The rattling, pounding rhythm of the drum kit is the bedrock of any decent hard rock or metal track. Metal drummers are, arguably, the pinnacle of their craft. They possess often super-human levels of dexterity and creativity, and can build an entire fanbase off their own backs. HTF gives you the run down of the eight best contemporary metal drummers around. (N.B. This list includes drummers currently playing in the bands specified. Unfortunately there’ll be no retired legends here. We’ll save that for another list.)
So, in no particular order …
1. Jay Postones – TesseracTCredit: Facebook
British Prog-Metallers TesseracT are big on shifting, undulating grooves and their sticksman Jay Postones is the driving force at the heart of this. His mastery of syncopation and constantly changing style is a sound to behold. Even if he could use a little more pedal-hat.
2. Mario Duplatier – GojiraCredit: Facebook
Perhaps more than anyone else on this list Mario Duplantier, drummer for French metal titans Gojira, is the equivalent to a human metronome. All you need to do is check out any of the solos from their collected live albums, or even just his flawless performances on tape, to see why he’s made this list. Tight doesn’t begin to cover it.
3. T. J. Childers – Inter ArmaCredit: Facebook
One of the lesser known names on this list, T J Childers is nevertheless an absolute beast behind the kit. His pummeling brand of percussive rage is the perfect backdrop for Inter Arma’s blackened sludge sound. Plus he looks like a mix of Animal from the Muppets, Jesus and a tiny pair of pink shorts. What’s not to dig?
4. Des Kensel – High On FireCredit: Facebook
Don’t let his size fool you, Des Kensel is an absolute maniac. Battering the shit out of his tubs with consummate ease, playing thrash-fast or doomy and slow, it’s all in a days work as part of High On Fire. One of the most under-recognised and under appreciated talents in metal.
5. Jason Roeder – NeurosisCredit: Matt McGinley
Another underrated artists, Jason Roeder is the beating, tribal heart of post-metal kings Neurosis. Perfectly capturing their melancholic, light shade dynamics, he’s at home playing earth-shattering, sludgy patterns as he is breakneck hardcore punk fills. Listening to a Neurosis track? Listen harder – the drums will blow you away all over again.
6. Chris Adler – Lamb Of GodCredit: Official Website
To summarise Chris Adler in two words – kick drum. The much lauded sticksman for the much lauded Lamb Of God is some kind of unholy kick-drum demon, blasting out polyrhythms like a machine built to rock. As well as this he’s one of the biggest creative influences behind one of the best bands in metal. Respect.
7. Danny Carey – Tool
For those of you who struggle to keep a beat in 4/4, look away now. Danny Carey eats time signatures for breakfast, chowing down and creating new ones at the drop of a hi-hat. His whirling percussive soundscapes touch on the primal and often the spiritual, helping to make Tool one of the most transcendent acts out there.
8. Brann Dailor – MastodonCredit: Facebook
No list of drummers would be complete without Mastodon’s Brann Dailor. The metal world has been convinced that this joker has been hiding extra pairs of arms somewhere, and his occasional vocal turns and lyrical input prove that he’s more than just a jazz-fill, prog influenced monster behind the kit.