Drummers are a notoriously odd bunch and probably, not coincidentally, one of the reasons they are kept lurking in the shadows behind the rest of the band members. Away from the charismatic frontman and flashy guitarist, the drummer is often forgotten about, left to hold a rhythm and count in the songs.
An hour-long instrumental drum album may seem geared toward a narrow demographic but with the talent that is on here and the respective bands who they toil for, just about any modern metal fan will enjoy what DRUM NATION VOLUME 3 has to offer. The skin-bashers from such bands as Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, Unearth, As I Lay Dying, The Dillinger Escape Plan and others mix it up, letting their creative juices flow by offering up material vastly different from what is heard from them ordinarily. Most tracks work while others don’t but these dozen offerings are certainly enough to hold the interest of even the most casual listener.
Obviously, the talent need not be mentioned here but rather the tracks themselves. Jordan Mancino’s mid-tempo march is backed by some blistering guitar from his bandmate in As I Lay Dying, Nick Hipa. Lamb of God’s Chris Adler dabbles in some heavy progressive material and with Ron Jarzombek (Watchtower, Blotted Science) providing six-string backup, the proggy leanings are no surprise. On the heavier side, ex-Nile/Hate Eternal marauder Derek Roddy delivers a lesson in brutality with “Swirling Patterns,” while Jeremy Colson (Steve Vai’s band) unleashes a full-bore thrash attack complete with double bass. The accolades heaped upon Shadows Fall’s Jason Bittner are confirmed with the full, rich rock drumming on “Instr.” and Unearth’s Mike Justain crushes with a massive conclusion on “Weak Would.” Experimentation runs rampant on the tribal beats of “Grounded,” samples, scratches and jazzy snares on “Out of Nowhere” and the heavily-programmed electronica of “YMCA or TCBY” but Justin Foley of Killswitch Engage takes the listener on a virtual tour of percussive instrumentation on the almost Latin-flavored “Up and Atom.”
As a bonus, a light-hearted but interesting video clip entitled “Drummers Are People, Too” is included as a CD-ROM bonus. The shining moments include the hilarious parody of video drum simulators with Chris Adler’s “Sweet Rolls” and Derek Roddy’s snake collection to the more mundane moments of Joe Nunez at the dentist and Justin Foley at a batting cage. Okay to watch once but hardly worthy of repetitive viewings.
The third installment in the DRUM NATION series from Magna Carta Records focuses on the world of heavy metal drummers who are taking a plunge into experimental territory and moving away from their comfort zone. What it is not heard are excessive blastbeats, double bass or blow-your-hair back speed. Rather, the artists’ technique, creativity and influences are given space to flourish and show another side to their fanbase. Interesting but not crucial, DRUM NATION VOLUME 3 is a chance to hear your favorite modern metal drummers take a different path than usual and finally get their moment in the spotlight.
KILLER KUTS: “Ahhh…The Fade Out,” “The Near Dominance of 4 Against 5,” “Up and Atom,” “Instr.,” “Swirling Patterns,” “Weak Would”
1. Ahhh…The Fade Out (Jordan Mancino, drummer for As I Lay Dying)
2. The Near Dominance of 4 Against 5 (Chris Adler, drummer for Lamb of God)
3. Fluoxetine (Jeremy Colson, drummer for Steve Vai)
4. Up and Atom (Justin Foley, drummer for Killswitch Engage)
5. Instr. (Jason Bittner, drummer for Shadows Fall)
6. Out of Nowhere (Kenneth Schalk, drummer for Candiria)
7. Grounded (Joe Nunez, drummer for Soulfly)
8. When The Scales Fell (Tom Taitano, drummer for Totalisti)
9. YMCA or TCBY (Chris Pennie, drummer for Dillinger Escape Plan)
10. Swirling Patterns (Derek Roddy, drummer for Blotted Science)
11. Impulse (Raanen Bozzio, drummer for Stasis)
12. Weak Would (Michael Justice, drummer for Unearth)