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Municipal Waste’s Dave Witte Talks Favorite Blast Beat Drummers

Trick Drums

If you’re a drummer playing extreme metal, you’re probably already a fan of Dave Witte. Throughout his career, the New Jersey native has played in bands like Human Remains, Discordance Axis, Black Army Jacket, and many others. These days, he tours the world as a member of thrash gods Municipal Waste. Although Witte is one of the best all-around drummers playing metal these days, it’s his unique blast beat style that has been emulated by other players for over two decades.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term ‘blast beat,’ Wikipedia describes it as comprised of “a repeated, sixteenth-note figure played at a very fast tempo, and divided uniformly among the kick drum, snare and ride, crash, or hi-hat cymbal.” Basically, when a drummer plays a blast beat, it sounds like a machine gun letting off a full clip through your stereo speakers. Noisecreep recently asked Witte to talk about some of his favorite blast beat technicians.

Dave Witte, via e-mail:

“Derek Roddy, Tony Laureano, John Longstreth, Pete Sandoval, Carl-Michael Eide (Czar). All of these names pop into my head when I’m asked about who rules on the blast beat for me. There are plenty of drummers out there that may even be better than the ones I have listed here, but these guys have their own style and are responsible for pushing the blast beat forward.

“Sandoval started it all and he set the bench mark for the style. Laureno is an air-tight speed machine with amazing control and he can always stop on the dime. Longstreth fills each nook and cranny like a drumming octopus at astounding speeds, even with one hand at times.

“Derek took the beat to an all new level with ‘The Victorious Reign’ (Hate Eternal) where he did a blast beat and a groove beat at the same time — talk about independence! Eide has such a fantastic organic feel with whatever he does — he plain reeks of awesomeness. Not only could he blast, he also had so much life in his drumming and really stood in his own category. After an accident, he can no longer drum and has been forging a new musical path while playing guitar and singing in a project called Virus.

“While I was asked to talk about blast beats in particular, I feel like I should also show some love to players who don’t have blast beats in their drumming vocabulary but just plain rule. If you’re looking to expand your horizons beyond blast beats, these fine chaps have plenty of entertaining and highly skilled drumming to offer:

Will Scharf of Keelhaul, Jeff Eber of Dysrhythmia, Chris Maggio of Trap Them (ex-Coliseum), Ben Koller of Converge, Chris Pennie of Coheed and Cambria (ex-Dillinger Escape Plan), [and] Brann Dailor of Mastodon.”

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