When writing metal music, drum production either makes or breaks a song. Guitar players learning to record their music often struggle to create convincing sounding recordings because the drum tracks sound fake.
Fear not, as using any of the metal drum VST packs listed below will take your songs to the next level, even if you’re brand new to producing music. I’ve even listed some free options that still work well in a heavy mix.
Table of Contents
1) Superior Drummer 3
Probably the most known (and most expensive) drum sampler on the market is Superior Drummer 3. I got my copy of SD3 a few years ago and use it with my electronic drum set when practicing.
The best drum sampler around boasting 230GB of sounds captured at Galaxy Studios by the legendary producer George Massenburg.
SD3 is “the complete drum production studio,” though it’s not as complicated as it seems. You can load up presets with a few clicks and tweak the sound in seconds. The stock sample library is decent, though if you want the best of the best samples for metal production, I’d recommend also picking up the Death & Darkness SDX expansion.
2) EZDrummer 3
EZDrummer 3 is by far the most ubiquitous drum sample library. Searches on Google for “best metal drum VST Reddit” all return threads with users talking about their experience using the software.
It’s affordable and sounds pretty good. If you’re making guitar videos and need drums to fit the production, you can get away with spending the $179 on EZDrummer 3, and no one will know the difference. The program features a stock metal preset that’s production-ready out of the box.
As with SD3, EZDrummer 3 also has four expansions you can pick up for metal, including Made of Metal, Metal Machine, Metal!, Metalheads, and Modern Metal.
3) Drumforge Bergstrand
Drumforge hits home for me. In 2015, I helped with sampling the shells in their first library. Headed by Joel Wanasek, Joe Wohlitz, and Joey Sturgis, Drumforge aims to create the world’s best professional drum sounds.
For metal drum production, look no further than Drumforge Bergstrand. As the name implies, the collection contains samples from legendary European metal producer Daniel Bergstrand who worked with bands like Meshuggah, Behemoth, Soilwork, In Flames, and Devin Townsend. It’s the perfect metal drum sampler for realistic rock and metal recordings.
For those who use Drumshotz in their productions (another line of incredible one-shots from Drumforge), you can load your favorites into Bergstrand for the ultimate tonal flexibility.
The built-in song builder allows you to write songs using Drumforge Groove Packs quickly (includes European Metal Grooves Vol. 1 with Drumforge Bergstrand).
4) GetGood Drums: Invasion
Drum libraries from GetGood Drums have always been a go-to when I’ve been working on demos. I’ve written about them in the past, and for a good reason.
They’ve got you covered with GetGood Drums: Invasion for metal productions. You will need the Native Instruments Kontakt Free Player to use Invasion. Have a listen to the tones below.
In my opinion, GGD Invasion sounds beefy and massive. The rooms are enormous and not harsh sounding in the mix. Invasion also gives you presets for everything from thrash to clean metal. If Invasion isn’t your cup of tea, they also have two One Kit Wonder packs: Metal Drum Library and Architects Drum Library.
5) MixWave: Luke Holland
Anyone worth their weight in salt knows of legendary drummer Luke Holland. MixWave is a company co-founded by Holland, and his first signature drum library, MixWave: Luke Holland, came out earlier this year.
During the recording session of Jason Richardson’s “II,” Luke captured what would become his first signature drum VST instrument. With this plugin, you can get his exact sound from the studio and sound just like the record. Included is a five-piece kit with three snares and eight cymbals. Have a listen to some demos.
6) Addictive Drums 2: Metal
Addictive Drums 2 is a love-hate relationship for me these days. Initially, I was all about the plugin until I bought Superior Drummer 3. And even now, I find myself going back to Drumforge and GetGood Drums Modern & Massive. It just depends on the recording. However, I still think it deserves a spot on this list because I know it’s fantastic software, and the samples are top-notch.
Top-notch samples with an incredible sample engine. XLN has a variety of expansion packs to fit any production needs.
For a metal drum VST, you’ll need to look at the metal ADpak expansion. You get an 18-piece kit hand-picked by metal legend Ross Robinson, famous for working with acts like Korn, Glassjaw, Slipknot, and Limp Bizkit. Fans of early 2000s nu-metal look no further.
The kit is a Ludwig Classic Maple featuring thunderous maple toms, a massive heavy kick, a thick and sharp hammered metal Gretsch snare, and bright Zildjian cymbals.
7) Urgitone: Dieswitch Drums
For the vintage metal producer, look no further than Ugritone Drums—they've got everything from 2000s nu metal, hardcore, metalcore, to 80s speed metal kits.
Urigtrone is a company that seems to focus on more vintage heavy metal drum tones. For example, their Riot Drums pack covers all areas of 90s hardcore and metal music. On the other hand, the Speed Metal Drums pack is all about 80s underground metal featuring power toms, deep kicks, and authentic 80s cymbals—old School heavy drum tones right in your DAW!
8) Steven Slate Drums 5
If memory serves me correctly, I think SSD is the oldest drum library. Steven Slate Drums 5 is the newest iteration from the company, and there’s a lot to love about the drum plugin for making metal music.
With Steven Slate name recognition plus 1,000 MIDI grooves, you can't go wrong as a songwriter.
With SSD5, you get tons of kit presets (including metal), 1,000 MIDI grooves, fast MIDI mapping, one-shot snare samples, etc. Since SSD5 comes with tons of grooves, it’s perfect for writers who don’t know how to program drums or at least program them as a drummer would actually play.
9) MT Power Drum Kit 2 (Free)
I’ve mentioned MT Power Drum Kit 2 in other articles, and there’s a reason why—it’s fantastic for being free! So if you’re on a budget, start here. You can’t go wrong with this free drum VST for metal productions.
10) MegaMetal Drums (Free)
MegeMetal Drums is a free drum VST you can use in your metal songs that I found on KVR Audio. I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ll leave that to you if you decide. It’s free—give it a shot!
11) 3 Sigma Audio: Top Shelf Drums
The drum library from 3 Sigma Audio blew me away. I was surprised when I heard the demo recordings. Top Shelf Drums is a meticulously sampled library of iconic drums perfect for metal productions.
- Instruments are purchased ala carte or as a bundle
- Musically intelligent round-robin
- Recorded at world-class studios
I like the sounds of the Pearl Reference and Masters kit for metal.
Hopefully, these picks help you find a metal drum VST perfect for your productions. If I had to choose, I’d probably be between GetGood Drums Invasion and Drumforge Bergstrand. Both plugins are great in different scenarios, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to have both as a producer.
Let me know if I missed any of your favorite drum libraries for metal production below in the comments! If these aren’t up your alley, be sure to check out my other roundups on the best drum VSTs, best acoustic drum sample libraries, and free drum kits.