The Top 25 Modern Metal Drummers


  • Axl Rosenberg


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 Kevin Talley…

Okay so we’re obviously exaggerating slightly when we say that Kevin Talley has played with every band ever, but the list of bands he has recorded and/or toured with over the course of his still-young career (he’s all of thirty-two years old) is pretty remarkable: Dying Fetus, Misery Index, Chimaira, Dååth, Six Feet Under, Hate Eternal, The Red Chord, The Black Dahlia Murder, Cattle Decapitation, DevilDriver, “Metal” Mike Chlasciak, Nothnegal, and probably a hundred other artists I’m forgetting (or don’t even know about!) have all been fortunate enough to retain Talley’s services at one point or another. In some of those cases, the story goes that Talley was called mere days before a tour to fill-in. In none of those cases have you heard about Talley doing anything less than a stellar job.

There’s a reason this dude is in such high demand: he is a fucking beast, and he will make your band sound better.

Suffice it to say that there isn’t very much Talley can’t do; he really does seem to have been born to be a metal drummer. But as Talley himself has said, “I have always been a drummer who writes drum parts to complement, not copy, guitar riffs.” There’s two key ideas to latch onto in that statement of intent, and both are key to why Talley is so much fun to listen to.

First is the idea of innovation — to avoid copying or doing that which is normally done. Talley doesn’t write and play drum parts the exact way you expect every other metal drummer would; his parts are constantly evolving, rarely played the same exact way twice, so that they always sound human despite Talley’s machine-like skills, and are always still interesting even after the umpteenth listen.

And second is the use of that word “compliment.” Talley is an incredible drummer, but he doesn’t need to show off to prove that to the world — he knows how good he is. So his parts never seem egregiously egomaniacal.

Like I said: this dude makes any band sound better.



#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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