Defining Metal Moments Of The Last 20 Years
Dale Crover (Melvins)
“Honey Bucket” – 1993
Only the endlessly dreary climate and cannabis-culture sensibilities of the Pacific Northwest could have inspired the beautiful primeval sludge of the Melvin’s major-label debut, the revered Houdini. Most of the record oozes like tar, aside from a few sudden bursts of up-tempo aggression. Chief among them is the instant classic “Honey Bucket.” Crover’s performance on it was impressive enough to stun listeners, yet still humanly possible enough to assist legions of kids in honing their nascent metal drumming skills. His musical innovations extended to his gear as well, often mounting a 16” drum as a rack tom to complement his 24” floor tom.
Vinnie Paul (Pantera)
“Throes Of Rejection” – 1994
This is the type of music that makes you want to behave badly with a pickup truck. Paul’s drumming contains all the technical skill and creativity of today’s überathletic metal drummers sporting weird Viking names, plus a couple of added virtues. The first would be insane groove. Don’t ever put a Pantera record on and expect to hear quantized robot metal. This guy has feel forever. Secondly, Paul plays with amazing clarity (and it’s not just Terry Date’s superb production). He’s able to consistently write technically demanding parts and execute them in a way that not a single note is ever lost on our ears; it’s a lethal combination of part-writing and performance. Check out the way he uses his double kick in this example — three- and four-stroke ruffs split between hands and feet punctuate a unique groove, tailored perfectly to Dimebag’s brutal riffage.
Danny Carey (Tool)
“Ticks And Leeches” – 2001
Knowing Carey, his pummeling intro to this Tool classic was probably derived using a Cartesian coordinate system. Either way, its tribal tom work and vicious grooving continue to delight and terrify listeners around the world. It’s been said that a song’s influence on popular music can be judged by how many YouTube uploads exist of teenagers playing it in their bedrooms. If that’s the case, this song ranks pretty darn high.
Thomas Haake (Meshuggah)
“I” – 2004
Haake’s drumming is without a doubt influenced by the sound of power tools, or at least the sonic ambiance of a construction site. His parts have a way of hammering themselves into your face, so sitting through the 21-minute epic “I” is a bit of an exercise in listener endurance. Nevertheless, pure polyrhythmic satisfaction — such as the three-against-four phrase illustrated here — awaits those who can withstand the onslaught.
Blake Richardson (Between The Buried And Me)
“Mirrors” – 2009
With the 2009 release of The Great Misdirect, Richardson and the wide-eyed boys of Southern smart-core clearly put themselves at the forefront of the blend-every-style-of-music-into-one-12-minute-tour-de-force movement. Working as a sort of prologue to the album, the sprightly “Mirrors” is layered with sparkling clean guitars, winding bass lines, and a stunning drum part that goes from odd-metered, rolling snare lope into a fusion-y linear pattern with some rather exiting tom work along the way.
Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork)
“Late For The Kill, Early For The Slaughter” – 2010
Verbeuren’s awe-inspiring work on the latest Soilwork opus, The Panic Broadcast, seems to be right at the very cutting edge of physical achievement in drumming. Producers consistently rave about his groove but, let’s be frank here, nobody is putting Soilwork on at their next dance party. We’re in it for the superhuman chops and blindingly fast blastbeats, the latter being perhaps the most defining addition to the metal drumming oeuvre over the last 20 years. Disciples of Verbeuren have been blessed with an abundance of enlightening YouTube clips, one generously featuring an explanation of this song’s part by Verbeuren himself, and another with a closeup of him performing it in its entirety. The latter reveals his technique relies strictly on a French grip (thumb on top), with a heavy emphasis on finger action, particularly in the right hand with hi-hat and ride.