Best Metal Keyboardists

Who are the best metal keyboardists? Who are the best in feeling? Who are the best in speed? Who have the best solos? Not matter the sub-genre.

The Top Ten

1 Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) Jordan Rudess is an American keyboardist and composer best known as a member of the progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater and the progressive rock supergroup Liquid Tension Experiment.

While men like Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman brought the keyboard into the spotlight with prog rock, it was Rudess who took that same inspiration and blew it out of the water, showing that the keyboard can be just as heavy and technical as metal requires.
This man isn't just a keyboardist.
He's a musical genius with a mind that inspires.

Jordan's sense of musicianship is simply out of this world. Sometimes I get lost in his work even listening to product demoes he does for his endorsers. He takes full advantage of every tool provided to him and uses them in combinations that in essence are songs within songs. There is about six more hands hidden under that beard!

By far one of the most talented, dedicated and passionate musicians of the last 20 years. But if we are talking about metal keyboardists here, there is absolutely no doubt he's #1! I couldn't see any other keyboardist combining such amazing technical skills with such talent as a composer.

No one even comes close to Jordan Rudess when it comes to metal keyboards. He does it all. I think it's safe to assume that when anyone thinks of "keyboards" in relation to metal, his name is the first one that comes to mind. His chops are unmatched and his creative energy is off the charts.

2 Janne Wirman (Children of Bodom)

His compositions in every single Children of Bodom song are amazing! Listening to tracks such as Next In Line, Lake Bodom, Bodom Beach Terror, Northpole Throwdown, are down right brutal. He can shred the keyboards and can be metal and really classical. He's amazing at finishing and starting a solo off for Alexi in the band and is a down right awesome force that drives that band and makes Children Of Bodom really sound and really melodic. Plus he's hilarious, songs like Oops I did it again, Clash of the Booze Brothers, and their 2008 Wacken performance!

Outstanding keyboardist! His combination of neoclassical and jazz improvisation is second to none. Give him some chord progressions and he'll improvise with them for several minutes without sounding boring. And best of all, he never interferes with his band's already saturated guitar parts, but rather complements the guitars to make a more rounded band tone. He's a real asset to any band out there! M/

Every solo is amazing. He's always so in sync with what the rhythm section is doing, he's not just wanking by himself; he's serving the song. By far my favorite keyboard player.

He is god of keyboard... He burst keyboards into flame... I love him.. The best keyboardist in my knowledge... I want to be like him...

3 Jens Johansson (Stratovarius, Yngwie Malmsteen)

Jens is the fastest and the best keyboardist in the world. Much current keyboardists have been influenced for him, his solos are the best that I've seen in the world, he made the keyboards an insrument of respect in the metal. And his simplicity is unique because he beats many keyboardists with his solos and compositions just using a Yamaha keyboard, and not a big set of keyboards or synths that use another keyboardists... Jens must be the number one, not another one...

I can't understand why Johansson is behind Wirman, Holopiainen and Rudess.
The lead solo of Johansson are way better in '80's and during Strato Era he improve it. Rudess is only a tech nerd and not a key wizard and the only reason for his first place is Dream Theater fame, the other two are just here because the fame too, not for skills! Remember that, Johansson can play anything, anyway. Solo carreer prove it! Cheers!

Keyboard god! Feel like bach himself playing! Obviously bach of today. He made keyboard a lead instrument. He have made keyboard an intergral part of metal. Keyboard solos are godly. He is great composer who compose every songs perfectly. All total god. And at last he is metal! Long live greatness, geniusity and beauty. Long live jens.

Jens is definitely the most stylish keyboard player! He put the right notes at the right time, not too much not too less, he has awesome skills a good taste and is UNMATCHED in mono lead solos. A carbon based musical talent

4 Janne "Burton" Puurtinen (HIM, Daniel Lioneye)

The current keyboard-player in the Finnish rock band, HIM. His keyboards gives to HIM music the the characteristic melancholy that made famous their "Love Metal". He is classically trained. I think his talent is underestimate if you barely listen to HIM studio albums: you have to see them live to understand... His live piano intro of "Sleepwalking past hope" is really an amazing piece of classical music!

He is the current keyboard-player in the Finnish rock band HIM. His keyboards give the characteristic melancholy to the HIM famous "Love Metal" sound. He is classically trained. I think he is underestimated when you simply listen to HIM studio albums: you've got to see them live to appreciate them. His long piano intro of the live version of "Sleepwalking past Hope" is really remarkable!

He is the current keyboard-player in the Finnish rock band, HIM. His keyboards give the characteristic melancholy to the HIM famous "Love Metal" sound. He isclassically trained. I think he is underestimate when you simply listen to HIM studio albums: you've got to see them live to appreciate them. His long piano intro of the live version of "Sleepwalking past Hope" is really gorgeous!

Emerson Burton (born Janne Johannes Puurtinen) is the current keyboard-player in the Finnish rock band, HIM. He was born 17th October, 1974, in Helsinki.

Did you know:Both his parents and his sister are ballerinas, and Burton tried himself, but it wasn't really anything for him.

His nicknames are Burton or Putte, Burton being the most known and the name he is known by.

5 Tuomas Holopanien (Nightwish)

Maestro Holopainen adds beautiful classical flavor to the metal genre. He is not just a musician, he is also a songwriter and the genius behind Nightwish's songs. He is able to write such epic notes and make them fit the other band members' strengths. To me, it is not just about playing the keyboard for him, he has complete and utter knowledge of the ways of the orchestra.

I like Tuomas because he's a god keyboardist master in Nightwish... Nobody can match him... Every each album will be difference sound and still amazing today...! The best heavy metal keyboardist is on rule the world..! Same reminiscent as Mark Tremonti with heavy metal musician style...

It's one thing to play a keyboard, it's another to master the whole Orchestra.

Tuomas brings not only ripping electronic sound pads to the table, but will constantly write full scores for songs, merging orchestral composition with modern metal flavours.

He's my favourite composer because, in my opinion, when he's making music, it's all about direct emotional communication. Creating emotions with your music is much more important than just showing off your technical skills, and this is what he's aiming at.

6 Michael Pinnella (Symphony X)

Extremely underrated keyboardist whose classical training and abilities elevated Symphony X to be one of the greatest of all time metal bands! His solo albums are also overlooked and underappreciated

In my opinion, Michael Pinnella is the most talented keyboardist of all time. The musicality, technicality and atmosphere of his playing is awe-inspiring. Simply put, he is a genius!

Classy and talented. Just give Bastards of the Machine or Candlelight Fantasia another listen.

Bob. Theos! Bob the one and only!

7 Henrik Klingenberg (Sonata Arctica)

Extremely fast and technical player. Makes perfect harmonies with guitar. Will often trade solos with guitar players.

Henrik shreds better on his keyboard than the best guitar player do on their guitars. Henrik is a god.

8 Bob Katsionis (Firewind)

Bob is amazing! The moment I saw him play in Texas, I knew he would be considered my favorite keyboardist! I mean he played the guitar and keyboard at the same time! Plus, listening to his solo albums stick out his ideas, hard work, and soul which made me love him even more! HE'S AMAZING WITH A CAPITAL A! VOTE FOR HIM NOW

How can you not like Bob? Not only does he do a excellent job in Firewind, but all of his other material it top notch as well. Saw him with Firewind live in Denver a while back supporting Turisas, and I was blown away. Ended up hanging out with them after they played instead of watching Turisas.

Bob is definitely one of the best keyboardists in metal out there. His ability to come up with such grat melodies and awesome shreddings is what it makes him amazing. It is the feeling of his songs and his unique and majestic style that makes him as good as Johannsson or Rudess. You can check out his 4 solo albums and you will sure like him!

A very talented keaboardist who transforms notes into majestic melodies and begets emotions to every listener! Of course a MUSICIAN with every meaning this word bears.! A good guy, who helps every musician to progress their work to the maximum! I feel honoured to have been working with him!

9 Per Wiberg

His keyboard contributions on Opeth's Watershed album are simply amazing ranging from his blistering solo on Burden to his crazy polyrhythms on The Lotus Eater. He is also brilliant with Spiritual Beggars, his solo on Lunatic Fringe is a great example of a more mellow, jazzy keyboard solo played with real class.

A shame, simply... He shouldn't leave of opeth

10 Yuhki (Galneryus)

Has a very unique keyboard style and tone that make him sound like a guitarist during solos (see "blast of hell", "emotions", and "seasons cry"). His keyboarding also doesn't get in the way of the song, but complements songs very well.

This guy is absolutely insane! From perhaps the most talented metal band around. Galneryus m/

Very underrated, so much talent.

The Contenders

11 Christian Flake Lorenz (Rammstein)

Might no be the most skilled keyboardist (actually, he was trained as a classical pianist), but his presence on stage is his main characteristic. I mean, he walks on a treadmill while making solos or tries not to be burned by a flamethrower shooting at him while playing live, and he has his own non sense dance, the "Flake Dance". He sometimes uses samples for the solos, though.

He is not the most skilled keyboardist, but any sound he performs serves the sound of Rammstein and makes the bands sound more than "just" metal. You should not forget his role in the live shows: he is the one who does most of the stunts... While playing!

Very good keyboardist but I do not believe top ten worthy. If you haven't listened to royal hunt I believe he should be on this list. Sorry I can't think of his name off of the top pof my head

Very talented keyboardist...He plays keyboard with brains...

12 Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Planet X)

Aside from being a great musician, he's very recognizable! You can hear his personality in both Dream Theater and Planet X projects, even if he let place for the other members of the bands to do their parts.

Maybe his hands is not as fast as Rudess, but I like his musical style. Every time I listen to his songs (Solo album and Planet X) it's like travelling to Antartica, then it took me to the space.

In my mind, Derek Sherinian and Allan Holdsworth are tied as the musicians who inspire me the most. Inertia and the Planet X albums just do it for me

He is not as good as Jordan, but he is a master of keyboards

13 Vadim Pruzhanov (Dragonforce)

He is the reason I decided to finally pick up keyboard. Not just his speed is amazing but his stage antics, mobility, presence, and all around goofyness is what makes him, in my opinion, one of the best.

Yep. He speeds things up with his little computer so they can't play it live. Such talent.

He is such a beautiful keyboardist I can't describe it

He is as good on keyboard as Herman Li is on guitar

14 Kevin Moore (Independent, Dream Theater)

I can't believe no one recognized him as a part of this list. He was with dream theater from the beginning in some of their best albums such as Images and Words. And after he left them he became even better. He might not be reknown for his technique, but his synth patching abilities surpass any other keyboards player I know right now. And with OSI he took his compositions to a whole other level. He is not just glamour and popularity. He has actual talent.

Maybe not a great discography as other keyboardists, Kevin is one of the most romantic yet technically and professionally prepared musicians nonetheless. I suggest to hear the differences between his version of Space Dye Vest included in his album "Songs meant to be heard" and the Dream Theater's one.

Jordan is a wanker that doesn't add atmosphere to what he plays most of the time. Kevin was a far more creative and interesting keyboardist with a perfect balance of restraint and technicality. He's extremily diverse and everything he's played on is good. Best metal keyboardist.

It pains me to see derek sherinian above kevin moore. Moore is not only a great keyboardist, but an excellent songwriter as well. Just listen to space-dye vest. Derek sherinian does not have songwriting skill.

15 Jon Lord (Deep Purple) Jonathan Douglas "Jon" Lord was an English composer, pianist, and Hammond organ player known for his pioneering work in fusing rock with classical or baroque forms, especially with Deep Purple, as well as Whitesnake, Paice Ashton Lord, The Artwoods, and The Flower Pot Men.

The first metal keyboardist. at his time everybody though only guitar can create metal sound, but he changed it. he said something like that " if Ritchie Blackmore is going to play his guitar heavily, I, I need to also play my organ heavy. I need to put tough on my hammond organ" you can see he also created lots of solos with his organ while Ritchie played solos with his guitar.

Show some respect, people. Keyboardists on this list and even this list exist thanks to him.

He introduced the keyboards in metal.

36? That's joke. 3 words: Child In Time

16 Sven Karlsson
17 Tom Schmitz (Mushroomhead)

Best supporting keys, with great background and haunting intros

18 Trent Reznor Michael Trent Reznor, known professionally as Trent Reznor, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and film score composer. He is known for his intense music videos.
19 Tuomas Planman (Norther)

This man Should NOT be ignored. Listen to Norther's We Rock song and then say your opinions.

This guy is so underrated. Listen to him in Darkest time or Omen! And what is Janne Puurtinen doing on second place?

Tuomas should be in top 10 position just listen song and solos...so so underrated

20 Tony Decaillon (Asylum Pyre)
21 Alex Staropoli (Rhapsody of Fire)

Staropoli is in 26th place?! Who wouldn't love his classical instrument playing from his keyboard in every song of Rhapsody of Fire, and his brilliant keyboard solos in songs like Holy Thunderforce, Raging Starfire, and Sea of Fate?! Check him out and you'll see what I mean!

Simply listen and see why he deserves the top ten.

22 Pasi Hiltula (Kalmah)

This was the keyboardist who played on Kalmah's Swamplord. An essential pick for anyone into metal keyboardists.

Listen to the Hollow Heart solo.

He should be in the top 10. Listen to his playing in the album "A virgin and a whore" by the finish symphonic death metal band Eternal Tears Of Sorrow. The dual soloing of his keyboard and Antti Kokko's guitar is just simply magical.

23 Mustis (Dimmu Borgir)

Not only he is the best in metal but also he is perfect in all genre

What are you people thinking he is best keyboardists ever who else can mix classical music into metal better than mustis how is janne on the list cob is overrated

24 Nameless Ghoul (Ghost B.C.)

The real genius behind the amazing band Ghost is. Listen to the live versions of "Genesis" by Ghost. It is mind blowing.

Air Ghoul - essential part of the Nameless Ghoul sound machine!

Awesome keyboardist who's way underrated.

He speaks to me! Great player!

25 Craig Jones (Slipknot)

Part of the keyboard/turntables duo of Slipknot. He has great atmospheric skill when he plays with Slipknot. He should be more recognized just like Sid Wilson of Slipknot. Just listen to some of Slipknot songs and you understand what I'm talking about.

He is one of the most underrated keyboardists in the world... Although his contribution in slipknot is extremely recognizable... Listen to vermillion and you will understand his capability

The silent one. Wish they could play their samples live along with keyboard, but then they'd need a tenth member. Actually, is that such a bad thing, actually? Anyway, Craig rocks.

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