The Top 25 Modern Metal Drummers


  • Axl Rosenberg


MetalSucks recently polled its staff to determine who are 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 the legendary Dave Lombardo

What can I say about Dave Lombardo that hasn’t been said a million times already? You could argue that the dude invented modern metal drumming. The fact that he’s still so vital three decades later is a total marvel.

I’m not one of those people who thinks that Slayer blew goats during the Bostaph era, but I do think that having Lombardo in the fold makes them sound like a completely different — and, yes, ultimately better — band. It’s not just that Lombardo is still a HUGE FREAKIN’ BEAST behind his kit at the spry young age of 47 (!) — but the guy has a unique and distinctive feel that changes Slayer’s entire sound. The phrase that always pop into my mind when I listen to Slayer with Lombardo is “off the rails” — almost like a great punk band, they sound as though, at any second, things could go hideously awry. It’s organic. It’s alive. It’s dangerous. No wonder the extreme music world basically threw a parade when he returned to the band.

It’s not that Lombardo’s playing is sloppy — ’cause it ain’t — it’s that the guy isn’t just a living, breathing substitute for a metronome. He playing has feel. It has vibe. I thought “Disciple” was a cool song when Bostaph played it, but it takes on massive new dimensions with Lombardo behind the kit.

And that’s just Slayer — I haven’t even touched on the not-really metal Fantômas. Or his post-Slayer group, Grip Inc. Or The Gathering, the killer 1999 Testament album on which he appears. He’s one of those dudes who seems to just have a creative Midas touch — there’s no guest appearance on a Korn album or whatever on Lombardo’s resumé. And can there be any doubt that his work with these other outfits has pushed him un expected directions, allowed him to continue to grow and as an artist, and helped make him that much more of an asset to Slayer?

We haven’t really heard any music from his new project, Philm, yet, but I’m beyond exciting to see how everything he’s done so far culminates in this latest offering. I hope he’s still blowing our minds for another thirty years.



#22: Paul Bostaph
#23: Phil Dubois-Coyne (Revocation)
#24: Jade Simonetto (Hate Eternal)
#25: Mike Portnoy (Adrenaline Mob)

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