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Is Lars Ulrich one of the best drummers ever?


Ixtlan

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He's got poor technique, his timing is all over the place, his playing is pretty uninspired, his snare sound in St Anger is a meme all by itself, and he's getting worse with age... and on top of all of that he pulls those awful facial expressions when he drums!

I actually think Metallica are "okay", but as a drummer it's the drums that put me off liking Metallica more, I always here his sloppiness and imagine his face gurning.

Compare the drumming in Metallica to Megadeth (or countless other metal bands) it is like chalk and cheese in terms of sound, consistency, ability etc.

Black Label Society is another band I struggle with due to having had very poor drummers through the years (despite how much I love Zakk).

I've said it before on here but a good band with a bad drummer sound like a bad band. People underestimate the importance of a good drummer. And when it comes to drumming, less = more. A good drummer playing well but in an understated way is perfect.

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Despite how Lars plays these days, which is what most people complain about, he is immortalised for his drumming on the first four fantastic Metallica albums. 

And while he may not have the speed and precision he did back in the 80’s, he’s hardly a slouch behind the kit. 

People tend to bash his playing, but he’s integral to Metallica’s sound. And he has something most drummers aspire to - groove. He has a locked in groove with Hetfield that only comes from playing 40 years together. 

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As a big MetallicA fan I can say he is absolutely not one of the best ever. As noted above he was killer in the 80s and his playing was stellar on AJFA. After that the style of the band changed and so did his drumming….but when they went back to the faster stuff on Death Magnetic onwards the complexity just isn’t there now - I can’t say I have ever had an issue with his timing TBH.

That said - hearing some of his stuff just before the pandemic AND that live version of Battery recently showed he still has some skills…..

And finally…..he brings more to the table due to his songwriting etc too….

Edited by DTJ80
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1 minute ago, DTJ80 said:

As a big MetallicA fan I can say he is absolutely not one of the best ever. As noted above he was killer in the 80s and his playing was stellar on AJFA. After that the style of the band changed and so did his drumming….but when they went back to the faster stuff on Death Magnetic onwards the complexity just isn’t there now - I can’t say I have ever had an issue with his timing TBH.

That said - hearing some of his stuff just before the pandemic AND that live version of Battery recently showed he still has some skills…..

And finally…..he brings more to the table due to his songwriting etc too….

Thanks for the reply. I was very curious what a big Metallica fan would say. 

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4 minutes ago, Ixtlan said:

Thanks for the reply. I was very curious what a big Metallica fan would say. 

No worries - MetallicA and GNR are my two favourite bands. Check out that video above - a great rendition of the song Battery in general but Lars is ‘on point’ too. 👍

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6 minutes ago, DTJ80 said:

No worries - MetallicA and GNR are my two favourite bands. Check out that video above - a great rendition of the song Battery in general but Lars is ‘on point’ too. 👍

I really wish these two bands would tour one last time together. There will never be Rick bands like GNR and Metallica again. 

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29 minutes ago, DTJ80 said:

As a big MetallicA fan I can say he is absolutely not one of the best ever. As noted above he was killer in the 80s and his playing was stellar on AJFA. After that the style of the band changed and so did his drumming….but when they went back to the faster stuff on Death Magnetic onwards the complexity just isn’t there now - I can’t say I have ever had an issue with his timing TBH.

That said - hearing some of his stuff just before the pandemic AND that live version of Battery recently showed he still has some skills…..

And finally…..he brings more to the table due to his songwriting etc too….

What about when Lombardo took over on drums back in 04 😃. What a machine. No way Lars could do what he did at 2:08 onwards.

 

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6 minutes ago, vloors said:

What about when Lombardo took over on drums back in 04 😃. What a machine. No way Lars could do what he did at 2:08 onwards.

 

Ha ha - agreed….but he’s Lombardo dude!  No shame in being not as good as him. 🤣

That must have been a random gig - Joey Jordison and Lars drum tech also played I think.

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44 minutes ago, DTJ80 said:

Ha ha - agreed….but he’s Lombardo dude!  No shame in being not as good as him. 🤣

That must have been a random gig - Joey Jordison and Lars drum tech also played I think.

Yep download festival 2004. Lars was sick.

I was lucky enough to see Dave Lombardo with suicidal tendencies a few years ago. His drumming is truly something special.

1 hour ago, Ixtlan said:

I really wish these two bands would tour one last time together. There will never be Rick bands like GNR and Metallica again. 

Axl fucked that up from ever happening again.

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3 hours ago, vloors said:

Yep download festival 2004. Lars was sick.

I was lucky enough to see Dave Lombardo with suicidal tendencies a few years ago. His drumming is truly something special.

Axl fucked that up from ever happening again.

Lombardo is a freak of nature. Seen him with Slayer, The Misfits, and Mr. Bungle - he always kills it no matter what he's playing. Even with The Misfits, it's far from particularly technical drumming, but it still really felt like he brought something to the songs. He's one of the few metal drummers you can listen to and just know it's him. 

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7 hours ago, vloors said:

Yep download festival 2004. Lars was sick.

I was lucky enough to see Dave Lombardo with suicidal tendencies a few years ago. His drumming is truly something special.

Axl fucked that up from ever happening again.

That was shrouded in mystery. I’ve always thought he was probably doing too much of stuff he shouldn’t at the time….

 

4 hours ago, Powerage5 said:

Lombardo is a freak of nature. Seen him with Slayer, The Misfits, and Mr. Bungle - he always kills it no matter what he's playing. Even with The Misfits, it's far from particularly technical drumming, but it still really felt like he brought something to the songs. He's one of the few metal drummers you can listen to and just know it's him. 

I really hope to catch him with the Misfits - such a cool combo….I bet they couldn’t believe they got him!

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id say he was a good drummer, but not anymore.

 

His AJFA parts are nicely thought out, even if he required multiple takes to do them and never replicated them again, but the arrangement of the drums are great for metal.

 

He became sort of a pocket drummer with load and reload in the studio, which didnt hurt the songs IMO, it might have made those songs better, since the style (sometimes grunge southern rock, sometimes grungecinfluenced) they were going for didnt really suit over the top drumming

St. Anger has some definitely interesting drumming (not talking about the sound of thd drums, talking about the actual arrangement), and it might be the last time I've heard any inspired drumming from Lars. Some drum parts that he wrote for some of the songs are surprisingly un-Lars-like

 

 

Still enjoy watching them live though

 

That Battery peformance was great, although very slow.

 

The Wherever I May Roam from Howard Stern was also great (with the exception of that random ass, out of time, rushed fill he did in the 2nd verse)

 

Edit: I WOULD say that Lars may be one of the most influential drummers

 

From the much metal I've heard, there weren't many metal bands that were doing the "One" style riffage (0-0-0-0-0-0-0) paired with double kick machine gun drum pattern before one came out in 88.

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I don't know too many drummers(if) who formed one of the most successful rock bands of all time I begin a later example with our beloving mother fu©$€r redneck from Indiana Axl rose, and the list goes on, The Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the who,the doors, led Zeppelin, deep purple, black Sabbath, kiss, Aerosmith, judas priest, iron maiden... Most of these bands were formed by either combination of lead singer/quitarist or keyboard player..etc. so yeah in my point of view Lars deserves the credit for maintaining the Metallica legacy, not neccesarly being the best drummer but he was there all over the place, specially interviews where no other member could talk not being interrupted by Lars, that's metal! 

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Larry mullen right, but when you think about U2 u think imediatly about Bono so Larry Mullen goes out of ecuation instead that guy The Edge stays for that famous fall out from the stage, so I stand my above case most of the famous bands are best known for 2 founding members or at least 1

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When I saw the "Some Kind of Monster" documentary years ago, I had the impression that drumming was more something of a neat hobby of Lars, but not as important as selling art pieces or drinking wine. I think the money got in his way. He was still hungry in the 80s and felt like he had something to proof, I think. Still, doesn't stop me from listening to Metallica albums every now and then, I have a soft spot for them.

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