Top 10 Best Thrash Metal Drummers

I have always thought that drumming is very important for thrash metal. What are the best drummers in this awesome genre?
The Top Ten
1 Nick Menza (Megadeth) Nick Menza (1964-2016) was a professional drummer best known for his work in Megadeth from 1989-1998 and in 2004. He recorded drums on four of Megadeth's albums "Rust In Peace", "Countdown To Extinction", "Youthanasia", and "Cryptic Writings".

Megadeth was always a band that combined the aggression of punk with the refinement of heavy metal and jazz. Nick was a master of drumming it. The job he did on Holy Wars is just crashing.

Menza had a nine-year stint with Megadeth. He is heard on Cryptic Writings, Countdown to Extinction, Hidden Treasures, Youthanasia, and Rust in Peace (often cited as the greatest thrash album of all time).

Nick had a passion for drumming! And he was able to pass down his passion to his loving kids. No better legacy. He was an awesome person to know if you ever got the chance!

2 Dave 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.

Fast, accurate, incredible transitions. Some of the faster drummers lose the power hit on the drums, but not Lombardo. It is a testament to how good Lombardo is that all the drummers who play with Slayer play slower live and still don't get the power hit on the drums, despite Slayer slowing down the songs for the replacement drummers.

I think John Dette is the best replacement, but he's still not Lombardo. I have seen Lars Ulrich try to play Raining Blood, and it's an epic fail every time.

By far the best and most technical thrash metal drummer in history. Dave has amazing endurance, great rhythm, and fills, and really took the double bass machine to a new level in the early days. Just amazing, certainly my numero uno influence.

3 Charlie Benante (Anthrax, S.O.D.)

If you were to ask any of the thrash bands who was tops in drumming, Benante would be the popular vote. The speed and creativity gave songs like Gung-Ho and Indians life.

This man is my thrash metal drumming hero. I wouldn't be playing drums the way I do now if it wasn't for Charlie.

Most underrated band of the Big 4, but Benante is easily one of the best drummers ever.

4 Gene Hoglan (Death, Dark Angel, Testament, Dethklok, Strapping Young Lad)

Gene is the most powerful drummer I've ever witnessed play the drums. He's the caffeine machine of drumming perfection.

Definitely the best drummer on this list. Although his work on Darkness Descends is often used as an example, the drumming on Leave Scars is insane (for example, the insane triplet double bass on the title track).

Hoglan has worked with many bands, such as Testament, Death, Dethklok, and Opeth. His biggest accomplishment is his work in Dark Angel in the '80s and '90s.

5 Juergen "Ventor" Reil (Kreator)

Crazy double kick. Listen to Pleasure to Kill and you will understand.

This guy can do double bass better than Lombardo or Cavalera.

It's actually J├╝rgen, but nonetheless, he's an incredibly talented drummer. He definitely deserves a spot in the top 10.

6 Mike Mangini (Annihilator) Mike 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.

He's the best drummer on this list. Nobody else (except Randy Black - the other Annihilator drummer) can handle both thrash drumming and prog metal drumming at his level of technical skill.

Annihilator's technical thrash requires both thrash and prog skills. Randy Black also combines these two types of drumming skills. Another thing in common is that both Mike Mangini and Randy Black are ambidextrous.

Speed is not everything, but Mike Mangini is officially the fastest metal drummer.

This guy has been getting more attention since he joined Dream Theater in 2011. But he was great before that when he played for Annihilator - he was just more underrated than now. Mangini admitted that Annihilator's stuff made him learn to play faster and faster. And better.

7 Igor Cavalera (Sepultura, Cavalera Conspiracy) Igor Graziano Cavalera is a Brazilian musician. He is best known as the former drummer for Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura, which he co-founded with his brother Max in 1984. Max left the band in 1996, and Cavalera himself would depart ten years later, making him the last original member of Sepultura... read more

Igor spent 20 years in Sepultura before forming Cavalera Conspiracy with his brother, Max. The album Arise is probably his best album. The intro on Territory is one of the greatest drum intros in heavy metal history.

Igor Cavalera is seriously a great drummer. I'd say he's underrated because all people know is Lombardo, Ulrich, or Menza, but Igor is the best of all. Just listen to his drum work in Beneath The Remains, Arise, and Chaos A.D. Awesome!

Beneath the Remains - the most insane drumming in thrash metal history! Listen to any thrashy Sepultura song, and the first thing you hear is the great man Igor Cavalera.

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

Lars basically invented thrash drumming. Everyone else on the list is imitating him. Yes, they might have taken thrash drumming further over the last 30 years, but always remember, they're just copying Lars. He's the innovator and master.

Saying Lombardo is better than Ulrich is like saying Steve Vai is a better guitarist than Jimi Hendrix. Yes, he probably is if you look at it from a purely technical sense. But Jimi is the one with the legacy. And it's the same argument with Ulrich.

9 Paul Bostaph (Slayer, Testament, Exodus)

Paul is a great drummer. Any man who can step in and (somewhat) fill Dave's shoes deserves respect!

10 Tom Hunting (Exodus) Thomas "Tom" Hunting is an American drummer, famous for his work with the band Exodus. He played on their first three albums, Bonded by Blood, Pleasures of the Flesh, and Fabulous Disaster. Hunting later left the band due to illness in 1989 and was replaced by John Tempesta.

He is heard on Exodus's first three albums, Bonded By Blood, Pleasures of the Flesh, and Fabulous Disaster. He rejoined Exodus for short stints before joining permanently in 2007.

This guy invented thrash drumming. He set the standard and is still the best.

Listen to Iconoclasm and you'll see why he deserves to be one of the top 5.

The Contenders
11 Randy Black (Annihilator, Primal Fear) Randy Black is a Canadian-born metal drummer and recording artist best known for his stints as the drummer for Annihilator, Primal Fear, Duskmachine, and Bif Naked. He is an ambidextrous drummer.

Amazing ambidextrous drummer. He's like a metronome. One of the drummers who finds ways to make drums a leading metal instrument, at least for some song sections. In his case, it's not easy because he competes with Jeff Waters - a guitar virtuoso.

Try Ultra Motion - its speed is over 210 bpm (single strokes). Pay attention to his double bass in the middle (2:15-3:15). It's not a difficult beat to play, but its speed and the beat change itself make double bass sound beautiful. For a minute, drums are a leading instrument (play this section louder!).

YouTube:
Annihilator - Ultra Motion [HD/1080i] (it's uploaded by AGENT Thrasher).

Make sure you find the original track because Annihilator re-recorded this song with a new lineup. The original is from the Waking The Fury album (2002) - brownish cover art with band members' photos.

12 Gar Samuelson (Megadeth) Gary Charles "Gar" Samuelson was an American musician best remembered for being the drummer for thrash metal band Megadeth.

Combine the spontaneity and artistic maturity of jazz with the physicality and aggression of metal. The product of this combination is Gar Samuelson, who introduced a flavor to metal that few other drummers have matched.

Whether he is laying down a thick groove in "Peace Sells" or keeping up with Mustaine's incredibly challenging timing in "Last Rites/Loved to Deth," Gar always maintained a powerful presence in the pocket and provided a reliable base for the fast guitars and bass.

Top 5 for sure, and definitely ahead of Nick Menza. Blistering single stroke rolls, jazzy swing, great feel, and transitioning between sections so smoothly! Every drummer after Gar in Megadeth sounds too mechanical, and I feel they lost a big part of their sound after he was gone.

13 Pete Webber (Havok)

I rank their album Time Is Up as one of the best of all time, right there with Bonded By Blood, Reign in Blood, and Kill 'Em All. I was a senior in high school when Kill 'Em All came out. Any of you old schoolers have to listen to this album!

Criminally underrated drummer. I guess that's because Havok isn't as big as some of the other bands on the list. The guy has it all: speed, groove, and incredible skill.

Havok is part of the new wave of thrash metal along with Evile, Municipal Waste, and Bonded by Blood. Pete Webber is very underrated. Listen to the album Time Is Up.

14 Vinnie Paul (Pantera) Vincent Paul Abbott, better known as "Vinnie Paul" (March 11, 1964 - June 22nd, 2018) was an American professional drummer and producer. Alongside his late brother Dimebag Darrell, he co-founded the Heavy Metal Bands Pantera and Damageplan, with whom he would find success with in the former. After the... read more

This man was not only a monster on the drums but also one of those drummers who kicked ass with every double bass foot pedal and his constant speed with his brother's guitar. From slow as a turtle to fast as a cheetah, this dude had the skills. His drumming got better with every album he did with Phil as the lead singer for Pantera. Great dynamics from a band's music that'll never die.

15 Michael "Moose" Thomas (Bullet for My Valentine)
16 Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall)
17 Shawn Drover (Megadeth) Shawn Drover is a Canadian musician, best known for his work with the American thrash metal band Megadeth.
18 Rat Skates (Overkill)
19 Travis Smith (Trivium)
20 Ted Kirkpatrick (Tourniquet)
21 Jon Allen (Sadus)

The drumming on Illusions and Swallowed in Black is the most fierce and cutting-edge for its time.

Most underrated of all time in metal!

Also stepped in to replace Dave Lombardo and Paul Bostaph in Testament for live shows when needed.

22 Joe Cangelosi (Kreator)

Ticket to Mayhem and Cause for Conflict are some of the best thrash drumming on the planet.

The best of the best! Played with Whiplash, Kreator, and Massacre. A true beast and underdog.

23 Chris Witchhunter (Sodom)

The early Sodom stuff is so awful it's awesome. Outbreak of Evil!

24 Dave McClain (Machine Head)
25 Greg Hall (Sacred Reich)
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