Hardest Songs to Play On Drums

Schwanie2
ANY SONGS THAT YOU JUST CAN'T PLAY ON DRUMS? CHECK MAYBE THEY AREN'T ON THE LIST ADD SOME THEN OR VOTE.

The Top Ten

1 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.

I learned the whole song (minus the straight double bass patterns that are in it, I play single pedal and improvise with those parts on the bass drum) and it only took me 2 months Dance of eternity is probably the most rhythmically complex piece of music I've ever attempted, props to Portnoy on this one. True drum masterpiece m/

I complete this song in about 1 month of work.. It is a VERY hard song for someone who has difficulties to understand the change of times.. But this song is a very good one to learn and master the time signature

Let's break it down. 130 time signature changes in 6 minutes. Try that for size. - naFrovivuS

V 37 Comments
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.

I've seen Tomas Haake perform this live and I still don't understand how this can even be played. Some drum parts in other songs may sound more rhythmically pleasing or have more parts, but nothing is as mind numbingly complicated as Bleed. The polyrhythms coupled with whatever wizardry is happening with the double bass boggles my mind every time I listen to the song. It's over 7 minutes long, and you have to keep in 4/4 time despite playing different rhythms. Tomas Haake is a god among men for being able to master this song.

This needs to be #1. Only reason dream theater is above it is that more people are familiar with their music. Their fans think it has to be the hardest thing out there because they do odd signatures like 7/16 and 11/4 time sometimes, meanwhile Tom Haake is playing both of those at the same time along with a 25/8 for good measure. Notice that comments on Dance are along the lines of "it took me so long to learn this! " while comments on Bleed go "is this even possible to play? "

You have to have 3 feet to play this

V 42 Comments
3 Tom Sawyer - Rush

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.

Not a drummer but I listen to a lot of varied music and Neil is amazing to watch and listen to.

As much as I like this song (and it's certainly difficult to play), I can't agree with this being first. I learned this song when I was like 12 or something in a a couple of weeks

This song is a beauty eh!

V 25 Comments
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

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

I'm not sure if this song is actually hard to play with drums, but this song sounds hard to play to me. - Feirceraven

Nah, pretty average. - Dibildox

V 4 Comments
5 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

V 14 Comments
6 Beast and the Harlot - Avenged Sevenfold

Is this truly the only song by Avenged Sevenfold you could find? I would have chosen their song Streets or A little piece of heaven, at least you mentioned them.

I'm pretty sure you don't know what you're talking about when you say A Little Piece of Heaven is harder than this. I don't care whether or not this belongs in the top ten but there is no way A Little Piece of Heaven is harder. No way. - Haqulea

This song is not very hard. Its just very fast. Doesn't belong in the top ten. Ticks and leeches belongs in the top ten for sure.

Wicked on guitar and drums are no exception guitar took me a very dedicated week to learn drums haha not in my dreams

They don't call him The Rev or put him up with there with old school legends for nothing.

V 14 Comments
7 Lateralus - Tool

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

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

Ok let's be completely honest here.. Danny is king. I still to this day have only seen like 3 people successfully cover his hard songs. Triad? Ticks & Leeches? Have any of you even tried to play some of these songs? You really have no idea what your voting on if you haven't tried to play some of these songs. All those other drummers come and go. Drummers like Danny Carey only exist once in a trillion years.

I've been playing for years and years and have studied the greats. I can play almost all of the top song on this list.. Well except Bleed.. still tightening that one up.. damn you Tomas! Anyway.. Try playing Triad.. Danny overlaps polyrhythms like a drum machine with a swing knob. I have never met more challenging technique, patterns, polyrhythmic structure, and swift dynamics then any Tool song. Danny Carey is probably the best drummer in the universe right now.. I'm just happy he's here on earth!

As soon as I heard this song I immediately looked up if it was in the top ten, sure enough I found it here. This song goes from an easy hi-hat tap and snare, to an all out everything. I've been playing drums for a year and a half now, and I just finally got a song down by Imagine Dragons, I couldn't even imagine trying this! This is an incredible drum song I honestly think it deserves to be 2nd. Danny Carey you've done it again.

V 30 Comments
8 Moby Dick - Led Zeppelin

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.

How is this so far down the list? Should be top 5 at least!

This song is 99.9 percent drums.

V 8 Comments
9 La Villa Strangiato - Rush

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

What a magnificent song. The switches between feels, the odd time sense and it is long and difficult. Not as bad as Dance of Eternity, but very challenging. I am surprised it is below Moby Dick. Moby took me about 10 hours to learn, La Villa took about 50 hours to learn. Great song. You can play this, there is little that will challenge you.. except songs like 777-9311! Cheers

V 22 Comments
10 Good Times Bad Times - Led Zeppelin

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

Best

A

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!

Try to play it they way Bonzo actually did and you might change your mind. This should be higher on the list... MUCH higher!

V 12 Comments

The Newcomers

? Song 2 - Blur
? Suggestions - System of a Down

The Contenders

11 The Violation - Fleshgod Apocalypse

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.

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

Why the hell is tom sawyer ahead of this song? How is tom sawyer any kind of difficult?

How can someone listen to this song and think it sounds good?

V 1 Comment
12 Ticks and Leeches - Tool

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

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

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.

I'm learning this song right now and its hard as hell! Props to Danny!

V 15 Comments
13 21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson

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

Inconcievably difficult when done right. Combines all the hardest parts of jazz and rock drumming and turns the speed up to 100! If you want to impress someone on the drums, learn this!

V 3 Comments
14 YYZ - Rush

Awesome with difficult time signature

A load more difficult than Tom Sawyer, this song changes time signature nearly every bar and it makes it really confusing to play

I think this song should be top ten at least it is a very confusing song to drum

No way a normal human can do this in 5 years of practice

V 8 Comments
15 Dyers Eve - Metallica

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!

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

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

Super fast double bass and lots of it.

V 11 Comments
16 Kascade - Animals As Leaders

One of the hardest ones I've tried!

Top 10 material

Animals as Leaders are stupid posers.

Come on 17th,seriously.This song is crazy hard to play.

17 Pull Me Under - Dream Theater

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

I love Dream Theater, they're one of my favorite bands, and I agree that Mike Portnoy is the the greatest drummer ever (right up there with John Bonham), and Pull Me Under is a fantastic song, but as a drummer, I can safely say that Pull Me Under is NOT one of the hardest songs to play on the drums. I don't know why the hell this is even on this list. Usually, these lists are tainted by people who don't know what the hell they're talking about (ex. Non-drummers). But what I don't understand is, that this is a song that even non-drummers who are clueless still shouldn't think this is a hard song, as usually they think the drummer who can use a double-bass peddle the fastest is the greatest drummer. Ugh... I'm done with this site.
~SumOfNothing

Hardest song ever

V 8 Comments
18 Adam's Song - Blink 182

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

Should not even be in top 30

Not top 20 material

V 2 Comments
19 Endeavor - T.R.A.M.
20 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!

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3,000 votes
224 listings
7 years, 93 days old

Top Remixes (10)

1. Kascade - Animals As Leaders
2. Endeavor - T.R.A.M.
3. Inamorata - Animals as Leaders
Kayden11
1. The Violation - Fleshgod Apocalypse
2. The Carbon Stampede - Cattle Decapitation
3. Beyond Bludgeoned - Brain Drill
chode13
1. Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater
2. A Little Piece of Heaven - Avenged Sevenfold
3. La Villa Strangiato - Rush
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