Drum solos are notoriously boring to anyone who’s not a drummer. Hell, I even know plenty of drummers that switch off the moment all lights hit the drum kit. But, with metal containing so many varied and competent players, it’d be a crying shame to ignore all their hard work when they want to show it off, even if it IS in the form of a… solo…

Drum Fight IX, which took place earlier this month, set up a drumming duel between Mike Portnoy and Billy Rymer. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept of it, it’s essentially two people soloing at each other in some sort of abstract musical ‘smack talk’, while members of the crowd shake their hands like there’s no hand dryers in the toilets and shout ‘OOOOOH, stick a fork in that boy, ’cause he done!’ in between turns. So what exactly happens when the fresh-faced heir to the throne of mathcore takes on the undisputed king of prog? Well… Rymer absolutely rinses him, for lack of a better term. It’s genuinely jarring to watch as Portnoy clambers awkwardly around a tiny kit before Rymer blitzes the whole session in a flurry of grooves and off-kilter blasts. But most of all, it’s just more proof for anyone that needed it, that Billy Rymer is by far the best possible candidate to anchor the sheer madness of The Dillinger Escape Plan.

– DL

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