Math rock has blossomed into a large musical genre, and it can be hard to find bands that are worth listening to. But one of the most interesting parts of math rock is its eclectic, fast sound, which is created by drummers banging away on the skins. Below, you’ll find five of the best math rock drummers — spastic, speedy, and harnessing some serious energy.
Zach Hill (Hella, Diamond Watch Wrists)
Part of the original duo of Hella, Zach Hill is renowned for his fast-paced playing and breakcore-like drum rhythms. Hill dominates the set with quick start-stop drumming and an emphasis on non-stop stick hits. He’s also known for perfecting a method of drumming that produces a quick bass drum hit that sounds like a double-bass pedal, except for Hill it only requires one foot
Brian Chippendale(Lightning Bolt, Black Pus)
Another of the most well-known math rockers Brian Chippendale has had his hand in crafting some great drum tracks. Lightning Bolt finds him throwing up some heavy hits with band mate Brian Gibson, but Chippendale’s more drum-oriented outings can be found in his solo band Black Pus. He blends polyrhythms with noise, and is even known to search for broken cymbals to expand his drum set’s sound.
Damon Che(Don Caballero)
Damon Che is the drummer for the highly influential band Don Caballero, one of the earliest acts associated with math rock. Che’s skill comes from his tight, jazz-influenced fills, quick drum rolls, and intense cymbal playing. Che infuses standard rock riffs with a new, fresh sound; the focus is less on fast pace than it is on strange but catchy rhythms.
Ryan Oslance (Ahleuchatistas)
Ryan Oslance is the second half of the duo Ahleuchatistas, a drum and guitar band that focuses on prog-rock, off-kilter rhythms, and and intense, pounding bass. Oslance is a large part of the band’s success, melding effective bass drum with quick alternations between snare, toms, and cymbal. His style is concentrated on an onslaught of cymbal and snare in rapid succession, giving the music an intricately disjointed feel.
Dave Turncrantz(Russian Circles)
Though Dave Turncrantz’s band Russian Circles contains three members, it is often Turncrantz’s drumming that soars above the rest of the sounds. His pounding drums and technical rhythms are often just the right fit for the brooding and melancholy climaxes of Russian Circles. Turncrantz often utilizes surprising tom-tom rhythms with his snare to provide a nice change of pace from the cymbal pounding of other bands.
These five drummers make up the best part of math rock’s offerings — complex and intricate beats, experimental instrumentation, and upbeat tempos that ensure listeners will find repeated listens a necessity as they attempt to air-drum along.