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My Top Four Drummers

I have the pleasure of being a part of what I believe is the greatest radio station in Nebraska, and because of that…I get a lot of good chances to see really good concerts! Most recently, I saw Mastodon and Coheed and Cambria perform for their dual-headlining Unheavenly Skye Tour in Council Bluffs, Iowa last Thursday, the 13th.

While I was thinking about what I was most excited for coming up at the show, it boiled down to witnessing first-hand the drumming of Brann Dailor from Mastodon. So I started thinking about my favorite drummers, and I’ve narrowed it down to these four (clockwise from top left):

  • Danny Carey – TOOL
  • Brann Dailor – Mastodon
  • Chris Adler – Lamb of God
  • Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan – Avenged Sevenfold

The thing I love about all of these drummers is the technicality that they bring to the table for their drumming styles. All four of these drummers have excellent skills and can hone in on them for the perfect fills, solos, blast beats, and time-keeping.

I’ll start with Danny Carey because I know many of you are also huge fans of TOOL and the drumming that Danny lays down for TOOL’s music.

As I said, the technicality is a huge factor for all of these drummers, but Danny may epitomize that more than any other in this list. TOOL is famous for long songs, odd time signatures, and a variety of different sounds. Danny never has trouble keeping time with the rest of the band, even though he seems to play in a completely different time signature with different phrasing than the rest of the band on many occasions; most notably on the song “Lateralus”. The time signatures of the chorus of the song change from 9/8 to 8/8 to 7/8 and move back and forth following the Fibonacci Sequence of mathematics. “It was originally titled 9-8-7. For the time signatures. Then it turned out that 987 was the 17th step of the Fibonacci sequence (in which each integer is equal to the sum of the preceding two). So that was cool,” said Carey.

Recommended songs: “Lateralus” – Lateralus, “Forty-Six & 2” – Lateralus, “Vicarious” – 10,000 Days, and “Ænema” – Ænema

Video: 10 Times Danny Carey Was the Best Drummer on Earth

Next, I’ll move on to Brann Dailor of Mastodon, since he is the drummer that I have seen most recently on this list.

I was really excited to check out Brann’s drumming at the show this last Thursday, and I was not disappointed! The band played their album Crack the Skye in its entirety for the 10 year anniversary of the record. So not only was I seeing an incredibly talented group of musicians, but they were also playing one of their most technical and developed albums to date. Crack the Skye is a concept album that is part of the band’s string of concept albums that represent the basic elements of the Earth: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Aether – the element of souls and spirits. Aether is represented by this album and the title is also an homage to Brann’s sister Skye who committed suicide at the age of 14. This album also features a number of songs with Brann on lead vocals, and the band has continued to incorporate his vocals into songs ever since – which is no easy task when you’re also drumming the way Brann does! So this album means a lot to the band, and to the fans of the band. It was an incredible experience, and I’m already excited for my next chance to see Mastodon perform live!

Recommended songs: “Oblivion” – Crack the Skye, “The Last Baron” – Crack the Skye, “The High Road” – Once More ‘Round the Sun, and “The Wolf is Loose” – Blood Mountain

Video: Brann Dailor – Capillarian Crest Playthrough (from Blood Mountain, 2006)

Chris Adler is another amazing drummer that I always feel privileged to see live!

Chris is a founding member of Lamb of God and has always been an incredible influence on my own drumming! His technicality is just as top-notch as the other drummers in this list, but what I love most about Chris Adler are his ideas on the feeling of the music as a drummer in a death metal band. Chris has said in interviews that even though the songs may seem very fast and intricate and difficult to play, a lot of his style feels natural and comfortable to him at this point in his career. For example, one of Lamb of God’s biggest hit songs is “Laid to Rest” from Ashes of the Wake. The song itself is fast-paced and complicated as far as the guitar parts go, but the drumming is actually pretty solemn for the most part. Chris has played this song countless times in rehearsals and live performances that now it just comes as second nature to him while he’s drumming. I always feel as though his style fits perfectly with the rest of the band, and his brother Willie is actually the second guitarist of the band. So not only does he feel comfortable playing his parts, but he also has that relationship between him and his brother especially, but overall, with the entire band.

Recommended songs: “Desolation” – Resolution, “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For” – Ashes of the Wake, “Redneck” – Sacrament, and “Walk With Me in Hell” – Sacrament

Video: Chris Adler – The Faded Line Playthrough (from Ashes of the Wake, 2004)

Last, but certainly not least: Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan.

The Rev was an incredible drummer in so many ways! He had an impeccable ear for great fills, killer backbeats, awesome solos, and he could sing! Like I said with Brann Dailor, singing while playing drums is no easy task – try it for yourself. The Rev had so many great songs with Avenged Sevenfold that it’s really tough to think about a finite number of songs that I can recommend to go check out. Unfortunately for Avenged Sevenfold fans, drum fans, and for the family and loved ones of Jimmy, he passed away on December 28th, 2009. Just three days after Christmas. Autopsies determined that the cause of his death was an overdose of several drugs including Percocet, Valium, and alcohol among others. I remember when I first heard about The Rev’s passing. I was listening to satellite radio and the on-air host told listeners that The Rev had passed away and that he was dedicating the next song on the station to him – “Afterlife”. This song features vocals by The Rev: “I am unbroken; I’m choking on this ecstasy. Unbreak me, unchain me, I need another chance to live”. That moment hit hard for me because I had been listening to Avenged Sevenfold pretty frequently around this time, and I had seen them perform less than a year before. But nonetheless, The Rev was an amazing drummer and a hilarious friend to the members of the band, and they always have him in their hearts.

Recommended songs: “Blinded in Chains” – City of Evil, “Afterlife” – Avenged Sevenfold, “A Little Piece of Heaven” – Avenged Sevenfold, and “Fiction” – Nightmare (“Fiction” is the last song by Avenged Sevenfold featuring vocals from The Rev)

Video: 10 Unforgettable ‘The Rev’ Avenged Sevenfold Moments

Let me know who your favorite drummers are on Facebook or Twitter!

Thanks for reading! Much love,

Brady \m/ (>.<) \m/

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