Various Artists
Drum Nation Vol. 3

Magna Carta, famous for their prog-rock roster, truly pushes the envelope with their annual Drum Nation compilation. This year, however, the label foregoes the Brufords and the Portnoys of past volumes to embrace today’s top metal drummers and their creative instrumental showcases. All contributors are outstanding within the discipline, though there are a few that’ll give goosebumps to fans and aspiring drummers anxious to swipe a few hot licks.As I Lay Dying’s Jordan Mancino begins the festivities with the very Meshuggah-inspired “Ahhh – The Fade Out,” though the song leans too heavily on the guitars to discern Mancino’s seemingly commonplace (by metal standards) blastbeats. Steve Vai’s Jeremy Colson plows through “Fluoxetine” with excellent fills and very fast single-stroke rolls; however, once again the tune is almost too guitar-heavy, except for the latter half of the song, which really showcases Colson’s deft snare and cymbal interplay. The production on the Sepultura-like “Grounded” brings the track down, even though Soulfly’s Joe Nunez is impressive; comparatively, the cut really doesn’t have that many interesting polyrhythms. “When the Scales Fell” is also marred by subpar production, though Totalisti’s Tom Taitano is utterly superior and logs one of the album’s best performances: his totally over-the-top, busy drumwork is very fluid and almost doesn’t fit the time signatures in which he’s playing. “Impulse” by Stasis’ Raanen Bozzio is very much Tool inspired, as this young sprout shows how inspirational his father Terry (and Tool’s Danny Carey) has been over the years. Derek Roddy (ex-Hate Eternal, Nile, Malevolent Creation, et al.) serves up a death-metal doozie in “Swirling Patterns,” playing all instruments and sounding as great as any of his past affiliations.

Drum Nation is not entirely bombastic and breakneck drumming, however. “Up and Atom” by Killswitch Engage’s Justin Foley is a fairly mellow jazz number with a middle break with marimba like Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” and ending with the same tonal percussion that prefaces King Crimson’s “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part One” -which is a fine contrast/complement to the rest of the album. Candiria’s Kenneth Schalk displays his musical genius in “Out of Nowhere” with jazzy polyrhythms and sampled applications for which his band is revered. Dillinger Escape Plan’s Chris Pennie, of course, comes up with the wildest composition of keyboards, creaking electronics, and otherworldly drum fills in “YMCA or TCBY.” Unearth’s Michael Justice displays his human beatbox tendencies on “Weak Would,” as he mouths cool beats then matches them note for note on the skins. In the bonus video “Drummers Are People, Too,” the players are filmed in their everyday routines: Joe Nunez’s dentist trip; the making of an interactive video game starring Lamb of God’s Chris Adler; golf lessons from Kenneth Schalk; life on the road by Jordan Mancino; and a tour of Derek Roddy’s exotic snake collection. Without a doubt, Volume 3 is the best in the Drum Nation series, as these drummers continue to raise the bar of percussive expertise.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Ayers
January 29th, 2007

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