Music as a System: The Evolution of Metal Drumming

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Greetings and welcome back to Music as a System. In the last two editions of this feature, we’ve discussed how to apply lessons from systems external to the music business to improve or analyze issues within the world of metal. In this edition, I’m going to take a slightly different tack and explore the origins of certain elements within metal music and frame these in a similar vein to how science progresses.

In addition to education, I also have extensive experience in academic research in an applied science, namely traffic engineering and safety. I’ve investigated topics ranging from wildfire science to autonomous vehicles, and although I’m definitely not the best researcher my lab group has ever seen, I’d like to think that I at least understand how the scientific process is conducted. In his landmark work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas S. Kuhn painstakingly traced the history and methodology of how science progresses. According to Kuhn, any field of science develops both through great leaps and small strides. Typically, one field of study is dominated by an individual paradigm or overarching set of principles (e.g. the geocentric model of astronomy). Individual scientists within that field toil and operate under the constraints of this paradigm, ceaselessly exploring the outer boundaries and niche elements of the field in the process of normal science, until one of two events transpire. Either the paradigm reaches its logical limit and must be supplanted by a new paradigm in order for progress to continue (e.g. the heliocentric model of astronomy), or a discovery made in the process of normal science utterly eradicates the tenets of the prevailing paradigm. In essence, all major leaps in scientific progression have unfolded in such a manor. This process even applies to more practical fields of science or technology, such as the current reign of the combustible gasoline engine in transportation.

So what does this have to do with metal? A good question, but it is my firm belief that music and art in general progress in much the same way. New genres are birthed as the logical limits of an old genre are reached. Music  progresses both by consistent bands making subtle strides while slowly incorporating and experimenting with slightly altered approaches and by radical new artists completely attempting the unknown. This to me then appears to be a pragmatic issue. Musicians bring their “pragmatic” conceptual understanding of music and filter it through a series of cultural, historical, and interest lenses in order to develop a foundational knowledge. In an epistemological fashion reminiscent of the conceptualistic pragmatism espoused by C. I. Lewis in Mind and the World Order, musicians then build upon this knowledge and introduce new empirical experience that allows them to advance their particular science, i.e. music.

Where this eventually leaves us, then, is with the idea that we must understand our beginnings in order to evolve to some unforeseen conclusion. Therefore, I’m going to spend the remainder of this piece talking about four elements of drumming that are foundational to metal and heavy music. I’ll detail where these elements originated and where they might be going. Before I get started on that, I’d like to thank my co-conspirator Guacamole Jim for fact-checking me on drumming, providing invaluable insights, and locating some great videos. His contributions to this piece are priceless.


The Amen Break

There are a number of different drum breaks that have become deeply entrenched in metal and heavy music. Pound for pound, the Amen Break is one of the most interesting simply because of its unique origin and spread. This drum break was originally part of the B-side song “Amen, Brother” by the Winstons but was picked up by the electronic music scene, specifically the jungle and drum & bass scenes, and printed onto a ton of disposable records. Somehow this simple drum break became ubiquitous throughout the hardcore electronic and rock scene, even filtering down into advertisement jingles. The way this simple break proliferated is fascinating, and you should definitely watch this video to learn more.

Where do we go from here? The Amen break has entrenched itself deep into heavy music culture, although it typically manifests more frequently in electronic-influenced acts, such as Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein, KMFDM, Sybreed, and Slipknot. Still, even more traditional bands like Terrorizer and Black Sabbath have used it. So how will drum breaks built on the foundation of electronic music evolve? Honestly, I think we’ll continue to see further incorporations of electronics into grind, and the drum beats are going to become more warped and distorted. Acts like The Berzerker that blend gabber techno rhythms and grind into a daunting wall of sound are a portent of how extreme music will evolve. We’ve already been given a peak of that future with the cybergrind insanity of Cloak of Altering. Stay tuned for more.


Double Bass

The ability to play double bass drum rhythms has become a mandatory requirement for extreme metal. Still, how many of you knew that the technique originated in the jazz world? Of those of you who knew, how many of you knew that the first functional double bass pedal was developed in 1909? Double bass drum use in music has definitely followed a clear pattern of progressing by paradigms. Its first introduction as a double bass drum kit came at the hands of a young jazz player in high school by the name of Louie Bellson. After it became incorporated in the jazz scene, the paradigm was pushed a little further by hard rock acts like Cream adopting it in the 60s and 70s. However, I would argue that the paradigm was reinvented by metal artists in the early 80s as a means for delivering punishing and speedy gallops. Think of “Fast as a Shark” and how brutal the drums must have sounded in 1982. The paradigm shift for metal is particularly evident in the advent of double-stroke bass drumming over single-stroke, opening the door for faster and more aggressive patterns of double-bass drumming.

Where do we go from here? I think widespread use of the double bass schematic to alternate rhythms with each foot may be the next logical frontier, and there are already artists exploring this format and pushing the art in that direction. Morgan Agren, Swedish drummer extraordinaire who lent his talents to Fredrik Thordendal’s Special Defects‘ album Sol Niger Within is one such artist pushing the envelope on how multiple pedals and bass drums can be used. I can’t wait to see clever and mind-blowing uses of double pedals and quadruple bass drum kits in the future.


Triggered Drums

As mentioned in the introduction, technology, and the science that drives it, is often responsible for changing the prevailing paradigms. This too is evident in metal, as already evidenced by our discussion on the Amen Break and how it drove drum break development in the electronically-influenced heavy music. A particular technological development that transformed drumming in metal is the advent of drum triggers. Some purists may scoff at the thought of using an electronic trigger to tune the sensitivity of your equipment, but the fact remains that drum triggers, particularly on bass drums, allows for the requisite speed that a demanding musical genre necessitates. Drum triggers allow musicians to push the envelope on speed and intensity.

Where do we go from here? Because drum triggers allow metal drummers to optimize the BPMs and blast at high velocity, less pressure can be placed on inhuman footwork. Perhaps this will allow more time for developing unique drum patterns. Drummers who can shift focus from extreme footwork may be able to channel their energy into more intricate and complicated fills and hand movements. These intricate hand movements, when synced with faster and faster kick rhythms, may ultimately lead to the next revolution in metal drumming. See the below video of Virgil Donati for an explicit example of how extreme drumming and precise hand motions can be intertwined for dizzying results.


Blast Beats

The blast beat, the preferred drumming technique of death and grind drummers, shares a jazz origin with the double bass setup.  Blast beats have become the ubiquitous weapon of choice for extreme metal drummers, and a grind or brutal death song would just sound odd without that wall of bass and snare barrage. Still, blast beats have been in practice in extreme metal since well before Napalm Death allegedly coined the term. How can they evolve?

Where do we go from here? Even more complicated drum techniques, such as the obscene gravity roll, have been melded into the standard blast beat attack. However, it’s difficult to imagine how blast beats can be made more extreme themselves. Drummers only have so many limbs and can only play so fast. Perhaps, mush as happens in the field of science, a change in the paradigm of the use of bass drums will open up a whole new field of practice for blasting. Perhaps a revolution in one sector of drumming in heavy music will cause a palpable ripple of mind-blowing innovation across the entire discipline. Only time will tell. While discussing this topic, Guacamole Jim indicated that he feels blast beats may simply be the precursor to an even more extreme form of metal drumming. It appears that bands are already drifting away from the wall of noise that prevailed through the use of blast beats in favor of a more rhythmic, backbeat oriented drive. Perhaps blasting will make a resurgence in a newer, even more hideous form.

So now comes the discussion? What do you think are prevailing paradigms in extreme music? Which bands have shaped those paradigms? Which bands are poised to usher in new paradigms, and how will they do it? Sound off below!

(Photo VIA)

References:

  • L. von Bertalanffy. General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications. George Braziller, 1968.
  • T. S. Kuhn. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Third Edition. The University of Chicago Press, 1962.
  • C. I. Lewis. Mind and the World Order. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1929.
  • E. Dayton. Clarence Irving Lewis (1983-1964). Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, undated. http://www.iep.utm.edu/lewisci/. Accessed November 16, 2014.
  • Pmf. First Use of Amen Break in Metal. Rateyourmusic, June 22, 2012. http://rateyourmusic.com/board_message?message_id=4124486&find=4126959&x=m. Accessed November 17, 2014.
  • Wikipedia. Amen Break. Wikipedia, August 6, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amen_break. Accessed November 17, 2014.
  • Wikipedia. Bass Drum. Wikipedia, November 17, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_drum#Double_bass_drum. Accessed November 17, 2014.
  • Wikipedia. Blast Beat. Wikipedia, July 27, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blast_beat. Accessed November 16, 2014.
  • Wikipedia. Trigger (drums). Wikipedia, October 6, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigger_(drums). Accessed November 17, 2014.
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  • Nordling Rites ov God

    mmmm shower me in all those tasty drum beats. The drums totally make an album for me.

    • Spear

      For all their guitar wizardry, a huge part of why I love Arsis is because of the drums. Every time I listen to them it makes me wish I was a drummer.

      • how’s Arsis sound live? They must have a high costly gear to develop that satured sound.. Everytime is happening something in their records. This was the one I loved on that record:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgXydNGagRI&list=PLB8C524D51E29539E&index=17

        • Spear

          They sound great live. I didn’t get a great look at their rig, but if I remember correctly, they used real amps run through an Ax-FX for extra effects (pitch- shifting being the big one).

    • Max

      I can think of several albums where if I had a remix of an album with everything muted out except the drums, I would enjoy it just as much.

  • YourLogicIsFlushed

    Thomas Kuhn is the man. Damn good read from a philosophical standpoint.

    • VV.

      Most definitely. That Lewis book is rigorous but well worthwhile too!

      • YourLogicIsFlushed

        I basically quit reading overly complicated philosophy after a long attempt at trying to understand wtf Kant was talking about, but I should try again soon.

        • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

          Fuck Kant.

          Also, fuck Keirkegaard. And while we’re at it, fuck Wittgenstein. Shit’s too damn complicated.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Edward

            I stopped reading after “fuck Kant” in wholehearted agreement. Fuck that clown ass mark. Lol.

          • You colossal plebes! I flush thee heartily.

          • Nordling Rites ov Karhu

            They’re not THAT bad

          • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

            For realzies? You are much smarter than I, then. Which is not that improbable.

          • Nordling Rites ov Karhu

            I read a little philosophy in school that’s all.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Edward

            Guacamole Rites ov Jim, lol.

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            Never got around to Wittgenstein, but I did read a novel called Wittgenstein’s Mistress, which is not at all what it sounds like, and I would 100% recommend to fellow pretentious novel readers.

          • VV.

            I fit that category. Smuglyintrigued/10

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            Very quick read, maybe a day if you have some free time. It’s a story told from the viewpoint of a women who is (or maybe just thinks she is) the last women on earth, but it’s not post-apocalyptic in the slightest. Just weird, funny, and a good thinker.

          • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

            That sounds great, actually.

          • VV.

            Cosigned.

          • Nordling Rites ov Karhu

            I’m in.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            A Scanner Smugly

          • VV.

            I love Wittgenstein, but you definitely have to do research to know what the hell he’s getting at.

          • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

            Out of the three, he’s the one I grasp the least. Kant isn’t actually that bad, and Kierkegaard throws me for a loop, but I can kinda see what he’s trying to say (and I usually really like his work, much more than Kant’s). But Wittgenstein… oh man.

          • VV.

            I read both Kuhn and Lewis for a PhD level course a couple years ago, and I did a paper on Wittgenstein that semester. I definitely had to read other sources to figure out what he was getting out.

  • Dental_Damnation

    You even included references you classy motherfucker! High end journalism to be found in the dark, damp recesses Ov the toilet.

    • Nordling Rites ov Ellipsis

      W. for president #3rdtimesacharm

      • VV.

        No fetus can beat us!

        • Xan

          No thrown shoe can make us un-glue.

    • …places where no toilet brush can reach (without a swivel extension)

    • CITING WIKIPEDIA IS UNACCEPTABLE

    • NefariousDude

      And here i was thinking the “void” would be the only reference around here lol

      • Lacertilian

        it’s definitely the most cited.

  • Nordling Rites Ov Edward

    W this is excellent. I feel like there may have been a place for Agoraphobic Nosebleed somewhere in here…

    Cloak of Altering, cybergrind? I may use that.

    Cloak of Altering >>>>>>

    • Stockhausen

      Cloak of Altering may crack my top ten. Plague Beasts/10, would lose mind again.

      • Nordling Rites Ov Edward

        I don’t want to give anything away (Edward gives no quarter / no fvkks given) but I have a sneaky feeling I’m gonna need to blurb that for mine own Top 13.

        • VV.

          Plague Beasts >>>>>>>>>>>>

  • Kim Jong Un Pardons A Turkey

    But where’s the cowbell?!? I gotta fever ova hee-ya!!!

    • Nordling Rites ov God
      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Cowbell from hell. The fucking RIFFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnFYwNw7-dU

        • Nordling Rites ov God

          Hey I remember when this was your profile pic! aaaah the cunting memories.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Indeed. And what can I say. I love (old) Celtic Frost.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Extremöphile

            It’s actually against the geneva convention to dislike old Celtic Frost.

          • Stockhausen

            I read that somewhere. I think it was the Geneva Convention.

        • Tyreeing in Titty Fish

          Shit I was just going to post Celtic Frost. Got to have that heavy D-beat groove as well.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvPY5BH38B8

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Fuck yes, but not to sound like a elitist prick, but I prefer the Emperor’s Return version to this version. It’s more evil and nasty.

          • Tyreeing in Titty Fish

            Listening now and I see your point. You are a cunting prick though, so it’s all good.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Yes. I am the prick of pricks.

          • Tyreeing in Titty Fish

            King Prick of Prick Mountain

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Prick Prick of Prick Pricktain.

          • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

            Prvck Prvck ov Prvck Prvcktvin

  • Great article W, it was written with much #voidscience™. Its interesting to think about how the limits of the human body so greatly affect the nature of music (and especially extreme music). There is only so much a human can do before technology and machinery become necessary to improve/innovate within a genre, this is exacerbated by our need for more mind-blowing intensity. Really, quite the brain-turner, W.

    • David Vincent on Tinder

      I agree, but how far can we go before it’s… too extreme?

      • Whenever they’re playing metal riffs with clean guitar tones and bongos, then everyone starts calling it trve

    • “#voidscience™” purrrfect

    • VV.

      Thanks! Many props to my chip dip in crime!

      • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

        ‘Twas all you, Mr. Bush. It’s easy to come up with ideas when someone else provides all the inspiration and work.

  • Simon PhoenixKing

    This was an awesome read. Though some great death metal bands rarely use blast beats at all. Like Asphyx.

    Also, props for referencing my favorite Keep of Kalessin album. Though I didn’t know they used triggers.

    • VV.

      Glad you enjoyed. KoK isn’t talked about nearly enough here.

  • Tyreeing in Titty Fish

    Always be blasting.

  • Tyreeing in Titty Fish

    • Yessssss.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      FUCK YOU, that’s my band’s name.

      • Tyreeling in Titty Fish

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Lol’ing is for closers.

          • Tyreeling in Titty Fish

            You stupid fucking cunt. You, Williamson, I’m talking to you, shithead. You just cost me $6,000. Six thousand dollars, and one Cadillac. That’s right. What are you going to do about it? What are you going to do about it, asshole? You’re fucking shit. Where did you learn your trade, you stupid fucking cunt, you idiot? Who ever told you that you could work with men? Oh, I’m gonna have your job, shithead.

  • Tyreeing in Titty Fish

    Gravity blasts are fucking dumb. That’s like my opinion man.

    • Stockhausen

      I’m really glad to hear a grind drummer say that. I’ve played with so many grind bands that feature a drummer spazzing on the snare with absolutely no effect for the duration of a song, thinking he’s, like, the fastest, man, cuz grind.

      • Tyreeing in Titty Fish

        It’s sloppy and lazy sounding. Blast like a true warrior or die!

        • VV.

          Haha, I’m pleased to hear your opinion. Don’t Cattle Decap gravity blast?

          • Tyreeling in Titty Fish

            No.

          • VV.

            Hmm. I stand corrected.

          • Tyreeling in Titty Fish

            I stand corrected Dubya…you’re an OAK!

          • VV.

            I’m more of a pine.

          • Tyreeling in Titty Fish

            In pace requiescat.

          • CT-12

            Yeah, they do a fuckton, but they still write great music and Dave McGraw utilizes a lot of different techniques in his drumming for it to stay interesting to me. Fuck, the drums on “Gristle Licker”, crazy shit, probably part of the future of blasts.

  • Nordling Rites Ov Extremöphile

    Napalm Death >>>>>>>

    • Tyreeing in Titty Fish

      Mick Harris >>>>>>>>

      • Nordling Rites Ov Extremöphile

        Shane embury’s hair>>>>>>>>>

        • Tyreeling in Titty Fish

          You win.

        • VV.

          Did you here his Menace side project from earlier this year?

          • CT-12

            I think Tyree was talking about MICK Harris, the original drummer for Napalm. Also, what are your thoughts on the CD? I keep meaning to buy it but I either can’t find it at my records stores or forget to look online. I really liked a few songs I heard on youtube and I think Mitch is super underrated

  • The next wave of metal should abandon the current conventions and add hambone.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMJeaZtgwng

    • Stockhausen

      I legitimately support that more than I support most metal bands these days.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Is that Kenneth from 30 rock?

  • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

    I think two things have revolutionized modern extreme metal drumming (and drumming in general, but I’m speaking specifically of speed drumming): triggers and sound replacement. Dynamics no longer become a problem for drummers, because in-studio everything is sound replaced with a loud, powerful drum sound, and in a live setting, triggers play the same loud, powerful sound when ever the vibration hits them. Microphones are no longer necessary – neither are dynamics. Blast beats can be played with the beaters an inch from the head and the sticks about the same, and they can still sound powerful and huge. If you took away the triggers/sound replacement, modern blast beats wouldn’t sound very “extreme.”

    There are, of course, exceptions to this (drummers who blast without triggers), but as a general rule, sound replacement and triggers are staples in extreme music. This is just an extension of what W. is saying about the influence of science and technology on music, and I only see electronic advancements becoming more prominent in extreme music, especially with the huge popularity of the EDM scene.

    • Stockhausen

      As a classical percussionist, I tend to have a real problem with the idea of relying on triggers/sound replacement for volume and quality. I’m not against triggers and how they can help evenness of sound and create a desired effect, but I think a drummer that hasn’t put time and effort into good sound quality on his or her own needs to get off the stage and practice. That’s a blanket statement of course, and I know that at some point the speed will drive the height of the stick/beater way down, but too many people resort to that far too quickly.
      I don’t think you were saying the contrary, I’m just jumping in with my snobby opinion.

      • Nordling Rites ov Karhu

        I had nothing against triggers for a long time. I still don’t mind listening to triggered drums, but after playing in a band utilizing this technology to the max they have begun to irritate me in a live situation very much.

      • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

        I come from a jazz background, and I feel the same way. I don’t hate drummers who use triggers, but I’d never use them myself, and I’m with you in that I find most drummers who use them to be lazy. One very prominent exception, in my opinion, is Mario Duplantier. That dude rips. I don’t care how triggered his drums are, or that all his toms sound the same.

        That being said, give me a natural drum kit sound every time. If you listen to guys like Benny Greb, it’s so much more pleasing to the ear than Fallujah’s drums, for example. And I like Fallujah’s music, but their drum tone is like all Slipknot’s members got their own plastic pail and someone recorded them hitting them as fast as they could.

        • Max

          My take on triggers is that personally, I’ve never been able to understand why just about everybody insists on using sample sounds that are obviously “un-organic”.

          Granted, to a certain extent, even if you sample an “authentic” acoustic kick drum sound and play that in a constant pattern, it’s going to end up sounding partly unnatural because by their very nature, drums are supposed to sound different every time they’re struck; and having the exact same sound fired back at you gives the game away no matter how natural a sound you start with. It’s a bit like recording yourself saying the sentence “Hey, hey, hey, hey” or just recording the word “hey” once and looping it four times: Anybody can spot the fake sentence.

          But there’s a world of difference, I’d suggest, between using a relatively natural kick drum sound and using the most treble-enhanced, gated-reverb-added-for-the-hell-of-it, ear-stabber type kick sound.

          The justification for the hyper-trebled double-kick sound is that it adds clarity to what would otherwise be an indistinct rumble at high tempos. This is true. What’s often not admitted, though, is that even at high tempos, it is still possible to get a relatively clear sound out of a natural timbre if the drummer plays well and is recorded well. Paul Bostaph’s performance on Divine Intervention is a good example of that.

          Bear in mind also that triggers are often blamed for a lack of dynamics in performance, which can be unfair. Because it is actually possible to tune triggers to match the dynamics of human playing, as difficult as it can be. Plus, you can always mic up the drums and blend the real sound with the fake one to get the best of both worlds – which is probably what’s done on most records anyway.

          So in other words, to me the best triggered or beat-replaced drum sounds are those where you can’t necessarily tell that that’s what you’re hearing.

        • CT-12

          Thank you for mentioning Fallujah. The drummer is super talented, no question, but I hate when you can barely differentiate in their blasts between what’s the snare and what’s the kick drum, and that happens all the time with them and a ton of other bands.

      • VV.

        I appreciate your commentary and Jim’s. Like we discussed further up, there may be a rejection of the technology or an even further embrace of it.

      • CT-12

        Yeah dude, my same thoughts. I listen to plenty of bands with drummers who trigger, but I’ll never do it myself and I give an automatic -1 to bands that have triggered drums the first time I hear them. It just kills the point of drumming to me; it’s supposed to be physical!

    • Lacertilian

      Agree completely, some metal drummers are already doing fusion-type stuff, I used to hate anything electronic until Navene Koperweis from Animosity started doing this stuff. I think I posted some stuff for @Max earlier on here somewhere.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id3V5h_WWsY

      Not the best sound-quality but some interesting ideas.

  • Stockhausen

    Great thoughts here, Derbs. I wonder if a large-scale regression might be in our future, as trends tend to swing back and forth over long periods of time. Maybe we’ll become to triggered, sampled, clean, etc, that a more stripped down and raw trend with more space in the drum parts will become more common. We see that all over the place in underground metal, of course, but it would be interesting to see a band of Periphery’s sound and stature embrace a raw, spaced out kit on an album 15 years from now (side note: Periphery sucks).

    • Nordling Rites ov Karhu

      I take it you aren’t currently enjoying the new Periphery song

      • YourLogicIsFlushed

        I dig it. Fuck me, right?

        • Nordling Rites ov Karhu

          Right!

        • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

          The vocals at the beginning remind me a LOT of Coheed and Cambria. All in all, not bad. Much less Djent, much more song.

          • Nordling Rites ov Karhu

            It’s hard for me to say this but… less djent and more song only made them even less interestingly good.

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            The last minute is great, hoping there is more of that on the rest of the album.

          • *sees mention of Periphery
            *leave Toilet immediately to listen
            *gives… a few fucks, out of embarrassment in front of toilet friends

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            Lol I hate that I feel like I should be embarrassed about it. It sounds good to me, ignore the hate.

          • CT-12

            Fuck no man, like whatever you want homie

          • Nordling Rites Ov Edward

            I have almost no opinion on Periphery whatsoever.

          • VV.

            I have a very strong opinion on Periphery.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Edward

            I want to hear it thusly.

          • VV.

            I hate them, and I told Misha Mansoor on FFB that I can’t back their music with their whiny vocalist.

          • #DjentProblems: you construct a relative fine idea and then fuck up with a emo vocalist.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Edward

            Srs? Hahaha.

          • VV.

            More or less. I basically commented that I’ll never give them my Presidential seal of approval if they keep using awful vocals, and he responded with “Presidential.”

          • more beer

            That`s why you were the prez telling it like it is.

          • I like Periphery, but the first two and half minutes or so of this song were boooooooring me to tears.

            Edit: Those vocals that are pretty early in the song get REALLY whiny and gross, and that’s coming from someone that normally likes his vocals.

          • I liked two songs of Periphery that weren’t composed with so many pieces scattered in the time of duration.

          • Why are we besmirching the good name of Coheed & Cambria?

          • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

            I’m not. I love Co&Ca.

          • +1 then, Jim.

          • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

            +1 then, BLVCKBEVRD! I’m enough of a nerd to have all the comics, including the original ones that he did ages ago that are out of print now…

          • Didn’t they do a reissue? (edit: what did you think of Afterman Ascension and Descension?

          • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

            Yeah, you’re right. I hadn’t realized that, but it doesn’t surprise me. I honestly prefer the older ones to the Amory Wars, but that probably just stems from a teenage affinity for them, not because they’re actually better.

          • I think if people knew about the graphic novel series’ and how they tie in to the music, especially in Claudio’s brilliant lyrics, people wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them as some pop-prog-rock band. Its darker than most shit people spout as brutal nowadays.

          • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

            Totally. The story for the Amory Wars is fucking dark, and I love it. There’s a ton of ridiculously bleak lyrics, especially on IKSoSE:3 and GAIBSIV:Vol1FFTtEoM (holy hell!).

          • IV was soooooo good. All the leitmotifs that they started on Second-Stage, 3 and 4 that carry over into refrains and pieces of lyrics that get altered and how they tie into the novels. Man. Makes me wanna listen to some Heed. Heed is basically the new Rush. Maybe a better Rush. *runs before the flames*

          • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

            Oh, in response to the edit: Ascension was alright. Better than most of the stuff they’ve put out lately, but Descension was spot on – a true return to form. Gravity’s Union is one of their best songs ever, in my opinion.

          • This. My sentiments exactly.

          • CT-12

            I saw them live once and I liked one song they played that was pretty fucking heavy, but I just can’t really get into them. Different strokes!

    • VV.

      An intriguing thought. Art pushes against itself, so we may very well see a rejection of the blast.

      • CT-12

        Dude, honestly, I’m not a huge fan of blasts. Some bands can use it effectively, but there’s a ton of overuse in the scene, at least for my tastes. I think blasts will progress in time though to incorporate more stuff in between the snare hit and cymbal hit, I’ve had other ideas on how to fuck with it, but that’s what I’m betting on in the next few years.

    • Things:
      1. I have not heard new Periphery and do not plan to.
      2. I think a regression is definitely in the future, or at least I’d like it to be. Dudes like Sean Reinert or the guy from Confessor whose name I can’t remember have an infinitely more interesting approach to progressive metal drumming than just playing as many notes as possible. I can’t link it from mobile but check out the latter’s breakdown of “Condemned” on YouTube. The way he constructs drum riffs by subtracting elements instead of just adding more notes is so much more interesting to me.
      As a percussionist, I’d recommend you check out this podcast with Nick Podgurski from Extra Life/New Firmament/Feast of the Epiphany. He basically took a long break from any drumming at all so his muscle memory would fade away. He explains it much better than I could, of course.
      http://www.5049records.com/nick-podgurski

      • VV.

        Would you liken the alleged regression to the move towards more groove and less technicality in prog metal?

    • CT-12

      Well, if you look at the doom scene, you could already say that regression has happened. Craig Nunenmacher (played on a few Crowbar albums) is one of my favorite drummers of all time because he has such a swinging, funky, yet punishing sound. Dude uses his snare like a weapon, keeping busy with toms and cymbals until you least expect the hit. Start at 3:04 and you can hear the dude is basically holding this song together and keeps making the same riff sound badass. This is just one drummer though in a huge echelon of drummers from doom who changed my thoughts on metal drumming though, I was originally gonna post Saint Vitus’ “Petra” (check it out if you get the time). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM2-iPAY2p4

  • IronLawnmower

    Honestly the only thing I know about drums is d-beat. D-beat is the shit. Informative article but it needed at least 200% more d-beat.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gN4BZ8vWESE

  • Tyreeing in Titty Fish

    Pete Sandoval dose not use triggers!

    #PeteSandovalFacts

    • IronLawnmower

      He’s also become a jesus freak. RIPanychancemorbidangelhadofbecomminggoodagain

      • Nordling Rites ov Karhu

        But apparently he’s got an all new line up for (T)Errorizer.
        #HopingNewTerrorizerWillOfferSalvationLikeNoOther

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    drums of the galaxy’s ambassadors—-
    trillions—stars—-

    time ranchers/universe builders—camped out at the side of the blackhole—to use it like a paddlewheel uses a river—-
    gradually finding–different alien races—down by the river nile

    space phoenix cleopatra ceasar

    and a new upper class–pyramid and golden castle gas planet/moon universe–

    with new royalty—and untouchable void stagnation—-

    too reckless from the beginning—

    both at once–full vol

    http://youtu.be/Alj8gDta6SU

    http://youtu.be/zHW5RVvg2v4

    • Tyreeing in Titty Fish

      FUCK DRUM MACHINES!

      • Negative. Correct me if I’m wrong, W, but I think that was another slight omission here: undrummers? Basically takes us into the realm of electronica/industrial. There’s some grind and DM out there with fairly impressive 100% programmed drums. Future = Future.

        • Tyreeing in Titty Fish

          The future = nothingness.

        • Say it: you want to cite the “Scott Hull’s Drum machine”

          • They say if you say “Scott Hull’s Drum Machine” three times in front of a mirror he will appear and out-play your favorite drummers with a keyboard & mouse.

          • clicking at 280 bpm *clickclickclick*

          • Like Koreans playing Starcraft, Scott Hull > Koreans. (edit: sorry kim jung un)

          • VV.

            This is why I don’t play Starcraft competitively.

        • VV.

          My chip dip in crime and I discussed the furtherance in to electric territory, but we left that out for now.

        • CT-12

          Dude, Animals as Leaders’ first album was all programmed drums, and they’re some of the best programmed drums I’ve heard in my life, also Type O Negative used drum machines for all of their albums outside of Dead Again.

          • Mortician >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          • CT-12

            Ugggghhhhh, no hahaha

          • Suck it. My old lady wears my Mortician hoodie THAT SHE FUCKED UP IN THE WASHER around the house. I got nothin but <3 for Mortician. Not saying the drums programming was brilliant, that part was slight sarcasm.

          • CT-12

            All good bud, the drums just totally turn me off from getting into them, but to each their own.

          • I think they’re one of those “face-value” type bands. Same reason erbody hates Rings of Saturn but I frequently put that garbage #onblast. There’s also a shit ton of 1-man-band-drum-programmers out there too, and others (like that new Appalachian Winter) where the drums aren’t clutch but serviceable.

          • CT-12

            Yeah dude, and funnily enough I like Rings of Saturn. Kenn Nardi’s new album (that I’m working on a review of) has pretty damn good programmed drums as well.

          • I’ll be looking forward to it, then.

  • Mother Shabubu III

    Metal drumming needs some kind of shake up/kick in the pants. It just feels so stale to me right now. It’s all about playing fast and showing off. This isn’t a talent show. Especially when everyone and their mothers can blast and do double bass rolls now.

    • you’ll dig the drumming in an upcoming Porcelain Throne segment i helped write! also, Cynic.

      • Guacamole Rites ov Jim

        Cynic >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      • CT-12

        Dude, hearing “Human” wrecked my shit. The subtleties in Sean’s drumming is so fucking incredible and were unlike any other drumming I had ever heard before in death metal and a lot of metal in general. That dude was a truly a game changer, as well as Steve Flynn from Atheist.

  • I just came here to say Hello! and my congrats for such a documented and good argumented article. This is pure gold like the Toilet deserves.
    I’m no drummer, the only references that I knew where about the first double pedal, but it’s great to see so many different sources used to create the music we like. That’s why I believe that metal is, by nature, one of the most inclusive, varied and anarchistic genres of music. 🙂

    Kudos to W. and Guacamelee for make this intensive review.

    In my opinion the only omission was the D-Beat. Here we have a lot of crust/grind/punky fans that love that sound, so it’d be cool if you posted it too if they didn’t knew the history of that. (I don’t know it).

    • VV.

      I love the D-beat. There’s so much I could have (and should have) included.

      • latin style percussion would be good for a second part 😉

  • killer article boys! i love learning more about drumming (not a musician, but have a high appreciation for them)
    …after reading the first two paragraphs:

    http://www.onlineeducation.net/images/blogs/15-college-films-with-actors-too-old-for-their-roles/500x244x4.jpg.pagespeed.ic.6gh3oNyrOL.jpg

  • George Clarke

    cloak of altering holy shit

    also this is the most well written article i’ve ever read on a metal site

    • VV.

      It’s all for you, GC! Also Cloak of Altering is the cat’s pajamas.

  • Max

    Heh, heh. Did you write this article just for me, W? Awesome work, I could blather on for days about this!

    First insights: Alternating rhythms on the feet may well be the next way to innovate. I certainly think the tech-death titans have proved just about all they can with simple speed patterns.

    Let’s not forget, however, that some extreme metal groundwork in this area has already been laid for quite some time. Specifically, as far back as 1994 on the debut Mayhem full-length: On the last (title) track, Hellhammer played a blast beat that utilized a different pattern with his left foot on the high-hat pedal. More recently, Derek Roddy’s done similar things with ribbon crashers and the like.

    • VV.

      I actually almost used a Derek Roddy video that Tyree posted last week. I’m glad you enjoyed the post! GJ and I both realize there is a lot more we could include.