So this thrash band walks into a salsa club...

Question: what do you suppose happens when one of the greatest drummers ever to beat the crap out of the skins shows up at a drum-off expo to show off what he can do?

Answer: something like THIS...

I am going to commit heavy metal heresy when I say this, but the fact is, I am not a fan of SLAYER. I really am not. My tastes in thrash metal, and with heavy metal in general, have always leaned heavily toward the progressive and melodic side of things. That is why I am a huge fan of the early MEGADETH albums, for instance; in my opinion, no thrash band has ever topped the sheer brilliance of Killing is My Business... And Business is Good! and the monumental Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?

That is because both albums had this amazing fusion of jazz and thrash, thanks to MEGADETH's lineup at the time. Gar Samuelson on drums and Chris Poland on lead guitar turned the band into a true powerhouse of melodic heavy metal. They were able to put together songs that were musically brilliant as well as brutal.

SLAYER, on the other hand, was all about simply overpowering the listener with sheer speed, aggression, and rage. And Dave Lombardo was unquestionably a huge part of that sound.

I'll never forget the first time that I heard Reign in Blood. I couldn't get my head around the album- I just didn't see the point of it. The whole thing just seemed to be a giant, chaotic mess. It was all just... noise.

But one thing stood out from the background of whammy-bar solos and rage-filled roars. And that was the drumming.

Good Lord but the drumming was something else. It was like listening to a Bizarro World version of Neil Peart, if he was mainlining crack.

The funny thing is, though, that if you've only ever heard Dave Lombardo playing in SLAYER, you're actually not seeing what he's truly capable of doing as a drummer. That clip above proves it. Turns out, he's actually amazingly talented in a number of different styles of drumming.

That, in my opinion, is what separates the merely good drummers from the truly great ones. Neil Peart, Nicko McBrain, Marco Minnemann, Mike Portnoy, Jimmy DeGrasso, Iain Paice, and on back to departed legends like Joe Morello and, of course, Buddy Rich- they all have this trait in common. Every one of them is capable of playing a variety of different styles with equal fluency and skill. None of them is limited to just one style of playing, unlike quite a lot of heavy metal drummers who only play really fast and really really heavy.

If you get the chance to watch a true drum artist play live, it's a true treat. I've seen Neil Peart play live with RUSH something like 7 times (last time I bothered counting); his drum solos are truly epic demonstrations of what a real legend can do with the drums.

That's what it's like watching Dave Lombardo killing it on those drums while playing as though he just crashed into a salsa bar. You're watching a true master showing the rest of us mere mortals how it's done.


  1. "It was like listening to a Bizarro World version of Neil Peart, if he was mainlining crack." Ok, that made me laugh.


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