Best of 2021: 'Progressive' covers a lot of ground, but it's also the also happens to be where we find some of the most interesting and musically diverse drumming each year, blending styles and experimenting with new concepts across rock, metal, jazz, funk, classical and beyond.
We've counted your votes, and can now announce who you have decided were the best prog drummers of 2021.
1. Matt Garstka, Animals as Leaders
As well as returning with Animals as Leaders’ first new music in five years, Matt Garstka made the jump to DW this year. Matt’s dedication to the instrument and teaching has earned him the top spot in our Progressive Drummer poll this year, and with a new album incoming, we think you’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the year to come!
2. Nic Collins, Genesis
Nic placed highly in our Best Rock drummer poll, but Genesis is a multi-dimensional band. As well as taking care of the hits, he’s done a stellar job at taking on Phil Collins and Chester Thompson’s parts on the band’s The Last Domino? Tour.
3. Mike Portnoy, Liquid Tension Experiment
It wouldn’t be the prog poll without Mr Portnoy, who continues to be one of the most prolific and thought-provoking drummers out there. This year he’s reunited once more with former Dream Theater bandmates, John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess for Liquid Tension Experiment 3, Neal Morse Band’s Innocence & Danger and stepped in to track with Between the Buried and Me.
4. Brann Dailor, Mastodon
The Mastodon drummer made a high-placing appearance in the Best Metal Drummer category too, and we can’t think of anyone else who so ably navigates their way through progressive time signatures and concepts with blistering chops while often also singing and making everything seem so accessible.
5. Gavin Harrison, The Pineapple Thief
Gavin Harrison would be in this poll based solely on his output with The Pineapple Thief (Nothing But The Truth - Live), but he also squeezed in a live album with prog legends King Crimson (Washington & Albany), plus a new song with Porcupine Tree, who announced their reformation alongside a new album for 2022!