The Top 25 Modern Metal Drummers


  • Corey Mitchell

#17: BLAKE RICHARDSON (BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME)#17: BLAKE RICHARDSON (BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME)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 Between the Buried and Me’s Blake Richardson…

Writing about drumming is like trying to wipe your ass with casts on your hands — it requires a certain amount of impossible dexterity, is bound to get messy, and usually leaves a bad smell upon completion. I mean, really, what is there to say about drummers, period, if they ain’t Neil Peart? “Hey, he keeps a steady rhythm, he didn’t fall over his drum kit in a drunken stupor, and how awesome is it that he’s not the dumbest person in the band.” Anything beyond that just sounds like journalistic uber-masturbation.

Unless, unless… that drummer is one Cartland Blake Richardson from the mighty prog-death-kitchen sinkers Between The Buried and Me.

I became a fan of BTBAM after seeing their video for the song “Mordecai,” off their second album, The Silent Circus, on Uranium many moons ago. Blake Richardson wasn’t the drummer for BTBAM on that album — go figure — but I was already a fan of the band, so I looked forward to anything they would release. Richardson joined the group on their next album, the Prog-death classic, Alaska. His presence — both in his playing and with his songwriting — was immediately felt on the first track, “All Bodies,” from the driving double-bass kick off to a jazzy, fill-laden early-section to a big band choral/orchestral moment to a full-blown Mick Harris inspired blast beat to… fuck!!! And that’s just in the first 2:30 minutes of a six-minute-plus song!

And so it goes with BTBAM in general, and Richardson specifically. Pick a genre of music and the band will explore it without sounding douchey in the process, led by Richardson’s impeccable playing skills. Yeah, the band may wear the “Prog Metal” tag more prominently these days, but I still believe them to be a noisy punk rock band at heart. Just listen to the title track “Alaska” and try to disagree. Okay, okay, punk rockers with Paganini fetishes, but real rockers nonetheless. I mean, c’mon, check out to that breakdown at 3:03. Heavy as a motherfuckin’ ton of Kenny Powers’ sweaty ball bags.

Entire magazine articles could be written about Richardson’s performances on every single track he’s ever recorded (including his brilliant noisy tech-death-metalcore pre-BTBAM band, Glass Casket). Suffice to say, go listen to these tunes on Spotify and feel what words can never perfectly encapsulate. The song “Disease, Injury, Madness” should be taught in music schools around the world to show how to be a well-versed, well-rounded, highly educated drummer while still retaining real soul and emotion within one’s playing.

Hey, aspiring drummers! Want to feel forever inferior? Then watch this video:

And you can take a look at a Blake Richardson gear walk-through for MetalSucks’ “Rigged” series.


Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books and is currently helping Philip H. Anselmo write his autobiographyJoin Corey at FacebookTwitter, and Google+Waiting patiently for the MetalSucks South By South Death official showcase at SXSW on March 13th, 2012.


#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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