Friday, June 1, 2012

Subrick's Picks #13 (An Inaugural Entry)

(A bit of backstory here to start. Subrick's Picks is a series that I started last year for Sick Drummer Magazine. For reasons I won't disclose here, I chose to discontinue this on that website and am now going to post them here whenever I feel like writing them, in addition to other random ramblings I happen to write about. This one in particular was the final one I wrote before I left the site, and it was not published until now, although I've edited it slightly to reflect updated dates and events. Enjoy.)

Welcome everyone to another wonderfully (a)rousing edition of Subrick’s Picks. I am the titular host for the evening, here to present to you fine readers the best in unknown metal drumming. In the time it’s been since I last created one of these articles, my own projects have taken off. In addition to New England based gothic rock band Pandora’s Toybox, I am also now the drummer for Boston, Massachusetts based extreme metal band Sorrowseed, which also contains members of Pandora’s Toybox. We are recording our second full length record that will be released before the end of 2012. I have also been tapped as a live session player for Massachusetts (see a pattern here?) based doom metal band Blacksoul Serpahim, containing, you guessed it, members of Pandora’s Toybox and Sorrowseed. When we will be playing live as Blacksoul is unknown, however Sorrowseed will be playing at The Raven in Worcester on Saturday, June 16th. I encourage anyone reading this that is close to the venue or from New England in general to come to the show and bang thy head.
Now, there are three categories on which I base my selections:

Playing Ability: Here, I look to see if a player is technically sound; timing is good, endurance and power are up to par, technique is sound, among other, more miniscule things.

Production Value: For videos I select I much prefer to have either good quality camera sound or studio quality. And by studio quality, I don’t mean the greatest production sound ever given. I classify studio quality as a drumming performance recorded with microphones and/or triggers. Electronic kits are very much encouraged (especially when using less conventional samples). Now, if you have sound quality that isn’t as good, that doesn’t mean you’re not included in my selection process. Everyone is eligible to be featured.

Kit Sound: Eyal Levi wrote an article for Sick Drummer Magazine about why drum performances are always sound replaced these days. For those who haven’t read, the basic gist of it is because drummers don’t know how to tune their fucking drums (as so eloquently put by Eyal). And considering that many drum videos I see on YouTube involve players that have really bad sounding kits; it seems rarer and rarer that drummers actually tune their drums.

Meet all three of these criteria, and you have a shot to be featured. You could be playing the most radio friendly Disney pop imaginable, but if I feel that your video meets these criteria, you could make the front page.

And with all that out of the way, let us get to the feature presentation.

This time the pick in question is Tama and Zildjian artist Michael Vafiotis, drummer for Australian thrash metal band 4ARM. In the video he performs the band’s track Submission for Liberty from their recently released album of the same name. Michael is the drummer that Lars Ulrich should be; just one look at his kit and you can tell that Lars is his biggest influence. His Tama Starclassic kit is pretty much identical to Lars’s, aside from some added pieces, such as a much needed ride cymbal, a tom to his left, and a splash cymbal. All of his cymbals are Zildjian, further adding to the Lars influence. Even the way he sits at the kit is identical to how Lars Ulrich. All of his cymbals are Zildjian, and they’re beautiful to listen and look at as always. His sticks are Ahead, and while I personally am not a fan of their sticks, I can see why someone would enjoy playing with them. In the ability department, Michael impresses with the thrash metal standards of fast skank beats, fast double bass, fast fills and rolls, and did I mention fast yet? The drums in this particular video are sound replaced, but there are some live drum cams he has on this website that show just how appropriately sick his kit sounds.

And go buy their new album, Submission for Liberty, from their official store.


That’ll just about do it for this edition of Subrick’s Picks. If you liked this article and are interested in seeing more of me (drum wise, not body wise. Fat guys shirtless are disturbing), subscribe to my Youtube channel, like/follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and like my bands Sorrowseed and Pandora’s Toybox on Facebook. And don’t forget that I will be performing with Sorrowseed on June 16th at The Raven in Worcester, Massachusetts. Until we meet again, Subrick out.

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