Making a top of the best metal drummers is not like reading reviews of best metronomes for drummers before making a purchase. Selecting the top metal drummers is hard because there are so many talented artists out there. Nonetheless, in this top ten, we tried to be as impartial as possible and to include drummers based on their skill and live performance, rather than personal preferences.
Before you check out these drummers and discover more about their life and experience in the music industry, there is one more thing we want to highlight; we did not list them in order based on any criteria. We consider all of them equally talented, whether they were placed on the first or the last position in this top.
Dave Lombardo is the co-founding member of Slayer. He is a Cuban-American artist born in Cuba in 1965. Lombardo has dedicated the past forty years of his life to music and managed to take part in producing 35 commercial recordings.
He is best known as the metal drummer of Slayer. Nonetheless, this is not the only band he played in. The style that best describes his music is fast and aggressive. His technique has been a great source of inspiration for younger drummers.
Currently, Dave Lombardo continues to play in a number of bands including Suicidal Tendencies, Mr. Bungle, Dead Cross, Fantômas, the Misfits.
Joey Jordison was born in 1975 in Des Moines, Iowa. He is best known as the former drummer of the famous heavy metal band Slipknot. Jordison was also the co-songwriter of Slipknot. Additionally, he has also played the bass for the Murderdolls, a Horror-punk band.
Other collaborations where Joey played the drummer part include Sinsaenum, the heavy metal band Scar the Martyr, which he founded in 2013, and the project VIMIC.
Besides these major collaborations, Jordison also played the drums for several other world-known bands such as Metallica, Korn, Rob Zombie, Satyricon, and Otep. Moreover, he performed for several bands’ albums. At the moment, he is playing with Sinsaenum.
Joey uses Pearl drums, Pro-Mark drumsticks, Paiste cymbals, and Evans drumheads.
Paul Bostaph is also widely known as the drummer of the trash metal band Slayer. He was born in 1964 in Newark, California and other famous bands he played with include Testament, Exodus, Systematic, Forbidden, and Black Gates. Paul started his music career at the age of 20.
He became Slayer’s drummer in 1992 and played with the band until 2001. After a two-year break, he returned back in the band and continued playing with them until last year when Slayer went on their final tour.
Bostaph also played drums for Systematic, between 2003 and 2004. He also collaborated with Exodus starting from 2005. The collaboration ended two years later when the band’s original drummer, Tom Hunting, returned. Paul played with Testament between 2007 and 2011.
Chris Kontos is a famous drummer of mixed Greek and American origins. He was born in New York City in 1968 and he is most commonly recognized as the drummer of Machine Head. However, in decades of experience, Chris collaborated with different other bands including Exodus, Testament, Death Angel, or Verbal Abuse.
Kontos contributed to Machine Head’s first album, Burn My Eyes. He left Machine Head in 1995 but he came back on stage with his former band upon their twenty-fifth-year anniversary. Nonetheless, there were no hints that Kontos might rejoin Machine Head as a drummer given that this position is already filled by Matt Alston.
Tomas Haake is known as the drummer of Meshuggah, an extreme metal band from Sweden. He was born in 1971 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. During his long experience in the music industry, he has helped produce albums that allowed him to experiment with different genres including extreme metal, avant-garde metal, progressive metal, djent, or technical thrash metal.
Tomas is widely appreciated on the metal scene for his technical skills and the polyrhythms that characterize his percussion technique. Besides being the drummer of his band, Haake is also the one who writes most of Meshuggah’s lyrics. Moreover, he also provides spoken vocals for the band’s songs.
Haake’s equipment includes Sonor SQ2 Series drums, Sabian cymbals, Remo drumheads, Wincent Tomas Haake Signature Drumsticks.
Brann Dailor was born in 1975 in Rochester, New York. He is best known for being the drummer of Mastodon, a metal band based in Atlanta, Georgia. Besides playing the drums, he also sings in several of the band’s songs.
Dailor collaborated with different other bands in the past. Between 1991 and 1993, he played drums for Evisceration. Afterward, he was one of the founding members of Lethargy and he played in Gaylord, and Today Is the Day as well.
In 2015, Bran started playing for Arcadea, a side project which brought him together with Raheem Amlani and Core Atoms. Bran’s equipment included Tama drums and hardware. He uses cymbals from Meinl, drumheads from Evans, and drumsticks from Vater.
Danny Carey was born in 1961 in Lawrence, Kansas. He has a wide experience and he collaborated with several big names in the rock industry. However, he is most commonly known as the drummer of the popular band Tool. Carey became part of this band Tool getting to know its vocalist, Maynard Keenan, and the band’s guitarist, Adam Jones.
Carey is not only focusing on Tool, but on several other projects as well. These include Zaum, Pigmy Love Circus, the psychedelic rock band Legend of the Seagullmen, and the fusion band Volto!.
This musician’s reputable drumming technique is characterized by polymeters, polyrhythms, and peculiar time signatures. His style has also been inspired by years of studying jazz.
Danny Carey has his own signature drumsticks manufactured by Vic Firth. He also uses Evans drumheads, Paiste cymbals, Hammerax Percussion, as well as electronics provided by Roland and Korg.
John Dolmayan is the drummer of the famous heavy metal band System of a Down. He was born in 1973 in Beirut, Lebanon and moved to California with his family later on. He joined System of a Down in 1997 after their original drummer had to leave the band.
Together with this band, John recorded five albums between 1998 and 2005. In 2006, the band took a break from the musical scene. This was also the year that saw Dolmayan, teaming up with Daron Malakian to work together on a new project called Scars on Broadway which produced its first album in 2007.
Other bands Dolmayan played with include Killing Joke and Scum of the Earth, and he also collaborated with Serj Tankian, the lead vocalist of System of a Down for his solo debut.
Korn no longer needs any presentations and neither does its famous drummer, Ray Luzier. Ray was born in 1970 in Pennsylvania. He joined Korn in 2008 after they recorded their 9th album together.
Luzier has vast experience in working with high-caliber musicians. He also collaborated with Stone Temple Pilots during a few live shows. Between 1997 and 2005, Luzier played drums for David Lee Roth. In the same period, he was also the drummer of Steel Panther.
In 2014, he was involved in KXM, a project that saw him working with George Lynch and Doug Pinnick. Luzier is currently using Pearl drums, Vic Firth drumsticks, Sabian cymbals, and Remo drumheads.
This American musician and songwriter born in sunny California is the drummer of the renowned heavy metal band Lamb of God. Art Cruz also plays the drums for Winds of Plague. Before joining these two bands, the talented musician also collaborated with Klogr and Prong.
Cruz first collaborated with Lamb of God in 2018 when he replaced their former drummer, Chris Adler. A year later, after Adler decided to leave the band, Cruz became their official drummer. This year will mark Art’s first release with the famous metal band.
If you are wondering what equipment Art Cruz is using, the answer is Crush drums, Meinl Cymbals, percussion sticks from Vic Firth, and Trick pedals.
If you like music with attitude and message, you are probably already listening to the bands that include some of the metal drummers listed above. There are plenty of others that deserve to be mentioned, and, for sure, plenty more who will rise to fame in the years to come.