There’s no question that metal is one of the most complex and challenging genres of music around. But with that complexity comes a lot of sonic brilliance. Some of the best drummers in history have come from the metal world.
Whether you’re looking for mind-blowing technical prowess or just plain old brutality, these 15 drummers have it all. So strap in and get ready for a wild ride through the best metal has to offer!
1) George Kollias (Nile)
George Kollias is a world-renowned drummer who has toured with some of the biggest names in metal. He’s known for his swift double bass technique and unparalleled endurance. George is also a passionate educator and has released several instructional DVDs on drumming.
In recent years, George has collaborated with other artists to create music that blends metal with traditional Greek instruments and rhythms. This unique sound has won him a loyal following among metalheads and music fans. Whether laying down some ferocious blast beats or grooving along to a traditional melody, George Kollias is always an exciting performer to watch.
2) Tomas Haake (Meshuggah)
Tomas Haake is best known as the drummer for the heavy metal band Meshuggah. He is recognized for his unique playing style, which often employs complex polyrhythms. Haake began playing drums at a young age and soon developed an interest in jazz and fusion.
In 1990, he replaced Niklas Lundgren in the extreme metal band Meshuggah. Since then, the band has released eight studio albums, including the acclaimed 2005 album Catch Thirtythree. Haake writes a majority of lyrics in the band, as well.
3) Mike Mangini (Dream Theater)
Mike Mangini is best known as the drummer for progressive metal band Dream Theater. He joined the band in 2010, following the departure of the previous drummer Mike Portnoy.
Mangini is widely considered one of the most talented drummers in the world, and his tremendous technical ability has made him a popular choice for clinics and masterclasses.
In addition to his work with Dream Theater, Mangini has also recorded with several other artists, including Steve Vai, Annihilator, and Extreme. He is currently endorsed by DW drums, Sabian cymbals, and Vic Firth sticks.
4) Matt Greiner (August Burns Red)
Matt Greiner is the drummer for the metalcore band August Burns Red. He founded the band in 2003 with JB Brubaker, and they would rehearse in Greiner’s basement. Since then, Matt has been an integral part of August Burns Red’s sound, playing on all of their subsequent albums and helping to propel them to the top of the metalcore genre. Greiner is credited being one of the most influential Christian metal drummer.
5) Matt Garstka (Animals as Leaders)
Matt Garstka is a world-renowned drummer and a founding member of the progressive metal band Animals as Leaders. He is known for his creative and technical drumming style, which often incorporates jazz, hip hop, and classical music elements.
Garstka began playing drums at eight and was raised in Westfield, Massachusetts. He went on to study at the Berklee College of Music. In 2011, Matt moved to LA and soon joined Animals as Leaders.
Garstka has toured extensively with the band, performed at major music festivals, and released albums. In addition to his work with Animals as Leaders, Garstka is an active educator, teaching clinics and workshops worldwide.
6) Mario Duplantier (Gojira)
Mario Duplantier is one of the most respected metal drummers in the world. A native of France, he is best known as the drummer for the band Gojira. Over the years, Duplantier has developed a unique playing style that combines technical precision with a deep understanding of groove and dynamics.
He is also an accomplished songwriter and producer, having worked on numerous Gojira albums and other artists’ projects.
Duplantier is also an active environmentalist and has been outspoken about the need to protect our planet. As a result, he is one of the most well-rounded and respected musicians in the metal community.
7) Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall)
Jason Bittner has made a name for himself as one of his generation’s most accomplished metal drummers. Bittner began playing drums early and quickly developed a passion for metal music.
After honing his skills in local bands, he joined the internationally successful metal band Shadows Fall in 2001. With Bittner behind the kit, Shadows Fall became one of the most popular metal bands of the early 2000s, releasing a string of successful albums and touring the world multiple times.
In recent years, Bittner has also played with the acclaimed metal band Anthrax, further cementing his reputation as a first-class drummer. Whether he’s pounding out furious blast beats or laid-back grooves, Jason Bittner always brings the noise.
8) Derek Roddy (Nile)
Derek Roddy is a metal drummer who has worked with some of the biggest names in the genre, including Nile and Hate Eternal. A gifted technician, Roddy is known for his ability to play at lightning-fast speeds and for his relentlessly precise double-bass drumming.
His playing style has earned him a reputation as one of the most exciting and technical drummers in metal, and he has inspired a generation of young drummers to push themselves to their limits.
A true renaissance man of drumming, Derek Roddy is one of the most respected and well-rounded metal drummers in the business.
9) Brooks Wackerman (Avenged Sevenfold)
Brooks Wackerman is a talented drummer who has earned acclaim for his work with the band Avenged Sevenfold. He has a unique style that blends hard rock and metal elements, and his explosive energy has helped propel the band to success.
In addition to his work with Avenged Sevenfold, Brooks has also recorded albums with Bad Religion and The Offspring. The Empire Strikes First is one of my favorite albums Brooks recorded. He is an in-demand session drummer, and his versatility has made him one of the most sought-after musicians in the industry.
Brooks is a true artist, and his passion for music is evident in everything he does. He is an incredible drummer and has made a lasting impact on the world of rock music.
10) Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan (Avenged Sevenfold)
Avenged Sevenfold’s drummer, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, was a real firecracker on and off the stage. His energy and passion were undeniable, and his unique style helped to set Avenged Sevenfold apart from other metal bands.
On drums, The Rev was a true virtuoso, capable of playing with speed, power, and precision. He was also a gifted songwriter, and his contributions to Avenged Sevenfold’s discography are some of the band’s most memorable.
Sadly, The Rev passed away in 2009, but his legacy continues through Avenged Sevenfold’s music. Every time I see them perform, I can’t help but think of The Rev and all the fantastic moments he brought to the band. He indeed was one in a million.
So, there you have it. Our list of the 10 best metal drummers of all time. Did we miss your favorite drummer? Let us know in the comments below. And now, it’s over to you – what are your thoughts on our picks? Who do you think should have made the list? As always, we love to hear from our readers, so don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Until next time!
Featured image: Alessandro Bosio / Alamy Stock Photo
Great list man and no disrespect but I’m pretty disappointed to find that Chris Turner is not here. He is literally one of the BEST.