I’m a sucker for full, uncompromising drums styles. I need it to be more than just a way to keep the beat. So, I’m always on the look out for awesome drumming, whether that be masterful fills, sweet blast beats, or inventive grooves. Here are my top 10 favorites for 2016.
10. Shawn Benson of Theocracy
Album: “Ghost Ship”
With Theocracy’s wildly technical music, Shawn is an obvious choice for this list. He manages to lay down some very interesting beats, but he also can change tempos at the drop of a hat, due to the nature of the band’s music.
9. Phil Ehart of Kansas
Album: “The Prelude Implicit”
I was thoroughly impressed with the performance from Phil on the latest Kansas album. This guy doesn’t seem to let up, despite his age; performing rich and full beats. He, along with the band, has really set the bar for older prog bands now.
8. Chris Quirarte of Redemption
Album: “The Art of Loss”
One of the strange themes that runs through my drums list is that many of my favorite drum performances are on albums with which I was somewhat disappointed. Redemption has long been a favorite band of mine, but this new album just didn’t do it for me. Chris’ performance, though, is near to flawless, with his masterful control of tempo and technical fireworks.
7. Adam Falkner of Headspace
Album: “All That You Fear is Gone”
Another album that just didn’t end up jiving me with all that much by the end of the year, Headspace’s sophomore album does feature an amazing performance from Adam. He is the new guy in the band, but I feel he bests the fantastic drumming on the debut.
6. Joey Waters of Dream the Electric Sleep
Album: “Beneath the Dark Wide Sky”
Still another album I didn’t review all that well, Dream the Electric Sleep’s latest still featured the powerful, momentous drumming of Joey Waters. Taking a look at that picture, I’m not sure how he doesn’t break his drum set every show. My favorite part of his style is his wonderful fills.
5. Wolfgang Ostermann of Frequency Drift
I’ve loved the drumming from Wolfgang for several years now. His style has matured so much over the last few albums. I feel his performance on Frequency Drift’s new album is his strongest yet. He combines the maturity of the “Over” with the energy and unabashed style of the older albums, and I love it.
4. Gavin Harrison of The Pineapple Thief
Album: “Your Wilderness”
It’s still kinda surreal to see Gavin playing with The Pineapple Thief. However, I feel that his signature fills and keen ear for grooves is what may have put the latest TPT album over the top. His performance is excellent, like always.
3. Sean Thompson of Odd Logic
Album: “Penny for Your Thoughts”
Odd Logic’s new album is more of a solo album for Sean. He took care of all the instrumentation, and excelled at all of it. His drums are quirky, off kilter, and feature this sublime lumbering effect I really love. I want to hear more of this style from him, and it appears we’ll get to hear another album from him in 2017.
2. Bobby Jarzombek of Fates Warning
Album: “Theories of Flight”
Bobby is one of the most interesting drummers out there today. His ability to create whole new melodies using his blast beats is something that I greatly admire, and he honestly gives Fates Warning’s music a lot more personality.
1. Craig Blundell of Frost*
Album: “Falling Satellites”
Another year, another fantastic performance from Craig. Putting him at #1 was a no-brainer, considering the insane grooves he created and also the magnificent instrumentation he had to match on the new Frost * album. Deftness and speed meet strength of composition in Craig Blundell.