14. Tony Allen, The Source (Tony Allen)
The Rhythm Best in drums 2017 polls have received over 137,000 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 2017. Here, we present the best drum albums of 2017. First up we have Tony Allen’s The Source...
We say: “Following on from his excellent Blakey tribute EP earlier this year, Allen’s full LP of original tracks similarly echoes famed jazz label Blue Note’s classic era, as well as being a proving ground for some of today’s most exciting musicians.”
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13. Mark Heaney, Fortunes (Mark Heaney)
We say: “The industrial, futuristic soundscapes of Signs’ are backed with skilful drums and it’s good to hear this kind of electronic-leaning music played on a real kit. The jazzy Mind Structures, drum’n’bassy Illusions and funky Distant Visions and tribal Tilphousia are all the more impressive that he’s created, played and arranged the music on his own.”
12. Stanton Moore, With You In Mind (Stanton Moore)
We say: “Moore is one of the finest exponents of New Orleans funk drumming, and when this album grooves it does so in the best traditions of greasy funk, as he delivers his drum parts with typical mastery. He lays back beautifully on All These Things, a yearning, smokey jazz standard, while Stanton’s subtle brush work backs the soulful instrumental piano ballad With You In My Mind.”
11. Manu Katché, Unstatic (Manu Katché)
We say: “Katché’s sixth solo jazz release is suffused with warmth, favouring an elegant smooth style rather than bop fireworks.”
10. Queens Of The Stone Age, Villains (Jon Theodore)
We say: “There were audible gasps at Rhythm HQ when news broke that Queens Of The Stone Age had tapped pop producer to the stars Mark Ronson to man the desk for their seventh record. But, after hearing the album’s lead single, all of a sudden it made perfect sense. The Way You Used To Do is a sleazy slab of rock that sees a shot of swing injected into the robotic weirdness of records like Era Vulgaris and the Queens’ self-titled debut.”
9. Korn, The Serenity Of Suffering (Ray Luzier)
We say: “An impressive 12 albums in and the nu-metal pioneers show no sign of taking their collective foot off the gas. Producer Nick Razkulinecz was on hand this time to stamp his authority on the record, bringing his enthusiasm as a top rock operator and genuine fan of the band and, according to Ray, even helping him iron out his playing. The result is Ray’s finest drum performance yet with the band.”
8. Mastodon, Emperor Of Sand (Brann Dailor)
We say: “The catchy Show Yourself, rapid and riff-heavy Precious Stones, doom-laden Steambreather and tribal Scorpion Breath are fan-pleasers, while Dailor - always a beast behind the kit - doesn’t disappoint. He picks out, gift-wraps and delivers such drum-driven beauts as Jaguar God and Clandestiny, the latter with a drum track that suggests inhuman dexterity.”
7. Foo Fighters, Concrete And Gold (Taylor Hawkins)
We say: “Take any highlight from the band’s two-decade long career and you can hear echoes of it here; the stripped back verses of Dirty Water recall moments from The Colour And The Shape, but it builds to a fuzzy, pacy conclusion with Taylor again smashing his kit with conviction and power. Taylor’s playing is impressive as always, delivering powerful and classic-sounding rock beats with his usual twist of inventive orchestration, dynamics and well thought-out fills and hi-hat work.”
6. Benny Greb, Grebfruit 2 (Benny Greb)
We say: “It’s been 12 years since Benny’s debut solo album, Grebfruit I. The second volume of his unique acappella arrangements accompanied by drums concept goes to a whole new level. This time, Benny used layers of up to 70 voices to produce 10 tracks of dense, detailed and utterly irresistible music. Just like Benny’s playing, the album is quirky, challenging and wholly original."
5. Kaz Rodriguez, Thoughts, Vol. 3 (Kaz Rodriguez)
We say: “Prodigious drummer Kaz approaches the traditional drum album from a slightly different perspective to the other players in this list. Kaz’s three albums to date (with a fourth on the way) are drumless albums, designed for shedding, and they’ve caused quite a stir since he put out his debut in 2012 – drummers such as Aaron Spears, Chris Coleman and Eric Moore have all used Kaz’s tracks in clinics and videos. Thoughts, Vol. 3 is Kaz’s most polished and creative effort to date, and has caused quite a stir in the drum world and beyond."
4. Anika Nilles, Pikalar (Anika Nilles)
We say: “Alter Ego II is a fantastic follow-up to the track for which Anika became best known on YouTube – a proggy rock-out with some tricky time signature shenanigans and effortless yet challenging chops, while for Greenfield, Anika sits back with a groove so chilled and smooth you could ice-skate on it. One Ride One Life is drum-driven pop with some powerful filling, while the title track rocks like an odd-time beast.”
3. Meshuggah, The Violent Sleep Of Reason (Tomas Haake)
We say: “For album number eight Meshuggah took a step back in an attempt to ‘de-machine’ their trademark sound, aiming instead to track in a more naturalistic way. Returning to their ’80s thrash influences, the band strove for live takes and did less tweaking of guitar sounds after the event. But while Haake has described his drums as ‘sloppier’, for most of humanity, we’ll still be wondering at his incredible dexterity and tightness on powerful prog metal epics like Born In Dissonance and onslaught of Clockworks.”
2. Steven Wilson, To The Bone (Craig Blundell, Jeremy Stacey)
We say: “You know Wilson meant business when he hired two percussive hotshots to record drums for his fifth solo album To The Bone. Steven’s live drummer Craig Blundell and session supremo Jeremy Stacey both stepped up to Wilson’s high standards, and the result is a rhythmic treat that showcases the talents of both drummers. Across the album’s 11 tracks there’s big Bonham-style beats (The Same Asylum As Before), tight, warm, tasteful pop (Permanating) and even a smattering of cool electronic sounds (Song Of I, Detonation)."
Winner: Avenged Sevenfold, The Stage (Brooks Wackerman)
We say: “Since the passing of The Rev, Avenged Sevenfold have struggled to gel with subsequent drummers. That all changed when ex-Bad Religion drummer Wackerman stepped up and put in the performance of a lifetime on The Stage. Drumming highlights include the tom/snare verse groove on Paradigm and the quirky double kick pattern on Higher.”