To state the obvious: unconventionality is a primary facet of underground music.
It’s a general given that music on the heavier or extreme side of the spectrum defies the conventions of popular music.
But being able to play unconventional music UNCONVENTIONALLY is no easy task.
And when a musician is able to step outside of the box and still make it feel so right, it can be awe-inspiring.
To this end, I’ve compiled a few drummers and respective albums on which they’ve performed (which are also some of my favorites) that I feel are some of the most unsung and individual of their kind across a few genres, whose performances on which have stood out so uniquely that I’ve never been make wholly accurate comparisons.
And I’m leaving out obvious dudes like Longstreth, Darkside, Jamie-Saint Merat etc. because, while they may fit the criteria, they have made quite a name for themselves over time.
WARNING some of these aren’t metal. A bitter pill for so many of you but, swally. Onwards….
During Castevet’s short-lived existence, the NYC 3-piece successfully managed to carve a niche all of their own. And while the incredibly crafted songs themselves defied typical genre standards, it was Jacyszyn’s performance that gave a refreshing and wholly unorthodox twist to an already incredible album.
With a focus on complex rhythms and jarring cymbal-work over incessant blasts, his work here is incomparable.
Other notable work: Gath Šmānê – Transmuted Marrow
Probably the more renowned of the lot, Dennis The Menace and Macabre have been pedalling their unique brand of murder metal for 33 years.
Ritchie uses his pedals like paintbrushes, and has the such razor-sharp precision and power it once slit my throat and bludgeoned my brain.
On their classic “Dahmer” album, he constantly sways in and out of various tempos and dick-kicking fills, always driving everything forward perfectly. An unsurpassable player on a superb, timeless record.
Scharf has this amazing ability to completely do his own thing yet still feel so in-sync with the rest of his band at all times. He plays with a jarring complexity yet with a paradoxical simplicity, and always, always feels so natural.
A delightfully refreshing result in an age of stiff and mechanical players.
Other notable performances: Craw – “Bodies for Strontium 90”
Gormley first cut his teeth with HC stalwarts Rorshach, and even from the early days it was clear that his approach was not that of your typical thumper.
Very few drummers use their toms quite like him, he adopted an unusual form of simplistic complexity that added a new dimension to the band. And while sadly, PE have long since disbanded, it has been impossible to find anyone quite like him.
Papirmøllen, the madman also responsible for the incredible Parlamentarisk Sodomi, changed the game with this one. Admittedly an acquired taste and a standout in this compilation, but once you tap into this perfectly-constructed insanity it will stay with you for days.
The fact that he plays everything on this album speaks to the level of this mans genius.
Other notable performances: Parlamentarisk Sodomi – “De Anarkistiske An(n)aler”
Eber has always astounded by being able to play any style whatsoever and make it all his own. The current crop of modern, superbly-technical drummers could only dream of being able to employ his sensibilities and subtle nuances.
Once you start to make sense of the blissful , multi-layered stylings of Dysrhythmia, the rewards are tenfold. There are a multitude of Dysrhythmia releases that display his dizzying feats, but it feels like Psychic Maps is most appropriate here.
Stallings’ unique approach to his instrument has never failed to drop this jaw. His subsequent work with grinders Defeatist (and currently Radiation Blackbody) has
continued his impeccable legacy, but it was The Outer Dark that I was first exposed to his wonderous approach to playing. Always knowing exactly when to employ restraint and when to increase the controlled chaos with interesting twists impossible to see coming. The kind of drummer that will keep your ear to the ground about every project he’s involved in.
Other Notable Performances: Defeatist : “Sixth Extinction”
Metalireland offers the floor to anyone with an opinion, insight, thought or perspective on the music they love – or hate. The mic is yours if you want it. Just let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Karl Leavey ::: 11/06/17