The Top 25 Modern Metal Drummers



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 Mastodon’s Brann Dailor…

From around the twenty-five second mark in “March of the Fire Ants” (off of 2002’s Remission), it becomes very clear that we are dealing with a different approach to drum chops.  Those snare rolls sound so fluid, so thorough, so precise yet still spontaneous — and THEN then groove really sets in and we hear the true might of one of modern metal’s greatest drummers.  Brann Dailor is clearly a well-rounded player — he’s got finesse for weeks, dynamics up the wazoo,  inventiveness til the cows come home — but it’s still those Mastodonian rolls that amaze us every time.  At first it’s easy to get swept up in the sheer ridiculousness of Dailor’s delicate, Bill Bruford-esque fills; however, over time one realizes that these amazing outbursts of controlled choppery fit so well in between bouts of fury and pure heaviness that our man Brann is hardly a one-trick pony.  Quite the opposite, rather.

Any fan or hater of Mastodon can bore you for days about how the band has evolved over time — some may claim that their forays into proggsville have sacrificed the brutality, others will swear that the songwriting has grown to a seasoned level of maturity that clinches a spot in the annals of metal mastery.  But all the while, love em or hate em……it’s pretty hard to talk shit about the fierce, energetic drumming.

Dailor’s skill initially seemed to be the standout of the band’s music, but as the tunes became more profoundly constructed by chief songwriter and “lead” guitarist Brent Hinds (#3 on our Summer 2011 list of the top 25 modern metal GUITARISTS), the drumming seemed to further settle into every part so nicely and evenly — the eye-popping wow factor of drum chops up front lessened a bit because Dailor started playing to the song even more, a skill and necessity that oft gets overlooked in our world of musician wankery.  Not that he was ever playing against the rest of the band per se, but on Mastodon’s most recent offering The Hunter in particular, Brann shines most brightly in his ownership of every part, bringing the music together in an exciting and immediate new way.

Looking back, there was a rawness to the group’s earlier work that now seems to get doled out more incrementally — on Remission, Leviathan, and even Blood Mountain, Mastodon seemed so Mastodon, before they became MASTODON and their signature sound took a couple of left turns.  Make of the sonic explorations what you will; through it all, Dailor has remained the true anchor of this already-legendary outfit.



#5: Tomas Haake (Meshuggah)
#6: Gene Hoglan
#7: Danny Carey (Tool)
#8: Proscriptor McGovern (Absu)
#9: Chris Adler (Lamb of God)
#10: Sean Reinert (Cynic)
#11: Dave Witte
#12: Navene Koperweis (Animals as Leaders, Animosity, Fleshwrought)
#13: Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork, Scarve)
#14: Kevin Talley
#15: Morgan Rose (Sevendust)
#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)

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