This has got to be the best drumming video I’ve ever seen from any ‘western’ music. Full stop! Maybe from any genre of music.
The band here is Tool (website). They’re from LA and have been a staple in the metal and alternative music scenes since the ’90’s. The cassette of their 1996 album Ænima (Wikipedia | Spotify) was continually being passed around at my high school and was always on rotation at parties back then. Admittedly I’ve not really listened to much Tool music in the last decade – I don’t even know if they’ve released much music in that time period – however I got on to their latest album Fear Inoculum (Wikipedia | Spotify) after reading a review in a guitar magazine. And what an album it is! I’ve had this album on repeat almost exclusively since this first listen. But rather than get in to a review of the album I’d like to share this HD video of the band’s drummer Danny Carey (Wikipedia) performing the song Pneuma off the album – before I do though, a note on the guitar.
The guitar piece is wonderful and most will recognise that it’s in the key of D minor. The intro in the piece is really nice and is a progression of Am, F, C, F, C (altered to include a D note), and Dm. This is a power chord progression in drop D tuning that looks as follows:
As these are power chords, and not ‘complete’ chords with three notes each, they are not technically adhering to the Dm key (e.g. the first power chord could equally imply an A major). However Dm is the key as we’ve got an F rather than an F# and a C rather than a C# which we’d see if the first chord was an A major. I particularly like how this starts on Am and works through the key to resolve on Dm for a full bar before repeating (the three tones in this chord are D, A, D so not technically a Dm as it’s missing the minor third or F note). I think of the fifth chord as a C (altered to include a D note), and not an F (altered to include a D note), as the progression descends from F to C to F then down a little further than the previous C hence thinking of this as a C with a D element (instead of the E note). No doubt there is a better more technically correct method to represent these two notes, but this is how I think it through.
But on to the drumming.
This drumming piece is phenomenal. The polyrythms (Wikipedia) are technically brilliant too. And the time signatures, for all instruments, shift throughout the song. The guitar piece listed above is in 4/4 time, however the last bar of the eight bar into progression is in 5/4 time, and as the song progresses into the main you’ll hear a bar of 6/4, then a couple of bars of 7/4, then a bar of 5/8, then a couple of bars of 7/4, then back to a bar of 5/7, then back to a couple of 7/4. Just amazing. And Danny does a phenomenal job of holding all of this together with the drum set (including using both polyrythms and time signatures that differ to the guitars and vocals but still resolving in a technically brilliant manner). Words can’t do this performance justice, watch for yourself below.