This week we’re taking the time to focus on two instrumental categories that honestly don’t receive the attention they deserve. I find the instrumentals of a song to be far more intriguing than the vocal ability of the vocalist (or their attractiveness level) and there are some very talented players in the categories this year.
Best Drummer
Abe Cunningham- Deftones
Arejay Hale – Halestorm
Gene Hoglan – Dethklok / Testament
Mario Duplantier – Gojira
Neil Peart – Rush
Roy Mayorga – Stone Sour
Fe’s Predictions
I’ve seen Halestorm twice and it’s true that Arejay Hale doesn’t disappoint. His drumming skills are fascinating to watch and listen to. Plus, he brings young fans onstage to play with him which showcases his character as a person. However, this category contains veterans that are more likely to take home the Golden God. 
While Abe Cunningham and Neil Peart are legends all by themselves, this category is a tough call. Young vs old, radio manufactured vs actual hard hitting metal. There is more than one battle in the nominee pool for Best Drummer. 
I predict that Mario Duplantier from French metal band Gojira will take the award. I find myself focused mostly on his musicianship while listening to Gojira. Not to mention, these French metallers rose out of obscurity and are now globally known in the genre.

Mike Thall’s Predictions
This category is incredibly tight. Most of these drummers are extreme talents. As Fe mentioned, there’s a mix of old and new here. I’d really like to see Abe Cunningham, Mario Duplantier, Gene Hoglan (aka Pickles), or even Neil Peart win this category. And I’m betting Neil Peart will end up taking home the award because… well… he’s fucking Neil Peart.

Best Guitarist
Alex Lifeson – Rush
Brendon Small – Dethklok / Solo
John 5 – Rob Zombie / Solo
Kim Thayil – Soundgarden
Misha Mansoor – Periphery
Stephen Carpenter – Deftones

Fe’s Predictions

I’m pleasantly pleased at the nominees in this category. All of these guitarists are respectable and can shred like their life depends on it. It’s great that Rush, Deftones, and Dethklok are receiving multiple nominations in different categories. It truly shows that musical talent is still considered.

Again, I respect all of the nominees especially Alex Lifeson of Rush. Age has not deteriorated his ability to rock out and keep up with the ever changing music scene.
It would be great if Misha Mansoor of progressive metal band Periphery took home this award. His dedication to the band and musical talent are noteworthy to the youngsters trying to make it in the music scene.
However, it’s a huge possibility that Stephen Carpenter of Deftones will win this one. His experience is crazy and his fan base is dedicated.
This is one category where I would be happy with whatever outcome.

Mike Thall’s Predictions
Yet another close category. Everyone here (besides John 5) is insanely good at what they do. I have major respect for all these nominees (except for John 5) and could see any of them walking away with the award. I’m personally gunning for either Misha Mansoor, Stephen Carpenter, or Brendon Small (aka Skwisgaar Skwigelf ) to win this one.

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