In this article, we will go through some of the loudest, fastest, and bess metal drummers of all time.
This music genre demands a top-level drumming technique, including finger control and foot technique. Drummers incorporate various foot techniques to achieve fast tempos. Techniques like “Heel-Toe,” “Slide” are the two most common one.
Let’s dive in and see who are the best metal drummers all time.
1) Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Winery Dogs, Transatlantic)
Mike Portnoy created Dream Theater as we know it today, along with John Petrucci. He is the man behind all the famous Dream Theater fills and grooves. Portnoy disbanded from Dream Theater in 2015, after which he worked with Avenged Sevenfold. After that, he continued his career in the band Winery Dogs with Billy Sheehan and Ritchie Kotzen. Portnoy spent the last decade more in rock than in metal, but during his time in Dream Theater, he influenced many young metal drummers of today.
2) Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies)
As Lars Urlich once said, Dave Lombardo is his favorite drummer, and many agree with Lars. Dave Lombardo is the man behind great Slayer songs such as “Angel Of Death,” “Dead Skin Mask,” and more. He was mostly known for his fast blast beats, but he had very creative drum patterns and grooves as well. Unfortunately, Dave disbanded from Slayer in 2013, and the reason was money problems, as he stated. After leaving Slayer, Lombardo worked with various metal bands such as Suicidal Tendencies, Fantômas, and more.
3) Lars Ulrich (Metallica)
It’s hard not to know about Lars if you are a metal fan. Lars plays in the biggest metal band of today – Metallica. Together with James Hetfield, he formed Metallica back in the 80s and co-wrote many of the band’s hits. It’s safe to say that Lars is the richest metal drummer with a net worth of $75 million and counting. Although he is not the favorite metal drummer of the drumming community, his recognizable sound can’t be denied. We think he deserves a place on this list due to his enormous contribution to this genre of music.
4) Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden)
Nicko is a founding member of Iron Maiden, and he has been with them since 1980. He also played in other bands like Bullens, Praying Mantis, and more. In the drumming community, he is well known for his right foot technique. Even though Nicko Mcbrain doesn’t play double bass, his right foot technique is pretty advanced and allows him to sound like he actually has two bass pedals. Nicko has been voted best metal drummer several times in the past. In cooperation with Paiste, he developed his signature cymbal series that are perfect for metal music.
5) Chris Adler (Lamb of God, Megadeth)
Chris is a two-time Grammy-nominated American musician, best known as the drummer and founding member of the metal band Lamb of God. Adler has won Modern Drummer’s ‘Best Metal Drummer’ award twice, in 2001 and again in 2009. On July 23, 2010, the song “Redneck” from Lamb of God’s sixth studio album was nominated for Grammy Award Best Metal Performance. The song was the first recorded material written and performed by Adler to be nominated for a Grammy.
6) Jay Weinberg (Slipknot)
After Joey Jordison left Slipknot, they had a hard time finding a new drummer. Finally, they found his replacement in Jay Weinberg, the son of Max Weinberg, the drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. He has been featured on two Slipknot albums: All Hope Is Gone and “.5: The Gray Chapter”. Many metal drummers nowadays find Jay Winberg, the best drummer in this genre of today. Before Slipknot, Weinberg played for bands like Madball and Against Me!.
7) Joey Jordison (Slipknot, Vimic)
For the metal drumming community Joey Jordison is still one of the very best metal drummers worldwide. He made his name playing with Slipknot. Joey Jordison played on all Slipknot’s mega-hits such as “Snuff,” “Before I forget,” “Psychosocial,” “The Devil in I.” He was fired from the band in 2013 because he wanted to take time off to be with his family. After disbanded from Slipknot, he played with Metallica, Korn, Rob Zombie, Satyricon, Ministry, and Otep. In 2016 he launched his own band – Vimic.
8) George Kollias (Nile)
George is one of the fastest drummers on the planet. He started his career in 1990 with Rotting Christ and later played in Nocturnus AD. He has also contributed to Nile albums. Kollias’s drumming was featured on the album “Lepaca Kliffoth,” released in 2006 by Vorphalack (a side project of Melechesh). He is well known for his technical abilities among drummers and has been referred to as “The Giant” and “Drumming Goliath.” Kollias is also a member of the band Nightrage.
9) Eloy Casagrande (Sepultura)
After Jean Dolabella left the Sepultura in 2011, the fans were introduced to a young Eloy Casagrande. He perfectly fits with the old Sepultura sound, but at the same time, he is able to implement percussion patterns with heavy riffs. Before Sepultura, he played with Andre Matos and Gloria. However, some drummers were familiar with Casagrande’s work right after he won the Modern Drummer Magazine Undiscovered Drummer Contest in 2006. He was only 15 years old.
10) Tomas Haake (Meshuggah)
Tomas Haake, also known as “The Atomic Clock” or just “Atomic,” is best known for his work with the Swedish band Meshuggah. Even though he uses polyrhythms and complex time-shifting in the music, his playing still sounds mechanical because of its high precision and accuracy. Haake began drumming at age 11. His drumming legacy is the groove in the song “Bleed” by Meshuggah. This rhythm incorporates three over four bass drum pattern while playing a straight rock pattern on top.
11) Ray Luzier (Korn)
Ray Luzier is the current drummer for Korn. He joined Korn in 2006. Ray had been performing with other bands like Army of anyone, David Lee Roth band, and Stone Temple Pilots before joining Korn. He started as a rock drummer, but his playing got even more challenging when he joined Korn. Ray’s drum setup is unique. He is one of the rare drummers whose china cymbal is in the center of a drum set. In 2014 he released an album with his project with George Lynch from Dokken and bassist Doug Pinnick.
12) Mike Mangini (Steve Vai, Annihilator, Dream Theater)
Mike Mangini is the current drummer for Dream Theater. He replaced Mike Portnoy in 2010 after he went on hiatus from the band due to strained relations with the rest of the band. His ability to play double bass and his accuracy to time signatures make him stand out. Things Mike can play with one hand a lot of drummers can’t play with both hands, making him one of the technically most advanced drummers in the world. His technique ensures him a place in Dream Theater versus fierce competition.
13) Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy)
Flo Mounier is the drummer and vocalist for the death metal group Cryptopsy. He plays a double bass drum, which is a big part of what gives death metal its “quick beat” sound. Even though there are many backbeats in death metal, he has proven his ability to play complex rhythms by playing with groups like the Nile. Flo was born in France but moved first to Chicago then to Canada when he was 14.
14) Inferno (Behemoth, Dark Funeral)
15Inferno plays for the death metal band Dark Funeral. He is a very technical and precise drummer. One of his most famous songs is “The Rise Of Darkness.” In it, he shows his ability to play fast double bass blast beats. His real name is Zbigniew Robert Promiński, and he is a Polish musician. Before joining Dark Funeral, the metal community had a chance to meet him as a member of Behemoth. So if you want to hear some fast metal drumming, check out “Slaves Shall Serve” by Behemoth with Inferno on drums.
15) Aaron Kitcher (Infant Annihilator)
Kitcher is most known as a member of Infant Annihilator, a deathcore band from England. He formed the band together with guitarist Eddie Pickard back in 2012. He moves the limits of metal drumming with fast blast beats, one stroke roll, and fast double bass drumming. The drumming community is overwhelmed by Aaron’s drumming; that’s why you can find plenty of “reaction videos” on YouTube.
16) Matt Greiner (August burns red)
Greiner is a drummer for August Burns Red, a post-hardcore band who have found their niche in metal music. Greiner is one of the most influential drummers in the Christian metal genre. We had a chance to see him last year on Zildjian live (drumming show on YouTube). Together with his friend and fellow drummer Kaleb Kilmer, Matt founded a drum company Greiner&Kilmer. Besides drums, he also plays the piano.
17) Adam Gray (Texas in July, Independent)
The first time the drumming community was introduced to Adam Gray was through Texas in July. Many of his videos with energetic drumming end up on YouTube. He started drumming at a very young age. He was four when he got his first drum kit. Adam says that independence and showmanship represent a big part of his drumming style. Besides metal, he is fan of funk, gospel, and pocket playing.
18) Matt Garstka (Animals as Leaders, Sargent House)
Matt Garstka is one of the best drummers in metal music. He was born in Texas and raised playing gospel, country, and bluegrass music. He has mastered numerous genres of drumming such as jazz, rock, and fusion, along with odd time signatures. Matt graduated from the Berklee College of Music back in 2011. We had a chance to see him in the first video from the “Gospel Chops” series. These videos with Berklee drummers shredding on drums went viral. Garstka is known as a truly unique and complex drummer. He is one of the most demanded session drummers nowadays
19) Milos Meier (Dymytry, BSP)
Milos Meier is a Czech drummer known for his intense metal drumming performances on YouTube. He started his career as a piano player but soon switched to drums. At the age of 15 he went studying at the State Conservatory in Prague. He practiced 10 hours a day, and by the time he was 19, he started playing drums for the Czech band BSP. His side projects are his drumming workshops named “Drumming Syndrome.” In addition, he played in numerous metal tribute bands and legendary metal band from Czech Tortharry.
20) Aquiles Priester (Angra, Hangar, Dragon Force, W.A.S.P.)
Aquiles Priester started his career by playing with various metal bands from Brazil, but soon he went to Germany, where he met Edu Falaschi, who invited him to Angra. He is known as one of the drummers who got the invitation to audition for Dream Theater after Mike Portnoy left the band. Unfortunately for Aquiles, he wasn’t able to win the audition. He recorded and toured with: Paul Di’Anno, W.A.S.P, Dragon Force, Tony Macalpine.
21) Jon Rice (Between the Buried and Me, Black Future)
Jon Christopher Rice is one of the most original drummers in metal music. He has experience with big names such as: Between The Buried And Me, Black Future, Withered. Jon joined a band called “Black Future” by adding his own lyrics to the already written instrumental songs. During 2017 he stepped in as a replacement for Behemoth’s drummer Inferno on their North American tour. Jon has a unique drumming style. He uses a lot of double bass and high-speed blast beats, but he never overplays.
22) Mario Duplantier (Gojira)
Duplantier is the drummer for the band Gojira. His style is best described as “Alternative Metal with death metal influences.” He is one of the founding members of the band famous for musicality and odd-time rhythms. Mario’s polyrhythmic drumming and unique style became widely known in the drumming community. He was voted number 1 metal drummer three times by various drum magazines.
23) Chris Kontos (Overkill, Testament, Machine Head)
Chris Kontos is an American drummer best known for his previous work with the bands Testament and Overkill. He was only 20 years old when he joined Overkill. He was often compared to John Bonham. Chris recorded five albums with them before joining Testament, where he recorded four more studio albums before leaving in 2002. Chris is widely known for his cooperation with Machine Head. He performed on their first album, and 24 years later, in 2019, he joined them for the 25th-anniversary tour.
24) Charlie Benante (Anthrax, S.U.N. and Benante-Cuzo)
Benante has made several television appearances, including the Nickelodeon show The Offspring in 2008, VH1’s “Supergroup” in 2006, a reality competition called “The Hero” hosted by James Hetfield from Metallica. In the metal community, he is well known as a drummer for the band Anthrax. Together with Anthrax’s guitarist, Scott Ian, he composed most of the band’s music. Charlie is guilty of double bass drum popularization in thrash metal. Besides being a drummer, he is also a graphic artist who created many of the band’s covers and t-shirt designs.
25) Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall)
Bittner has appeared on a large number of studio recordings and live performances since 1996. He made his first recording with the band War Culture in 1999. In 2002 he joined Shadows Fall (hardcore metal band), replacing an exiting drummer Matt DeVries. Jason is co-creator of the Found Magazine. Since 2007, Bittner has been releasing his music under the name of Bittner & Sullivan, which he formed together with singer/songwriter Russ Sullivan. The first album called “Roadkill” was released on September 25.
26) Alex Rudinger (Threat Signal, The Faceless, Conquering Dystopia)
Alex is a drummer from the USA that started playing drums at the age of 13. He has been playing for Darkest Hour, Mychildren Mybride, The Color Morale, and P.O.S… He is also a member of the live band “Dead In The Manger” along with vocalist David Woodruff (The Overseer). In addition, he is often employed as a session drummer for bands such as Revocation, Monuments, and Whitechapel. In the drumming world, he is known as the Tama and Meinl endorsement artist.
27) Brooks Wackerman (Tenacious D.Suicidal Tendencies, Avenged Sevenfold)
After famous drummer Jimmy “the Rev” Sullivan died in 2009, a couple of drummers were hired to fill his shoes. First Mike Portnoy but only for a short time, then Arin Ilelay and finally Brooks in 2016. After winning an audition with Synyster Gates, Brooks was hired as the drummer for Avenged Sevenfold. He also recorded drums on “Brompton Cocktail” and was a member of such bands as Bad Religion, Tenacious D.Suicidal Tendencies, and many more…
28) Randy Castillo (Motley Crue, Ronnie James Dio)
Randy was a member of one of the most famous heavy metal bands, Ozzy Osbourne band. Randy played on several albums and was named #1 Metal Drummer by Guitar World magazine in 1993. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2002. The last 4 years of his life he spent playing with Motley Crue. Like many musicians, he started playing after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. He also played with Ronnie James Dio, Lita Ford, and Vince Neil. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.
29) Tommy Clufetos (Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne)
After Randy Castillo passed away, Mike Bodin got the gig with Ozzy Osbourne until 2009, when Tommy took over. He is still a member of Ozzy’s band up to this date. Before Ozzy, he played with Alice Cooper, Zakk Wylde, Rob Zombie. In 2012 he had the opportunity to play on a Black Sabbath Reunion tour with the original line-up. He started playing drums very young, at the age of seven, and got his first big gig with Ted Nuget in 2001.
30) Derek Roddy (Nile, Serpentine Rise)
Derek was playing with many famous musicians before he joined Gwar in 1997. He was part of Nile, Exhorder, and Testament. In his decade-long career with the band, they managed to have a world tour supporting Lamb Of God, playing on famous festivals like Download Festival in the UK. For drummers worldwide, he is best known as a drummer for Serpentine Rise and his instructional videos from that period. He has been playing drums since 14 years old and started working professionally in the music business at age 16.
31) Hannes Grosman (Obscura, Alkaloid, Necrophagist)
Hannes Grosman started playing drums at the age of 16 and co-founded Obscura in 2001. He was a part of Benighted, Necrophagist, and Alkaloid. Before he joined Death metal pioneers’ band Necrophagist, he worked with several local bands in Germany. In 2014 he released his first solo album, The Radial Covenant. Hannes also teaches drum lessons on metal drumming endorses Tama and Meinl.
32) Mike Smith (Revocation, Severed Savior, Suffocation)
Mike Smith is the founding member of Revocation from Boston. He used to play for many other bands and has also been known as formerly drummer of Saus dem Nichts and Thy Art Is Murder. In 2016 he joined Severed Savior. He endorses Ddrum, Evans drumheads, Vic Firth and Meinl. Among drummers, he is known as a drum instructor and studio musician. In 2011 Mike Smith and Suffocation were inducted into Long Island Music Hall of Fame.
33) Gene Hoglan (Testament, Devin Townsend, Dark Angel)
For some drummers, Gene was unknown until his performance on Drumeo. But, for most of the metal community, Gene Hoglan was the well-known drummer. He has recorded with bands as Testament, Strapping Young Lad (lead singer was Devin Townsend), Dark Angel, Dethklok, Death, Fear Factory, and many more. Gene endorses Tama drums and hardware along with Zildjian cymbals and Remo drumheads.
34) John Longstreth (Origin, Gorguts, Dim Mak)
John started his career in New Jersey, where he recorded with the NJ thrash band “Origin.” After that, in 1991, John joined Quebec’s death metal band Gorguts. He toured with them till 2002 when Eric Giguere replaced him. Although he is one of the best death metal drummers, his childhood is jazz-related. His father was a jazz musician, so he grew up listening to Buddy Rich, Monk, Coltrane, Pat Matheny, Ella Fitzgerald, and others. After his early jazz influences, hearing Slayer for the first time was a revelation that hooked him to metal.
35) Sean Reinert (Cynic, Gordian Knot)
Sean started playing drums when he was 13. With his first band, “Gordian,” after the meeting with guitarist Paul Masvidal, they recorded and released a self-titled album in 1990. After that, Sean joined Cynic as an original drummer. Reinert influenced many metal drummers like Pete Wildoer, Gene Hoglan, George Kollias, Chris Penny, and many more. He died on January 25 in 2020, at the age of 48.
36) Kerim “Krimh” Lechner (Decapitated, Septicflesh)
Kerim Lechner is a drummer from Australia. His first band was Vader; later, he joined Decapitated. He is also known for his work in the band Septicflesh and drum clinic “Kerim Lechner Drum Clinic” with Behemoth’s drummer, Inferno. He filled in for Inferno in Behemoth when he was undergoing surgery. In 2013 he auditioned for Slipknot, but unfortunately for him, they decided to go with Jay Weinberg.
37) Martin’ Marthus’ Skaroupka (Obscura, Necrophagist, Cradle of Filth)
Martin Skaroupka is a Czech drummer. He is considered as one of the best Metal drummers around. His first band was Obscura, with whom he released two demos and one album titled “Retribution.” Currently, he is a member of Cradle of Filth, with whom he recorded several albums, and along with drumming, he played keyboards and co-write the songs. He started as a piano player at the age of 6 but later switched to drums and was admitted to Leoš Janáček Conservatory Brno, where he graduated in drums.
38) Jaska Raatikainen (Swallow the Sun, Children of Bodom)
Jaska Raatikainen is a Finnish drummer. Mostly known as a member of the metal band Children of Bodom from 1993 to 2019. After he left the band, he was involved in a project called Mercury Circle. Jaska started playing piano at a very young age but switched to drums at the age of 12. Raatikainen went to school with Alex Laiho and, together with him, founded the band Inearthed that will later become Children of Bodom. He has also worked with Ensiferum, Lordi, and Swallow the Sun.
39) Gee Anzalone (DragonForce)
Gee originates from Torino, Italy. He began playing drums at the age of 15. Gee has worked with several bands, including Heaven Shall Burn, Obscura, and many more. In 2005 after graduating from the music academy in Milano, he started his career as a drum teacher. Since he loves to improve his technique, he continues to teach drums to his students in Italy. He endorsed Mapex drums, Dixon hardware, Ufip cymbals, Evans drumheads, and Promark sticks.
40) Brann Dailor (Mastodon)
Brann Dailor started playing the drums at the early age of nine. He has worked with several bands including Cage, Lethargy, and Today Is The Day. In 1999 he joined Mastodon. Together with Mastodon, he has been nominated for Grammy 5 times and won 1 time for best metal performance with the song “Sultan’s Curse.” Brann Dailor’s biggest influences are Phil Collins, Sean Reinert, Dave Lombardo, Mikey Dee, Billy Cobham, Tony Williams.
41) Jimmy “Rev” Sullivan (Avenged Sevenfold)
Best known as a drummer for the heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold. Jimmy co-wrote many of the band’s songs like “Afterlife,” “Almost Easy,” “A little piece of heaven.” Jimmy Rev Sullivan has also been the drummer in All American Rejects, Hollywood Undead, and Korn. In 2012 he was nominated for the Modern Drummer Magazine “Best Rock Drummer” award. Jimmy started playing drums when he was 10 years old. He studied jazz drumming at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts.
42) Bobby Jarzombek (Fates Warning, Halford, Riod)
Bobby Jarzombek is a very talented drummer. He has played for metal bands such as Halford, Fates Warning, and Sebastian Bach. Bobby is also a member of the band called “Riod.” In the drumming community, he is known for his DVD “Performance & Technique released in 2003. In 2011 he released a famous midi sample pack called Bobby Jarzombek Metal MIDI Groove Library. This sample pack has been widely used ever since in EZDrummer, Superior Drummer, Addictive drums, BFD2…
43) Jan Axel Blomberg (Arcturus, Mayhem)
Jan Axel Blomberg is a very talented drummer. He is known for his work as an original member of Arch Enemy and also Exhorder. In addition, Jan has played with many other metal musicians such as Nile, Therion, Andy LaRocque [King Diamond], Vicious Rumors. In the metal world, he is known as “Hellhammer.” He is a three-time winner of the Spellemannprisen award (Norwegian Grammy). However, in the past, he has courted controversy due to his statements that many find racist.
44) Pete Sandoval (Terrorizer, Morbid Angel)
Pete is an American death metal drummer born in Salvador. When he joined Morbid Angel, he couldn’t play double bass, so he dedicated all of his efforts to mastering this technique. As a result, band members often found him sleeping in the studio. In 2012 he converted to Christianity and decided to quit Terrorizer. In 2013 he disbanded from Morbid Angel due to back surgery, as he says. However, his band members claim his religious beliefs are the reason for him leaving the band.
45) John Dolmayan (System of a Down)
John Dolmayan is an American drummer born in Lebanon, most known for his work with the band System of a Down. He also plays with the band Scars on Broadway. His most significant music influence is his father, who played saxophone. John would go to listen to his father’s rehearsals and would mimic the drummer. He started in System of a Down after auditioning other drummers and being displeased with them. In 2006, he won DRUM Magazine’s award for a drummer of the year.
46) Kevin Paradis (Aggressor, The Arisen)
Paradis started playing drums at the age of 6. He continues developing drumming techniques at the state conservatory of Lozère. Although beginning as a jazz drummer, after discovering bands like Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin, he switched to metal drumming. He played for various bands during the years, to name a few: Aggressor, The Arisen, Dead Talking Mind, Deadly Sins, The Seven Gates, Benighted.
47) Dan Presland (Ne Obliviscaris)
Presland has been in bands such as Cancer, The Haunted, Avulsed, and Keep of Kalessin. Presland is the son of jazz drummer Joe Presland. He originates from Melbourne, Australia. Although Dan started as a self-taught drummer over the years, he perfected his craft with the help of his biggest influences, such as Danny Carrey, Derek Roddy, Eric Moore, Tony Royster Jr. Dan endorsed Pear, Zildjian, and Remo.
48) Igor Cavalera (Sepultura, Cavalera Conspiracy)
Cavalera is an influential Brazilian drummer. He got his fame while playing for Sepultura along with his brother Max Cavalera on guitar. During the 80s, he played in a band called Estruendo de Pituaçu. After departing from Sepultura, Igor and Max started Cavalera Conspiracy. They were the last original members to leave the band. Besides drums, Igor showed interest in DJing. Together with his five, he started the DJ duo Mixhell. He also played in bands Nailbomb and Strife.
49) Francesco Paoli (Rhapsody of Fire, Fleshgod Apocalypse)
Francesco Paoli is an Italian musician who got his fame thanks to Fleshgod Apocalypse. The drumming community often compares him to George Kolias. He is a skilled player, and it’s evident why Piet Sielck called him to participate in Rhapsody of Fire. On the other hand, Francesco isn’t known for his skills outside progressive metal but for his drumming videos. He is impressive with many different styles. Unfortunately, he almost has no gear endorsements.
50) Paul Mazurkiewicz (Cannibal Corpse)
Paul is an American drummer best known as a drummer for the death metal band Cannibal Corpse. He is recognized as one of the fastest and most talented death metal drummers, often referred to as “the machine.” Besides drums, he also plays the guitar and writes lyrics for the band. He contributed to composing songs like: “Monolith,” “Dead Human Collection,” “Frantic Disembowelment,” and others.
51) Daniel Erlandsson (Arch Enemy, Brujeria)
Erlandsson is a drummer from Sweden and one of the best metal drummers of today, best known as a member of Arch Enemy. In the past, he worked with bands like In flames, Eucharist, Diabolique, Armageddon… He is also a current drummer for the Mexican black metal band Brujeria. He is an energetic, loud, and powerful drummer with a powerful double bass drum technique. Thanks to his skills, he was invited to play on the reunion tour for the grindcore band Carcass.
Best metal drummer
To conclude this article, we decided to pick our favorite drummer from the list.
It’s Matt Garstka.
This is just a subjective opinion, but Matt’s technical skills, musicality, and creativity deserve the 1st place or at least place in the top 10 metal drummers of today.
Let us know in the comments below who is your favorite metal drummer.