.Editorial - Drums Of Doom
Metal Reviews

Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Ben

This is a long, rambling, free form love letter to the art of drumming. I am not a drummer nor do I know proper drum terminology.

Perhaps the single most important instrument in heavy metal is the drums. There, I said it. Ok, the guitars are what MAKE something metal, with their attitude and their riffage and whatnot, but the drums are the secret seasoning, the eleven herbs and spices, the Popeye's spicy marinade mix that elevate an album. Why am I gushing at the ass over drums? Well, for starters, they consist of a human being literally hitting something with a stick. And when it comes to heavy metal, hitting that thing with a stick produces actual kinetic energy conduction. Heavy Metal is (supposedly) an aggressive form of music, born of rebellion and anger. Those types of aggressive feelings are transmitted through the drumkit in a metal band in such a primal, instinctive way, that I don't even think we as humans realize how much we are affected.

The snare drum and the double bass are key ingredients for a "good metal drum sound." The double bass drums accent the rhythm of the guitars so much, they are integral to the tight feeling of riffage and give the guitars more percussive attack. You'd be hard pressed to find a triplet assault that isn't augmented by double bass drumming these days. I have certain feelings about drum triggers on double bass drums, but they aren't as strongly opinionated as they are on snare drums. In my opinion, the snare drum provides the standard by which the rest of the kit is measured. Since the snare hits are (usually) the primary beats when it comes to the time keeping, they are the literal pulse of the song. How hard someone is or isn't hitting that snare drum is the key to the sense of "energetic feel" that you get from listening to the songs. Now, when a snare drum is all triggered to hell to the point where there are literally no dynamics is where we start to have a problem. This happened alot in the eighties with that "gated reverb" sound on the snare and today with the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) trickery that's going on.

More than anything, I get hurt all up in my butt over fake drums in metal albums these days. Fake drums and shitty modeling digital "amps." OK! Anyways, the reason why fake drums drive me up a wall is because they reduce a human being to nothing more than mouse clicks. What makes a drummer impressive in the first place? One, being able to keep time, and two, the fact a two armed, two legged human is capable of producing these sounds. Take for example, double bass and blast beats. When these techniques were first introduced they were mind blowing because human capability on the instruments improved. It was impressive to hear a person playing so fast, so intricately, and being able to impart that sense of power and energy from his human hits. Nowadays though, through the wonders of DAW wizardry, (or a cracked version of Guitar Pro 6 *with realistic drive engine*) would be "producers" manage to make drums sound like gatling guns and artillery. People who don't know better become accustomed to sounds that no human being can possibly make. This isn't a problem for say, electronic music, but you'd be a liar if you said that part of the appeal of non shitty metal is being proud of being not crappy at your instrument. And to young and impressionable ears who are craving something aggressive they hear these sounds that are impossibly done with cpu editing rather than human being playing and take this artificially produced sound as "normal." No longer are metal fans impressed by actual human skill or talent, we simply "want siqq heavy shit." This is very similar to say, getting a nineties metalhead into seventies Judas Priest. I will openly admit to liking some of the songs on the Century Media Priest tribute albums that came out in 1997 better than the originals at the time, simply because they sounded "heavier" with modern production. It took quite a few sit downs with Sin After Sin, Sad Wings Of Destiny, and Stained Class to get me used to that seventies sound, but when it clicked, it clicked hard.

Lastly, we need more people to pick up the actual sticks! The metal world needs more drummers! We have enough guitarists, bitter guitarists turned bassists, and uh, "singers." But not enough drummers. The problem with playing non shitty metal is that drummers have to be a pretty high level to even just do the basics. And most drummers who have put in the hours to get good enough to play non shitty metal are already in gigging bands. I think this is why so many starting bands decide to go the fake drums route and use GPro or Superior Drummer programs. That, and the fact that drumming is seen as being for dumb asses and easily replaceable. Again, think about this. Since forever, humans have used music to prepare themselves for large scale battle. And the earliest instances involve people beating things rhythmically with a stick. That energy that imparted from those people beating something with a stick in rhythm was enough to muster courage and strength across lines of men to charge headfirst into hand to hand combat and literally fight for their lives. I don't think a shield wall would have quite the same resilience if instead of battle drummers you had a laptop hooked up to some speakers with farty fake drums belching out of a PA system. Hopefully, whoever is utilizing such a technique becomes embarrassed and goes home.

Killing Songs :
Ben quoted
Other albums by .Editorial that we have reviewed:
.Editorial - A Brief Run Through Power Metal (in 3 1/2 stages) reviewed by Ben and quoted
.Editorial - Metal N Media reviewed by Ben and quoted
.Editorial - The Curious Case Of Udo reviewed by Ben and quoted
.Editorial - Music Album DLC reviewed by Ben and quoted
.Editorial - Know Your Role: The Music Producer reviewed by Ben and quoted
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