Metal drumming is a world of its own. Most drummers out there never touch it, but the drummers that do know just how satisfying it is to play hard and fast on the drum set.
As part of our series on the best drumming songs, we’re going to go through a detailed list of some of the best metal songs to play drums to. They’re known to have the most well-known drum parts, and the drummers that played them are big names in the music industry.
You’ll need a double pedal to play these songs, as well as a lot of patience to learn how to play them. If you’re not looking to play them, they’re also just great songs to listen to if you love hearing amazing drum parts.
- 1 Bleed – Meshuggah
- 2 The Dance of Eternity – Dream Theater
- 3 The Art of Dying – Gojira
- 4 Ticks & Leeches – Tool
- 5 The Blister Exists – Slipknot
- 6 Dyers Eve – Metallica
- 7 War Ensemble – Slayer
- 8 Painkiller – Judas Priest
- 9 Roots Bloody Roots – Sepultura
- 10 Tendinitis – Jason Richardson & Luke Holland
- 11 Ectogenesis – Animals as Leaders
- 12 Meridian – August Burns Red
- 13 Bat Country – Bat Country
- 14 Nocturne – Tesseract
- 15 Blood and Thunder – Mastodon
- 16 5 Minutes Alone – Pantera
- 17 Overkill – Motorhead
- 18 Where Eagles Dare – Iron Maiden
- 19 Omerta – Lamb of God
- 20 The Essential Salts – Nile
- 21 Final Thoughts on the Best Metal Drumming Songs
Bleed – Meshuggah
Whenever someone mentions metal and drumming, Bleed is more likely to enter the conversation as opposed to any other track. Its popularity has made it a meme on social media and the Internet, but that shouldn’t downplay just how good the drum parts are in this song.
All the grooves are based around hertas, which are patterns where you play two quick notes followed by two longer ones. The trick is that all the hertas are played on the bass drum while your hands are playing a basic 4/4 groove.
The coordination skills you need to play this are insane, and Tomas Haake somehow plays this song perfectly every time the band performs it.
If you can get the intro groove down, you’re an amazing drummer. You still have the other grooves to get through, though, and they’re even trickier.
The Dance of Eternity – Dream Theater
The Dance of Eternity is one of the hardest songs in existence to play on the drums. That’s not an exaggeration, as this is one of the most complicated songs out there. The drum parts are amazing, though, and this entire song will take you on an incredible musical journey.
The song has dozens of time signature changes, and it’s mind-blowing how all the members of Dream Theater have memorized them.
The track starts with fairly mellow rhythms on the snare drum, but after that, everything shifts up a gear.
Mike Portnoy was the original drummer of the band that wrote these parts, but Mike Mangini is the current drummer who always nails them just as well as Portnoy did.
The Art of Dying – Gojira
This tune has everything a drummer could possibly want in a metal song. It starts with rim clicks on the drums to set the scene. Then it moves to Mario Duplantier playing hard progressive metal grooves in odd time signatures.
It then shifts to straightforward heavy grooves with the vocals. After that, it moves to blast beats. All these parts repeat, and they show just how good of a drummer Mario Duplantier is.
The outro of the song is fairly mellow, but the drum part is still astonishing. Overall, the whole thing is a masterpiece, and it’s one of Gojira’s best songs.
Ticks & Leeches – Tool
Ticks & Leeches is undoubtedly one of the best Tool songs that exhibits the harder side of Danny Carey’s drumming. The track starts with an exciting drum solo, and it builds as the other instruments start playing.
The groove comes in with the screaming vocals, and that part is extremely satisfying to listen to due to how powerful the buildup was.
The song is in 7/4, which is to be expected from Tool, but it also adds to the complexity of the drum part. There are dozens of other Tool songs with amazing drumming, but this one has a special mention for this list due to the amazing drum intro.
The Blister Exists – Slipknot
Joey Jordison was heavily regarded as one of the best drummers in the world at a stage, and songs like this will show you why. His drumming in this song is incredibly impressive, and the best part is when he plays a drum solo along with two marching snares.
Most songs in metal have guitar solos, so that’s what you’d expect to hear when that part comes up. Everyone loved the drum solo part in this track, as it was very unique at the time of this track being released.
Apart from the solo, the drums in the tune are just very heavy and fast. What more could you want from metal drumming?
Dyers Eve – Metallica
Lars Ulrich may not be one of the most loved drummers out there, but many of his drum parts were incredible. Dyers Eve was one of the last songs that Metallica released in the 80s, and it was their heaviest song ever up to that point.
Another thing to note is that this was one of the heaviest songs in music at that stage, showing how vital Metallica was in shaping the metal genre.
The song involves quick blast beats and plenty of heavy fills.
War Ensemble – Slayer
Dave Lombardo is often regarded as the king of thrash metal drumming, and you can easily see why with tracks like War Ensemble. Every Slayer song is packed with intense drum parts, but this is one of the band’s best tracks when it comes to showing off Dave Lombardo’s abilities.
It’s hard, it’s fast, and it’s incredibly satisfying to listen and play along with. The drum part gets especially intense when the guitar solo comes in near the end.
Painkiller – Judas Priest
Painkiller is one of Judas Priest’s most well-known songs, and it’s also one of the most metal songs to come out of the 20th century. The track starts with a crazy drum part where Scott Travis is playing grooves as if his life is depending on it.
The track then gets heavier and heavier as the other instruments come in, with the drum part keeping the same energy the whole way through.
A lot of metal drummers learn how to play this drum intro note-for-note as a way of working on their metal chops.
Roots Bloody Roots – Sepultura
Roots Bloody Roots is a fairly unique song for this list, considering it’s quite straightforward. Igor Cavalera was the drummer for this track, and we’ve put this song on the list due to his creativity in adding percussive elements to the metal drum parts.
Throughout the whole song, you can hear bongos and timbales being played, and they add a unique tribal elementto the tune. The rest of the song is still straight metal, though, so metal drummers will be right at home when playing along with it.
Tendinitis – Jason Richardson & Luke Holland
While Luke Holland first gained fame from posting drum cover videos to YouTube, his real strengths lie behind his ability to play killer metal drum parts. He does a lot of work with the guitarist Jason Richardson, and this track is one of the best ones that the two have created together.
It’s a progressive metal tune, and the drum parts demonstrated Luke Holland’s insane level of technical skillbehind the drum kit. The song makes you want to bob your head and feel confused at the same.
Ectogenesis – Animals as Leaders
Here’s another progressive metal tune that is a mind-blowing listen. Matt Garstka is one of the greatest drummers in the world at the moment, and he’s constantly pushing the boundaries of what we know people can play on the kit.
This is one Animals as Leaders song where the drums are the main focus. The part modulates multiple times, and Matt Garstka somehow keeps everything together the whole time with no issues.
If you really want to see how good of a drummer he is, you can go to his website and purchase his full transcription of this drum part that he wrote out himself.
Meridian – August Burns Red
This track from August Burns Red is mostly an instrumental track with a bit of singing near the end of the tune. It’s the perfect track to demonstrate Matt Greiner’s amazing drumming ability.
At the beginning, he starts playing his signature hits on all the small splashes and bells. The drums then build along with the track, and you hear a combination of straightforward rock grooves and blast beats.
Bat Country – Bat Country
Bat Country is one of Avenged Sevenfold’s most popular songs, and it’s one that was tracked when The Rev was still alive and part of the band. The drumming in it is very punchy, especially with the snare drum being tuned so high.
Overall, it has a great mixture of drum fills, fast grooves, and excellent kit orchestrations that match the instrumental parts. The Rev is a legend in the metal drumming world, and this is one of the tunes that people always go back to when they want to listen to him playing.
Nocturne – Tesseract
Nocturne is another highly popular drumming song in the progressive metal world. It’s full of odd time signatures and drum parts that perfectly complement everything the other instruments are playing.
It’s quite heavy, but it’s also mellow at the same time due to it not having the same high-speed energy that most of the other songs on this list have.
Blood and Thunder – Mastodon
Out of all the songs that we’ve mentioned on this list, this one undoubtedly has the most drum fills in it. This makes it an incredibly fun song for drummers to play along with. When you’re not playing drum fills, you’ll be playing high-speed thrash grooves.
There are also a few breaks in the song where the drums interact with what the other instruments are doing.
5 Minutes Alone – Pantera
Vinnie Paul is another metal drumming legend who passed away too soon, but his drumming will forever live on in tracks like this. The speed of the song is moderate, and the fun part about playing it is that there are multiple breaks to keep up with.
All those breaks make the song sound rhythmically interesting. The drums are driving and heavy, but they also complement those breaks perfectly.
Overkill – Motorhead
Motorhead was one of the first big thrash metal bands, and this song is quite heavy for something that was released in the 70s.
It starts with a driving double bass drum groove, and that groove gets played throughout the entire tune with a few drum fills. There’s also a point in the middle of the song where the music cuts out and the drums start up alone with the groove again. It’s very powerful!
Where Eagles Dare – Iron Maiden
Here’s another song that comes straight from the classic heavy metal era. It starts with Nicko McBrain playing a complex opening drum fill, and then it moves onto the drums playing a hard shuffle feel along with the rest of the band.
The bouncy groove is what makes this such a fun song to play on the kit. The intro fill is also just a few groups of triplets played very quickly around the snare and toms.
Omerta – Lamb of God
Omerta is a classic example of a metal song that has laidback drumming that is still heavy and driving. It’s one of those songs that makes you headbang slowly while listening to how hard all the musicians are playing.
It’s a great song to listen to drums being played very musically within a metal context, as Chris Adler does an amazing job of leaving space where it needs to be.
The Essential Salts – Nile
Our final suggestion is the fastest song on this list. This track has the quickest blast beats being played, and it’s just all-out chaos for the entire tune.
Not everyone is a fan of this type of metal, but you have to admire the speed and endurance that the drummer has here.
Final Thoughts on the Best Metal Drumming Songs
You would have seen from that list that metal drumming is quite diverse. There are so many sub-genres of metal, with some of them being easier to play than others.
If you want to work on your metal drumming, we suggest learning how to play the songs that we listed. They cover most of what you need to know when it comes to breakdowns, double pedal patterns, and overall musicality within metal music.
Make sure to work on endurance and power, as being a metal drummer requires a lot of that. Also, make sure that you have a good double pedal and china cymbal.