Best in drums 2018
As we begin to wrap up another year, it’s time to reflect on what has made the drumming landscape such a vibrant place over the last 12 months.
This year we’ve enjoyed pioneering drum gear, inspirational players and fantastic music. Now it’s time to celebrate the best that drums had to offer in 2018.
We’ve drawn up shortlists of what we consider to be the players and the gear that made 2018 such an exceptional drumming year. Now we want your help to crown the most deserving winner in each category.
Of course, music isn't a competition and there is no real 'best', but these polls are a great opportunity to acknowledge the drumming highlights of the year.
Click through the gallery to browse the categories and place your votes. We’ll start announcing winners from the end of November. You know what to do…
Voting closes at midnight on 15 November 2018.
The MusicRadar Best in drums awards are brought to you in association with Allianz Musical Insurance - the UK's Number 1 Specialist Instrument Insurer
Who is the best new drummer of 2018?
2018 has been a fantastic year for new drumming talent, proving once again that there are still boundaries to push and styles to evolve.
This year’s shortlist demonstrates that it was predominantly the year of the band. As we all know, the band is only as good as the drummer, so these players are well worth your attention.
So, which fresh talent in the list below gets your vote for the best new drummer of 2018 award?
Last year’s winner: Dan Mayo (Tatran)
Who is the best metal drummer of 2018?
There were so many fantastic metal albums released this year that there are a number of brand new names making up our 2018 shortlist, alongside established favourites.
Even within heavy metal, the range of drumming styles that these drummers cover is mind-boggling – here we have everything from old school NWOBHM drum legends to modern groove players and blastbeat masters.
Whatever flavour of metal floats your boat, you surely have a favourite drummer driving the heaviness. Let us know who that is with a vote below.
Last year’s winner: Jay Weinberg (Slipknot)
Who is the best drum clinician of 2018?
Drum clinics are a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with your drum heroes, be inspired by electrifying performances and possibly even walk away having learned a thing or two.
The ability to deliver all of the above are unique skills that not all drummers possess.
The players shortlisted here are at the top of the clinic game; regular fixtures at drum festivals and events, these are the guys and girls who know how to leave a crowd floored and armed with new tricks for their arsenal.
Vote for your favourite below.
Last year’s winner: Craig Blundell
Who is the best rock drummer of 2018?
At the heart of every great rock band is an equally great drummer keeping the beat with flair, power and showmanship.
2018 has been a fantastic year for rock music, reflected in this shortlist of fantastic drummers who have released an album or hit the road in the last 12 months.
Best rock drummer is always a hotly-contested category and each drummer on this list deserves to win. The question is, which rock drummer did it for you in 2018?
Last year’s winner: Travis Barker
Who is the best live session drummer of 2018?
It takes a special kind of drummer to handle a gig with pop royalty. At the very top level these drummers are playing enormous venues to huge crowds, often navigating large back catalogues that span many genres.
Often on gigs of this scale, drummers also take on the role of Musical Director, responsible for piecing the band together and working closely with the artist to ensure the fans leave happy.
It’s a demanding, competitive world, but these drummers are the best of the best. Let us know who you think sits at the top of the tree.
Last year’s winner: Gerry Morgan (Niall Horan)
Who is the best studio session drummer of 2018?
If nailing takes in the studio was easy we’d all be doing it. But, in fact, to ace a session it takes a deep understanding of feel, time and what's right for the song. Not to mention the ability to communicate with producers and get the job done efficiently.
Drummers create the bedrock upon which most hit songs are built, and this selection of players are the absolute best in the world at that job.
When the mics are on and the track is cued, who has the skills to deliver a clean take? Place your vote below.
Last year’s winner: Ash Soan
Who is the best prog drummer of 2018?
If you want a glimpse into where drumming is headed in the future, the boundary pushing, time bending world of prog is a good place to start.
The exceptionally talented drummers in this field are true masters of the instrument, manipulating time and technique to deliver unique, fantastical beats, whilst maintaining that all-important feel.
Whether on stage, or on record, these drummers have produced prog gold this year. Who gets your vote?
Last year’s winner: Matt Halpern (Periphery)
Who is the best online drum personality of 2018?
The internet is rammed with great (and not so great) drum content. Whether it’s a star drummer demonstrating their blistering chops on Instagram, an educator sharing their wisdom on Facebook, or a jobbing drummer letting you in on their best drum hacks on YouTube, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found online.
In this new category, we want to celebrate those individuals who are truly helping push the drum world forward with their digital drum content. So, get voting!
Of course, if you’re not familiar with any of the drummers on this list, we heartily recommend you go give them a follow now.
What is the best drum album of 2018?
Recorded music is often where drummers create their most defining musical moments. Getting in the studio is an opportunity for players to finely craft their beats and make a permanent entry on the timeline of their drumming career.
The albums listed below take in everything from geek-out solo albums from the biggest names in drums, to longplayers from well-known rock bands. What unites each of them is that the drumming is some of the finest we’ve heard all year. Let us know which one tops your list this year.
Last year’s winner: Avenged Sevenfold - The Stage (Brooks Wackerman)
What is the best drum video of 2018?
This drummer is at the wrong gig. Will Ferrell and Chad Smith Drum-Off. Tony Royster Jr drum solo at 12 years old. The drum world has seen its fair share of viral video gold over the years, and when an unmissable video rears its head, it spreads like wildfire around the drum community
This year we’ve been entertained by amazing performances, unique music projects and mad cartoon characters going wild behind the kit, and we want to celebrate them. Check out the videos below and vote for your favourite!
What is the best new drum kit of 2018?
The best drum kit category is always the most hotly-contested of our gear awards. This selection highlights the drum companies who have reached the pinnacle of design, sound and innovation.
It doesn’t matter if a kit is aimed at beginner, intermediate or pro drummers, drum companies invest untold time, experience and resources into making sure drummers get the very best gear for their money.
We’re really exciting about this year’s list as it demonstrates quite how well the drum industry is catering for every type of drummer. The question is, which type of drummer are you and which kit is your poison?
Last year’s winner: Sonor SQ1
What are the best new cymbals of 2018?
Every type of drummer had their pick of great cymbals in 2018, once again proving that we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to fantastic gear.
Cymbal manufacturing traditions may go back centuries, but as trends come and go the cymbal brands are thinking ahead to ensure you have metals that are up to the job.
That’s why this shortlist includes everything from effects and stacks, to unique models for lower volume situations, and cymbals boasting vintage sound and modern craftsmanship.
Cast your vote below!
Last year’s winner: Zildjian K Custom Special Dry
What is the best new drum hardware of 2018?
As well as your kit, snare and cymbals, hardware is another essential part of any drummer’s rig. Thankfully, there’s an array of hardware for every type of drummer.
You have your heavy-duty, double-braced gear for the hard hitters, right down to lightweight, compact stands for those tricky load-ins or small stages.
In our hardware shortlist we have all of the above, plus an update on a popular signature bass drum pedal and some seriously snazzy thrones. So, which hardware deserves your support this year?
What is the best electronic percussion gear of 2018?
We saw incredible innovation in the electronic percussion world in 2018. Top-end technology trickled down into more affordable kits, a new electronic drum brand hit the market with their first complete setup and a veteran drum company wowed the world with a rather clever piece of hybrid kit.
Whether you’re a bedroom e-kit player, an electro-acoustic experimenter or a weekend warrior, you were spoiled for choice this year. Find out who made our shortlist and cast your vote below.
Last year’s winner: Roland SPD::ONE percussion pads
What are the best new drum heads of 2018?
The world of drum heads doesn’t move particularly fast, but when we are treated to new head options the ideas are usually pretty inspired.
Where most new drum head designs look forward, a couple in our list this year take their cues from the past, giving drummers access to vintage sounds and aesthetics.
A significant part of your drum sound comes from the heads, so which new launches have you taken sticks to this year?
What is the best snare drum of 2018?
The snare drum is the centre of the universe as far as your drum kit is concerned, so choosing the right one can be a difficult task (probably why so many drummers own multiple options!).
This year’s best snare drum shortlist highlights just how lucky drummers have it in terms of the range of sizes, materials and styles we have at our disposal. From unique shells made from acrylic, brass or a reclaimed beech workbench, to bell brass behemoths, there were loads of great snare drums released this year.
Did any of these make their way into your setup this year? Show your snare drum love with a vote in the box below.
Last year’s winner: Yamaha Recording Custom Series
What is the best new drum innovation of 2018?
After decades of pioneering products from the drum industry, it’s mind-blowing to still see new ideas and technologies emerging that are genuinely useful to drummers.
From bafflingly simple gadgets, to future industry standards, the products shortlisted here all deserve their place in any drummer’s arsenal. The big question is, what’s next?
Last year’s winner: Roland SPD-SX Special Edition