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Author Topic: TOP ERR DRUMMERS (by a drummer)  (Read 209 times)
PearlIbanez
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« on: February 16, 2017, 09:17:32 pm »

HAIL!

V and I were chatting about this one day and she encouraged me to list the Top Drummers that are represented here at ERR.  The thing that might set this list apart from other such lists is the differentiation that I make between "someone who plays drums" and a "drummer".  Being a drummer myself, I am pretty confident in saying this distinction is true and tangible.  "Someone who plays drums" does not imply someone who lacks ability.  This is someone who can keep time well in a professional band.  Most of the bands here at ERR have "someone who plays drums" sitting behind their kits.  They can kick out blast beats, or some pocket grooves in 4/4, or whatever well enough to keep time.  Well and good.  I'm not considering them for my list.  A 'drummer' is someone with intricate familiarity with the nuances of his instrument and of approaches to rhythm that he can truly be said to have developed his own style or signature approach.  That's not all though (if it was Lars Ulrich would be considered a drummer...his 'sound' is mostly a result of the guy behind the mixing board!).  Technical ability plays a big factor!  The ability to use polyrhythms freely and fluidly and to use every part of the kit uniquely and effectively.  Short version, a 'drummer' is the kind of player that you can't swap him out with another player without profoundly changing the overall sound of the band.  Yeah, there aren't too many 'drummers' recording professionally - producers don't like them much!

All that being said, after months of totally fun research here at ERR, here's my list (sorry it's not a full 10) in no particular order:

1)Ted Kirkpatrick (Tourniquet):  A perfect blend of Dave Lombardo (Slayer) and Neal Peart (Rush), Ted is THE signature player of this band.  His drumming and rhythmic approaches literally define the songs and moods.  Check out the title track for "Microscopic View of a Telescopic Realm".  Dude is in a class by himself.

2)Mike Portnoy (the 'real' Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob, Neal Morse, etc.):  This guy literally defined prog drumming for an entire generation of drummers.  He has such an 'it' factor, that Dream Theater had no recourse but to find a guy with the chops to copy him (let's face it, neither Mangini nor DT has forged any new ground in the post-Portnoy era).  Check out A-Mob's "Believe Me" to hear some great china work that others just don't do.

3) Neal Peart: 'Nuff said!

4) Scott Rockenfield (Queensryche):  Here's another drummer whose drumming clearly defines many of QR's songs just on the basis of his approach and his tom and china use is just killer.  Far from being just a timekeeper, his style oozes through every song.  Replacing Geoff Tate?  Easy.  Replacing Chris Degarmo?  No problem.  Replacing Scott Rockenfield?  I don't think you can.

5) John Macaluso (Ark):  His drumming becomes the lead instrument and his use of odd meter and polyrhythmic patterns really sets him apart. 

6) Shawn Benson (Theocracy): Equally at home with both power metal and prog drumming, his style incorporates aspects of both but with constant yet effortless shifts in time and then locking back into synchronized passages with the rest of the instruments.  Dude's a machine!  'As The World Bleeds' as a whole is a standout disc for him.

7) Jason Rullo (Symphony X):  Mad skills to keep up with the range of material in this band.  The epic track "The Odyssey" shows you what he's capable of.  I think this band is actually holding him back.

Cool Ken Mary (Impellitteri):  Insanely fast fills, blast beats to shuffles, and a master of double bass.  Look on Youtube for his 'Matrix' inspired video, or the one where he is tracking for his upcoming EP.  Impellitteri was a good showcase for him, but his other (non-ERR) work is much better. 

Yeah - mostly old dudes on this list only because there are not many young 'drummer' standouts that bring it on recordings.  I looked.  I listened.  I requested.  But I couldn't find many.  Hakken and Circus Maximus are good honorable mentions.  As for a Non-ERR 'drummer' that is simply too killer to ignore: Hideki Aoyama (Babymetal) - he might be in the running for top 5 in the world right now.  Aruto (Aldious) was very much in the Portnoy category before she left the band, but her replacement, Terry Bozzio's daughter Marina, is totally bringin' it...and in quite her own way!

There are lots of great BANDS here at ERR, but truly great 'drummers' are pretty rare.
 
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Kailef
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2017, 05:06:01 pm »

As a drummer - Well, more of a "guy that plays drums", myself, I can really appreciate the time and energy you put in to this list.  This is great.
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LadyWoreBlack
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2017, 05:04:12 pm »

NOT being a drummer, or remotely close, hahahaha.......I agree with much of your list (of course), PI. I would have to switch some of the rankings around, like putting Neil Peart at the top of the list, although even with NO rhythmic talents whatsover, I had noticed that your number one guy from Tourniquet is pretty talented (although I'm not a huge fan of the band itself). I could not possibly disagree with Portnoy, Scott from Queensryche, and Jason from SymX being in the top five as well. You might disagree with me on the basis of technical proficiency, but having seen Kamelot live, Casey Grillo is pretty darn amazing. I may add to this after a few days of thought. Great idea, PI.  Grin
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2017, 08:07:51 pm »

Thanks for the kind words about my little list.  I woulda added more 'notes' but I ran out of time!  :>  Doing this list for drummers makes sense because it seems like the era of 'drummers' has kind of passed us by.  I'm always looking for that next great 'drummer', but the tendency to display that level of skill on recordings does not seem to be in vogue right now.  So, it was a pretty short list.  I'll check out Kamelot!  The new gen standout right now for me is Hideki Aoyama.  That dude can play ANYTHING and make it seem effortless. 

By my own definitions, I'm 'a guy who plays guitar'.  I'd love to one day be a 'guitarist' and do justice to my beautiful Ibanez Jem!!  I think making a list of 'guitarists' is easier and the list is longer because guitarists (especially of the ERR ilk) really seek to establish their own identity and anchor a band around that.  New gen players abound here: Herman Li, Sam Totman, Tosin Abasi, Gus Drax, Angel Vivaldi, Mike Orlando, etc. 

If any new gen 'drummers' catch my attention, you know I'll list them here.  Please do the same!  I'd love to know who your standouts are!
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Kailef
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2017, 11:37:46 pm »

One of my new favorite drummers is from the band Gone In April, a guy by the name of Yanic Bercier.

Here's an example of him playing live:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vF4bzqeSXgs

Does he do anything fresh and amazing?  No.  No rich and varied soundscapes like what you'd get out of Neil Peart and Mike Portony, at least not in the songs he does with Gone in April.  However, this guy amazes me because he plays four to five times faster than I can.  And I mean that literally - He plays about four to five times as many physical beats per second as I can, and in a sustained fashion.  He moves so fast that I can not actually tell what he's doing, and there's no mistakes, it's clean and clear and sharp.  I think you'll like it.  This guy is a machine.  And that double bass?  Holy shit.  I can't make my arms go as fast as he can make his feet go.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 11:40:35 pm by Kailef » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2017, 07:22:10 pm »

You're SO right!  Dude's lightning fast, but besides that I really like the way he alternates various double bass patterns throughout the song.  He's not just a double bass speed freak, but creates some really cool (and speedy!) fills while using chin accents to nice effect.  I like to see him making use of his full kit.  Great discovery!
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