#15: MORGAN ROSE (SEVENDUST)
MetalSucks recently polled its staff to determine The Top 25 Modern Metal Drummers, and after an incredible amount of arguing, name calling, and physical violence, we have finalized that list! The only requirements to be eligible for the list were that the musician in question had to a) play metal (duh), b) play drums (double-duh), and c) have recorded something in the past five years. Today we continue our countdown with Morgan Rose of Sevendust…
Most bands have one star, a stand-out guy or gal who’s either the center of attention in the live setting, the main creative force behind the band’s sound, or both. Sevendust have three: frontman Lajon Witherspoon, the undeniable “face” of Sevendust, guitarist Clint Lowery, their musical whiz-kid and chief songwriter, and drummer Morgan Rose, a mix of both. Witherspoon and Lowery are both without a doubt crucial elements of the band’s sound, but there’s a good chance that without Rose behind the kit they’d just have ended up an average, garden variety nu-metal band.
Rose won’t berate you with blast beats, won’t make your mind spin with polyrhythms and won’t make your jaw drop with technicality — although he’s certainly capable of doing all of those things (more on that in a moment). Rose chooses to be the kind of drummer whose skill only other fellow drummers seem to recognize; his pocket, his groove, his precision, his consistency, and his finesse are all unparalleled, even by some of the most widely praised drummers in metal.
Most extreme metal drummers — including many on this list — couldn’t hold a candle to Rose when all the technicality is stripped away and what’s left is the bare bones of a simple beat. Rose is the boss when it comes down to the ability to simply play WITH a band, to make them sound like one driving, pulsating, cohesive unit. The devil is also in the details; when he’s not busy laying down rock solid grooves for the rest of Sevendust to expound upon — or sometimes even when he is — he’s constantly peppering and coloring with little bits and pieces to let you know he’s a drummer’s drummer, an unexpected off-rhythm accent here, a slick half-open hi-hat clutch there (see below video). He’s a pure musician made of natural talent, which brings us back to Rose’s ultimate capabilities; this is the guy who gets the call with less than 24 hours notice when a famous band needs a live drummer because theirs is suddenly unavailable due to illness or injury (Motley Crue, Korn).
Of course, no discussion of Morgan Rose would be complete without a mention of his on-stage antics. Morgan’s got that quality so rarely found in drummers (rivaled only by one guy) that draws the attention of even those who aren’t musicians; you just can’t look away. His stick tosses, facial expressions, body mannerisms and, of course, his patented “crow” screams are all uniquely and unmistakably his, and they make him incredibly fun to watch. In a way, Rose is the band’s de-facto live ringleader, the baton-twirler of the marching band show that is Sevendust.
THE LIST SO FAR:
#16: Stef Broks (Textures)
#17: Blake Richardson (Between the Buried and Me)
#18: Aesop Dekker (Agalloch, Ludicra, Worm Ouroboros)
#19: Shannon Lucas (The Black Dahlia Murder)
#20: Ben Koller (Converge, All Pigs Must Die, United Nations, Acid Tiger)
#21: Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Fantômas, Grip Inc., Philm)
#22: Paul Bostaph
#23: Phil Dubois-Coyne (Revocation)
#24: Jade Simonetto (Hate Eternal)
#25: Mike Portnoy (Adrenaline Mob)