TPM Top Drums of 2020


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10. John Graney – Damnation Angels

The new Damnation Angels album combined their signature over-the-top sound with moments of subtlety and nuance. John proved himself able to take on that challenge with enormous fills and arena power, but also with deftness and precision in the quieter moments. His performance keeps growing on me.

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9. Tim Stelter – Chaos Divine

Chaos Divine’s style of music requires a driving rhythm section, and Tim’s phenomenal drumming is up to the task. With subtle blast beats and a never-ending supply of fills and cymbal work, he is a huge part of their sound.

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8. Joey de Boer – Delain

Joey is part of a fantastic rhythm section for Delain’s towering sound. His feet and arms seem to be pure kinetic energy at times, producing a dark, violent sound that gives the band’s symphonic tone some needed edge. I love watching this guy play.

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7. Kai Hahto – Nightwish

Kai’s sound is similar to Joey’s. There are so many moments on the new Nightwish record where Kai’s drums are simply a mountain of power. Certain songs, like “Tribal”, required absolutely perfect timing and precision to drive the song into something higher and monolithic. Kai does exactly that.

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6. Cédric Lepage – Inner Odyssey

On an album that visits everything between pop and metal, Cédric’s drumming was absolutely impeccable, a touchstone in the digital current. I was impressed again and again by his stunning virtuosity and visceral tone, too. This band is one to watch.

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5. Kyle Quintin – Fires in the Distance

Kyle’s work on “Echoes of Deep November” is truly wonderful. When I think about it, his rolling, cymbal-heavy style creates such a meaty, grounded atmosphere for everything else. With sudden shifts in signature and tone, his drumming is intuitive and masterful.

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4. Mikko Sirén – Apocalyptica

I’ve always loved Mikko’s violent, thunderous style. On the latest and fully instrumental Apocalyptica album, I feel like he was unleashed a little more than normal, and I love the results. Mikko hits incredibly hard. and his technicality is through the roof.

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3. Dobber Beverly – Oceans of Slumber

While Cammie is the heart of the band, Dobber is the artist working in the background to make everything come together. He seems to wear many hats. His drumming on the new self-titled Oceans of Slumber album is a pounding love affair to the many styles the band weaves into their sound. His style is classic and yet brutal, and I love that combination. I should also mention his piano on the album, too, since it was so tender and evocative. Dobber can truly shift tone and ambience with little trouble.

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2. Bobby Jarzombek – Fates Warning

Bobby has been one of my favorite drummers since he joined Fates Warning. His intricate style of blast beats always mesmerizes me, as they feel heavy yet melodious. On “Long Day Good Night”, his performance is as vibrant and alive as I have come to expect. He is always a highlight for me.

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**1. Léo Margarit – Pain of Salvation**

Pain of Salvation has always had their fair share of big personalities and drama, yet Léo has been there for many years now, plugging away with fervor and inventiveness, almost behind the scenes. His drumming is unlike anyone else’s, being full of incredibly difficult time signatures and flat-out craziness. His performance on “Panther” took those traits to an entirely new dimension, though, with moments where I was sure his legs were going to fly off any second. Léo seems to conceive of beats in a different way than many drummers, and his ideas and execution are always flawless, even if they go over my head the first few times. With impossibly complex blast beats, stuttering and brilliantly random beats, and legendary fills, he is certainly one of the best drummers in progressive music today.

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