Top 10 Drummers in Prog Rock, Metal & Around in 2014

Top 10 Drummers in Prog Rock, Metal & Around in 2014
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Dennis Chambers once told: “When you approach this instrument for the first time, what comes out of you is simply what you feel.” It’s obvious that I am talking about drums here.

Although there are hundreds of drummers in the world out there that can “beat the hell out” of the instrument, it always comes as a matter of preference and style. Progressive rock and metal and its legitimate subgenres have shaped many great drummers and musicians over the course of time. The accent in this “Top 10 Drummers in Prog Rock, Metal & Around” list was put on the contemporary drummers that are closely related to progressive rock / metal.

Feel free to leave your comments with your picks. Not to forget to mention, the list below is in the order from #1 to #10.

Top 10 Drummers in Prog Rock, Metal & Around


Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, The Winery Dogs, Flying Colors, Liquid Tension Experiment, Dream Theater,…)

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Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.


  1. Nomad

    May 18, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Is Neil Pert still ‘around’ in 2014?

    • Nikola Savić

      May 18, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      He’s still out there.

      • musicstrikefirst

        May 18, 2014 at 9:54 pm

        What about Sean Reinert?

        • Charles

          May 20, 2014 at 1:01 am

          YES, Absolutly yes.

        • darkstar

          May 24, 2014 at 10:57 am

          Sean Reinert definitely deserves a spot here.

    • E

      May 18, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Its PEART for gods sake. After 40 years why can’t people spell it OR say it right?

    • Michael Anthony Ranne Jr

      May 19, 2014 at 11:17 am

      ken schalk? thomas lang? eliot hoffman? cmon guys.

    • E

      May 23, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      Neil Peart is the most influential of all these guys when it comes to prog rock/metal.

  2. Master MM

    May 18, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Where is Master Mike Mangini?

  3. Kriss

    May 18, 2014 at 9:45 pm


  4. cloto

    May 18, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Carl Palmer have to appear in this list!

    • Meow

      May 19, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Yep, he still ongoing, not as fast as in the 70′s but the huys is 60 years old!

  5. Ernesto Pacheco

    May 18, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Danny Carey should be in the top 5

    • Nikola Savić

      May 19, 2014 at 6:41 am

      He was there for some time, though. He is definitely a great drummer and that Volto! record is sick!

  6. Jonathan

    May 18, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Where is Blake Richardson!?

    • Antman603

      July 14, 2014 at 10:06 am

      seriously though dunno how some of these “jammers” got above such a great progressive songwriter as blake

  7. Danilo Andrade

    May 19, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Is Mangini that bad?

    • Nikola Savić

      May 19, 2014 at 6:42 am

      He is not that bad, just he’s just not THAT good, imo.

      • Reinhard D. Angcan

        May 19, 2014 at 12:18 pm

        he’s not that good? you kidding? he’s better than marco and virgil, friend. who’s on the list. and btw, JP even said mike still surprises him during their sessions. I find your arguement invalid :P

  8. mistercrim

    May 19, 2014 at 1:05 am

    …and Tomas Haake (Meshuggah)???????

  9. Andrew Joseph Smith

    May 19, 2014 at 2:39 am

    what? No Ted Kirkpatrick? wow, some people live insular lives…

    • E

      May 23, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      Ted became irrelevant after the first three Tourniquet albums.

  10. bob

    May 19, 2014 at 6:18 am

    no danny carey? you must be joking, maybe neil peart should be higher, and mike portnoy way lower, otherwise ok

  11. Shashvat Aditya

    May 19, 2014 at 6:35 am

    danny carey? gavin harrison?

  12. Lars Helge Rasch

    May 19, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Missing Simon Phillips, Carls Palmer, Jon Hiseman, Bill Bruford – to mention a few.

    • Nikola Savić

      May 19, 2014 at 7:06 am

      Thanks, Lars. Bill Bruford is retired since 2009.

      • goofball

        November 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm

        Simon Phillips, good call!

  13. Ian

    May 19, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Danny Carey (Tool), Billy Rymer (The Dillinger Escape Plan), Carl Palmer, Jon Theodore (The Mars Volta), Raymond Hearne (Haken)?!

  14. Rz

    May 19, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Anybody ever heard of Hanness Grossmann (Obscura, Blotted Science)?? He’s the sickest prog metal drummer i’ve ever known of all time!!

  15. bvazif

    May 19, 2014 at 10:45 am

    All incredibly talented and versatile drummers. Peart?! LOL Doesn’t belong here.

    • acidrums4

      May 19, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Of course he belongs here, for fuck’s sake. He has been an influence for many drummers, and today he still has a kick ass drumming. I bet you wish so madly to be as half as talented as him.

    • Llamay

      May 22, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      Your comment makes no sense.

    • E

      May 23, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      You can’t be serious.

  16. kartik kaul

    May 19, 2014 at 10:52 am

    they missed out danny carey

  17. Tim

    May 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Where is Mark Zonder and Danny Carey???

  18. Mridul

    May 19, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Where is tomas haake?

  19. Daniel Knowledgeable

    May 19, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    without Blake Richardson or Danny Carey this list is incomplete.

  20. Adnnan

    May 19, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Where is Benny Greb? o_O

    • acidrums4

      May 19, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      He doesn’t even play prog rock/metal…

  21. Andrés

    May 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Another Mike Mangini hater list, and I think Jason Rullo at least deserves a mention

    • acidrums4

      May 19, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      Well, is nice to know somebody recognizes how amazing Jason Rullo is. He totally deserves to be in this top-10. One of the most underrated drummers ever.

    • Whatareyoudoing?

      November 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      Ya.. Portnoy off, he can not play, put Mike Mangini fit his place! Why everyone hates Mike Mangini? Because he is perfect? He has made practice system to everyone, for teachers also! And he is amazing, no-one can’t reach up onto his level, if those guys are on earth, Mangini is from another planet!

  22. Scott C

    May 19, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Mike Mangini?

  23. brady

    May 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    awesome, no magnini XD

    • Kevin Keehl

      May 19, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      Agreed. Where are Mangini, Chris Pennie and Jon Theodore?

  24. Brandon

    May 19, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    How did Mangini and Portnoy get snubbed?

    • Brandon

      May 19, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      oops i misread #10. Grats M. P.

  25. Ryan

    May 19, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    No Thomas Pridgen or Lang?!?

  26. Kelly

    May 19, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    This list is missing some very important drummers …drummers who without their contributions, guys on your coveted list would not even be where they are. Sean Reinert for one.. how can you include the guys from AAL, and Periphery, without Sean..or Thomas Pridget,..and perhaps im a bit biased but dont forget the unusual contributions of Steve Flynn…..just my opinion. It’s tough making these kinds of lists, there are so many new talents, i get it, but lets not forget who paved the road for them all to speed down at a new velocity..and to ANYONE who asks if Neal Peart is still around..dont be a fool..peart is still a monster and would play circles around most to this day. Have a nice day! :)

  27. Anthony

    May 20, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Where’s Danny Carey???

  28. Enzo

    May 20, 2014 at 3:41 am

    Where is Blake Richardson and Tomas Haake?

  29. osman390

    May 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm


  30. Shokai

    May 21, 2014 at 6:09 am

    This is probably not a fair list.
    More metal fans than prog-rock fans; more votes for metal fans.
    Why not stick only to prog-rock drummers?

  31. Mark Ketchum (@pureintent_llc)

    May 21, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Love the list… glad Danney Carey is not on here… but where is Todd Sucherman?

  32. Exyt

    May 22, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    what about mangini (Dream Theater) ? He has more technic than musicality, but still an awesome drummer !

  33. Petra

    May 23, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Arijn van Weesenbeek from Epica deserves a place here. Nobody can tame the double base quite like he does. ;-\

  34. Mikoto Misaka

    May 25, 2014 at 4:01 am

    Loving that Garstka is on the list. I honestly feel he’s the best drummer in metal right now. Sean Reinert is the most glaring omission though, he should def be on there.

  35. Marie Benoit

    May 25, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Well, to be frank Portnoy es el mejor drummer in Prog!!

  36. Mbv7*

    May 26, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Brann Dailor ?!

  37. gideon63

    May 27, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Portnoy #1??? He’s probably the most uninspiring of the lot. Peart has had the biggest influence, but for guys at the top of their game, Harrison, Miniman, Donati, Carey not even on the list? And of course, the biggest oversight Mangini: possibly the most technical drummer alive today.

  38. Joey Tomb

    May 29, 2014 at 4:57 am

    How about Alex Rudinger?

  39. Christian Ishimura

    June 3, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Anup’s there! That guy is an ultimate beast!

  40. ian

    June 11, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I think Blake Richardson deserves a place in there somewhere…

  41. Jeremy Churchwarden

    November 23, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Donati should be first.

  42. Peter Herzog

    November 24, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    I think it`s Neil Peart,Mike Portnoy, Joey Jordison, Dave Lombardo, Nicko Mc Brain, Posthum Eric Carr

    but best…..Neil Peart for all time

  43. Das Efx

    December 18, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Bobby Jarzombek should be NUMBER 1 on this list. Based on past material, Daney Carey is EASILY number 2. Ask me this before the “Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance” and the order would be different. This is solely based on technical chops displayed on the most recent works of both drummers.

    If I had a pick of drummers for my dream band, it would be Danny because I feel like he plays with greater emotional range. He’s a perfect example of technical chops and restraint.

    Portnoy should not be top 5 imo.

  44. SuprGreaseball1

    January 4, 2015 at 3:09 am

    ok garstka and halpern should be higher on the list. Also what about Alex Rudinger, Haake, Mangini?

  45. MJ B

    October 22, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    I agree, Thomas Lejon from ACT/Andromeda SE, Morgan Agren from Karmakanic/Mats-Morgan, Kaipa. And yes Mike Mangini is certainly deserving. More to consider as well, Damien Schmidtt, Terry Bozzio, Barriemore Barlow, Mark Craney.

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