|Titans of The Throne Drum Festival - Death Metal Edition|
|Wednesday, 09 November 2011 14:02|
TITANS OF THE THRONE DRUM FESTIVAL - DEATH METAL EDITION
NOVEMBER 5, 2011 - THE BRASS MUG TAMPA, FL
By Marisa Connelly
If there’s anyone who can pull together a brutal as hell drum fest, it’s Gus Rios of Malevolent Creation. Along with Tony Laureano (Dimmu Borgir, The Black Dahlia Murder, Nile & others), Donald Tardy (Obituary, Tardy Bros, Andrew WK), and Steve Asheim (Deicide, Order of Ennead), the line up couldn’t have been better for this year’s edition. I arrived to find Tony setting up his kit - cramped next to three others on a dinky little stage. Literally, it was a clusterf#ck of crashes, china's, racks and kick drums. Steve was polishing his brand spanking new cymbals which were already sparkling in the dim club lighting. I couldn’t wait for everything to get started. Four hours and a couple rum and cokes later, the evening’s festivities finally commenced. To be fair, I had gotten there a bit early.
Gus Rios was the first drummer to take the stage, and he started his set with a couple songs from his other band 'Upon Infliction'. He talked a lot about groove, and how it’s a lost art in metal drumming. He also advised the crowd to learn how to blast without using your right hand, always hit hard, and don’t overdo it on the splashes. He further elaborated on a little bit of advice he got from Derek Roddy who wrote “Hit the effing snare drum!” on Gus’ snare,
naturally. It was a constant reminder that a blast beat needs to be hit hard, especially live. If it’s a barrage of snare hits, where’s the one? You need to keep the band in check. Gus next played “Born Again Hard” by Malevolent Creation, and admitted afterwards that playing slow was more difficult than playing fast. He emphasized this point by playing a new MURDER SUICIDE song, a slow, heavy groove-laden track, explaining that he channeled his inner Don Tardy for it. “This music is not about the drummer, you have to serve the song.” This is a point he made during Sick Drummer Camp earlier this year. During this five day blast beat fest, Gus brought his 4 piece kit and tried to make everyone play “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. He then reiterated that it’s a big thing for him to be super-fast, but versatile as well.
The next drummer to take the stage was Tony Laureano. His first song from his band 'Eulogy' was lightning fast, with lots of high tempos and half-time tempos. He spoke about watching the groove pattern, and that the bottom line of a
drummer was to keep timing. The crowd laughed when he introduced the next Eulogy song as being faster, since it pretty much seemed impossible to play faster than the first song. During his second song, his right beater actually came loose and slipped back almost 90 degrees. Despite this, Tony never stopped playing. He never even slowed down. He explained that during a live show you have to play anyways, and maintain control even though the song is “brutal, punishing, relentless, a bitch to play but fun.”
Donald Tardy was the next drummer up, and honestly he really didn’t say much. Stoic and graceful, he let his drums speak for him. He played a couple Tardy Bros songs first, which was delicious groove-laden heaviness. He then talked about touring with Andrew WK for three years, recalling how he received a letter from a 19 year old Andrew asking him to play for his band because Don was his favorite drummer of
all time. He further explained that it was “Not my style, but the challenge alone is why I played it.” He then finished his set with a couple Obituary songs, which, of course, was what the crowd had been waiting for and they cheered appreciatively.
Finally, Steve Asheim took the stage. He called his set a “journey blasting through the ages.” Opening with “Dead but Dreaming” from the Legion album, he said that with practice and dedication, he continued to get faster with each album. I thought “Dead but Dreaming” was already pretty fast. Guess not. The speed increased with “When Satan Rules His World” from Once Upon a Cross and 1997’s “Serpents of Light”. He then jumped forward to 2011, “No one really cares about the late 90’s. Fuck it.” And played two songs from To Hell With God. Steve rounded up his set with a couple songs from Order of Ennead. By this time, Gus, Tony, and Don were all watching him from different areas of the club. Their jaws dropped slightly, their eyes wide, smiles creeping in from the corners of their mouths. Now, it’s easy to entertain me,
but when I noticed the expressions on the other drummer’s faces, I knew I was witnessing something truly amazing. Steve then proudly belched into the mic. Twice. Needless to say, the moment was gone. And Titans of the Throne Drum fest was over.
Well, except for the drum raffle. Congratulations to Mark Eben for winning a brand new snare. I overheard people remarking that it was an $800 snare donated by Yamaha. I then caught up with Gus and he told me that he was simply honored to share the stage with such legendary drummers. And despite the time, energy and stress of pulling it all together, he looks forward to doing it again next year. Let’s hope he does!
You can keep up with Gus Rios and any information regarding Titans of The Throne III on his website: www.titansofthethrone.com. Gus would like to thank the event sponsors: Sick Drummer Magazine, Tama Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Yamaha Drums and Evans Heads. Their contributions to the event helped make it a success, for the second year in a row.
In other news, Gus will be doing a solo drum clinic and one-on-one workshop 12/6/2011 at ARC Music of Boca. Located at 8182 Glades Road - Boca Raton, Florida. The event starts at 8:00pm and is only $25.00 to attend! If you are interested in attending or have any questions, send Gus a message on his personal facebook page or the Malevolent Creation facebook page.
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