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#1
By which I mean predominantly metal...

Now we all know and understand what bass does in a song, providing the basslines, and helps to enphasise the guitar, or in fact, the whole song...
But, in heavy metal, this is not true... in bands like dethklok, cannibal corpse, actually, most of metal, either the bass has been turned down in volume so much, or simply it can't keep up with the heavy distortion used. Even in clean riffs/solos, you sometimes can't hear it... Sometimes, I even wonder that the bass is just cut out of the mix all together..Why, would be pointless, as if you're going to the extent of getting a bass player, getting him recorded, just for it to be wiped off, not used, or in another context, simply "thrown away" is just stupid...
What I'm getting on to saying, is that why are people going as far as to even get a bassist for genres like death metal, black metal and so on? Why, do they not just think laterally and cut it out, and save the bassist time, on other things he could be doing, rather than working on something which would probably just be cut out? I am just generally annoyed by the fact that bassists are being put to waste, metal should just leave that bass alone.
What do you guys think on this topic?

EDIT: By the way do you guys like my formal way of typing? Its great isn't it!
#2
Recording is one thing. Bands of many genres seem to like turning down the bass on their records.

Live is quite another.
#3
Quote by Arbitror
Recording is one thing. Bands of many genres seem to like turning down the bass on their records.

Live is quite another.

Oh, I'm not editing the post now, I can't be bothered...
#5
Quote by SlayedInTheFace
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Paragraphs?

I know what you mean though, the heavy, bassy tone of the guitars nowadays takes the bass out of it alot.


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#7
If you can't really hear it, it's there alright. It creates a certain... atmosphere, you know? Makes the guitars sound heavier, for instance. Just different ways of using a bass. You can go all melodic and really play some awesome basslines, but metal requires something different so bassists have to comply. But it usually IS there, even if only doubling the guitar parts, but the sound is different.
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#8
Cannibal Corpse have very heavy bass, though as you said, it is often just a bit buried inthe guitars. However, due the the bassist's very aggressive technique, you can still hear him with some knowledge of what you are listening for. He is an incredible bassist.

As for Dethklok, we all know Murderface sucked until he started freeballing, hence the lack of bass.

But Death Metal on the whole is very bass heavy. However, a fair few scoop their mids, resulting in a functional tone (it has clarity and bass) that lacks any cutting power.

As for Black Metal, having audible bass is against the whole kvlt thing. Traditionally, bass had difficulty being heard on the poor recording, so it became a feature of the genre. This is also due to some very influential second wave bands not having a real bassist, so bass really was an afterthought when they came to record. However, a decent number of bands are now trying to introduce better recording techniques while still keeping a black metal sound. The only thing holding it back is the massive number of elitists refusing to change within the genre.

However, metal is built upon the bass and drums. They need a bassist. For death metal, you need practise to hear it more. For black metal, abandon all hope unless the record doesn't have a wall of white noise in the background.
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#9
TS, I agree your right. Most of the heavier genres, and even in regular metal sometimes, the bass is pretty much inaudable. I think the reason they still get bass players for those bands is simple so they can fill out the roster, rather then truely fufill any real musical role. You could easily get away bassist-less in a death metal or thrash setting. Bass is just there to simply "fatten" up the sound of a band and nothing more. Rock music in the end is all anbout the guitars, and no one should pretend otherwise.
#10
Quote by Bathory fan
TS, I agree your right. Most of the heavier genres, and even in regular metal sometimes, the bass is pretty much inaudable. I think the reason they still get bass players for those bands is simple so they can fill out the roster, rather then truely fufill any real musical role. You could easily get away bassist-less in a death metal or thrash setting. Bass is just there to simply "fatten" up the sound of a band and nothing more. Rock music in the end is all anbout the guitars, and no one should pretend otherwise.


Actually, I was going to say that thrash was probably the easiest to hear bass, or maybe I've listened to Raining blood too much...
#11
Quote by Bathory fan
TS, I agree your right. Most of the heavier genres, and even in regular metal sometimes, the bass is pretty much inaudable. I think the reason they still get bass players for those bands is simple so they can fill out the roster, rather then truely fufill any real musical role. You could easily get away bassist-less in a death metal or thrash setting. Bass is just there to simply "fatten" up the sound of a band and nothing more. Rock music in the end is all anbout the guitars, and no one should pretend otherwise.


There is no way to get away without bass in death metal, as it is a very heavy genre. Heaviness comes in the bass. Drop tuned guitars can only get so far. If a bassist stopped playing at a death metal gig, the whole band would stop.

In thrash, the same applies, but to a slightly lesser extent. However, the bassist is still the one driving the songs onwards. Without them, you get the recording quality of ...And justice for all. Great songs, but they sound completely hollow.

And plently of rock music uses the guitars to emphasis the bass more. A good example is Tool. Justin is often the one riffing during the verses, and then the guitars come in over the top for the choruses. Nirvana also did this. Guitars to thicken up the sound of the bass when vocals aren't there.
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#12
Quote by gm jack
There is no way to get away without bass in death metal, as it is a very heavy genre. Heaviness comes in the bass. Drop tuned guitars can only get so far. If a bassist stopped playing at a death metal gig, the whole band would stop.

In thrash, the same applies, but to a slightly lesser extent. However, the bassist is still the one driving the songs onwards. Without them, you get the recording quality of ...And justice for all. Great songs, but they sound completely hollow.

And plently of rock music uses the guitars to emphasis the bass more. A good example is Tool. Justin is often the one riffing during the verses, and then the guitars come in over the top for the choruses. Nirvana also did this. Guitars to thicken up the sound of the bass when vocals aren't there.


May I ask, why the **** do you know so much?
#13
Quote by gm jack
There is no way to get away without bass in death metal, as it is a very heavy genre. Heaviness comes in the bass. Drop tuned guitars can only get so far. If a bassist stopped playing at a death metal gig, the whole band would stop.

In thrash, the same applies, but to a slightly lesser extent. However, the bassist is still the one driving the songs onwards. Without them, you get the recording quality of ...And justice for all. Great songs, but they sound completely hollow.

And plently of rock music uses the guitars to emphasis the bass more. A good example is Tool. Justin is often the one riffing during the verses, and then the guitars come in over the top for the choruses. Nirvana also did this. Guitars to thicken up the sound of the bass when vocals aren't there.

It's multi-tracked to hell....It really does sound lifeless at times. Bassists in Metal are useful in live situations when the guitarists scooped tone sound tiny outside of the studio. Of course it won't matter when the bassist has his Mids at 2 as well.
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#14
It is probably the EQing, and the fact that there are two guitars and double bass drumming that drown out the bass in metal. If your band is going to be like that, there is no point to having a bass player. Stuff like Slayer, Deicide, Sepultura, Nuclear Assault, Dark Angel, Exodus, Metallica ect...... bass simply can't be heard.

On a different note, It'd also be scary to see what kind of rig the bassist would need to compete with two Jacksons hooked up to 100watt Marshall stacks and a 7 piece drum kit.
#15
I am not much of a metal/death/black/whateverelse metal fan, it would seem that even if you can't hear the bass, you can feel it, you know, the low tones making you want to throw up or piss your pants. Just a theory.
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#16
I love how the two examples are Dethklok and Cannibal Corpse. aaaahhaahahahaa
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#17
Quote by Bathory fan
It is probably the EQing, and the fact that there are two guitars and double bass drumming that drown out the bass in metal. If your band is going to be like that, there is no point to having a bass player. Stuff like Slayer, Deicide, Sepultura, Nuclear Assault, Dark Angel, Exodus, Metallica ect...... bass simply can't be heard.

On a different note, It'd also be scary to see what kind of rig the bassist would need to compete with two Jacksons hooked up to 100watt Marshall stacks and a 7 piece drum kit.
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#18
Quote by CLIFF_BURTON
I love how the two examples are Dethklok and Cannibal Corpse. aaaahhaahahahaa


I ****ing know, I listened to 1 cannibal corpse song and I couldn't hear the bass...

facepalm myself...
#19
Quote by SlayedInTheFace
May I ask, why the **** do you know so much?


I am a bass playing metalhead with a good memory.

As said above, the primary reason bass is not heard in a lot of death metal is that the bass players are either scooping their mids, or letting the guitarists do the mixing.

If you have mids you have power where the guitars don't (most death metal bands will cut a little mids, as scooping is too much). Hence, they can be heard.

Also, a lot of player (Alex Webster is a good example) pull a Steve Harris, and smack the strings against the fretboard. This gives them a bit more definition when deep in the mix, so you can find when they play, and then hear what they are playing.

It's a bit like the bass solo in "Call of Kthulu" (Metallica). The bass is pretty deep in the mix, but once you hear the bass, you never miss it again.
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#20
i complete disagree with your statement
the problem is the guitar is droped and distored losing the bass and the bass also gets dropped
when played live sometimes the bass is tuned up more and you hear the vibrations better
i actually dont like much metal where you cant hear the bass i think maiden was one of the few metal bands that nailed it
bass also in metal is not used to stand out it is acting as a rhytym section to keep the timing right
train your ears to listen to the bass line and pick it out very carefully you actually find there quite apparent when you ears are trained to hear it
also it is not wasting the bassits time he joined the band for a reason he liked the genre
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#21
Quote by Bathory fan
It is probably the EQing, and the fact that there are two guitars and double bass drumming that drown out the bass in metal. If your band is going to be like that, there is no point to having a bass player. Stuff like Slayer, Deicide, Sepultura, Nuclear Assault, Dark Angel, Exodus, Metallica ect...... bass simply can't be heard.

On a different note, It'd also be scary to see what kind of rig the bassist would need to compete with two Jacksons hooked up to 100watt Marshall stacks and a 7 piece drum kit.


How can you say there is no point of bass in Metallica? XD. Well the first 3 albums. Metallica's Bass was awesome! Just listen to Orion. Or in Annihilator the bass is good too. You can hear it perfect and the songs wouldnt be the same without them.
#22
Quote by Metal5115
How can you say there is no point of bass in Metallica? XD. Well the first 3 albums. Metallica's Bass was awesome! Just listen to Orion. Or in Annihilator the bass is good too. You can hear it perfect and the songs wouldnt be the same without them.

Metallica actually has very well defined bass its just not embellished its quite simple but it just stands out more in songs like orion
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#23
Bass isn't always a rhythm instrument though. Yes, it does help reinforce the drums, but so do rhythm guitars. The key point of getting a really good death metal bassist is managing to give that heavy, thundering rhythm while giving lines that compliment the guitars.

The basses are not harder to hear for being down tuned. Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse is one of the clearest and proficient bassists in the genre, and he drop tunes a 5 string. What you are describing can be equated as having more mids when droptuned gives a similar effect to less mids when higher up. What you are talking about is getting the death metal equivilant of a piccolo bass. In relation to the guitars, your range is getting dangerously close.

However, with droptuned, distorted guitars, a bass cannot maintain clarity and follow the guitars on the same pitch. It will turn the whole band into mud, without having any really deep bass. Again, the trick is EQing and only letting the guitarists have so much influence over your tone and mixing.

The times the bass is least heard is often when the skill level of the musicians in general is low, or there are some very self centred guitarists governing band dynamics, and using the bass as you decribed. Nothing more than something to pound root notes in the right beat.

Once you get a competant and powerful bassist, or at band leaders who respect bassist, it suddenly becomes an integral part of the sound.

And on the example of Iron Maiden, Steve is the owner of the band. He gets the final say in the mix.
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#24
Quote by gm jack
Bass isn't always a rhythm instrument though. Yes, it does help reinforce the drums, but so do rhythm guitars. The key point of getting a really good death metal bassist is managing to give that heavy, thundering rhythm while giving lines that compliment the guitars.

The basses are not harder to hear for being down tuned. Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse is one of the clearest and proficient bassists in the genre, and he drop tunes a 5 string. What you are describing can be equated as having more mids when droptuned gives a similar effect to less mids when higher up. What you are talking about is getting the death metal equivilant of a piccolo bass. In relation to the guitars, your range is getting dangerously close.

However, with droptuned, distorted guitars, a bass cannot maintain clarity and follow the guitars on the same pitch. It will turn the whole band into mud, without having any really deep bass. Again, the trick is EQing and only letting the guitarists have so much influence over your tone and mixing.
*more stuff*
And on the example of Iron Maiden, Steve is the owner of the band. He gets the final say in the mix.

i dont know if this was directed at me (it seemed like it was) but i did not say anything disagreeing with you
i mentioned that bass players in heavier genres more than likely take a rhythm position
i agree with the clarity comment but altough it is not uncommon to it is also not uncommon to not have heavily
Steve may get final say but hes not going off and saying that dave adrian dennis janick and many more could have been/are not allowed to drop to like c its just the band works so well without it not saying the mix isnt a reason making the bass stand out but the tuning also helps a ton
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#26
protest the hero and necrophagist have amazing bassists
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#27
i used to think that the reason why in some bands you couldnt hear the bass was because the bassist sucked but the more i kept playing the more i realize that when it comes to metal the bass is mostly there to thicken up the rhythm guitar unless of course your in a prog metal band like between the buried and me, protest the hero, opeth, or even in some melodeath like In Flames
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#28
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#29
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Cannibal Corpse tunes to Eb, just throwing that out there.

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#30
Before I start, anyone who wants to say "you're generalizing!!" can go to hell - I'm not going to disclaim every sentence I write by saying there might be an exception. I'm not speaking in absolutes.

Now, in heavy genres, what are the two things that are cranked? The guitar, and the bloody kick drum. A lot of bass players in genres like that love to do one of two things - either follow along with the guitar exactly, or play with the kick drum. Forget bass, forget instrumentation - how's ANY single-note sound that's prodominantly clean (or at least not distorted to the effect of the guitars) going to compete with either a) more than one guitar playing heavy chords, or b) a massive atonal wave - when they're playing the same bloody thing? Timbre wise, it's just not feasible. It doesn't matter if it's a bass or a keyboard or a watch or a smiling mother.

With heavy music, you're fighting for sonic real estate, but there's no reason the bass can't be heard. When you're playing exactly along with either the guitar or the kick, you're not going to cut. And if you're going to do that, IMO there's no point in cutting. You're an octave pedal or a midi trigger pad away from replacement.

I saw Iron Maiden live and heard every note Steve Harris played - and his band has three motherfucking guitar players in it. Like... come on.

When you don't ride the root or the kick, you'll be heard.

If you mix properly.

But as an aside, jackassholes with laptops and parasites with iPods with those stupid earbuds are to blame for the current state of mixing. The speakers are basically high-pass filters and to get a good sound out of them, you need to compress them to death and make them as loud as possible. And bass is an instrument that doesn't compress as well as the guitars. You can squash guitars, and that low end is actually in the same realm as the low end of the bass. Again, when the bass player follows the leader, you won't hear ANYTHING.

I wish people would just let go of this whole 'volume' thing. Heavy music sounds much heavier with the bass guitar cranked. If it's not loud enough, the listener can turn up their listening device.
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#31
>.>
can I throw in the fact that John Myung is perfectly audible in songs like honor thy father, the glass prison etc.
Which are fast and low tuned too

>.>
I have tried to read the whole thread but there were huge walls in it, stopped after the first page
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#32
Quote by Neo Evil11
>.>
can I throw in the fact that John Myung is perfectly audible in songs like honor thy father, the glass prison etc.
Which are fast and low tuned too

>.>
I have tried to read the whole thread but there were huge walls in it, stopped after the first page


Doesn't Myung tune UP for Honor thy Father?
#33
It does seem like bass is mostly tuned out in heavier genres. Idk about much black or thrash stuff, but im pretty sure the bass in In Flames is audible, as well as in Mudvayne. Alot of metal players also dont use a pick, so the bass is more subdued and doesnt cut through as much. Which is the situation in Mastodon. Troy always seems to follow the riffs of the guitar players, which he does well, but his bass sound is mostly pretty mellow and round, not scooped out and metallic. And iPod stock earbuds are absolutely horrid, they should pack em with Skullcandy Inkd-style buds, which are 10x better. And much more comfortabe on your ears.
#34
I say screw heavy music, start playing the good stuff like funk and jazz where the bass doesnt just follow the root note it provides the groove. The groove is where its at.
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#35
Quote by Phishead42
I say screw heavy music, start playing the good stuff like funk and jazz where the bass doesnt just follow the root note it provides the groove. The groove is where its at.


I say screw close mindedness and suggest a course of "get over yourself" to be taken 2-3 times a day.
#36
you got it drphil lol
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#38
I know a bassist who boosts his mids in his 'deathcore' band. You can hear him very clearly and he usually follows the guitar. But he's also a really good bassist, so maybe it's the way he plays...
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#39
Quote by Phishead42
I say screw heavy music, start playing the good stuff like funk and jazz where the bass doesnt just follow the root note it provides the groove. The groove is where its at.

correct me if im wrong but doesnt alot of jazz use the root note just takes a chord progression after it which is still fllowing the root not because say when you switch from an A to say a D the bas will follow that root
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#40
This is one of the dumbest threads I've seen in a while. First you should start by listening to enough heavy music to make an accurate judgment, rather than just deathklok (aren't they a cartoon, anyways?) and Cannibal Corpse (another failed attempt at heavy music being good). Maybe you should also try playing in a band that gets down on heavy tunes, then you'll at least grow an appreciation for what actually goes into the basslines in this kind of music.
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