Golden Gods 2014: Dimebag Darrell Shredder

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In honour of Pantera and Damageplan's fallen hero Dimebag Darrell, each year we hand out the Shredder award, in association with Olympus, at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods, presented by Orange Amplification and in association with World of Tanks. There's a lot of fret-fiddlers and whammy bar junkies to choose from, but we narrowed it down to these five... and then it's up to you! But if you're not well-versed in the ways of the humble metal guitarist, here's our guide to who's who.

Ryan Knight (The Black Dahlia Murder)

Since joining The Black Dahlia Murder in 2009, guitarist Ryan Knight has been hellbent on bringing 80s shred virtuosity back into modern metal, drawing influence from legends such as Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert, with the chops to actually be able pull it off. One listen to Deflorate, Ritual or last year’s Everblack and you’ll see how his seemingly effortless mastery has made the Michigan death metal mob every bit more ferocious.

Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders)

There’s a reason why Tosin Abasi keeps getting hailed as the greatest guitarist of his generation. The Washington D.C. native has spearheaded the recent tech metal revolution with instrumental project Animals As Leaders alongside bands like Periphery and Tesseract and terrified pretty much every guitar player on earth in the process. This year’s Sumerian-released album The Joy Of Motion captures his best playing yet, taking the listener through a kaleidoscopic cascade of crunchy riffs, mind-boggling arpeggios and electronic soundscapes.

Misha Mansoor (Periphery)

In 2005, a user by the name of Bulb started uploading compositions on the Meshuggah and John Petrucci online message boards. Soon he captured the web community’s attention and started putting together what would become the biggest band of the ‘djent’ generation (even coining the term in the process). As evident on last year’s Clear EP, it’s Misha’s innovative approach to guitar, sound design and production has made him one of the most revered musicians in the metal world today.

Sid Glover (Heaven’s Basement)

Since forming Heaven’s Basement in 2008, guitarist and songwriter Sid Glover has been cranking out his bluesy licks all over the world, touring with bands such as Papa Roach, Black Veil Brides and even Bon Jovi. Taking direct inspiration from read deal rock ’n’ roll gunslingers like Slash and Jimmy Page, it’s no wonder why last year’s Red Bull released debut studio record Filthy Empire was so well received, showcasing Sid’s natural command of his instrument in all its glory.

Justin Aufdemkampe (Miss May I)

There’s a reason why Ohio’s Miss May I are often cited as one of the bands that could potentially carry the baton once the metal gods have decided to call it a day. And guitarist Justin Aufdemkampe is very much their secret weapon, a young visionary with a knack for churning out massive, fuck-off riffs that are heavy enough to sink a whale. Just give new album Rise Of The Lion a whirl and you’ll see why.

To cast your vote in the Golden Gods, head over here NOW!