I remember when I was 13 years old and I learned to play the drum parts to the Slayer songs Angel of Death and Raining Blood. For me, and for many other kids, these were tunes that had to be mastered because it represented a certain level of technical proficiency. Dave Lombardo had set the bar with double bass drumming through those songs, and with all of the other songs on Slayer's masterpiece album Reign In Blood.
Fast forward to a few days ago. I'm at The Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia with uber-photographer Rick Malkin (whose photography can be seen all over Meinl's cymbal catalogs, magazine ads, and website) to catch the Summer Slaughter tour. Rick and I were there to get a lot of pictures, some live video footage, and to hang with the multitude of Meinl Cymbal artists who were on the tour. In fact, six out of ten drummers on the tour are Meinl Cymbal artists.
Here's who's playing Meinl on the tour -
- Navene Koperweis - Animals As Leaders
- Mike Justian - The Red Chord
- John Merryman - Cephalic Carnage
- Sam Applebaum - Veil of Maya
- Lyle Cooper - The Faceless
- Kerim Lechner - Decapitated
Watching these guys, I found myself thinking back to those Slayer songs I learned as a kid. Needless to say, my technical accomplishments from that time now seemed like nothing in comparison. A new level has been achieved, and these guys are at the forefront of a new frontier in drumming. It really does have to be seen to be believed.
Navene with his progressive fusion mastery, in a band that is so good that Steve Vai made it a point to hit the House of Blues LA tour stop just to see Animals As Leaders. Mike Justian, one of the most physical and precise drummers out there. He slams - HARD - and he grooves as well. John Merryman, a metal beast who has a jazzer's touch. He makes it look effortless. Sam Applebaum, a flurry of staccato drumming that gets more and more intense throughout Veil of Maya's set. Lyle Cooper, in my mind one of the new masters of extreme drumming. His ability to retain all of the information that goes into just one of The Faceless' tunes is unbelievable. Kerim Lechner, a brutal drummer that displays all of the hallmarks of this generation's sick drumming. All of these Meinl Cymbal artists truly deserve their spot on the most celebrated extreme metal tour on the planet.
To say that the only accomplishment of these drummers is that of a technical nature would be a disservice. From band to fans, there is more heart and soul put into extreme metal, and subsequently its drumming, than one could find most anywhere else. From 3pm until close to midnight, The Masquerade was packed to the back of the venue with sweaty fans who wanted to celebrate this unique form of music.
I took a lot of video, but as you can see from Norbert's prior blog, Meinl Germany will be closed for its summer holidays for the next few weeks. Thus our webmaster will be out. That being said, the video that I took will have to wait to be posted. In the meantime however, check out some of the sample pics that Rick Malkin shot.