Top 10 Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Drummers

REBECCA: These guys certainly know how to lay down a heavy beat. Welcome to, and today, we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Drummers. For this list, we picked drummers from hard rock and heavy metal bands only. KEENAN (singing): Vicariously I live while the whole world… REBECCA: We’ve excluded Led Zeppelin and others like them because we’re defining them more as “classic” hard rock acts. Playing in a band like Pantera makes it virtually impossible to not end up on this list. ANSELMO (singing): I ask you please just give us… (singing) I ask you please just give us… REBECCA: Of course, being one hell of a badass drummer certainly helps, too. ANSELMO (singing): …please just give us, I ask you please just give us…. REBECCA: Vinnie Paul doesn’t have a lot of flash, but he knows how to lay down a heavy-hitting beat. His grooves are all about high impact, and you can really feel the power he lays into the drums. We almost feel sorry for his drum heads… …almost. TAYLOR (singing): …the ache, but it’s made… (singing) …take, Jesus, it never ends, (singing) it works its way inside… REBECCA: Cool masks, blindingly fast double bass, blast beats, clever drum fills, and making it all look so easy. TAYLOR (singing): Hold on to something!! REBECCA: All these things are associated with Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison. Part of the anticipation that came with each new Slipknot album was what Joey was gonna bring to the table. Although he was recently kicked out of the band, Joey will always be remembered for the pure awesomeness that he brought to Slipknot. KEENAN (singing): …two become one… (singing) Shine on forever, (singing) shine on, benevolent sun… REBECCA: If there ever was a drummer that made you question what you just heard, it would be Tool’s Danny Carey. Musical enthusiasts and fans alike listen & wonder at the technicality of his drumming. His drum beats often involve time signatures that aren’t straightforward. KEENAN (singing): Blood like rain… REBECCA: Carey is seen by many as the master of the polyrhythm, which is a beat that involves two or more conflicting rhythms. Studying his work definitely feels more like a math class than a drum lesson, in a good way. When it comes to flash and making drumming look good, look no further than the work of Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. When Avenged Sevenfold changed their sound with 2005’s “City of Evil,” Sullivan’s drumming was really allowed to shine. Combining the musical influences of old-school thrash with modern hard rock, his drumming was a sight to behold. M. SHADOWS (singing): The day has come for all us sinners… REBECCA: Though he unfortunately passed away in 2009 at the young age of 28, he had already cemented a legacy that will be remembered by metal fans for quite some time. M. SHADOWS (singing): Well, I’m not insane, I’m not… (singing) not insane, GATES & VENGEANCE (singing): Mother… M. SHADOWS (singing): Come back to me, it’s almost easy… REBECCA: The drummer of one of the biggest bands in history deserves a spot on this list. Though Van Halen might not be considered metal by today’s standards, they were a little heavier than most of the rock bands in their day. Alex Van Halen is the ultimate rock drummer, combining traditional rock beats with some of the best solos in the business. He had all the skills needed to keep up with his brother, who we all know was pretty good at his instrument of choice as well. ROTH (singing): Panama, oh-oh-oh-oh (singing) Woo! LABRIE (singing): Subconscious strange sensation, (singing) unconscious relaxation… REBECCA: With an enormous drumkit that would give Neil Peart a run for his money, Mike Portnoy doesn’t hold back when deciding what pieces to bring with him onstage. Analyzing and studying his drum beats will take any aspiring drummer to school. Though he no longer plays with Dream Theater, that hasn’t stopped him from joining other projects and bands. You don’t even have to be a drummer to appreciate his awesome drum solos. DICKINSON (singing): Night was black, (singing) was no use holding back, (singing) ’cause I just had to see… REBECCA: You can’t spell “classic metal” without the words “Iron” and “Maiden.” DICKINSON (singing): Run to the hills, (singing) run for your life… REBECCA: Nicko McBrain– on top of having one of the coolest names in the history of music– is the very definition of old-school metal. DICKINSON (singing): I will return, (singing) and I’ll possess your bodies, (singing) and I’ll make Rio [_______] burn! (singing) I have… REBECCA: His beats were more about getting the job done than showboating and being flashy. That being said, Nicko’s drumming is not without some flair, incorporating a little swing and elegance into his beats. [CORRECTION: Song is “The Trooper”] HETFIELD (singing): Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! REBECCA: Lars Ulrich is more than just an amazing drummer. Sure, it’s important to have technical skill or play difficult beats at high tempos, but Lars brings much more than that to the table. HETFIELD (singing): Open mind for a different view, (singing) and nothing else matters… REBECCA: Throughout the years, he’s shown that he’s adaptable and versatile by varying his style in accordance with the band’s musical evolution and knows exactly how to keep in time with James Hetfield’s rhythm guitar. Watching him play, you can really see how he draws the crowd in and provokes audience participation. Metallica mostly plays arena-sized shows, but no matter how large the venue, every show feels personal, and every fan feels like more than just someone in the crowd. And that’s what metal is all about. Metal as it is today just wouldn’t be the same without the originators of heavy: Black Sabbath. OSBOURNE (singing): Finished with my woman, (singing) ’cause she couldn’t help me with my mind REBECCA: Bill Ward did for heavy metal what John Bonham did for rock & roll. He also backed up Tony Iommi’s guitar wizardry with hard-hitting grooves and masterful drum work. Ward wasn’t just the guy in the background banging out a few beats; he was showing the world what metal drumming was and would eventually become. Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions. ELLIOTT: We need your helping hands on this number! We want to see everybody with their hands way up above their heads! Come on! REBECCA: It should be no surprise to see Dave Lombardo at the top of this list. As he drifted in and out of Slayer, he helped revolutionize the thrash and speed metal genres. His drumming is chock full of attitude and unrelenting rhythm. If you look up “Lombardo” in the dictionary, you would find that he is the exact definition of heavy metal drumming. He set the standard for the genre and showed later drummers what it meant to play hard & fast. Do you agree with our list? Who’s your favorite hard rock or heavy metal drummer? ARAYA (singing): Signs of disease… REBECCA: For more heavy-hitting top tens, published every day be sure to subscribe to ARAYA (singing): …rivers red, blood in ice, plague, (singing) signs of disease, rivers red, blood, (singing) welcoming our death!

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