10. Jeff Friedl (A Perfect Circle)
The Rhythm Best in drums 2018 polls received an astonishing 100,000 votes, and we're now ready to roll out the winners. The nominees were what we considered to be the drummers and gear that have excelled in 2018. Here, we present the best prog drummers of 2018. First up we have Jeff Friedl of A Perfect Circle...
2018 highlight: Jeff Friedl took the reins from Josh Freese in A Perfect Circle back in 2011. While the band's output has been sparse to say the least, during the off season Jeff has remained busy playing sessions and shows with the likes of Devo and Puscifer. This year's highlight, however, was the almighty return of A Perfect Circle with the album Eat The Elephant. Jeff's drum parts were inspired, and perfectly matched with the band's pensive, alt-rock sound.
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9. Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard)
2018 highlight: This year D'Virgilio returned to his old stomping ground, the drum chair of Californian prog rock trailblazers Spock's Beard, to record epic new album Noise Floor. When he's not busy laying down mind-bending drum tracks in the studio, Nick is the face of instrument retailer Sweetwater, penning insightful blogs and demoing new gear on camera.
8. Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson)
2018 highlight: It's been yet another relentless year for British prog livewire Craig. He's spent much of his time on the road with Steven Wilson in support of 2017's To The Bone album. In between tour stops he's found time to record sessions for artists including Mick Paul and Nick Beggs, help Mapex launch their new Back Panther Design Lab series drums, and he's just announced he'll be joining Steve Hackett on his 2019 Genesis Revisited Tour. No rest for the wicked!
7. Marco Minnemann (The Sea Within)
2018 highlight: Marco Minnemann is a busy man. He is constantly recording, keeping a full schedule, doing remote recording projects and releasing his own material. A big highlight of 2018 was when Marco leant his considerable chops to the new self-titled release by rock supergroup The Sea Within, which includes members of The Flower Kings and Pain of Salvation. The expansive album covers everything from neo-prog rock, to cinematic soundscapes and is well worth a place in your collection.
6. Josh Eppard (Coheed and Cambria)
2018 highlight: Eppard has really hit his stride since returning to the fantastical prog rock band in 2011, and on new album Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures, he really made his mark in terms of both his creative drum parts and epic drum sound. From the chest beating opening and cavernous toms of The Dark Sentencer, to the sinister groove of Black Sunday, Josh Eppard once again proved he's up there with the best.
5. Adam Marko (Special Providence)
2018 highlight: This is Marko's first appearance in the Rhythm/MusicRadar polls, but he has more than earned his inclusion. The Hungarian drum maestro has been a drum star in his homeland for years, but it's his work with prog rock outfit Special Providence that exposed him to a global audience. When Marko performed his unique blend of prog, rock and metal at the 2018 London Drum Show, including a fantastic drum solo, he left plenty of jaws on the floor.
4. Ray Hearne (Haken)
2018 highlight: Haken have been a shining beacon on the UK prog scene, showing the rest of the world how it's done. One of the prog albums of the year came courtesy of the Brit six-piece, in no small part down to Ray Hearne's contribution from behind the kit. The album has everything: drumming gymnastics (The Good Doctor, Puzzle Box); groove (Veil); and dynamics (Host). What's more, the album was recorded by drum boffin Nolly Getgood, so it sounds killer too.
3. Gavin Harrison (The Pineapple Thief)
2018 highlight: Gavin has kept himself busy with King Crimson in recent years, but that hasn't stopped him ducking out to work on other projects, most notably the new album by The Pineapple Thief. Dissolution is the second album Gavin has played on, and saw him getting stuck deeper into the songwriting. The result is an album loaded with power, precision and taste from Gavin. We wouldn't expect any less.
2. Jay Postones (Tesseract)
2018 highlight: It's a pleasure to see Jay riding so high on this list. The drummer has clearly put in the work with his playing over the 15 years since Tesseract formed, and latest album Sonder is a display of perfect note placement and sheer mastery of the kit. The album is heavy and dynamic in equal measure and all reports suggest that the band's live shows are better than they've ever been.
Winner: Mike Portnoy (Sons Of Apollo)
2018 highlight: Mike Portnoy is rarely far from the top of these lists, and rightly so. The prog legend has earned the top spot this year for his work with supergroup Sons Of Apollo. The remarkable line-up comprises Portnoy alongside Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian, Jeff Scott Soto and Bumblefoot. The band's debut album, Psychotic Symphony, played to each member's strengths and naturally Portnoy brought his hard rocking attitude to the kit. In fact, it's one of his finest drum performances of recent years.