Our annual metal drummer poll is always huge - not only is it the longest list, decided from a shortlist of nearly 30 - but every year the diversity and sheer talent that's in-the-running causes you lot to vote in droves.
This year’s list was no exception, proving once again that there’s a hell of a lot more to metal than lots of drums and straight fugga-dugga double-pedal. These guys are truly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within, and in many cases, outside of the genre. Here are the 10 drummers that you ranked highest for 2020.
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1. Jay Weinberg, Slipknot
There's a theme running throughout this category: the challenge of replacing one of a band's most popular members. Jay Weinberg did it, along with many other drummers on the list, and you (and we, for that matter) can’t get enough of Jay Weinberg’s drumming.
This is the fourth consecutive year that he has topped the Best Metal Drummer category, and is showing no signs of slowing down. From starting the year on tour, to recently releasing a signature SJC snare, Jay remains an unflappable favourite in the metal drumming community.
2. Mario Duplantier, Gojira
Few metal drummers match such precision with groove as Mario Duplantier. Gojira are the metal band’s metal band, and even Covid couldn’t stop them being active in 2020 with the release of one-off single, Another World.
3. Alex Bent, Trivium
A quick look at his album choices when we spoke to Alex Bent earlier this year confirms that he is way more than ‘just a metal drummer’. But the real proof is in the playing, and Trivium’s what The Dead Men Say is full of not only technically impressive, but interesting parts from Alex from the start.
4. Danny Carey, Tool
The Tool drummer never fails to impress, and while 2020 put-pay to Tool’s touring plans for the year, Carey still found time to get together with Adam Jones and Justin Chancellor to record The Witness in celebration of Jones’ signature Gibson. We’re hoping that 2019’s Fear Inoculum was just the start of a renaissance period for Tool.
5. Mike Portnoy, Sons of Apollo
It wouldn’t be a round-up of metal drummers without the drummer who has consistently and prolifically pushed the genre forward for the last three decades. As well as returning with Sons of Apollo this year with MMXX, Mike also reunited with his former Dream Theater bandmate, John Petrucci for the guest spot that many DT fans have waited a decade to see.
6. Charlie Engen, Five Finger Death Punch
Not long ago, Charlie Engen was teaching drums and posting videos of his playing to Instagram. When former FFDP drummer Jeremy Spencer underwent back surgery (and ultimately left the band) it was Charlie who he recommended replacing him. He made his recorded debut with the band on this year’s F8 and has already brought an added dimension and versatility to the band.
7. Mike Mangini, Dream Theater
10 years on and the debate still rages between DT fans about who is the best Mike. But we’re not interested in that. Mike Mangini is an absolute monster who built his reputation long before joining Dream Theater. He just happens to fit right in, and proves it on this year’s Distant Memories live album.
8. Eloy Casagrande, Sepultura
Taking the throne for Sepultura seems like a daunting task, but just watch Eloy Casagrande! He’s as powerful as he is precise, and while we think he’d hold his own against pretty much anyone in the genre, he has a rhythmic vocabulary that goes way beyond ‘metal’.
9. Lars Ulrich, Metallica
Good old Lars puts up with year-long bashing about a snare drum he recorded 17 years ago and people referring to him as a sort of metal Ringo. Still, we'd confidently say that this poll category would be a lot less impactful without his contribution to drumming, and we're on Team Lars! By the looks of it, so are thousands of you.
10. Morgan Rose, Sevendust
Not only did Morgan Rose return with a new Sevendust album this year (Blood & Stone), he also pumped out a solo EP, Controlled Chaos. Now a veteran in delivering powerful metal grooves, Morgan's drumming is still as loved as ever!