Prepare to have your attention grabbed, then throttled. Such is the intro by Jordan Mancino (As I Lay Dying) to "Ahh - the Fade Out". Things settle shortly. Does the guitar suggest a faintly western vibe to you? At any rate, this goes down before the "urgent section", which is all distortion and bare nerves. Then it's the fade and all is said and done in a few scant moments.
Chris Adler (Lamb of God) - "The Near Dominance of 4 Against 5". Chris refers wryly to the deft 5/4 time signature that defines the opening section of his track. His rapid-fire bass drum punches work a charm while his long double kick lines are clean as a whistle. Ten out of ten points for riding on the oft forgotten cowbell. Speaking of that alleged domination by 4 over 5, mid-way through the track, five is still king.
If there's something Jeremy Colson (Steve Vai, Michael Schenker) displays in the opening to "Fluoxetine" it's a distinctive tom sound, and he takes pains to put it right in our face. One of the more blunt drummers of this crew, he infects his more sensitive passages with similar brute force, such as at 2:40. A commanding drummer, he's full of surprises, such as metallic, timbale-like tones that leap out. He's all about speed metal towards the end of his track, murdering his crash cymbals on the beat, and reinforcing the four-pulse something fierce before tackling the brittle ensemble figure that closes down shop.
Killswitch Engage's drummer, Justin Foley, starts strong and full, then he breaks things down into components. This is really diverse stuff and will prompt repeated listens. Justin's use of mallets is unprecedented, as is his percussive flare. Aside from a heightened melodic component, we're left with the impression that he can rock strongly and bare his artsy side in the same breath. It's not only the most diverse track on Drum Nation Volume 3; it's perhaps the most dynamic. Amid the bombast, it gets really quiet, with mallets taking it out at a whisper.
Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall) is an extremely popular drummer for good reason. His energy is way up there and he's constantly on the case, setting up ensemble patterns, leaving no band figure without comment. He's always there with some appropriate drum groove or fill. He entitles his track simply "Instr.", for "instrumental". Largely in a rocking 6/4, Jason's urgent fills attain a sort of swing not always heard in this style. His double-kick towards the end ought to be illegal. Jason bounces drum fills off the overdriven guitar ostinato then, just before the exit, teases us with a few bars of legit swing on ride. Go figure!
"Out of Nowhere" is Kenneth Schalk's (Candiria) contribution. His intro backbeat anchors a considerable chattering of samples, real nail-biting stuff. A solo and then tranquil section follow, the latter defined by early Genesis-style guitar. Ken is operating with a full palette here and dabs into complex fills, riveting kick, and simple press rolls. His choices are not always conventional - perfect!
Joe Nunez, Soulfly's drummer, begins his track, "Grounded", with rapid-fire drumming in the break beat tradition before soloing on
thudding floor toms, providing a firm foundation for guitar hits. Then he's back to toms and auxiliary snare with snares off. Joe's a
drummer of many contrasts - the timbale snare against his low toms, for example, or the bright pingy ride against deep kicks.
"When the Scales Fell" comes from Tom Taitano (Totalisti). It's ostensibly a metal vamp until we encounter Tom's staggered snare (has he been listening to jazzer Bill Stewart?), a very clever foil to the fuzz guitars, operating seemingly in its own time signature. Tom is quite capable of generating a wall of drums, and a formidable one, but he's also not beyond seizing a single tom and riding it for good effect. When the end comes, the last note hangs and we think it's all done, but Tom begins a challenging drum solo that segues back to the guitar theme and that crazy, almost offbeat snare - very nice. This time, when the fuzz guitar fades, it truly is all done and put to bed.
Chris Pennie from Dillinger Escape Plan sends us "YMCA Or TCBY", a tune with an expansive, haunting intro devoid of drums. It raises the question: What would you do to enter effectively? Jump in with obligatory double bass drum? Chris shows admirable patience, waiting plenty of time before jumping to action. His bombastic, Bonham-ish phrasing is tightly in rein, jumping to the fore then gating down the next moment. Back to the repetitive keyboard pattern, then Chris is back on top of the beat with thrusting ride cymbal and well-positioned fills. Nasal keyboard patches zap across the synapses, punctuated by solo drum phrases.
Derek Roddy (Blotted Science), yeah the one with the snakes, interrupts a chaotic intro with a mid-tempo grooving melody, which he then segues into a half-time power trio type vamp, short lived. He makes full use of the toms, as he does in the video, in the ensuing vamp until action ramps up into the conclusion. Check out his articulate fast tempo bass drum triplets. Encircling sonic textures and rhythms lend meaning to the name of this track, "Swirling Patterns".
Raanen Bozzio (Stasis) offers us "Impulse", which begins with snares off and ambient toms, punctuated by scintillating tiny exotic cymbals. (The leaves don't fall far from the tree!) It's an effective soundscape and it is the foundation for shredding guitar. Raanen's sound is hearty and satisfying, not quite metal in heritage, although it works well in that genre. Towards the middle/end of this track, we get into a blow out: drums vs. two harmonizing guitars. It's all kind of lumpy and it's all prone to change directions on a dime, sophisticated and simultaneously garage band.
From Michael Justian (Unearth) comes "Weak Would", another pumper from the word go. Michael's fills are really death defying - tightly strung, executed, and sometimes clipped, gated off in their prime. Aside from taste, speed would seem to be his middle name: but, yes, taste comes first. Catch his spoken word/phonetic portion at 1:51, which he then metes with identical drumming. It's Metal Scat! Here is a man, clearly at peace with himself and his music, having a good bit of fun!
"Drum Nation - Volume 3" is one of those rare packages that's complete in every sense of the word. You view it and you have fun.
You pick up tips. You listen repeatedly and hone in on the music. Meanwhile you cop a few cutting edge licks. In its own wacky way, "Drum Nation - Volume 3" keeps on giving.
show full notes
artists Drum Nation - Volume 3
01. Jordan Mancino - Ahhh, The Fade Out
02. Chris Adler - The Near Dominance of 4 Against 5