Bass players occupy an unusual position in metal. On the one hand, much of the time you don’t really notice what they’re doing on a recording. Much of the time they don’t really stand out, partly because of the way most albums are mixed, and partly because much of the time it’s just not all that interesting by itself; their absence would be more noticeable than their presence.
On the other hand, whenever they can actually be heard in a recording and are doing something . . . interesting . . . people sit up and take notice; they like it, and they tend to comment on it. Kind of like what might happen if you came across a talking dog.
So, on the one hand, when I tell you that I’m about to show you a bass play-through of a song, many of you will stifle a yawn. If you’re feeling a bit prickly, you might even be going, “What the fuck?” On the other hand, when I tell you the play-through was performed by Dominic “Forest” Lapointe of Montreal’s Beyond Creation (and Augury), those of you who are familiar with the band’s music will probably be rubbing your hands together in gleeful anticipation.
Because Forest Lapointe can do things most other bass players only dream of doing. It’s almost cruel for him to make a video like this one.
The song is “CoExistence” and it appears on The Aura, which was first released in 2011 and was then re-issued this year with a bonus track by Season of Mist after they signed the band. It’s a helluva song, and what Lapointe does on it is really fuckin’ impressive, especially what he does in the solo that begins just before the 5:00 mark (yup, a bass solo). Especially because he’s doing this in a straight play-through without a safety net. All your bass belong to him.
So have a look and a listen. And then you can start wondering along with me, “How much longer will we have to wait until we get a new Beyond Creation release?”
P.S. I was kidding about the talking dog thing. Just a little joke. Nothing serious. Not intended to hurt any feelings. Totally joking. Really. I love the bass.
Hey you forgot Teramobil, he plays with them too! Wrote about them here at ncs a while back. He also used to slay in Atheretic back in the day.
Damn, I overlooked Teramobil. For everyone else, here’s a link to your piece about them:
I honestly can’t remember seeing bass tapping before. What I love is that it’s not just flashy solo mania, but something that really suits the music and a beautiful piece of instrumentation in itself.
when i was 16 my Mom made me take music lessons from a jazz bassist (guess my self taught approach wasn’t impressing her much), and one of the techniques he started me on almost immediately was two handed tapping. he had several tapes of other bass players doing the technique, and that was back in 1986.
I must have heard two-handed bass-tapping before in a metal song, but if so I sure don’t remember where. It’s damned cool.
it’s actually way more common in death metal songs than you would think, but since bass is usually buried in the mix it takes seeing a band perform live to fully realize what the bass player is doing.
Quite true. It’s disappointing when One can’t hear it on recordings (studio or live), but watch it in videos.
Interesting. I thought it was (at least) relatively common.
Our bassist definitely does it though (and has tried showing me), so maybe that’s colouring my perception of things!
Their status as a metal band is dubious at best, but Les Claypool of Primus makes frequent use of two handed tapping.
Claypool is also the only guy that I know of to use a whammy-bar on bass… the dude is maniacal.
Jason Newsted also used a whammy a few times.
Michael Anthony was tapping on his bass in time with Eddie Van Halen years ago. It is a sweet technique and I love it when bass players know how to incorporate it.
Still no mention of the fact that he’s playing a FRETLESS bass?? This dude’s chops are too righteous! The volume-knob swells in the middle were also a nice touch, not sure if I’ve seen a bassist do that before…
Anyway, the tone is great, superb musicality, and looking suave while doing it (isn’t there some song about sharp-dressed men?). Great video.
I’m so glad you mentioned what he did with the volume knob, which was one of many cool things he did in this playthrough, producing a kind of mournful foghorn sound. I’d sure never seen that before either.
Yeah his technique was great, but it’s all about that tone! The sliding notes really stand out on a fretless instrument, and I imagine he probably uses flatwound strings to accentuate the smoothness of the tone. For those who don’t know, here is the difference between “normal” strings and flatwound strings:
Anyway, thanks for sharing this video! This dude blows away most metal bassists, but his tonality and technique owe a lot to the fusion-jazz bass maniacs: Michael Manring, Stanley Clarke, etc.
Bass lovers check out !T.O.O.H.! and Unexpect for amazing low-end abuse in metal bands. (I will provide links if you can’t find them)
Always nice to see the bassists get some love. As someone else brought up, he’s also doing this on a fretless, which is quite uncommon in metal, especially when you go beyond the four-stringers; Steve DiGiorgio [Testament, Futures End, Iced Earth, Vintersorg, several others] is the only other bassist who comes to mind at the moment, but I’m sure there are others that have slipped my mind or that I haven’t heard/seen playing the master instrument.
Sean Malone plays fretless, but not on Cynic’s albums, One thinks. Trevor Dunn played upright bass on Melvins’ “Freak Puke”, but regular 4-string on Fantômas’ albums. Les Claypool plays fretless often, but Primus isn’t exactly metal.
So, yes – there don’t seem to be many Fretless Bass Guitar players in metal.