception on keyboards, and who’s contributions to heavy music will outlive even their toughest critics.
When progressive giants Dream Theater started shuffling through keyboard players like Spinal Tap drummers, fans were pleasantly rewarded after years of dedication and absolutely insane abilities showcased by Mr Rudess. He instilled a new life into a band that was losing its direction during a time when albums like Falling Into Infinity failed to live up to the bands legendary status.
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He endures countless hazings from Rammstein’s looming frontman, and provides a some what cynical comic relief that gives Rammstein such a unique personality. All sarcasm aside, the man can certainly create some intensity behind the keys and prove that sometimes even the simplest riffs are the most effective.
His contributions to Dream Theater were well respected by fans and critics alike, but it seems like Derek was destined for something more. He was some what of an outcast in the keyboard community because of his strong affliction towards guitar playing, which weighed heavily on his own keyboard style. His sound is one all its own with a growl and sustain that makes you believe Steve Vai could be hiding behind the curtain providing leads, but rest assure its all 100% Derek.
Children of Bodom made a huge splash in the metal community when they emerged with such a unique sound, thanks in part to Warman’s one-of-a-kind keyboard playing that drifted across into lead guitar playing territory, much like Derek Sherinian. His sound is completely unmistakable, and fits Children of Bodom’s overall sound like a glove.
We are all aware of Geddy Lee’s genius behind the microphone and even behind the bass, but we often overlook his brilliance behind the board. There were plenty of musicians long ago who went insane after hearing keyboards for the first time after their public debut, but few people were able to master what these synthesizers could really do for a heavy song. For Geddy Lee, it all began with one bass driven note that inspired the intro to Tom Sawyer, and the rest is heavy history!
Its no question the impact each one of these keyboard players had on heavy music, and to this day you will always find a fan playing air-keys whenever their songs come on. There are plenty more keyboard players to mention here, so feel free to keep the list going in the comments section below!