Top Ten Best Metal Drummers

The Top TenXW

1Jimmy The Rev Sullivan (Avenged Sevenfold)

People saying he's getting sympathy votes, listen to Beast and the harlot drum solo, the song streets, his drumming AND singing on Critical Acclaim, and the quite insane intro on Chapter 4. He always was my idol, always will be. FoREVer - K_to-the_c_Reverend1

He isn't faster than Joey. He's on top of this list because of his death

"The Rev" is easily one of the greatest drummers ever... He's ability on the doubles isn't hugely impressive but he's feet and hand co-ordination is unbelievably accurate and he's easy ability to create an original flawless beat beats all other drummers hands down!

P.S. where's dave mcintosh(dragonforce) and virgil donati...

The best drummer of the world. Jimmy is wonderful with the drumsticks, praise for The Rev.

Avenged Sevenfold is not even heavy metal

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2Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Testament)David "Dave" Lombardo is a Cuban American drummer, best known as a co-founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer.

By far the best should be number 1 just listen to spill the blood

SLAYER isn't as mainstream as the bands above them, which is why I believe lombardo is all the way down here, if slayer was more mainstream lombardo would be on top, but not being mainstream makes them SLAYER.

Slayer is not mainstream as Slipknot and A7X plus Dave is not dead that's why he is number three. The Rev gets voted up only because he is dead. Lombardo was far more advanced heavier and technical than Jimmy. As for Jordison he is also better than The Rev he is very technical and extremely fast, Dave is number one though. Number two should be Mike Portnoy who is equally good as Dave. Joey can come in at number three followed by Ulrich and number four.

Have you heard live undead and really any song by slayer. Not all his songs are crazy technical. A blend of awesomeness. Should be #1.

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3Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment)Michael Portnoy is an American drummer primarily known as the former drummer, backing vocalist, and a co-founder of the progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater. Known for his technical skill as a drummer, Portnoy has won 30 awards from the Modern Drummer magazine.

People who think Lars Ulrich is the best probably don't even know who Mike Portnoy is. If you haven't listened to Dream Theater you definitely should.

mike he is the best... his drumming is just so ammazing... no one else got the talent like he does in drumming field... - deadlydawn

He can drum according to the songs mood. He is not hammering the drum when playing smooth DT songs. He is not being slow when playing aggressive DT songs. Versatility is what DT and its band members all about.

He is the best, simple that way

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4Joey Jordison (Slipknot)Joey Jordison, is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer best known for his work as the former drummer and co-songwriter for the heavy metal band Slipknot as well as guitarist in the Horror-punk band Murderdolls.

I personally think Joey should be first. His playing is way more intense and technical than The Rev. Don't get me wrong I like both of em, but Joey is GOD and he is the reason why I started playing drums in the first place.

this is a list on the best drummers ever. when that comes to mind I think "ability to play difficult things. " not influence, not potential, only the ability to play difficult things on the drums. in the genre of metal joey wins. "The rev had great potential" big deal, this is not a list about that. "lars had the biggest influence" big deal, this is not the most influential metal drummers. "daney carey puts feel into it" this is not a list about that. joey can play more difficult things then any other metal drummer, so he wins. - maggot-104

I think that everyone wants the Rev to be first because he is dead man get over it he's dead and you can't do anything about it let joey be first he is the best. Don't get me wrong I love both drummers but I think that joey should be 1st.

Are you kidding? The Rev is extremely talented. How would you feel if I said, "Paul Gray's dead, get over it." Both these drummers are good, but The Rev's not #1 solely off of sympathy votes. He's a musical genius. - VengeanceUniv

A big loss for Slipknot...

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5Danny Carey (Tool)Daniel Edwin "Danny" Carey is an American drummer and instrumentalist best known for his work in American Grammy Award-winning progressive rock band Tool.

come on guys... a true musician. not just a drummer but a musician.. and creative as hell. just listen to some tool songs, and you'll see

Danny Carey is far from the best metal drummer (you can't compare different techniques of drumming). HOWEVER, people like the Rev, Joey, Lars and the likes should be nowhere near the top 10 of anything besides overrated. As a drummer who has met Lars I can safely say he was never very good, above average? Yes. Great? No. Same goes for The Rev. Virgil Donati should be #1 on any drummer list, but Danny Carey gets mad respect from me.

The most creative drummer on this list to be sure. While he doesn't make a conspicuous effort to show off his technical ability and agility so much as Joey Jordison, his rhythms are far more intricate and versatile. Both are very fun and incredible to listen to, but most metal drummers' rhythms get old somewhat quickly, and it's up to the guitarists and vocalists to keep the music interesting and relevant. Tool is so driven by rhythm, and Carey's drumming is absolutely the driving force behind that.

Danny Carey is probably one of the best drummers of all time. The Rev is absolutely nothing compared to the complexity of Danny's drumming.

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6Lars Ulrich (Metallica)Lars Ulrich is a Danish drummer and one of the founding members of the American heavy metal band Metallica.

Influenced many to come. Just listen to Dyer's Eve and you will se why he is the best!

naahhh you guys are all wrong lars ulrich is pro. just listen to him in battery blackend and his bass pedals
wicked they are so fast

The Rev is highly influenced by Lars. Without lars around he wouldn't play drums.

Metallica is the greatest but Lars isn't.. Shouldn't be top 10.. And the Rev should not be higher than 5

His bass pedals in fight fire with fire answers all the questions.

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7Chris Adler (Lamb of God)Christopher James Adler is an American drummer, best known as a member of the groove metal band Lamb of God.

Lars Ulrich on no. 4? haha whose voting here? little girls?

no one better than adler.. no one!

Hey adler may be fast but his songs don't have much variations as lars

chris might not as fast as several others but his foot technique with the double bass is awesome.

By far the best metal drummer out there. He plays every bit of his drum set. He commands so much attention when he plays as well as every other member in Lamb of God. Go youtube this guy and try and tell me a reason he shouldn't be the number one metal drummer. The rev was a great drummer but not even close to the skill level of Chris Adler. Tomas Haake from Meshuggag is probably the only one who could run a close race as far as metal drummers go

Hands down best double bass. One of the most creative drummers in metal.

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8Gene Holgan (Death, Death Angel, Testament, Dethklok, Strapping Young Lad)

an insanely fast, but still groovy and precise drummer that played in several important bands

Gene Hoglan's intense and accurate playing means that he can play extreme metal, and record it in two or three takes. That's a drummer. Most of the above are as sloppy and you could get, excluding Portnoy. But then, Hoglan is ten times better. Listen to any Strapping Young Lad song, Laser Cannon Death Sentence or Biological Warfare.

People vote for Lars and Jimmy The Rev Sullivan are stupid and don't know anything about drums, Joey jordison is just madness. Gene is accurate, fast and most importantly he can play at any tempo, he is a god when it comes to sudden tempo change

Gene Hoglan is a gun for hire drummer, who regularly appears on a variety in a variety of bands because of his immense talent. I believe he is a permanent member of Testament now, so more power to them. Hoglan can do it all, and is equal to Lombardo.

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9Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden)Michael Henry "Nicko" McBrain is an English musician, best known as the drummer of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, which he joined in 1982.

The opening track of "Where Eagles Dare" famously displays McBrain's ability to use the single drum pedal very quickly just like double pedal. McBrain often employs the back end of his left hand drum stick to get more aggressive sound of the snare drum. He is able to play a variety of styles. the 7/8 riff which follows the second chorus of "Alexander the Great". The 7/4 riff on the song "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns" and the 14/8 riff that follows the second chorus on the song "The Longest Day" are other examples of his versatility.

Iron Maiden rules and Nicko just keeps going! Great, heavy & hard hitting drummer. He's also the nicest of 'em all!

I couldn't choose between The Rev (come on - his Double Rides are epic) and Nicko here, but seeing Nicko not even in the top 10 absolutely disgusts me. Never uses Double-Foot pedal (with Face in The Sand being the only exception) and of course... Where Eagles Dare... Listen to that and tell me he shouldn't be in the top 3, let alone top 10!

Aw hell yeah! Who in the world doesn't know this man? He has everything that every drummer needed.

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10George Kollias (Nile)Georgios "George" Kollias is a Greek heavy metal drummer and music teacher best known for his work with American technical death metal band Nile.

The fact that Lars Ulrich is even above George Kollias just proves that the people here don't know s! @$ about drumming.

Seriously, George is only number 10? Do any of you have ANY idea about drumming? Do any of you even know half of these people? My hunch is you're all voting for your favorites, not for the 'best metal drummer'. George is absolutely insane. He can reach 280bpm (proven and recorded) which is badass, and his double bass is insane. His technique is flawless and I have to say he is like a god compared to half of these "number one drummers". I don't even like Nile.

I totally have to agree with the other comment about this drummer. Listen to some real music before even thinking about doing lists. Avenged Sevenfold, #1? Come on, let's be serious

Amazing talent.

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The Contenders

11Bill Ward (Black Sabbath)William Thomas "Bill" Ward is an English musician and visual artist, best known as the original drummer for the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath.

Bill should be at least in the top 5, that guy was amazing, hell I don't even play drums but he is the only drummer that really got to me because he stand's out from the rest... Don't believe me? Listen to war pigs, beyond the walls of sleep or just about any Sabbath song.

Absoulute legend in the making, Bill Ward was and is still the most inspiring metal drummer today, he's a one of a kind and his skill's where most incredibly shown on stage or wherever he played. Bill Ward is a monster on the drums and again his skill's show it all, god bless him and Black Sabbath

I don't care how fast you can play, playing as fast as you can is NOT music. Bill Ward was the first metal drummer and there wouldn't be any metal without him and his band (or Led Zeppelin).

He should be in top 5 because he is the first metal drummer.

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12Casey Grillo (Kamelot)

He plays for Kamelot, a symphonic metal band. Many of their songs must mix the beauty and melody of classical rhythms with the drive and aggression of metal. It takes an unbelievable drummer to do this with the amount of feel he does. He has the ability to balance four on the four thunder with technical flavour without distracting from the song. He plays to the needs of the music, not his own ego. He's perfect for his band and his genre, while the philosophy of his drumming can be applied to any other. Any drummer will tell you that these are among the most important qualities to look for in a drummer, and sets him apart from the other technical beasts of the metal genre. (Note: his drumming live easily matches or exceeds that which is recorded. That compliment for Casey also extends to the whole band. )

Being probably the most dedicated and personalized drummer ever, Casey's progressive style has so many various implementations it makes him easily the best for intricacy as well as rhythmically. He deserves number one for easily being the better battery in the music industry. Take all these so-called mainstream "metal idols" off the top because that's what Casey Grillo is. I would agree with anyone who calls him king. So go listen to Kamelot and Casey, not people who know how to just crash their cymbals and gallop the double bass as fast as possible.

Casey is by far one of the best and most versatile drummers of this day and age... Massively underrated and deserves a load more credit and recognition than he gets... Superior technique and playing to the likes of other metal drummers (including joey jordison... Don't get me wrong I love joeys playing but Casey just leaves him in his dust). Also a very humble man who makes time for his fans and is always happy to talk and share his opinions and knowledge with those who wish to hear it... The man is the king!

The absolute best a true monster on a drum set! I am blessed to get to watch him perform all the time as he plays with my boys in Tampa. He is a magician and most of all a truly great person and humble too humble in my opinion because I always tell him that I'm honored to be his friend.

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13Tomas Haake (Meshuggah)

I don't know about drumming, but I do know quite a lot about rhythms and rhythmical challenges, and I'll have to say: This man REALLY knows what he's doing. And it's not only the rhythmical stuff, but also the way he uses his set. Haake is excellent at bringing colour into the quite dense mix of Meshuggah, by utilizing all tools at his disposal. Not only is his drumming tighter than your elder sister's asshole, but it's also filled with details and a diversity hardly matched by other drummers in metal.

Ever listened to "I"? You'll see what I mean. This man is brilliant. Twenty two minutes of poor ecstatic drumming which is guaranteed to leave you breathless. A monstrous drummer.

Haake's Mastery of of polyrhythms in 4/4 are almost unrivaled in the metal genre. He is also one of the most technically precise drummers I've ever heard.

Even the great Danny Carey acknowledges his talent.

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14John Dolmayan (System Of a Down)John Dolmayan is a Lebanese-born Armenian–American songwriter and drummer. He is best known as the drummer of System of a Down.

Every drummer in this Top Ten is amazingly good, without excepction. But If I had to vote in one of these it had to be on John just because he is the only drummer that I imagine to play in every genres of music. And to prove it you can listen to all the System of a Down and Scars on Broadway and you can see in al of his breaks are amazing and he insists of doing those challenges to himself in every thing he plays... John to the top 5 at least. As soon as you guys listen to Toxicity and I-E-A-I-A-I-O you know what I'm talking about.

Best drummer I know... His rhythms are just... I mean just listen to
I-E-A-I-A-I-O and you'll know what I'm talking about. He doesn't miss a beat live.

Dolmayan really should be higher on this list. With all his work with different musicians. John's rhythms are spot on and he can keep a fast beat. Plus he does some pretty good drumming on those timbales which is very unique for a metal drummer. Instead if showing off with a blast beat I think a drummer with skills in different areas of the percussion deserves #1

Overworks himself all the time, a true legend

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15Vinnie Paul (Pantera)Vincent Paul Abbott, also known as "Vinnie Paul", is an American professional drummer and producer who is best known for being a former member, and co-founder, of the heavy metal band Pantera.

I'm not sure who made this list but the only one in the top ten that should be there is Dave Lombardo! He should be #1 and what is the Rev and Jordison doing in the top 3? Drumming isn't just speed you fools! Watch Vinnie Paul play behind some of the heaviest riffs of all time, he plays some sick off beat licks that blend beautifully and turn on the speed when he needs to. Like Lombardo he doesn't just throw all together in a blurred mess they hit with intensity fast or slow that makes you rock your body. You need to give the right people the respect they have earned, this isn't a popularity contest! Work on your ear for music before you make a list like this! UNREAL!

I wouldn't say Vince is the greatest but to be able to back Dimebag isn't an easy task. He has a different approach to drumming. He doesn't gimmick around with fast and unnecessary beats. He keeps it simple but tight! No space for errors! He's sometimes fast like a machine gun too.
Above all, he's one badass killer drummer!

Vince knew how to let a song breath, instead of filling it unnecessary double kick and noodley business. Death Metal drummers need to learn from guys like Vinnie Paul and Dave Lombardo and know when to groove instead of blast. Sometimes less is truly more.

Vinnie Paul is in the best band PanterA and has the best singer Phil Anselmo

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16Brann Dailor (Mastodon)Brann Timothy Dailor is an American drummer/singer best known as a member of the Atlanta, Georgia metal band Mastodon, in which he is the drummer, backing vocalist, lead vocalist and primary lyricist.

No need to be upset - these lists are based on voting - so its pretty obvious the more famous band drummers would top the list - No wonder Lars is 5 th and Joey is 2nd
Mastodon is obviously not as popular as Metallica or a7x - Brann was bound to get less votes but that doesn't take away the fact he is one of the fastest and technically accurate drummers when it comes to rolls.
His style is unique and people covering his songs are known to loose pounds and pounds of weight in the process - you can imagine the effort he puts in every song. Definitely among the top 10 drummers of all time.

Crazy that drummers like joey jordison are higher than brann on this list. Brann brings to metal what not many other drummers do. He makes pin point drum rolls fit and jazz influenced beats fit in places where they wouldn't normally fit in a song. Not many drummers are recognizable as soon as you hear them like brann is! Key part of the band and a killer voice too!

Brann Dailor is seriously one of the best. I had never known who he was until I finally gave Mastodon a listen... And my life has never been the same. Brann brings to metal what it needed! He's very different which is why he kicks so much ass.

One of the most technical yet fast drummers; pretty rare to find that. Even more extraordinary is his ability to sing and play some really sick beats!

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17Mike ManginiMike Mangini is an American drummer. Since 2010, he has been a member of progressive metal band Dream Theater, following the departure of founding drummer Mike Portnoy.

Mangini kicks it off in the new 2012 Dream Theater album. With 4 World's Fastest Drummer Records, and his insane technical abilities, I think Mike Mangini deserves a spot in the Top 10. He preforms a mind-blowing keyboard-drum duet in 'Illumination Theory', and consistently finds a way to impress me more than even Rudess or Petrucci. Great start for Mike Mangini, and I expect that he'll continue to impress everybody.

One of the most musical drummers, with amazing rhythmic perception and a unique style of playing, other times subtle, other times in your face. Probably the most versatile and non-egoistic drummers in the metal world.

Dream Theater's new drummer is one of the fastest I have ever seen.

The best of the best

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18Pete Sandoval (Morbid Angel, Terrorizer)

More fastest and technical drummer! Morbid Angel it is one of the most brutal and technical band ever in METAL! They are one of the few death metal bands that influences most death metal bands in times! Summarizing they have great technical, heavier and fastest metal! Without Pete Sandoval in the band it's not the same! They to be back with old school metal they have before the last album! The album it's not bad but it is not MORBID ANGEL old shool!

He is one from best death metal drummers, try song from morbid angel drum check and after that you should know what I'm talking about

Yes. When I first heard him on Altars of Madness and Blessed Are The Sick/Wicked? (I forget), it was out of this world. It's one of those 'you had to see it to believe it' sort of things.

I definitely like some of these other guys but Pete is by by far my favorite. Its obvious through his music, he loves playing.

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19Neil Pert (Rush)

This dude is by far the best drummer and the most knowledgeable in drums and percussion. Incredible player. He belongs on top!

Best drummer in the world not the fastest or loudest but technically a wizard on the drum set. As good as the rev was in my book Neil still wins.

Neil was one of the greatest drummer that picked up the drumsticks. Just listen to the drums for any song. He's a genius. Hell, he wrote a lot of the bands music! So this is the man here

I'm my humble opinion, Neil is second to none. Not the most personable guy though.

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20Ariën van Weesenbeek (Epica)

Speed, power and unbelievable control. Along with some others that spring to mind he doesn't always get the recognition he deserves in this genre in my opinion. Also check out his work with MaYaN, it's seriously good. He deserves to be way higher on this list.

He makes honor to his nickname "The beast", it's totally amazing when you discover at the end of the a show that he is completely wet because of sweating. Is a real monster on stage and he shows tons of energy when he's playing.

Respect for this incredible drummer.

Not because of his energy in epica but also because of his work in Mayan. His touch is remarkable m/

He is a beast on the drums!

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List StatsUpdated 27 Jun 2016

18,000 votes
233 listings
7 years, 79 days old

Top Remixes (76)

1. Bill Ward (Black Sabbath)
2. Pete Sandoval (Morbid Angel, Terrorizer)
3. Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Testament)
Rambles
1. Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Testament)
2. Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment)
3. Tomas Haake (Meshuggah)
17MaCarollo
1. Chris Adler (Lamb of God)
2. Jimmy The Rev Sullivan (Avenged Sevenfold)
3. Tomas Haake (Meshuggah)
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