Sunday Sesh: What’s Your Favorite Drum Performance in 2K18 (so far)?

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Those show-boatin’, guitar-playin’ gloryhogs who write the riffs and yarl into the mic may get all the attention, but they would be nothing – NOTHING – without the support of the humble, workman-like drummer. Today we celebrate those drummers who have rocked your world in 2K18.

Remember earlier this week when I said that the new Autokrator album, Hammer of the Heretics, was too heavy for my morning commute? Well, as it turns out, that was a bit of a fib. Several mornings this week (not the very early ones, though; on those days the sentiment held true), I found myself too enamored of Kevin Paradis’s performance to take my own well-being – and that of those around me – into account. While Paradis shines across all four of the songs proper (“Hammer of the Heretics” is a bit of an interlude), it’s his attention to detail that really makes the powerful climax of “Inquisitio-Denunciatio-Exceptio” hit so got dang, acceleration pedal-sticking hard.

Take a moment to pause whatever dumb thing you’re currently listening to and crucify the mf replay button on this track a few times.

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On this song, Paradis does it all. Devilish fills punctuate the spine-crushing back beat like rifle fire between periodic volleys of cannon salvos. Blasts slip into martial tattoos with effortless fluidity. Cymbals crash and ride with wicked intent. And all of it is housed in a perfect, open production job that allows the notes to ring out into a smoke-filled night. Every single percussive strike feels absolutely huge.

But what really sells the song for me is not an overbearing drum presence but a tasteful performance and eye on the detail. Yes, Paradis plays with a lot of nuance; every time I repeat the track I hear some new fill or accent I missed the last time. Despite that, however, Paradis knows exactly how to play to the song. He only blasts when absolutely necessary, he only adds a drum roll when it make Loic’s next note stronger, and he never overdoes it to make the song feel like two separate tracks smashed together.

There are two riff sections of the track that perfectly exemplify this. At 2:59, Loic plays a slow, mesmerizing riff to Paradis’s military beat. At the end of each repetition of the riff, there’s a small bit of negative space that allows Paradis to throw in one or two extra fills; Paradis does this each time, but every new cycle seems to introduce something new. One riff repetition may find Paradis riding heavy on the snare, while the next shows him adding a few extra strokes to the hi-hat. He never overextends himself and never overpowers the riff. The base beat is simple, but he shows even in simplicity he has enough talent to really sell the whole package. When the final repetition of that riff rears its head again at the conclusion of the song, Paradis finally goes all in on the beat and adds some extra splash to those hits to hammer it all home.

It’s a perfect conclusion that demands repeated listens.

So what paradiddle makes your balls tickle this year? Sound off in the comments below.


Hammer of the Heretics drops April 10th. Pre-order it here.

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