The Top 25 Modern Metal Drummers



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 Tool’s Danny Carey, who also appeared on Collide’s 2008 album, Two Headed Monster — thus making him eligible for this list!

Tool are not a band people turn to when they’re trying to think of crazily talented technical metal acts. Not to say that the guys aren’t talented — but that’s just not the Tool image. Rather, the Tool image is one of immense songwriting — thunderous buildups, long, grindy intro passages, and slamming riffs and drum beats. We don’t think of Tool as theatrical musicians the same way we do, say, The Dillinger Escape Plan. I don’t even think of Tool as a group of individual people when I think of the band; I can’t picture any of the members without each other.

But Danny Carey is the rock behind all of Tool’s immensity, and has been since he started playing with the band in 1990.

Simply put, Tool are a blast to listen to, and Carey’s drumming is probably the main reason. I will never tire of groove-ridden polyrhythmic tom fills under Keenan’s howling the way I can tire of blast beats under death growls. Carey’s style isn’t hugely innovative, but really, it doesn’t matter, because it so greatly enhances Tool’s sound. Drumming doesn’t sound like an instrumental skill to me when it’s a wall of sound strictly defined by its technical merit; Tool’s drums, in contrast, actually do sound like an instrument. Carey clearly has the skill to blast and double kick peoples’ faces in, he just chooses not to most of the time, unless it helps the song. A lot of drummers don’t have that insight, but it’s definitely more important than any amount of crazy pedal work.

It’s good to know that metal drumming can still sound incredible without triggers, without blast beats, and without being 200 bpm. The simplicity and elegance of the Tool sound is defined by Carey’s drums more than by anything else. Let’s hope for a new Tool release in the near, near future.



#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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