01 Ahhh…The Fade Out
(drummer for As I Lay Dying)
02 The Near Dominance of 4 Against 5
(drummer for Lamb Of God)
(drummer for Steve Vai)
04 Up And Atom
(drummer for Killswitch Engage)
(drummer for Shadows Fall)
06 Out Of Nowhere
(drummer for Candiria)
(drummer for Soulfly)
08 When The Scales Fell
(drummer for Totalisti)
09 YMCA or TCBY
(drummer for Dillinger Escape Plan)
10 Swirling Patterns
(drummer for Blotted Science)
(drummer for Stasis)
12 Weak Would
(drummer for Unearth)
Drum Nation Volume 3 is a compilation of the most provocative tracks ever tabled by drummers and is supplemented with a video component on the enhanced CD—a series of vignettes peering into the lives of the participants.
We’re talking the most cutting-edge drummers of our time: Chris Adler (Lamb Of God), Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall), Raanen Bozzio (Stasis), Jeremy Colson (Steve Vai, Marty Friedman), Justin Foley (Killswitch Engage), Michael Justice (Unearth), Jordan Mancino (As I Lay Dying), Joe Nunez (Soulfly), Chris Pennie (Dillinger Escape Plan), Derek Roddy (Blotted Science), Kenneth Schalk (Candiria), and Tom Taitano (Totalisti).
Each has produced an audio track and a video exclusively for this exciting release.
This is stuff you won’t see anywhere else.
Drum Nation Volume 3 will be embraced by the core audience of drummers but because of the hard rock pedigree of the players involved, metal audiences will want this album as well.
The audio tracks crush and the video clips will be talked about for a long, long time. Drum Nation Volume 3 is a package that fans will want to have in their collection.
Drum Nation Volume 3. Drummers are people, too
We never doubted it for a moment. And the exclusive video footage on this, arguably the most exciting of the Drum Nation series, proves it. Today’s most provocative drummers put on a human face—a very personal face. This is a side you won’t see under stadium lights or anywhere else, for that matter. The video vignettes, produced expressly for Magna Carta’s Drum Nation Volume 3, reveal drummers as ordinary folk—and, well, not so ordinary folk!
The videos provide a rare glimpse into drummers’ lives. Significantly, it’s a glimpse that each of these musicians has chosen for Drum Nation Volume 3 and not some bootleg concert shots. The videos are entertaining and they are illuminating. They help us decode what sets drummers apart, what ignites their passion. Furthermore, they offer solid tips to help us play the drums, or any instrument, better. You will see guys going about their work with incredible focus and dedication. In many instances, they display essential skills, whether snake handling or swinging a golf club, that allow them to harness natural forces to become a better player. As much as you are going to love the audio tracks, and we’ll get to those in a moment, you are in for a real treat with the video. Yes, they’re short excerpts, but they’re not arbitrary snapshots. They’re blunt, honest, stirring, and, ultimately helpful.
Let’s take a peek at a handful of the video submissions shot for Drum Nation Volume 3 under the supervision of Magna Carta’s Peter Morticelli. He wanted DN 3 to be edgy and go beyond a mere compendium of drum tracks…and he has succeeded. Video Bites
Picture Joe Nunez in the dentist’s chair—seriously! See, the problem is that his high velocity snare hits are shaking at the roots of his teeth; time to take care of that cavity! Or imagine Chris Adler causing grief for a camera crew shooting him against a green screen for a fictional drumming video game. The director is freaking out at Chris’ floppy-haired beggar’s ballet antics: What kinda drummer is this? Jeremy Colson explains how he “lets it all out and goes wild and crazy behind the kit”. For him, it’s a way of life and it’s therapy. Jordan Mancino practices backstage before a show using silent pads. Kenneth Schalk outlines the six crucial tenets uniting the crafts of golf and drumming. Hitting the snare drum with the proper arc and timing, for example, is something he shares with Tiger Woods. Tom Taitano addresses comments to all those jamming in the bedroom, basement or garage: “I want you to know that dreams come true.” Chris Pennie’s moment, aside from some shaking and frothing, is about, in his words, “keep learning, keep progressing”. Jason Bittner, sitting under the tattoo artist’s needle (no pain, no gain!), discusses how he got together with his former band, Of Old, and tailor-made a track for Drum Nation Volume 3. “It’s a little self-indulgent near the end,” Jason admits, “but my good friends at Magna Carta asked me for a solo—and they got plenty of it!” Another connection between sports and drumming comes from Justin Foley, who got together with old friends to forge his contribution. Pay attention to his control of the baseball bat, drumkit, and world percussion instruments. Raanen Bozzio advises to do your best and do it in your own way (don’t those black Paiste cymbals look familiar…?). Derek Roddy invites us into his rehearsal area, where he demonstrates a neat ostinato with an interesting stick vs. closed hi-hat figure. Then it’s chow time for one of his many pet snakes. Wait ‘til you see what the snake devours! Michael Justice, speaking upside down—yes, standing on his head—speaks repeatedly of his “one time”, perhaps referring to a single take of video or audio—you be the judge. He’s convoluted.
And so is much of the music herein. Let’s have a listen to the audio portion of Drum Nation Volume 3. Audio Bliss
Prepare to have your attention grabbed, then throttled. Such is the intro by Jordan Mancino (As I Lay Dying) to “Ahh…the Fade Out”. Things settle shortly. Does the guitar suggest a faintly western vibe to you? At any rate, this goes down before the “urgent section”, which is all distortion and bare nerves. Then it’s the fade and all is said and done in a few scant moments.
Chris Adler (Lamb of God) – “The Near Dominance of 4 Against 5”. Chris refers wryly to the deft 5/4 time signature that defines the opening section of his track. His rapid-fire bass drum punches work a charm while his long double kick lines are clean as a whistle. Ten out of ten points for riding on the oft forgotten cowbell. Speaking of that alleged domination by 4 over 5, mid-way through the track, five is still king.
If there’s something Jeremy Colson (Steve Vai, Michael Schenker) displays in the opening to “Fluoxetine” it’s a distinctive tom sound, and he takes pains to put it right in our face. One of the more blunt drummers of this crew, he infects his more sensitive passages with similar brute force, such as at 2:40. A commanding drummer, he’s full of surprises, such as metallic, timbale-like tones that leap out. He’s all about speed metal towards the end of his track, murdering his crash cymbals on the beat, and reinforcing the four-pulse something fierce before tackling the brittle ensemble figure that closes down shop.
Killswitch Engage’s drummer, Justin Foley, starts strong and full, then he breaks things down into components. This is really diverse stuff and will prompt repeated listens. Justin’s use of mallets is unprecedented, as is his percussive flare. Aside from a heightened melodic component, we’re left with the impression that he can rock strongly and bare his artsy side in the same breath. It’s not only the most diverse track on Drum Nation Volume 3; it’s perhaps the most dynamic. Amid the bombast, it gets really quiet, with mallets taking it out at a whisper.
Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall) is an extremely popular drummer for good reason. His energy is way up there and he’s constantly on the case, setting up ensemble patterns, leaving no band figure without comment. He’s always there with some appropriate drum groove or fill. He entitles his track simply “Instr.”, for “instrumental”. Largely in a rocking 6/4, Jason’s urgent fills attain a sort of swing not always heard in this style. His double-kick towards the end ought to be illegal. Jason bounces drum fills off the overdriven guitar ostinato then, just before the exit, teases us with a few bars of legit swing on ride. Go figure!
“Out of Nowhere” is Kenneth Schalk’s (Candiria) contribution. His intro backbeat anchors a considerable chattering of samples, real nail-biting stuff. A solo and then tranquil section follow, the latter defined by early Genesis-style guitar. Ken is operating with a full palette here and dabs into complex fills, riveting kick, and simple press rolls. His choices are not always conventional—perfect!
Joe Nunez, Soulfly’s drummer, begins his track, “Grounded”, with rapid-fire drumming in the break beat tradition before soloing on thudding floor toms, providing a firm foundation for guitar hits. Then he’s back to toms and auxiliary snare with snares off. Joe’s a drummer of many contrasts—the timbale snare against his low toms, for example, or the bright pingy ride against deep kicks.
“When the Scales Fell” comes from Tom Taitano (Totalisti). It’s ostensibly a metal vamp until we encounter Tom’s staggered snare (has he been listening to jazzer Bill Stewart?), a very clever foil to the fuzz guitars, operating seemingly in its own time signature. Tom is quite capable of generating a wall of drums, and a formidable one, but he’s also not beyond seizing a single tom and riding it for good effect. When the end comes, the last note hangs and we think it’s all done, but Tom begins a challenging drum solo that segues back to the guitar theme and that crazy, almost offbeat snare—very nice. This time, when the fuzz guitar fades, it truly is all done and put to bed.
Chris Pennie from Dillinger Escape Plan sends us “YMCA Or TCBY”, a tune with an expansive, haunting intro devoid of drums. It raises the question: What would you do to enter effectively? Jump in with obligatory double bass drum? Chris shows admirable patience, waiting plenty of time before jumping to action. His bombastic, Bonham-ish phrasing is tightly in rein, jumping to the fore then gating down the next moment. Back to the repetitive keyboard pattern, then Chris is back on top of the beat with thrusting ride cymbal and well-positioned fills. Nasal keyboard patches zap across the synapses, punctuated by solo drum phrases.
Derek Roddy (Blotted Science), yeah the one with the snakes, interrupts a chaotic intro with a mid-tempo grooving melody, which he then segues into a half-time power trio type vamp, short lived. He makes full use of the toms, as he does in the video, in the ensuing vamp until action ramps up into the conclusion. Check out his articulate fast tempo bass drum triplets. Encircling sonic textures and rhythms lend meaning to the name of this track, “Swirling Patterns”.
Raanen Bozzio (Stasis) offers us “Impulse”, which begins with snares off and ambient toms, punctuated by scintillating tiny exotic cymbals. (The leaves don’t fall far from the tree!) It’s an effective soundscape and it is the foundation for shredding guitar. Raanen’s sound is hearty and satisfying, not quite metal in heritage, although it works well in that genre. Towards the middle/end of this track, we get into a blow out: drums vs. two harmonizing guitars. It’s all kind of lumpy and it’s all prone to change directions on a dime, sophisticated and simultaneously garage band.
From Michael Justice (Unearth) comes “Weak Would”, another pumper from the word go. Michael’s fills are really death defying—tightly strung, executed, and sometimes clipped, gated off in their prime. Aside from taste, speed would seem to be his middle name: but, yes, taste comes first. Catch his spoken word/phonetic portion at 1:51, which he then metes with identical drumming. It’s Metal Scat! Here is a man, clearly at peace with himself and his music, having a good bit of fun!
Drum Nation Volume 3 is one of those rare packages that’s complete in every sense of the word. You view it and you have fun. You pick up tips. You listen repeatedly and hone in on the music. Meanwhile you cop a few cutting edge licks. In its own wacky way, DN3 keeps on giving.
I mean, that’s how I feel. But then again…I’m a drummer.
Notes by T. Bruce Wittet
Modern Drummer writer, Assoc. Editor Muzik Etc/Drums Etc magazine.