Hardest Songs to Play On Drums


The Top Ten

1 Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater

Easily the most challenging song I have come across. I have seen multiple transcripts of this song and it is mind blowing. While Neil Peart's parts for various Rush songs are amazing, my hat goes off to Mike Portnoy for this masterpiece. I'm actually surprised to see that Pull Me Under is this far up on the list. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence should at least be in the top 25 as well as A Change of Seasons. Let me know when Avenged Sevenfold writes a song with some 7/16 measures as well as 5/8 and some 11/4.

This tune is the best instrumental ever, and has hardest drums, but Under a GM has nicer drums

It is quite difficult since I am just 12 played drums for over 5 years so for the song I picked it is very hard this song I needed like 5 months so when I did this I never screwed up since I can tell when the fills and the song itself I have all instrument (except guitar etc.) I managed to do the dual kick since I practiced double kick last 2 years ago for beginners don't try and do this song because it is confusing

There are harder songs to be honest, this is easy if you listen to the song enough to remember it. but Bleed should be number one

2 Bleed - Meshuggah

How is it possible that this is not top? Polyrhythms on the hat, with the bass drum playing cross rhythms and triplets in different time signatures, for 7 minutes... If you can play this, you are not human. If you can even get the god damned first pattern, you are not human.

The fact that this isn't #1 is a hate crime. Dream Theatre is good like no disrespect but if we put the 2 songs against each other and the respective drummers I highly doubt dream theatres drummer could learn this song within a timely manner

Hardest double bass song ever, along with difficult syncopated beats on the hands as well. Most difficult in my opinion.

This is the hardest, no question. Absolutely insane, they do abbreviated versions live because it's just so hard. Even on guitar it's crazy confusing but on drums where all 4 limbs are playing unintuitive patterns independent of each other at blazing speed for 7 minutes... This song is a masterpiece

3 Moby Dick - Led Zeppelin Moby Dick - Led Zeppelin

It is number one (even though it is a drum solo)

Probably took John bottom lotd of takes To get it right

Now when I'm talking about Moby Dick here, I'm talking about the live version of it (Live at Royal Albert Hall, 1970). In that case, the song needs to be number one, the hard time signatures, the insanely fast triplets, the bongo style playing (with your hands), all of these factors make the song difficult as hell to play. Now, when it comes to the studio version of it, it deserves to be around number 6 or so.

There are a lot of songs harder than this one, but it should be way higher on this list.

4 Hot for Teacher - Van Halen

I'll make it short and simple hot for teacher best, funnest, hardest drums I've ever heard van Halen one of the best old bands ever there music will live forever

Note to the people saying it's average. Note it has an incredibly fast double bass part that will drain the blood out of your legs the entire way through.

... Not sure it's the hardest, but hella fun to play!

Good choice. Not only is it the hardest Van Halen song to play, it's one of the hardest songs in the world.

5 La Villa Strangiato - Rush

Neil Peart himself couldn't get this on one take. That says something.
As Mike Portnoy once said in an interview, if you can play La Villa Strangiato, you can play anything.

I honestly don't understand at all why there are so many Avenged Sevenfold songs on this list. Yes, the Rev is dead, but let's be honest, he is nowhere near the magnitude of Neil Peart or Mike Portnoy. I know people that play fast, hell I can play fast, it's not that hard. The hard part of drumming is being technical and composition, not repeating the same exact thing through verses and choruses, or little fills, but being able to tell a story with your drumming. The Rev should not be on this list.

As for Rush songs, La Villa Strangiato is easily their hardest song. Tom Sawyer is difficult yes, but it also has a lot of fills. To quote Neil, "There are no mistakes, only new additions".

If you don't believe me, ask any REAL drummer out there about this song. They'll tell you for themselves.

This song is by far the most technically demanding song on the planet. Trying to tackle it in one take without messing up in the insanely odd time signatures and the fact that they change literally instantly and that this song is 9 minutes of just pure endurance (mental and physical) and has literally been the bar for technicality on the drums since 1978.

I don't know why this isn't number one, possibly because not many people listened to Rush, but if you show someone this song and ask them to listen to the drums, they wouldn't believe you when you say one guy is doing this, this song is so demanding, the stamina that it takes to play this song is insane, by the time you finish the opening you can already feel it in your arms, how Peart does this is beyond me, especially doing it at the age of 50

6 Lateralus - Tool

Danny Carey is an unmatched monster when it comes to different irregular patterns on both hands. That individualization can't be replicated without complete mastery of the art.

I've been drumming for 21 years, 17 on a kit, and I have more respect and reverence for Danny Carey than any other drummer, by an astronomical margin. My top 3 influences in drumming have been Kodo (a drumming group), Blue Man Group (a drumming group) and Danny Carey at #1. It's no coincidence that I put him, a single person, on the same level as drum groups with as many as 20 drummers playing concurrently. His internal clock is unassailable. His limb control is out of this world, and his sense of rhythm and musicality is a thing of legend. He is the only drummer in the world that could add what he has added to Tool for so long. No other drummer could match the level of innovation that we find with MJK, Jones, Chancellor, and D'Amour without stealing the show.

The best drummers are the ones that fill the space in the music they accompany. No one, and I mean NO ONE could do Tool the way Carey does. Such innovative music, and he fills the space without EVER overpowering the other ...more

The majority of the song is constantly shifting between 9/8 7/8 and 8/8 which is hard enough to get a grip on when learning this song. Like most tool songs however, the driving force of the song doesn't repeat itself but rather replicates itself with subtle differences. For example when analyzing the first time the chorus plays through compared to the second time it plays you will notice certain accents are in different places. There are other tool sons that are harder to play like rosetta stoned and practically the entire new album but lateralus alone stands superior to the other songs on this list due to sheer technique and finesse. don't just take my word for it though, please go listen to or read some of tool’s music. Regaurdless of whether you like it or not there's no denying that Danny Carey is an absolute master of his craft.

Mike from Dream Theater is great... But lets be real here. He is NO Carey... "peart" is great.. But just like Jimmy Hendrix... He was only an innovator.. Danny Carey (tool) is the greatest drummer I have heard... I drum.. Have for 20+ years..4 bands and even a few records under my belt
The time stamps and just all out craziness of tools music.. Would make MOST (all other) drummers cry... Sure I can play "the pot".. HWAP.. The grudge.. And a few other tools songs... But its crazy hard to learn.. And even when you KNOW it ALL... The same song will keep surprising you.
Danny Carey = Drum God

7 Ticks and Leeches - Tool

This song is insane! I am 13 years old and I am learning it right now, just playing it in 4/4 would be hard, but 7/4?! The intro is hard but fun to play, and if you you get it, your in for a tough ride

simply amazing, the raw energy and emotion put into this song just blows everything else out of the water. also a huge strain on the vocals. there's a reason this song is rarely played live

This song is the craziest song that was ever made on drums. The song is loaded with polyrhythms and is extremely hard to play danny is the drum God. Neil part Tom Sawyer is good and all but Tom sawyer doesn't compare to the complexity of any tool song

Wow. Does anyone know why tom sawyer is up so high? I mean there are plenty of much harder songs than that one. This song is absolutely one of them. And one more thing I don't understand is why hells kitchen and metropolis part 1 by dream theater are not even on this list.

8 The Violation - Fleshgod Apocalypse

Dat snare is like an ak though

First of all, I want to say that I agree with this being really hard to play. This kind of speed takes years to develop. But why this song? The drumming isn't really harder than a lot of technical death metal or blackened death metal like this, but this is the only song like this I see on the list. So I'm just wondering why is this one considered harder than the rest.

If you listen to dying fetus and behemoth you'll find this song is faster than pretty much every single one of their songs. Only Kollias has a chance against Paoli's constant blast beat at nearly 300 bpm.

The speed in this songs drumming must leave the drummer exhausted.. Its SUPER fast

9 21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson

Love this song

A combination of progressive rock and jazz, with absurd fills dancing between unbelievably technical and fast-paced percussion.

Insanity and brilliance often come together hey!

From the list they have this is probably the best. A lot on this list are easy, some are actually a joke. They do not even list Cream with Baker, the list is really a joke to pro drummers.

It is insanely hard some on the list are very easy less your just starting

10 Good Times Bad Times - Led Zeppelin

Allright, I think we all need to know that bonzo used ONE kick on this song. pull off those triplet bass drums is near impossble with 2, so how would you do this on 1? I would like to see anyone pull off any of the songs above this with one kick, you probably can't. bonzo is the best drummer ever, created a million heavy hitting, loud bass drum clones, and this is some of his finest work.

One of the finest drum parts ever. I like the 16th notes on the bass drum. I never fail to enjoy the drums on this song. I have been lucky enough to cover this in bands too and I must add it is my favourite drum part to cover. Often non drummers do not understand why as it is all in the feet. If you listen closely especially towards the end when it is easier to hear clearly he plays rapid triplet notes with his bass drum. These notes are more difficult to get right than Tom Sawyer and they are also very easy to mistime too. There is also more feel than a lot of other drummers in this song too. On top of that John Henry Bonham was 19 when he recorded this song.

Simply the best



I'm 15 and I have been playing drums for almost 5 years now, I've been taking lessons for that time too and still am. I know that's not a very long time, but I have wanted to learn this song ever since I started playing drums. Every year my drum teacher has a recital sometime in the summer, and am definitely going to ask him if I can learn this song when that time comes.

A lot of the songs on this list are highlighted by their confusing bass patterns. The difference between this song and those is that those were played on double bass, meanwhile this was played on single and that's what makes it so difficult. Heck, it's even challenging on double bass!


The Contenders

11 Beast and the Harlot - Avenged Sevenfold

Dat double bass though

After about two minutes of playing the song, your legs start to die. While beast and the harlot are harder songs to play, they produced even harder songs like Nightmare, Save me (multiple time signatures going at once), A little piece of heaven (kick beat changes constantly), blinded in chains (192 bpm while having the kick changing beats).

Harder daddy

Oh geez. I've been playing metal drums for roughly 2 and a half years, and this is just one of those songs, where the first time I heard it, it was so catchy I said "man, this song is probably insanely difficult to play", and yes, yes it is. I mean, double kick drums at 155 BPM sporadically throughout 5 and a half minutes, crazy fast drum solo, a tricky hand/foot pattern at the chorus to master, it's got everything a standard metal sing should have, but raises the bar. It's one of those things where it is easy to learn, hard to master. In fact, I still am trying to get it down, but take note: this song takes some serious stamina. But fun as hell, and that's what matters

12 A Little Piece of Heaven - Avenged Sevenfold

Why? It's not even the hardest avenged sevenfold song, I agree it's harder than the average song but definitely not worth 3rd place. The beast and the Harlot is so much more difficult than this. I could name about 40 dream theater songs that are more difficult than this song.

I think this song is not that hard but after must have stabbed her fifty times after the rev sings then it's hard the part when they sing she was never this good in bed that part is hard

This song is pretty easy for me but I play a lot of drums all the time but I think that nightmare or beast and the harlot is harder-

Nightmare is definitely not harder, but beast and the harlot? Yeah!

This song is so easy, I can play the whole thing by heart. There's at least 20 to 30 songs I can think of that are much harder than this song

13 Kascade - Animals As Leaders

Lippincott or The Women Web seems harder than Kascade. In my humble opinion of course.

One of the hardest ones I've tried!

Top 10 material

Animals as Leaders are stupid posers.

14 Tom Sawyer - Rush

It is a great song but dang it's hard to play on the drums same with limelight by rush


As a drummer, I can say that of all the Rush songs, this is the least difficult song in terms of the fancy fills and drum knowledge required to play (but there still is a ton of this in the song). It's more of a test of endurance. You have to play fairly fast 16th notes with one arm, or else the song doesn't really work. It is simple at first, but once you're about 1/4 through the song, the fills kick in, and then your arms really start to get strained. It took me a while as a young drummer to really master this song, and to this day it remains one of the most difficult songs to play in my repertoire of songs.

I think this song and ticks and leeches should switch spots because pretty much the only really hard part of this song is the drum solo. while on the other hand, ticks and leeches is like a long 8 minute drum solo. Sorry Peart, still a great song though.

15 Adam's Song - Blink 182

Blink 182 harder than DragonForce? - Userguy44

This is nothing compared to stuff even Lars Ulrich can do. Even Lars doesn't belong on songs that are hardest to play on drums. Travis Barker is overrated. I have a feeling people are just voting their favorite bands, and the drummer happened to be a part of it, so they assume the drummer makes songs difficult to play on drums. Travis barker doesn't belong on this list

Really? I'm 11 and I learnt to play this when I was 10. Maybe Feeling This by Blink.

This isn't really top 20 material, maybe top 30, because I learned this song in 20 minutes

16 Endeavor - T.R.A.M.
17 Through the Fire and Flames - DragonForce

It's not the hardest song from DF, but still, it's a leg killer

When its DragonForce, it involves Rapid Firing Double bass drums and very fast hands, it looks impossible (unless you are highly experienced drummer)

Has anyone even heard this song? This deserves to be WAY higher on the list. The tempo marking is so high and the double bass grooves are extremely intensive. I don't see how even things like Moby Dick could beat it honestly.

The thing about this song isn't that it's technically hard, it's just blast beats, but those blasts are at 300 bpm so it's very tiring and it requires an inhuman amount of stamina. I know that I wouldn't be able to go through the whole song. - kk2001

18 Cafo - Animals as Leaders

Should be in top 10

Dry challenging track

Jesus christ how is this not higher on the list

This song is not humanly possible! - IDdrummer

19 Inamorata - Animals as Leaders

One does not simply think that other songs can be as difficult as this.

20 The Enemy Inside - Dream Theater

Tool and dream theater should be all over this countdown

Lol what is wrong with people a Blink 182 song in front of a Dream Theater song. Also who the hell said Lars Ulrich can actually play drums, (Metallica fanboys).

so true

21 The Carbon Stampede - Cattle Decapitation


I was going to put Mammals in Babylon on here! One of my favorite death metal bands, and Dave McGraw is one of the best current drummers out there!

I don't know why people call this "noise", I could just as easily call the music that's very popular now noise, but that's just opinion, this song requires more musical skill than 100% of songs now days.

This song sounds terrible its just noise and screaming. whoever thinks this is good music, then you need your ears checked!

Whoever thinks this is good music has a different opinion than you. - Fiend

1 Comment
22 The Betrayal - Fleshgod Apocalypse

One of my favorite songs... a little plain at beginning, but at the 3 minute, its just hell! very powerful!

23 Silent Flight Parliament - Between the Buried and Me

Uhh, this should be in the top 5 if not the top spot. And for that matter where is Melting City?

24 YYZ - Rush

Definitely takes the cake for hardest rush song. They straight up play the songs title in Morse Code as a beat.

While this is definitely not their most difficult song (go listen to La Villa Strangiato, which is higher on the list), it's certainly harder than Tom Sawyer—I learned that in a month, after playing drums for only a year.

Sucha good drum and bass song.

Awesome with difficult time signature

25 Beyond Bludgeoned - Brain Drill

This sounds almost like George Kollias of Nile which is a huge compliment. - Metal_Treasure

How can the drummer do this? This song must leave the drummers hands broken! This should be at least in the top 3! This is way harder than Dance of Eternity.

26 Dyers Eve - Metallica

Well, Dyers Eve is hard on every instrument...

What's more amazing than Lars playing this track? Being able to remember it all!

Dyers eve is such an aggressive song its not funny! It is one of the best Metallica songs and is the hardest on drums for sure!

The rhythm parts and the solo are just outstanding, but the drum track is hard too, Lars used a lot of double bass through the song. - Wolf92xd

27 Eeyore - Slipknot

I disagree with this list pretty much until this track. Go watch how to play this, it's insane
disasterpiece is also pretty hard.

Very hard song to play that's for sure. Can not possibly do that drum solo because I only play single pedal and that's not actually humanly possible. Should definitely be higher.

28 Painkiller - Judas Priest

You need lots of stamina for this. - Userguy44

I would love to play this song!

Such a badass song, possibly my favorite, and the drumming is a huge part of what make it a classic. Listen once and you'll know what I mean. Such intense drumming that never lets up during the song's six minutes

This in my opinion should be higher up on the list but it's not the hardest song on drums.

1 Comment
29 Your Treachery Will Die with You - Dying Fetus

Damn this is the hardest song I have ever heard

I've tried this song muulitple times, and jesus is it hard, It is defaintly one of the hardest.

30 Ingesting Blattaria - Blotted Science
31 Pull Me Under - Dream Theater

Probably the easiest DT song on drums besides the whole astonishing album - IDdrummer

This is one of DT's much easier songs for all instruments. It doesn't even include that much odd time. - AdamDestructorJr.

Yeah man! I don't drum by myself but I can hear clearly that mike is the best drummer in the entire world, Even as the other guys in the band, I play guitar and believe me I can't name a person who has more emotion in his solo's and is so creative in playing the instrument that he can create lots of genius numbers than jhon petrucci.
Even as jordan ruddes and the silent man Myjung.
And its so incredible that they can replace Mike (for a mike) But personally I think Mike shouldn't leave the band. I hope You english guys can read it because I've never made such a long comment like this one...

Wow! Glad to see good old Mike Portnoy at #1! But this not one of his VERY greatest performances. For instance: The Glass Prison, A Change Of Seasons, and The Dance Of Eternity to name a few. But this is very hard! Every song by them is hard to play on every instrument. - moose4life19

32 Laser Cannon Deth Sentence - Dethklok
33 Shall Rise Shall Be Dead - George Kollias

This should be in top 10. No one can cover this song the way George Kolias has played this song.

Why is Blink 182 and A7X over this, DT and Tool? What is wrong with people. Ad much as I respect and like those bands, George Kollias, Portnoy and Danny Carey are gods if not less. Start voting sensibly.

34 The Glass Prison - Dream Theater
35 Brianstorm - Arctic Monkeys

You need to be an Agile Beast as Matt if you wanna play this song

Sorry but no. Very fun song to play but I've only been drumming six months and I can play this song. There is actually a lot of other arctic monkeys songs that are even harder

Love playing this song but not too hard

What? It's two minutes long - Songsta41

36 Goliath - The Mars Volta

Thomas Pridgen is the most skilled drummer on this list.

Extremely surprised that no Mars Volta reached the top hundred! The drum line surpasses a few in the top ten in my opinion in terms of difficulty.

37 The Count of Tuscany - Dream Theater

Incredible. Dream Theater and Rush should be filling it up. Dance Of Eternity, La Villa Strangiato, The Count Of Tuscany, Tom Sawyer, the Glass Prison, YYZ and especially Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence. - Beatlesboy9

Best song ever written. Cheers

38 Karn Evil 9 - Emerson Lake & Palmer

This song should be #1. - UncommonLoon

One of many CP nightmare drum pieces, also Bitches Crystal, Tank, The Barbarian. Many of the aforementioned drummers were listening to this guy

39 Llama - Phish

This is definitely one of the most challenging songs I have come across. I'm not really a fast drummer (at least not as fast as most rock drummers) and it's the same beat the whole time. The fast bass pattern in it definitely kicks my ass. It's still pretty fun to jam to though.

One of the best. Period.

40 War Ensemble - Slayer

Favorite Slayer song, and quite hard indeed. But hey? The songs who have been listed here are just here because they are the hardest song from a mainstream/famous band. Lisin' to a song like The Essential Salts from Nile and you will know what I mean. It's probably the hardest drum song ever.

That drum fill right before the tempo change... No thanks

I can't believe war ensemble stands at 18. This is an insult. - KVXMG

Defaintly I'm barely coming to play songs by slayer, and Dave Lombardo is just a plain out beast on the drums, this song certainly derserves a spot as of the hardest!

41 Bat Country - Avenged Sevenfold

In my opinion, this isn't Avenged Sevenfold's most difficult song; Burn it Down is much more difficult. This song is really difficult to perfect though.


This really is a hard song to drum, a couple of rhythms and beastly fills.

R.I.P. Jimmy.

42 Fire - Jimi Hendrix

This song should have been ranked at least 25 - 30.

Yep. This list is retarded

43 Disasterpiece - Slipknot

I'm 13 and this song is not as difficult as you may think to play. Unless I'm just used to its difficulty. Of course the blast beats take some time to get right, and I'm still working on it.

I don't know how they can play their songs. I don't play drums but I play guitar and the power they put in their songs is unbelievable. After playing only four of their songs I feel my fingers burning and red.

44 Blue Train - Asian Kung-Fu Generation

I would say that the main reason why this isn't so high on the list is because it doesn't get that much attention, nor does the band. While they do have a large international fanbase, it could be larger. They aren't a sensation, and they haven't ever been one, but they have always deserved to be one. The song itself is actually really good, the song itself is a standout, but within the song, the drums standout too.

45 Art of Life - X Japan

This song is just ridiculously long, not necessary the most technical difficult one but the length is just ridiculous.

46 The Perfect Drug - Nine Inch Nails

its nine inch nails this song is so hard tht trent reznor doesn't even play it live

I can play a lot of songs listed above in the top 10. Cannot play this.

47 The Art of Dying - Gojira

Arctic Monkeys are above this song, something is wrong there.

Deserves top 5 If not more!

That intro

Definitely needs to be at least top 5.

48 Psychosocial - Slipknot

If you think this is hard, you probably never heard a song by Dream Theater, Meshuggah, Nile, and even Rush. - Metal_Treasure

This one isn't hard. - AdamDestructorJr.

I'm not talking about psychosocial because there are harder songs of joey, but he is the best drummer! He is very fast and he has an excellent technique... And where is Dave Lombardo on the list?

Very hard, But Gematria And All Hope Is Gone Should Be Here, Both are very hard songs...

49 My Hero - Foo Fighters

This is not hard

50 Blood and Thunder - Mastodon
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List StatsCreated 18 Aug 2010

4,000 votes
239 listings
9 years, 95 days old

Top Remixes (12)

1. Kascade - Animals As Leaders
2. Endeavor - T.R.A.M.
3. Inamorata - Animals as Leaders
1. The Violation - Fleshgod Apocalypse
2. The Carbon Stampede - Cattle Decapitation
3. Beyond Bludgeoned - Brain Drill
1. Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater
2. A Little Piece of Heaven - Avenged Sevenfold
3. La Villa Strangiato - Rush

View All 12

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