The Top 25 Modern Metal Drummers

#2: MARIO DUPLANTIER (GOJIRA)

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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 Gojira’s Mario Duplantier…

It can’t be easy being the drummer of one of the heaviest, best and critically acclaimed metal bands on Planet Earth. Especially not when your brother is the frontman and guitarist, two roles that usually attract more attention from the masses than drummers do. But perhaps there’s nothing like a good old fashioned case of sibling rivalry to motivate a fire under one’s ass; not only has Mario Duplantier managed to make his presence in the band felt in an incredibly tangible way, but he’s become a bonafide standout superstar within Gojira’s ranks and he’s absolutely, without question, one of the greatest drummers in modern metal.

Gojira are a tricky beast (pun intended) because of the gamut of styles, tempos and feels their song run. Insane, extended double-bass blasts, mid-tempo rock power groove, precision tom fills, and jazzy drum breaks are all part of Gojira’s repertoire executed by Duplantier with aplomb. Of course, there’s the mother of them all… the vaunted ELEPHANTS MARCHING RIFF. Gojira were the original inspiration behind me and Axl coming up with the term “elephants marching riffs” to describe, ya know, and to this day I haven’t seen it captured better any other way. When it’s an elephants marching riff you just know it in your gut, and Mario Duplantier is the world champ. Behold:

Even with something as seemingly simple as an elephants marching riff, Duplantier finds way to constantly keep things interesting and imprint his personal stamp through well-placed accents, intricate cymbal work and his innate, intangible finesse and feel. It’s that feel that makes Mario one of the few guys for whom “drum solo” isn’t just another phrase for “beer and/or piss break” to the collective audience; when Mario plays up there all by his lonesome, you watch, transfixed:

Duplantier’s not a one-trick pony, though, because Gojira’s music demands so much more. When it comes to fast, powerful drum hits I can’t think of anyone that’s more consistent, solid and precise. That side of Duplantier’s arsenal is on display in my most favoritest Gojira track of all time, “Toxic Garbage Island.” The live intro in this clip is just incredible, and when the 9-note tom pattern that kicks off the more familiar recording comes in, I’m reduced to putty in Mario’s hands:

If Mario Duplantier ever left Gojira, their sound would be forever different; this is a man whose distinct style of drumming could never be replaced.

-VN

THE LIST SO FAR:

#3: Danny Walker (Intronaut, Exhumed, Jesu, etc)
#4: Brann Dailor (Mastodon)

#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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