The Top 25 Modern Metal Drummers


  • Corey Mitchell


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 Absu’s Proscriptor McGovern…

It’s ludicrous that a musician with the undeniable skills and tireless work ethic of Russley Randell Givens, AKA Sir Proscriptor McGovern, is not a mega-superstar in the genre. Maybe it’s his chosen musical path (mainly black metal); maybe it’s the revolving door existence of his main band, Absu; or maybe it’s an unfortunate accident that damaged his hands and required surgery that has kept this insanely ridiculous skin-basher off the lips of the average metalhead. Who knows? All I know is that this is a serious oversight that needs to be rectified ASAP.

If you are not familiar with McGovern, the first question you have to ask is, “Where the hell do I start?” Best known for his twenty-plus years as the drummer, lead vocalist, lyricist, and conceptual artist for underground Texas black metal legends, Absu, it’s probably best to go with the 2001 classic, Tara. The third track, “Pillars Of Mercy,” immediately thrusts the listener into a vortex of drumming supremacy. And then, when you realize he’s also screaming vocals over the top of his hummingbird heart drumming, you shake your head in disbelief. And it’s even more impressive to know that he always pulls the combo off live.

McGovern’s drumming style can best be described as blinding fast double bass-driven insanity delivered in a seemingly sane fashion. That is, you can actually hear everything he throws down. It’s not the usual garbage can black metal sloppiness that many BM drummers fall prey to under the guise of lo-fi hipsterism. No, this is BM thrashiness for fans of Gene Hoglan or Dave Lombardo, who want something faster and decidedly more crushing.

Speaking of Lombardo, McGovern auditioned for the empty Slayer stool back in 2002. Check out the audition video with Kerry King below:

I have no idea how close McGovern was to getting the gig because Lombardo was ultimately welcomed back into the Slayer fold. I can easily imagine, however, that he came very close.

There is so much SPMcG material out there I decided to create a Spotify playlist, Proscriptor McGovern – Underground Renaissance Man, with as much of his music as I could find. Subscribe to my playlist. It’s free. If you know of more, let me know and I will add to the playlist.

Here are a few samples of his various styles:


Absu – The Cognate House Of Courtly Witches Lies West Of County Meath

Absu – From Ancient Times (Scarless Skies Burn To Ash)

Absu – Skrying in the Spirit Vision

Melechesh – Rub The Lantern (Yes, he was the drummer and singer for Melechesh from 1999-2005!)

Equimanthorn – Thy Queen Ereshkigal (Dark ambient project)

Starchaser Network – Nachricht (Kraftwerkian electro project)

He’s also helped out several bands including Thornspawn, Judas Iscariot, Magnus Thorsen, Blood Storm, Desaster, Divine Eye, Equitant, The Firstborn, Goreaphobia, Heaven’s Devil’s, and Kvnt, to name but a few. He also heads his own record label, Tarot Productions.

 Be sure to check out my January 2012 Bleeders’ Digest.


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+


#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)

Show Comments
Metal Sucks Greatest Hits