Zach: This is a really tough call, since I would be more than happy with any of these nominees winning. I think, though, it’ll come down to Rush fans storming the Golden Gods’ website and voting nonstop for Alex Lifeson. I wouldn’t be too shocked if Misha Mansoor pulls an upset considering how active/loyal Periphery fans are, but nothing can be the love fans have for Rush.
Kodi: As killer as it would be to see Misha Mansoor take this, Periphery are still far enough outside the mainstream that I can’t imagine him having an edge with Golden Gods viewers. Brendon Small would be a good choice too though, and he seems to have a better shot to win than Alex Lifeson. Even older metal fans know about Dethklok now, and very few younger ones (at least in the mainstream) will be likely to toss Rush votes.
Bram: I’m actually psyched Kim Thayil was nominated. You can totally tell it’s him when he solos. John5 is also another good nominee. He’s the only one of the six guitarists that has put out solo albums, although I can’t imagine anyone can think of a memorable Rob Zombie guitar solo. I’m going to give it to Brendon Small, since the work he does on Dethklok is phenomenal. The layers of guitars, the solos, and the production are better than any album this year.
Matt: I think Alex Lifeson has this one in the bag between the legions of Rush fans and the fact that he’s Alex Lifeson. And honestly, I think he deserves it. In terms of guitarists, I feel like he sometimes gets swept under the rug next to his contemporaries. I wouldn’t complain if Misha Mansoor or Brendon Small were to win though.
BEST DRUMMER presented by Drum Workshop
Zach: I’d personally would love to see Gene Hoglan or Mario Duplantier win this one, and they both definitely have a strong chance. However, my same reasoning for Alex Lifeson winning best guitarist goes for Neil Peart winning best drummer. Plus, IT’S NEIL FUCKING PEART.
Kodi: Gene Hoglan and Neil Peart are on separate planets from everyone else here (even Mario Duplantier, who is a monster but doesn’t have a comparable body of work yet). I’d expect Arejay Hale to take this since Halestorm’s fans are so devoted, though I’ll get this off my chest now: only at the Golden Gods can you somehow see the godfather of modern rock drumming (Peart), the Atomic Clock (Hoglan), and the man who played drums on the best metal record of last year (Duplantier) pitted against friggin’ Halestorm.
Bram: Wow, there are actually some really talented drummers on here. I don’t want to be all Dethklok-centric here, but Gene Hoglan is a legend. I think he deserves to win from a technical standpoint. Then again, he’s a hired gun. It’s impossible to imagine Rush without Neil Peart or Gojira without Mario Depulantier, so I wouldn’t be mad if either of them won. It is a popularity contest though, so who knows?
Matt: Let’s be real here: Neil Peart is responsible for the drum solo of life. The man is legend, so he’s likely to go home with the gold. Yet, I’d love to see Gene Hoglan to win since he seems to be playing on everything lately and he’s a total monster on the drums to boot.
PAUL GRAY BEST BASSIST presented by Dean Markley
Zach: Lemmy… do I really need to explain?!
Kodi: Somewhere, Lemmy is already cracking open his commemorative second bottle of Jack Daniels in pre-emptive celebration.
Bram: Best bassist? Who cares? Sorry bassists, I know there are a lot of talented bassists out there, but the thought of this going to anyone other than Steve Harris or Lemmy is a travesty. Geddy Lee is great and all, but I’d think he’d be more of a lifetime achievement award than anything else, even if the band put an album out last year.
Matt: This is a toughie. Also, the possibility of all three members of Rush winning in their respective categories is starting to seem more and more likely. That said, I’m a die-hard Maiden fan, so I’m gunning for Steve Harris on this one.