From the January 2017 issue of DRUM! | Video By Nate Brown | Text And Transcriptions By Andy Ziker
As one of originators of the blastbeat, you’d think that Gene Hoglan would take every opportunity to hammer out his virtuosity. However, on Testament’s eleventh album Brotherhood Of The Snake, Hoglan sticks mostly with old-school thrash patterns. The following excerpts were analyzed because each one contains blasts or what one might refer to as “hybrid” blasts.
“Brotherhood Of The Snake”
The choked crash hits in the opening three bars charge you up like a metal “Eye Of The Tiger.” In measure four, Hoglan plays two same-hand flam accents into a flam tap over double bass sixteenths. (He leads with his left foot, but the notation here reflects the more common right foot lead.) As the introduction carries on, he uses high frequency textures, including sloshy/closed hi-hats and splashes, while the bass drum continues to reinforce guitar and bass. Another explosive fill on the middle tom followed by two measures of crash and open hat downbeats sends us into the first verse. Here, Hoglan plays a blastbeat between snare and double bass, broken up by strategically placed thirty-second notes and a two-beat fill.
“The Pale King”
In the first two lines, Hoglan and bandmates play over a rhythmic melody reminiscent of “Things Can Only Get Better” by Howard Jones. Hoglan leaves space in the first line, and builds momentum by infusing sixteenths on the snare, high tom, middle tom, and floor tom. A straightforward fill around the drums takes us to a powerful hardcore pattern balanced between eighths on the crash, quarters on the snare, and sixteenth-note double bass.
Hoglan again rips quarters on the snare but this time plays a combination of quarters and eighths on ride, crash, and China. This — along with a punchy eighth-note fill on the high tom — allows him to delineate 6/4 time with ease.
For more on Hoglan, read Drum‘s January 2017 cover story: “Gene Hoglan: Master Blaster.”