Groove Analysis: Paul Bostaph

Groove Analysis: Paul Bostaph

Paul Bostaph is known as a super substitute for iconic metal drummers: He replaced Tom Hunting of Exodus for a stint in 2005 and has now taken over for Dave Lombardo of Slayer for the second time. (His previous stint was from 1992 to 2001). Bostaph proves once again that he's much more than a copycat, and showcases a well-seasoned style on Slayer's new release Repentless. Though he has the chops to pummel you with machine-precise blasts, Bostaph here makes his statement with feel, dynamics, and creativity.

In the first six bars of this intro, choked crashes and open space are used to build tension, ending with a power flam exclamation. In each of the next three phrases of eight, four, and four bars, Bostaph starts us off with one measure of a punk beat, followed by a driving blastbeat. The sixteenth-note fills at the end of lines two and four are fast but straightforward, while the fill at the end of line three — double bass eighth-note-triplets with crashes on 1 and 3 — deviates from the norm.

After a bombastic downbeat in measure one, Bostaph shows restraint as he lets a droning guitar riff establish the groove. Crashes in measure four reinforce rhythm section hits before launching into snare sixteenths. In bar five, his accent pattern is contrasting (he accents beats 2, 3, and 4 over syncopated guitar), while in bars six and seven, he is again supportive. Bostaph takes full advantage of a guitar hold found in the last bar of the first nine-measure phrase. Two quads are followed by a sudden twist in beat 3: Two floor tom sixteenths are followed by three — instead of the more typical two — bass drum notes.

In the first line, a quarter-note tribal groove is balanced by blistering thirty- second-note triplet licks on the (4) & of measures two and three. Though the rest of this passage is filled with lots of notes, Bostaph still manages to navigate musically. In line two, his ability to switch suddenly from triple to duple time is a stream of consciousness victory.